Monday, 3 March 2008

More Rumbles in the Jungle!

Two days ago went to see Orang Utans at Sepilok Rehab Centre, where they rescue, protect and rehabilitate injured or orphaned orangs. Mainly as a result of logging. Less of a need for this now because of restrictions on logging, and creation of National Parks sanctuaries. Logging companies also involved in reforestation programmes (but it still takes 30-40 years to produce a tree).
At Sepilok too many noisy tourists! But lovely to see mother, baby and juvenile orangs coming back for food.
Following day laid in the sun on the quiet beach of Seligan Island, one of three Turtle Islands, 2hr boat ride from Sandakan, on the SE coast of Sabah. That evening we and 40 others were on "turtle watch". At 8pm the ranger told us that a turtle had arrived ashore, and as she was coming to the end of her laying at 9.30 we were ushered into a noisy, crowded circle around this large, magnificent green turtle. She was new to the island because she had n't been tagged. Group too large and too noisy!
The ranger collected 77 eggs from the one mother and then we followed him to where he buried them in the sand in the hatchery. In the sun, to create females, and the shady area to create males!!
They stay there for about 40-50 days. Then saw the wonderful spectacle of a bucketful of about 30 newly-hatched turtles being released into the sea. Tiny, weany things scuttling as if their lives depended on it (which it did).
The Borneans do the conservation bit very well, but there are more chalets being built and signs of an increase in tourism, and they do n't seem to be great at managing large groups of them. What ought to have been a quiet, respectful, natural spectacle, was marred by the ranger himself loudly and repeatedly checking whether everyone had paid their 10 ringits for the use of their camera. Now bearing in mind that 10RM is about 1 pound 70p, wouldn't you think that most people, even the stingiest, would have paid their 10RM!! But there's always one, or maybe a dozen or so in this case!!!
Left Selingan Island at 7am. Speedboat, 2hr van drive to Lahad Datu and then 4hr off-road 4x4 drive into the Danum Valley. Got seriously stuck in the mud churned up by about 30 lorries laden with 6-8 trees each. Had to be towed out by caterpillar-tracked, heavy machinery!!
Arrived exhausted to the best accommodation so far. Up to now, cheap huts,longhouses, beach chalet, in pretty poor or basic state. But this is wonderful. Internet, outside tub overlooking the Danum river and Jungle canopy, birds and wildlife, comfort, good food and lovely staff!!
More about what we do here later!
Impossible to keep it brief, and no time to edit, so this is as concise as you're going to get. Sorry Laura and Anj!!!

1 comment:

Jack Rafter said...

sounds like a fantastic adventure you are having - Derbyshire is going to seem pretty tame when you come home, not sure what you will do with yourselves.
I see your eldest daughter is taking up a a hobby like her father when he was her age. Should last six months get bored and move on to next hobby. If I remember correctly radio controlled model aircraft comes next.What's up Laura not much to do in London are you sure this fits the image of a high flying young career girl in the world of finance?
Only joking looking forward to seeing everybody when I come up to your place on the 15th. Which makes me wonder are you able to accommodate everybody. Still I suppose ma and pa can kip in their tent they will be used to it by now.
Bye for now .....