I underestimated Sukau.
Didn't expect that I would enjoy nature that much, and I am glad I went ahead despite not having a solid plan to reach Sukau. As this is my third Sandakan trip in the space of a year, I was pretty confident that I could get there on my own.
After managing to get to Kg Sukau on pirated transportation - because I didn't have the budget for packages :( - I checked into my lodgings and immediately spent the whole afternoon napping due to a massive headache that did not go away even after dinner. Gah. The heat does this to me way too often.
Anyhow, since I was the only one there that evening I couldn't go on the cruise anyway as the minimum was 2 pax to go. Hmmph. The bane of solo travellers. Decided to let it go and wait for the next day's cruises.
Where I stayed - Sukau Greenview B&B.
The reception and restaurant across the road.
Hammock, albeit not a very wide one.
This was where I spent mornings and afternoons reading and napping. On the second day there was no electricity in the whole village. Eerily quiet, devoid of any sounds from TVs and radios. I walked the whole length of the kampung.
I was luckier the next day as another guest had checked in, so off we went for the afternoon cruise to Menanggol and later after dinner for the night cruise.
I really, really like boat rides so seeing the wildlife and jungle were added super bonus :) At first I put on the life jacket provided like any other good tourist (and I figured that the crocodiles would have a tough time biting through that nylon, and that bright orange colour would put them off in the first place). Halfway through I removed it cos it was warm, kept it at arm's length, just in case.
Heading towards Menanggol. Soft breeze, evening sun. Bliss.
Towards Menanggol (actually I am not sure if Menanggol is the place or the name of the river :P)
So what did I see? Sadly not the pygmy elephants, although the boat which had left earlier saw two rogues. Didn't take that many pics and hopefully I've got the names correct. Wildlife sighted : kingfishers, owls, rhinoceros hornbills, black hornbills, Borneon Gibbon, Leopard Cat, monkeys galore - proboscis and macaques, snakes like Pope Pit's Viper (?) and yellow banded mangrove snake - in addition to various insects and butterflies. The guide had these wildlife books as reference and they were really handy for the non-informed like me.
Macaques putting on a show.
During the night cruise, the highlight was .... The Milky Way! If only I can take a picture of that very very starry sky - the stars were like tiny twinkling diamonds. It was so beautiful that I shut up and just sat in the boat looking up to the skies. Darn, I need to re-read the constellations.
Stork billed Kingfisher (?)
On Sunday I left for Sepilok very early via a proper minibus direct from Sukau. After checking in my lodging, I walked over to Sepilok in time for the morning feeding. There's a different alpha male now, I don't remember seeing the mighty CID before. Thankfully it wasn't a really big crowd although there were a group of very young school children who kept getting reminded to keep silent. Oh, they have guards with whistles now to do that, I don't remember the guards from previous visits.
After SORC, I trooped it to the RDC which was skipped on the last trip, arriving there hot and sweating and immediately sought refuge in its cool, airconditioned exhibition hall. What a relief! Decided to follow some of the trails and go up the observatory tower, from Bristlehead to Trogon. It rained when I was halfway along the trails so I hurried it up and decided to take a rest. For such a large area, it looked quite deserted, in fact I was the only one on the trails that day. Bumped into other visitors on the canopy walkway and near the lake.
Favourite tree - the menggaris - en route to Trogon Tower.
What? Only 11m and my legs were already like jelly. Maybe I should forget about Sydney Bridge then.
For the longest time, I have this weird recurring nightmare of melting through metal grilles like this.
Survived that - wasn't so bad :)
Next time I really want to see the elephants, and perhaps brave the leeches and go for that early morning cruise and trek at the Ox Bow Lake. Overall, a happy trip - with only one major mosquito bite, which I just discovered yesterday.
Being out in Nature definitely rocks; maybe there's a Jungle Jane in me after all :). We'll see.