Thursday, August 26, 2010

More Sandakan touring - Thursday August 26, 2010

We awoke again at sunrise to capture a few images but the clouds were creating a lot of over cast and not cooperative but this place is amazing never the less. After a 7:00am breakfast we walked around taking a few more macro shots before departing at 9:00 going back the the 10:00am Orangutang feeding. Afterwards our guide J.R. tooks us to the War Memorial. The memorial park is a park dedicated to the men who survived the POW camp during WW2. The history as well as the lesson of what happened in Borneo during that time was really moving. We are both glad we got a chance to see it and experience just a small moment in history. We once again returned to the Saba Hotel for lunch and then a tour of the beautiful Buddist temple. The first thing we noticed upon our arrival is what looked like Nazi symbols all of the temple. Our guide J.R. said no in fact it is the Nazi sigh backwards and according to the Buddists this is a symbol of peace. We will have to show you the pictures of that. We both find that very interesting. Finally our guide took us to Agnes Keith house. She is the novelist I have been reading while I have been here in Borneo. The book the land below the wind is the book I had mentioned in my previous blog writtings. Her our is so amazing and you can feel her spirit there. I hope to read her further novels and hope to obtain a copy of the 1950 movie of the second book entitled " Three come home". Which is the continuing story of when her and her son where captured by the Japanese at put into a POW camp. 

Right at this moment it is 5:21 p.m. on Aug.26th and we are sitting by the pool at the Saba Hotel again waiting for our transfer back to the airport for the first of our leg home. We will continue the blog in Singapore tomorrow where we have a full day of shopping/resting before the 2 long haul flights home.

Rain Forest to Sandakan Town - Wednesday August 25, 2010

We got up at sun rise to go out and shoot some pictures of the rainforest lodge before breakfast. The lighting was good and we had a great time walking around listening to all the jungle chatter. After breakfast we got our gear together and departed for a two hour boat transfer to Sandakan. Once we arrived into the Sandakan port we were off to the Sabah hotel for lunch where we departed ways with Torsten, Stina, Steve and Caroline. We were off to the Orangutang Rehab facility for the 15:00 feeding. Seven showed up for the feeding and Alicia was more than entertained. After the feeding we went next door to the Sepolok Nature Resort and checked into Chalet #4 and rested for the rest of the day. We did not even go to dinner as we were both very tired.

Borneo Rain Forest - Tuesday August 24, 2010

We awaoke at 05:00 to get ready for a morning river cruise leaving the dock at 06:00. We went down river for more monkey encounters and spotted a hugh 4 meter crocodile longer than our boat! The captain Arceo did not want to have anything to do with him due to his enormous size! After floating around Ox Bo lake we put our Wellies on for a short walk about through the jungle. Richard our guide showed us leaches as well as elephant dung along the way. Once we reached the end of the trek we both had leaches on us. Alicia's was planted on her butt and Steve found this quite amusing that she took it right off and was not afraid. Yes, these leaches were still on the outside of the pants!

After going back to the resort we had breakfast and got ready for a boardwalk nature tour at the Sukau Rainforest Lodge with Winston Marshall. He is a 73 year Englishman raised in Burma. He had some stories for sure!!!

After the walk we went back to the resort for lunch and a little R&R beofre the afternoon river cruise at 16:00. Much of the same wildlife we saw yesterday was observed again today.

We returned to the lodge for dinner and and in prompt to show put on by the staff complete with a fire dance. We pepared for another 20:30 night cruise seeing more creatures of the night along the river banks.

Mabul to the Jungle - Monday August 23, 2010

We awoke to the last day sounds of the ocean this morning knowing the second part of the journey was near. We knew that the departure would be before the 7:00am breakfast so we made a couple of peanut butter & pinapple jam sandwiches and drank some strong coffee before departing for the Semporna jetty at 06:30am. Our captain got the dive gear on the boat and we were off on the 45 minute journey back to the shore.
as everything awoke.
Upon arrival to Semporna we were greeted by Igide of Borneo Eco Tours and we were off for a 4 hour drive through the jungle to the Sukau jetty on the Kinabatagan River. Once we arrived at the river it was only a 10 minute boat ride to the Sikau Rainforest Lodge. Everything was going good however we were concerned that we were being transfered over to the neighboring property since the Sukau Lodge was being renovated. Tina had already confirmed this and we were good with it prior to departing the US. Anyways we had lunch there at 13:00 and wisked off to the Proboscus Rainforest Lodge about 5 minutes up river. This place was absolutely amazing! All the comforts of homeand the grounds were emaculantly clean and manicured.We were briefed on the property requirements and to be down at the river at 16:00 for the evening river cruise looking for critters and monkeys.

We got settled in and went down to the river for the cruise and met our newly wed Irish friends Caroline and Steve and Andie from SF, CA. We all hit it off right away and formed a unified bond immediately. We all took off down river and found the Proboscus monkeys and numerous other makack (sp) monkeys as well.

We returned back to the resort and cleaned up for dinner at 7:00pm. River prawns the size of lobsters were on the menu and was I in heaven or what???? These prawns were the size of lobsters! After dinner we went out at 20:30 for a night cruise looking for more critters. This was pretty univentful with a few flying fox and kingfishers roosting in the river trees. It was a long day and we turned in at 10:00 after the cruise.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

August 22nd Better day!

Well it looks like Greg ate something that did not agree with him as after 24 hours of being in bed he is know back on his feet and we where ready to dive again today. We spent out last day doing 3 dives at Mabul Island. They where fantastic as we spent the day taking pictures of Crocodile fish, clown as well as we got a very rare treat, we actually got to photograph a sea moth, which according to our dive master is something very exciting. I took several photographs that I hope come out.

We have such a great time working on our underwater photography with different ports and lenses. We also celebrated after the final dive that we had accomplished a whole week of diving without one flood or camera mishap.

We are in the process of packing up the dive gear as well as the photo gear for our next part of our adventure. We are heading into the rainforest in the morning and we are not sure if there will be internet connection so you may not hear from us until we get back into civilation but keep checking as will try and keep everyone updated for the next few days.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

August 21st Sick Day

Well you know it was going to happen sooner or later, well today was the day. We did not dive today as Greg woke up with a bad stomach bug and my ears are completely blocked so we sat out today. You know you can plan and take vitamins and work out 5 days a week to build up your stamina but it still finally gets to you.  Greg has been in bed all day and since I can not hear anyone I layed in the other twin bed reading a book entitled " The land beneath the Wind". The author Agnes Keith ( an American) married to a Brit, moves with her husband to Borneo in 1939. The book tells of her adventures into this new life as well as the people and lives she interacts with during this time. It is very interesting in the fact that alot of things she has encountered back then still holds true today while we are here. On our last day we hope to visit her house and have high tea.

 We have one more day of diving tomorrow if we are up to it and then Monday morning we are off to 4 days in the rainforest to observe the wildlife there including, elephants, monkeys and of course the famous orangatangs. As you can well image I am very excited by that as they are one of my favorites.

Well I guess more tomorrow as we hope all goes well and I hope all is well back in the old USA...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

2nd day diving Sipadan - August 19 2010

Wow that is all we can say about today's diving..... Greg and I spent most of the 4 dives playing in bait balls of  jacks as well as looking at so many turtles that we lost count. To top it all off it must of been circus day today because the clown fish where everywhere playing hide and seek in the anemone's, they are so adorable. I can see why Disney chose them for the Finding Nemo movies....

We unfortunatly did not have anyone who spoke much English on the 4 dives but again once we got underwater hand signals work great and again we could all communication. It is so funny a great of New Zealands and 1 Canadian got off a boat and just like 2 fish without their school Greg and I wanted to join them as they where speaking our language....

It is 4:30 p.m. here and after a day of diving we are ready to take a nap and clean up the photo gear for another day of diving tomorrow .... We are having such a great time here I can not recommend diving here more!!!

If anyone from HUPS is a trip here, it a macro/wide angel dream...

More tomorrow...