Wow, we've just completed a jungle trek, stopping to pull leaches off every few mins and we have seen orang utans in the wild, something I was really hoping we would do. Incredibly one was only 200m from where we are staying at Bukit Melapi Lodge in the jungle on the banks of Sabah's longest river, slouched in a fruit tree with a look on its face like a bank manager after a big lunch considering an overly optimistic loan application.
But it was an interesting journey just getting here. We left the long house 4 days ago, and drove for 6 hrs thru the heaviest rain I have seen. At times 4WD had difficulty crossing the cascades of water that poured off the steep mountain slopes forming poweful waterfalls that spewed across the road. We had glimpses of huge branches and even whole trees rushing past in the foam.
As we descended the mountain roads the skies cleared and we eventually pulled into Labuk Bay Proboscis Sanctuary where we posed with macaques and a wild hornbill and the extraordinary proboscis monkeys. We stayed in beautilful lodge called Sepilok B+B which had great food and lots of young female ozzie backbackers. The reason people come here is to see orang utans at the sanctuary / rehabilitation centre. They have a feeding station where you can watch them stuff themselves on piles of fruit. I love watching them climb down creepers and ropes that connect to the feeding platform and settle down to eat. They remind me of Melvin the paranoid android from Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, looking out glumly at the crowd of be-cameraed tourists saying "if it's all the same with you when you've finished tearing up our jungle and planting palm oil, could you return it to how it was, please? Thankyou." the sad fact is they mow live in a 43 sq km patch of virgin forest and it is now like an island in an ocean of horticultured palm oil plantations.
The next day we drove to Sakau, a village on the banks of the mighty river Kinabatangan that meanders on an enormous jungle and mangrove covered flood plain, this is real jungle and the river is not somewhere you want to go swimming as it is home to lots of salt water crocodiles. We caught a small boat with an outboard that chugged up the jungle until we reached our lodge. We're here for 3 nights and there is so much to see.