Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mulu First Part

Okies, so the Mulu trip came and went... and it was spectacular... skip the next few entries cos its all gonna be about the trip..unless of course, you wanna know more about it. ..


In KLIA now, phew, after the messy ticketing changing fiasco that happened the last week, finally settled with a a flight from KL to KK (yes, KK!!) at 4 am in the morning. Took a bus from Grassland (GoldenMile Complex) yesterday at around 7pm and arrived at Berjaya Times Square at 12.30am. Then took a cab to KLIA. Now awaiting my plane to KK (Sabah!!)

KLIA… first time I’m flying from here though. Always been flying from Changi (SG) or Senai (JB), so kinda impressed with this airport so far. At least the toilets are clean!!. Resting on the benches with other flyers right now, so get to stretch my legs…arhh…. Nice…. Okies, going to check in now… feeling really sleepy…

Touchdown in KK.. this brings back much memories, after all, it’s not more than 6 months ago that I was here for the Climbathon. Well the most important piece of memory hit me when I saw the Hyatt Hotel logo at arrival area… but that’s all in the past now… and all for another time…

The airport is a fairly small international airport that mainly caters for flights into other parts of Sabah and Sarawak. I’d imagine I’d be down here again in August to fly to Tawau, to dive in Sipadan then back again for the Climbathon. It seems that I keep coming to KK over and over again.

OK, famous brand names I’ve seen so far… Bodyshop, KFC, Famous Amos. Sitting quietly in a café outside the departure area now, trying to catch a bit of the sun. My next flight is at 10am, taking my time to rest now. I’ll start on the 3 presentations for work the week I return.. so kinda like a working holiday. Called mum again to chk in.. done. Alrightey.. time to get some work done..

In Mulu now, at the Park’s dorm. Arrived yesterday at 12 pm and took a RM 5 ride from the airport to the Park HQ. Arrived yesterday around 12pm at Mulu and took a RM5 van ride to the park (which I realized is within walking distance after that). There were only 3 of us on the plane …. Me and 2 other Jap ppl. The couple were staying at the super duper expensive Royal Mulu Resort (arn RM300 per night).

The Park looked much much more better than from what I can remember 10 years ago. The office is now air-conned, with a thick glass door. It holds computers, and other …err..stuff. went in there to check in and double chk my bookings. Then, off to the dorm to rest. I just lay on my bed and slept away…was dead exhausted. Woke up 1 and a half hours later…. Then off to the Deer and Lang show cave at 2pm.

The trek to the Deer Cave was on a cemented pavement, and took about 30mins. Did the similar trek 10 yrs ago, and so was not superbly impressed … couldn’t remember much, but as the 2 caves were more showcaves, it didn’t involve much real jungle trekking. We arrived at the newly renovated bat platform. Sometimes at around 5-6pm, the bats will come out of their resting place in the Deer Cave, and do som acrobatic swirls near the exit of the cave, before heading out to hunt for food (not humans!! These are fruit bats). Twas around 3pm, so we went to see the showcaves first.. We started with Deer Cave… could remember bits and pieces here and there, and the rock formation was really impressive. Similarly was the Lang cave…. At the end of Lang cave was a small little lake.. aka Eden’s Garden… it was really a beautiful sight from afar. There is a half day activity at the Eden’s Garden hosted by the park as well, but doubt I will have time to go there. Anyways, after the showcaves, we exited and headed to the Bat platform for the bats…There’s this new Batcam, where the cameras were place in the cave to detect the bat activities… oops…starting to drizzle already… darn, less bats then..in the end, it wasn’t that impressive as last time as well.. At least I get to make new friends here, the 3 Londoners – Ian, Jason and Tom, whom I will join for the next few days. Trekked back to the dorm, and had dinner (Reese +++ and A cup noodle) and rested well. Played Vocable at night with the guys… hahah and managed to beat them flat… !! hehehe

So….today’s events…: woke up at 8am this morning and the feeling was great!! Finally managed to shake of the fatigue-ness of the day before. Went to wash up and had breakfast at the Mulu HQ café. Today, we headed to do our ??certification at the dry Racer Cave. Meet up was at 9am at the Park HQ. Put on my shoes, got my caving bag packed, and off I went. Our guide, Jenny, met us at the Park HQ and handed us our helmet and (sucky) headlamps.
The cave was about 1 hr trek on another cemented trek from the HQ. Fairly easy trek, I think we were faster than usual. And in about 30 mins…we arrived. On the way, we passed through a small cave – Moon milk cave- very small but cooling cave.. Ian had to duck a lot of times… too tall..hehe

I was a bit reserved at first, since the last caving trip I did was actually at Mulu 10 yrs before, and we failed to reach the Chambers then. I guessed, this cave would be a goos start after all, to rejuvenate my spelunking spirits. The Racer cave was used by the Park Guides to gauge the fitness and adventuring levels of the caves before allowing them to do tougher caves like the Chambers and the Connection. Well, this cave started out nice, with a few hikes up some muddy areas, and a bit of short rock climbs. There were some slippery rocky/muddy parts as well, but no falls. ?3 rope parts – easy but as I was short, had a hard time getting my foot on the foot holds.. but still managed to survive. In the end, the cave was pretty easy and fun to do, but of course, I returned with much bruises and one superficial abrasion. We took about 2 hours in the cave… all excited when we came out.

So, animal count:
1 Racer snakes (hence the name)
2 Huntsmen spiders
3 Crickets.
4 Green Viper (poisonous)
5 Pigmy squirrels
6 Pill bugs
7 Rajah Brooke butterflies
(the last 4 – outside of the cave)
Trekked back to the dorm, and spent the whole afternoon relaxing… Simple and easy cave to do.. but nice experience, nonetheless.

Next one will be about the cave connection..to be up soon....

Move on....

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