Sunday June 26
Temburong National Park.
Only 10 had put their hand up for this tour which was surprising. Brunei offers some of the best preserved wilderness rainforest in Borneo and we thought this to be a must do.
We were picked up at the RBYC by our first mode of transport; a fully enclosed 35 ft long boat with twin 200 Yamaha's. The driver gave us an awesome ride at 70km/hr weaving through the Niah Palm lined shortcuts and channels of the River delta, passed the intrusion of Malaysian Sarawak and back into Brunei on the other side to the little town of Bangar. To do this trip by road takes all day and costs a number of pages in the passport for the 8 immigration points to cross.
The boat was flat and leaning into sweeping bends of the chanels.
A minibus then took us to a Longhouse for morning tea. The Longhouse operates part as a homestay so was serving food even on Ramadan. We enjoyed some traditional foods and tea and wandered through the very spacious house.
Lea and I ended up getting dressed up in some traditional Dyak wedding attire.
Our hosts and celebrant.
The witness party.
The bus continued up into the hills and the river where we loaded into longboats that take 4-6 passengers. Powered by predominantly Yamaha 15 Hp Outboards with high pitch props. Not sure if they have special hubs but they seemed to cavitate a lot until we had speed up.
We headed up river passed all manner of buildings.
Until we hit the rapids.
It was an exciting ride as the incredibly skilled boatman get us moving up river against fast flowing rapids while avoiding rocks that could take the bottom of the boat out and keeping the prop and leg in one piece.
At the NP we crossed the suspension bridge and began our 1200 steps up the mountain.
Thorough beautiful jungle.
Until we emerged at the top of the mountain and the bottom of the canopy walk towers.
We estimated these towers to be 40m tall
Stunning views from the top.
But a long way down.
Not much wildlife around other than this species although Lea did see a couple of Rhinocerous Hornbills fly by. Some lovely butterflies and a few lizards were all we saw.
Then it was back to park buiding for more food from our hosts at the Longhouse who had provided a picnic lunch for us.
Then it was back in the longboats for the exciting run downstream. The boatmen had to work very hard tilting and revving the motors to keep these unwieldy long craft under control, using the currents and eddies to stop us plowing into the banks or grounding.
A brief stop to walk up a creek to a waterfall and pond. The pond contained little fish that nibbled at your toes. Legend has it that each nibble takes away a sin. Naturally I had very few nibbles.
The final down river section was nice and relaxing.
Back in the bus we stopped again at the Longhouse for afternoon tea. More yummy food. We were all already full but still couldn't resist delicious banana fritters. Returned back to Bangor where our boat was waiting to return us to RBYC. He drove even harder on the way back and with intense concentration wove the boat through the maze of channels. Great ride!
At the Yacht club a driver was waiting to take us to the big supermarket for some supplies. We were all tired and the driver after fasting all day was ready to faint. Kerryn was given the job of asking him non stop questions to keep him awake. The supermarket was great with lots of western goodies and a big non halal section.
Back at Gemini Lady we had 30 minutes to pack away the shopping and glam up for the farewell dinner at the nearby Mangrove Paradise Resort.
Dinner was not quite up to the standard of previous ones but still nice. The resort is a bit dated. We had a laugh when the door prizes of a free night at the resort were won by the same people who already stayed there and bagged the place.
Another big day but a welcome AFD.
Monday June 27
Up early to take the current back downstream to Serasa. A massive front came through and as usual hit us just as we were about to anchor. Lea got soaked again. Once the rain stopped we all went ashore to wait for our clearance documents to arrive. Allan had picked up all our passports last night and was hoping for a quick bulk job.
Filled in the time updating the blog and more washing. Lea did another run, a 1.4 km swim in the pool and we enjoyed a light lunch at the club.
Finally got our documents at 1500 and decided to head out to Keraman Island for the night. Probably should have stayed as another front came through during the night and the anchorage was very uncomfortable but we did get a short sail in and I got in the water and cleaned the yellow scum from the river off the waterline.