Kota Kinabalu 2

Thursday July 14

Early meeting with Immigration and Harbourmaster for Port Clearance and entry into Sabah.

Then off to the theatre, that had been booked by Peter and Cathy off Kattani, for a showing of Game of Thrones Season 6. The first 7 episodes had just arrived. When we arrived Peter was having technical issues with his laptop VGA out so I went and got mine and got it all sorted. Meanwhile Lea gave the girls a rundown of The last episode of Series 5 which we had re-watched last night.

Brook and Naz came in just as the line ” Jon Snow is dead” was delivered. Brook cried out “No!” and ran from the room. Apparently she hasnt watched Series 5 yet. Her entry timing and cry was perfect and gave us all a good laugh.

It was luxurious viewing sprawled out in the theatre with our munchies and drinks. We had a short break for lunch after 2 episodes. We got part way into episode 4 before we had to hand over the theatre to Sazli for the first ESSCOM briefing.

Everyone was present except EESCOM by 1500 and we were informed they weren't coming today. They wanted to leave it until the main briefing in Kudat on the 24th. We suspect the situation with Abu Sayid is quite fluid at the moment with new developments and intel coming in all the time. Sazli addressed some of the questions regarding our security escort but we have plenty more needing to be answered before we can make an informed decision regarding the risks of travelling through NE Sabah even with an armed escort force.

All in all the meeting was pretty much a waste of time.

Enjoyed a great bottle of red with Adrian and Carmen aboard Anthem to finish the day.

Friday July 15

Up early to raise the Main so that we can change back to the old sail cover. The old cover wraps around the mast and gives the luff of the sail much more protection. I was starting to get worried re UV damage. This took a couple of hours.

Then spent another few hours booking flights for our trip home in October via Bali to babysit Bailee, Brisbane to visit Rod, Kirsty and the kids, Great Keppel Island for the 20 year Lightwave Reunion then home. We managed to book the Bali to Brisbane, Brisbane to Rockhampton and Rockhampton to Melbourne. We will have to leave the flight to Bali until the last minute when we know our departure point.

Lea spent 5 hours scrubbing the decks while I worked on the blog.

Fabulous Indian dinner at Kohinoor Restaurant on the Waterfront.

Saturday 16 July

Lea did a good 6.5km run while I did a full service on the Genset. I left Lea to more vacuuming and cleaning and went into town with John and Kerryn.

Buses arrived to take us to Kota Kinabalu Yacht Club at 1600 and the club gave us a warm welcome. A serious game of beach soccer with the locals is a tradition. Our team did well but lost in the end 1:3. I was itching to join in but had promised myself not to as we were to climb Mt Kinabalu the next day and I didn't want to risk injury or sore muscles for that.

As the sun went down we enjoyed a nice buffet dinner put on for us by the club.

Sunday 17th July

After a bit of a mix up at about the meeting point and picking up the other 2 members of our group, we were off by 0710 for the 2 hour drive to Mt Kinabalu Park HQ. Here our tour operator took care of Registration, Permits, Insurance, Park Fees etc. and gave us our Permit/ID tags that we were asked to wear at all times on the Mountain. Each couples main packs were about 8kg each and the 2 teenage sons of one of our 2 guides were employed to carry them for us at 130MYR. We carried our day packs with water, snacks and raincoats.

After coffee and a snack we were given our packed lunches and driven up to Timpohon Gate the start of our climb at 1800m.

Our head Guide “Eddie” gave us a briefing before we set off.

A slow steady pace was set down to the waterfall through very pretty rainforest. The clouds were obscuring any views to the heights above us.

Rest huts and toilets were set up every 1km, just as well for Lea as she had an unsettled tummy that soon turned to mild gastro. The shelters were also inhabited by these cheeky little squirrels.
We also found a couple of carnivorous pitcher plants alongside the track.
Lunch was at Layang-Layang hut at the 4 km mark. The track so far had been a steady rise with lots of steps but quite comfortable. We had a bit of drizzle and dampness from the cloud cover but not enough to need to pull out the wet weather gear. The temperature was dropping but we were still ok in shorts and light shirts.
From here it got a bit steeper and rougher. The rainforest gave way to a scrubby alpine landscape.
Short steps and big breaths was the motto of the day and soon our accomodation and a hint of tomorrows climb appeared through the clouds. So far neither of us have felt any effects of the altitude.
Lea and I arrived at Laban Rata at 1430, 6km from the gate and at 3273m making it a 1500m climb over 6km in 4 hours.
Laban Rata has a ski lodge feel to it with a big open kitchen and dining room. The walls are covered with photos of “good times” on the mountain. We sat down to a huge mug of Sabah tea each to wait for the rest of our party. John and Kerryn plus Hill from Thailand and Kumi from Japan.
Our accommodation was a basic 3.6m x 3.6m room with 3 sets of bunks and a common floor space of about 2 square meters. Cosy to say the least. Communal bathrooms with solar heated water. No sun up here today so the showers were freezing but invigourating. Late in the afternoon the clouds parted to reveal some of what lay ahead.
Everybody was soon in and just as well as around 1600 the heavens opened and it poured. Dinner was served at 1630-1930. We tucked in early to the delicious buffet and enjoyed a few card games afterwards before an early night. Wake was scheduled for 0140. Before bed the clouds broke up and the near full moon shone through.


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