Words cannot describe the satisfied feelings of my world in balance. I took a lot of pictures in order to try to make an image of that, but I would have to delete them all because they’re not even close to expressing that feeling. The pictures look so ugly in comparison to the feelings that were evoked. It’s a handicap not to be able to share memories.
I wrote a LOT at the start of my motorcycle trip, but after part one was finished I didn’t up write anymore. Usually when that happens the experience is really amazing and the program very full, the speed with which im traveling and see and do new things very fast, and opportunities present themselves at the right time so I can just jump from one to the other. Or fly from one to the other. Like… A butterfly.
This hot and sunny morning I joined my CS host on his morning walk up a hill with a view over Tawau.
After that I explored the city of Tawau just cruising around, buying some breakfast fruit and eating it close by the waterfront. I joined my CS host and his friends for lunch after which I left for the relatively short drive to Semporna. Partly in the rain again.
Went to the office of Seahorse in Semporna in the morning, where I met Nor, a friend of Joe/Jahwar. I agreed upon one day of diving (three dives) in Mabul, and one day (three dives) in Sipadan. I was lucky someone canceled. Or I was lucky Nor had the right friends who could lend her a permit. Or I was lucky I met Joe in KK. Or a combination of that. So, Kawi the motorbike could rest for two days while I was going to exhaust myself some more. A long boat ride later (30min?) later I arrived in Seahorses accomodation on Mabul.
I’m gonna make it short: The dives were amazing (house reef and I think Nudy Point(?)), the food was great, the bungalow was perfect for me (with towel and sheets), the weather good and the Dive Masters Jojo and Salim skillfull, relaxed and concerned with safety. I dived together with 3 Australians and I was much more economic with my air. My tank still had 100bar left by the time we surfaced… But I wasn’t too worried about that. I was more proud then sad 🙂 The sad thing was that I got a headache somewhere in between and had to skip my third dive. After sleeping and aspirins it was better again, and in the evening we all went for a drink. Had an interesting conversation with Salim, who delivered me a message about the power words have over money.
As my permit for Sipadan was obtained from Uncle Changs diving lodge, they brought me there in the morning. Our group of divers then was chartered to Sipadan by boat, where we had three dives. A drift dive in South Point, then Barracuda Point and Drop Zone to end with. Expectations were high. And the dive masters of Uncle Chang didn’t really meet my expectations. They didn’t point out anything. Which made me realize even more how good Seahorses dive masters were. But nevertheless the dives were great. Coral and fishes everywhere! After Sipadan it was back to Semporna. I was somehow sad that I didn’t get to go to Mabul again. I had the feeling I had unfinished business there.
But with good memories and a happy feeling I returned to Semporna, where Nor and Kawi were waiting for me And where they were killing the mosquitos.
Riding out of Semporna over Kunak to Kopel, by the Kinabatangan river. I pulled over and walked over the bridge again for better pictures.Started talking with a local guy. He was going to drive a boat down Kinabatangan river in an hour, spotting wildlife with a friend and his parents. He told me to ask about it in their community building by the riverside. I ended up joining three Scottish people on a river cruise, followed by a night jungle walk. Things I probably wouldn’t have done alone. We spotted Proboscis monkeys, long and short tailed macaque monkeys, wild boar, seagul, kingfisher, another bird where I forgot the name of…, scorpion, fire ants, spider, butterfly, some kind of cat, one (only one) leach (it had to be on MY leg of course) and what more.
Coming back I was allowed to sleep under the roof of their community building.
Riding to Bilit and Sukau.
Then direction Sandakan to see the orang utans in Sepilok sanctuary. They receive treatment and training (raising them up) when they come in and after that they are are not locked up, they are free to go and come to the feeding when they want. It depends on their food gathering skills and so it’s their decision. I arrived their just on time for the feeding. It was awesome to see the monkeys so close and in their natural environment. One naughty ape climbed the rope hanging over the tourist stand and… started peeing.They say the apes are smart so it might have been his way of sharing his opinion. I stayed in the dorm of the jungle resort nearby, where another Kingfisher was easily spotted.
Riding to Sandakan. And exploring it with the bike. Bought an expensive Fijian apple on the market “Pasar raya”. 2 ringgit! And saw the stilt village where fish was hanging to dry. It’s a pity it wasn’t eating time. For getting out of Sandakan I took a lovely little road, great for motor biking. And enjoyed a super cane drink on the side of the road.
I covered a lot of kilometers that day. And I only made one stop… I finally succeeded (after 5? 6? 7? attempts during my trip in different locations) entering a Palm oil Mill site! They showed me around the whole factory and even told me where to take pictures. I was very pleased.
In Telupid I had a break and tanked (just enough expensive) petrol to reach Ranau. One police man almost killed himself trying to stop me with my bike. What an idea to stop all bikes, being hidden at the bottom of a slope… He just told me he had to stop me because he had to stop all the local bikers, and wished me a safe further trip.
In Ranau I only found expensive places to stay at first (in the end I saw a cheaper one in the center) so I called and reserved a bed in Kinabalu Mountain Lodge, just half an hour further.
I hadn’t planned to climb Mt Kinabalu, but since I was there… And as earlier proven it is not always necessary to book long before if only you push the right buttons, pull the right strings… When early that morning I was granted access to climb the mountain, I decided that that wasn’t what I wanted. So I just hiked until halfway. To Layang Layang hut. Not really worth the hike, as there wasn’t a good view over the jungle anywhere, but it was a good and welcome physical exercise. Just over one hour it took me.
After the mountain I biked to Tuaran. I liked the atmosphere there. Food stalls, markets, een gezellige bedrijvigheid kortom.
And then, finally, KK again! A drink at Jesselton Point while looking back at my trip. Returning the bike, checking in into a hostel, and then a social drink at Jesselton point with Joe, Fadli, Tekko and their friends.
To the tip of Borneo with Fadli. We talked a lot. And never stopped eating. Finally got to know the meaning of the words you can read once in a while along the way 🙂 like “Tanah runtu di hadapan” “perlahan” “dilarang”,… And even “tongkat”
We also visited a bee farm and a gong making village of Rungus minority people.
And then reached the tip of Borneo. Really beautiful. Really hot. Really worth it. I was very happy Fadli wanted to take me there today. The snorkeling was nice. Nothing new, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it.
On the way back we had some Malaysian delicacies I never tasted before. Like “lokan”, seashells, and coconut pudding. And back in Jesselton Point a freshly spear hunted fish was just served for the table of friends.
Breakfast together with Fadli, Tekko and Freddie from Denmark. Then Flight to KL and BKK.