Saturday, April 1, 2017

Borneo Day 13 - KJC and BRL

We had another early alarm today in order to take our last boat trip at 6AM.

It was another successful trip because we got good looks at 3 different troops of Proboscis Monkeys including our first decent looks at some males.

Proboscis Monkey

The Thinker

Male Proboscis Monkey

This fella was, ahem, showing off for the ladies...

Really Male Proboscis Monkey

And they seemed to take notice:

Alarmed Proboscis Monkey

Female Proboscis Monkey

The more we watched the Proboscis Monkeys, the more endearing they became.  They were very social and appeared to be very loving too.  We saw multiple groups cuddling while sleeping for instance.

Proboscis Cuddle

Sleeping Proboscis Monkeys

We also saw quite a few juveniles and a little baby.

Juvenile Proboscis Monkey

Juvenile Proboscis Monkey

Female with Baby

The topper was this huge male we saw.  Look at the size of his schnoz:

Big Male Proboscis Monkey

Surveying His Kingdom

It was a great last boat ride and nearly made us forget about the uncomfortable seats.  Later in the trip, we looked into buying a soft Proboscis Monkey toy.  They actually had them at our next lodge but it was hard to find them without a bright red willie.  We opted not to buy any there but we found a great one at the KK airport that was rated G.

We left KJC by boat to their dock and then headed off on the 2 hour drive to Lahad Datu.  On our way into town we went through a huge downpour, but luckily it had stopped by the time we got out.  We had lunch at a local restaurant (tasty dry noodles) before heading to the Borneo Rainforest Lodge (BRL) office.

We arrived at the office and had to say our goodbyes to John.  He was such a great guide to have along.  He really made our trip better which is probably the best thing you can say about a guide.  We will miss him.   We also said our goodbyes to Munair our driver for most of the trip (he wasn't the late arriving one in Telupid by the way).  Not only was he a good driver but he also liked spotting animals and found quite a few birds for us. We thanked him and laughed about his Orangutan miming skills.

The BRL office is very nice. They lady who welcomed us gave us free logo'd water bottles and briefed us a bit on what to expect.  She said we would wait at the office for a few minutes to let our tummies settle after lunch.  The drive to BRL was about 2.5 hours and she said it was a "little bumpy".  After hearing that we went to Deramakot she said the road to BRL was better.  So, that shouldn't be too bad...right?

Soon, we left the office, climbed into the BRL van, and headed out.  The first 20 minutes or so were on pavement through town and then we turned off onto a dirt road and the fun began.  There were pot holes everywhere and our driver didn't seem to be very good at avoiding them.  We all held on tight for the next half hour of ups, downs, lefts, and rights.  Eventually, the road smoothed out a lot and we enjoyed the views of the hills and forest.

With about a 1/2 hour to go we turned off past a sign for BRL and entered their property.  Now is when it got REALLY bumpy.  We were jostled left, then right, then was nonstop for just about the full 1/2 hour.  It got so ridiculous towards the end that Karen and I got the giggles.  This continued as we stopped and rolled out of the van.  "I think I lost a filling" Karen said jokingly.  "That's nothing, I think I lost a testicle" I responded.

Welcome to Borneo Rainforest Lodge

The welcome at BRL is like no where else.  After arriving you get laid.

Wait...what?  Oh, it's lei'd?  Sorry about that.

Then they walk you upstairs and sit you down on comfy chairs.  They bring you out a cold drink followed by an ice cold washcloth.  The grand finale was a delicious piece of cake.  During all this, they gave us the run down on meals and other logistics.  Afterwards, we walked back down and met our private guide Azmil.  We had paid extra for a private guide so that we could do what we wanted when we wanted.

Azmil took us to our standard rooms which were very nice. There is no A/C at BRL because they are trying to be environmentally conscious.  There is a nice big ceiling fan that did a fine job at keeping us reasonably cool considering where we were.

Here is a view of our standard chalet:
Our Room at BRL

Here's a shot of the main dining hall at BRL and the river it overlooks. It's a beautiful setting:
The Dining Area at BRL

The View at BRL

Before dinner, the plan was to go for a late afternoon walk on the road.  Right away we came upon a troop of Red Langurs feeding near the road.  They were up pretty high so my pictures are only so-so. We will end up seeing them again however so I will save the photos for later.

We saw a bunch of birds but nothing worth sharing.  The walk ended at dark and Azmil asked if we wanted to hike on one of the trails to try to find a Frogmouth.  Um..."Yes"!  So, that's what we did.  The trail was a little muddy and not as flat as Azmil lead us to believe but it was worth it.  It took only a couple playback calls from Azmil before the Frogmouth responded.  It was really close and we ended up getting great views of it.

Large Frogmouth:
Large Frogmouth

Karen beat me 3 to 1 on the leech count from this hike.  I guess I need to try harder...

The dinners at BRL are huge. There are at least 10 hot dishes to choose from, one of which is always rice.  In addition, they had made to order burger, satay, and noodle stations not to mention refrigerated cabinets that held fruit, salads and desserts.  We certainly didn't go hungry while we were there.

After dinner, we were booked on the group night drive.  Bill and Peggy decided to stay back and enjoy some wine while we opted to go.  I think they made the right decision.  The group night drive is done in a huge truck with benches down both sides.  So, you sit facing other people and you really have nothing to hold on to.  Well, on this road you REALLY need something to hold on to for the hour you are out there.   I got to know the stranger next to me a little too well during this drive. To top it off we saw nothing but one flying squirrel and a sleeping Pitta.  We were certainly spoiled by the night drives at Deramakot.

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