Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Borneo Day 8 - Deramakot

Travel Tip:
Borneo folks like instant coffee.  At least, I assume they do because that was the only coffee available at every location including KK and the "fancy" Borneo Rain Forest lodge.  The instant coffee of choice was Nescafe in little individual serving packets.  I don't tend to put sugar in my coffee but this stuff is bitter and I had to but it wasn't always available.  Now, in Deramakot they also had packets of Nescafe but they were "3 in 1" with sugar and creamer.  This instant coffee was fantastic!  It actually tasted like a mocha and I couldn't get enough.  So, even if you stay away from instant coffee try the "3 in 1" Nescafe packets.  I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

We were out by 6:30 AM today.  Peggy was going with John and Mike to look for Cuckoos.  That left us to wander around the grounds in the morning which was just fine with us.   There is lots to see on the grounds around the main camp. It's really more than a "camp". There are probably 20+ buildings around with lots of flowering trees and other areas for wildlife.  Since it's much more open than the forest, the photo opportunities are much better.

Chestnut-breasted Malkoha:
Chestnut-breasted Malkoha

Asian Fairy Bluebird:
Asian Fairy Bluebird

Greater Coucal:
Greater Coucal

Crested Serpent Eagle:
Crested Serpent Eagle

This eagle was basically a resident. It hung out around the restaurant each day so getting some good pictures wasn't hard to do.

I also had great luck with a Red-bearded Bee-eater that flew in and posed nicely for me:
Red-bearded Bee-eater

Long-billed Spiderhunter:
Long-billed Spiderhunter

Chestnut-naped Forktail:
Chestnut-naped Forktail

Here is a shot of the Forestry HQ building at Deramakot:
Forestry HQ

It was by far the nicest building in the compound but we never saw anyone go near it.  

Lunch consisted of some sort of baked noodle dish that was outstanding.  They only recently got an oven installed and we were the first benefactors.  Besides this noodle dish, we had an amazing chocolate cake during the trip too.  So, the oven was a huge success.

At lunch, we chatted to Mike about this and that.  Somehow, the conversation turned to leeches.  Maybe it was because Mike's shoes were outside the restaurant with multiple live leeches in each one squirming around.  You see, Mike doesn't wear leech socks.  In fact, he doesn't wear socks at all.  Just those rubber shoes.  So, we asked Mike about this and he said something that I will never forget.  "I'm not bothered by external leeches anymore".  Think about that one for a bit while I move on...

During lunch, Mike mentioned that Peggy was going to stay out looking for the Cuckoos all day.  So, the plan that afternoon was to drive out to get her, have some dinner in the bush and then drive back spotlighting along the way.  The drive out, while dry, was devoid of wildlife.

We had dinner out in the bush (another decent meal somehow).  We did see a few new bird species but nothing posed well enough for good pictures to share.  Just as dinner was ending and we were thinking of packing up, the rain started again.  So, I decided to just pack my camera away since I didn't have a great way to keep it dry and I was really wary after yesterday's "adventure".  So, I would be going camera-less on our last night drive.

When I asked Mike for a prediction of what we might see he said he couldn't give one.  Traditionally, we weren't going on the most productive part of the road so he didn't have a great feeling.  Unfortunately, Mike's prediction came true.  The rain was a bother again and tonight the animals decided to stay under cover.  We only saw 1 Sambar Deer, 3 Greater Mouse Deer, and one new mammal; a Giant Flying Fox.  Mike was able to keep it in the spotlight as it soared around over our heads.  My camera was still packed away at this point, but I have a nice mental picture of this moment.

With all the rain we had the last few days the road conditions were horrible.  I mean it would be tough to walk the road in some places let alone drive it.  But, our driver handled everything amazingly well.  Before the rough spots he would stop and Mike would tell us to "Hold on", then Lang would gun the engines and plow through. He excelled at 4x4 driving.  He would know when to accelerate and when to slow down.  Sure we fish-tailed a lot but we were never out of control (well, maybe once) and we always felt safe.  It was so similar to the Indiana Jones ride at Disney Land I half expected a huge boulder to come rolling towards us.

Tonight's drive ended at 10:30 PM.  That's very early by Deramakot standards.  Karen was actually raring to go back out but the rest of us were pretty much done.  So, we called it a night.

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