Thursday, April 19, 2018

Sukau to Danum - Day 13

We had a 7AM departure today which was before breakfast was typically served but the lodge does put out a "mini breakfast" for people going on the 6AM boat cruises so we had that which held us until lunch.

Overall, I would recommend Sukau Rainforest Lodge.  The standard rooms are nice, albeit with thin walls, but the grounds, staff, and food are great.  I think we got a bit unlucky with the private guide we got since we did meet some of the other guides and they seemed at least more enthusiastic.

After the 5 minute boat ride to the SRL dock, our driver Eric was waiting for us as usual.  We then had a 2.5 hour drive to Lahad Datu where Eric dropped us off at the Borneo Rainforest Lodge office.

I had talked to Eric a few days back and mentioned the need to get my stitches removed.  After we arrived in Lahad Datu, he pointed up the street from the BRL office and said, "There's your clinic".

So, while the others waited in the office, I headed up to the clinic for another great Borneo medical experience.  This one took 15 minutes to get the bandage and stitches removed.  Plus, they gave me some topical ointment to put on the wound which was healing nicely.  This all cost me about $12.  Easy peasy...  I was free!  Also, I have to mention that Karen's "club foot" was back to normal by now...well, as normal as her feet could be.

Once we were all checked in at the BRL office, they loaded us up into a van and off we went for the 2.5 hour drive to the lodge.  On the way, something crossed the road in front of us.  At first I thought it might be a cat but the look was so fleeting I couldn't be sure.  Upon reflection, those of us that saw it think it was a Banded Civet.  The rest of the drive was uneventful except for us noticing how much smoother the drive in was this year.  They must have fixed the road since last year.

We saved Borneo Rainforest Lodge until last for a!  BRL is not cheap but it is so worth it.  We were really looking forward to our stay.  Once we arrived we were greeted in style by the staff of Borneo Rainforest Lodge with cold towels, cold drinks, and more.

Also, waiting for us was Azmil our private guide.  We requested Azmil because he did such a great job for us last year.  It was good to see him again.  Plus, he had some news for us.  We were being upgraded to a premium villa for our stay!

But, seeing the premium villa would have to wait because it was lunch time.  BRL puts out an amazing spread at meal times.  Not only are there 6 to 8 choices in the buffet they all have make to order burgers, noodles, satay and more.  No one was going hungry here.

After lunch, we followed Eric (a BRL staff member, not our driver) along the raised boardwalk towards our premium villa but we didn't get too far before he let out a muffled scream and shot back behind us.  There on the walkway was a really cool snake (Eric admitted to not liking snakes).  It was a Blue Bronzeback and it was looking right at us:

Blue Bronzeback

We watched it for a bit before it moved off towards the edge of the boardwalk and proceeded to climb straight up a tree:

Blue Bronzeback

This was a really cool sighting because it almost completed our Borneo flying animal list.  So far we had seen flying squirrels, the flying Colugo, flying lizards, the flying Harlequin Frog, and now a flying snake.  Now, we only saw of few of these animals actually flying but seeing one of each was still very cool.  All that was left to see was a flying gecko.

Now it's time to show off our room...ahem "premium villa".

The Villa

Premium Villa Free Upgrade!

Borneo Rainforest Lodge Villa

River view:
The Deck

Two sinks, a tub, AND a 100% private outdoor shower:
The Bathroom

It was stunning really.  Plus, there was a fridge with complimentary beer and soda.  Oh, and unlike a lot of other rooms at BRL, the premium villas have air conditioning!  But sadly, there was no personal butler.  That was a real shame especially considering that Karen had no intention of fulfilling that role either.  Who was going to draw my bath?

We had just enough time to settle in and enjoy a chilled beverage before our 3:30PM hike with Azmil.  While we enjoyed hiking around the forest we didn't see much except for mud, some cool Pill Millipedes, and poor looks at some Red Leaf Monkeys.

At dinner, the conversation turned to the desserts that could be seen in a display case nearby.  I am not sure whose eyes lit up more but it was clear to Tim, Andrea and I that no dessert would go uneaten.  A  lunch and dinner time tradition began that would cause me to gain 5 pounds.  But, it was sooooo worth it!

At 8PM tonight, our activity was a group night drive.  This is all part of the package at BRL but the night drive here obviously pales in comparison to those in Deramakot.  But, since Azmil was the designated spot lighter on the drive we had no other options.  The drive lasts about an hour and we saw roosting babblers, a Thomas' Flying Squirrel that flew, and a glimpse of a Malay Civet.  We also heard a bit of a "farting" noise when the truck stopped to turn around.  Karen said it was the same kind of frogs from the bathroom at Deramakot.  Yeah, sure it was...

After the drive was done, we walked to the frog pond to see what was around.

File-eared Frog:
File-eared Frog

Masked Tree Frog:
Masked Tree Frog

While the frogs were cool, I was still looking everywhere for a Tarsier and by now I had picked the brain of every guide so I knew what to look for.  Look for a fist sized blob hanging on to the side of a thin vertical sapling.  There is little to no eye shine.

Well, right behind the pond were lots of vertical saplings so I naturally examined them closely.

What?...Wait!  That was faint eye shine!  Holy shit there is something hanging on the side of that thin vertical sapling.  I slowly crept forward with my heart beating a mile a minute.  But, it was still a bit too far to clearly make out the animal with my naked eye.  Excitedly, I lifted up my camera to take a picture.  I quickly looked at the picture and saw this:

Tarsier Mimicking File-eared Frog

It was a FUCKING frog!  ARRGH!

I really thought I had a Tarsier but it was another damn File-eared Frog.  At that moment, part of me was hoping a Buffy Fish Owl would swoop down and grab the little bastard. But, it wasn't the frog's fault of course.  Dang...dang...dang!

As we walked back to our premium villa, I noticed some rustling in the bushes.  It turned out to be a Malay Civet.  It was likely the same one we had seen a bit earlier at the end of the night drive.

Back at our premium villa, the geckos were out in force including this Kuhl's Gliding Gecko which officially completes our Borneo flying animal sightings:

Kuhl's Gliding Gecko

And so ended our first day at BRL.  It was really hard falling asleep in our premium villa.  The king sized bed with soft fluffy pillows was just soooo uncomfortable...

I think we fell asleep in 5 minutes.

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