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15 - Cooking up a Cockle Curry

After a grueling day of 4 buses from Brunei we arrived in Miri and caught our 15 minute flight to Gunung Mulu National Park, Sarawak, Borneo


Where we had our sights set on their most challenging trek that they offered to help prepare for our Nepal trip - 'only for the super fit'...and us it would seem! Mulu is set in the middle of the dense Borneo jungle and it was great to see that not all of Borneo is palm plantations :)


Gunung Mulu NP is really well organised and they offered a whole series of trips ranging from canopy walks......


To Clearwater Cave, the largest cave system in the world....


However, before we knew it we were off on our 4 day trek up to the Summit at about 2500m - a 48 km round trip.


It was quite a pricey trip and we'd been lucky to meet up with Linus from Sweden to share the costs. Linus turned out to be an ardent Middlesborough supporter and he and Bryn were able to talk football for four days solid. We had a great guide, Henry, who was really keen on doing the trip. It turns out that only 10 groups do the summit trip every year despite the large numbers of visitors who go to the park so the guides don't often get to do the trip. We'd already been prepped that day 1 was going to be tough....and it was! 6km on the flat, dodging the mud swamps and crossing a couple of big rivers, and then 6km straight uphill to 1500m. It was really tough carrying all our gear and food for 4 days! However, we were truly impressed when we arrived at Camp 3. It had a kitchen, toilets and a great sleeping area to hang our luxury mosquito net!


Bryn and Linus cooked up a storm in the kitchen and did their best with the tins we'd been able to buy in Mulu.....cockle curry being one of their delights.


Day 2 was up and down....passing pitcher plants - carniverous plants which trap insects in their pitcher shapes which are filled with water. Thankfully day 2 was a lot easier than the previous day and we were able to take time to admire the views....


And arrive in enough time for a game of 500 on the helipad at Camp 4.


And assessing the summit....


Before getting up pretty early for our summit ascent.


Thankfully we were able to leave our packs behind in camp 4....because before we knew it we were hauling ourselves up ladders, hanging onto ropes next to sheer drops and generally scrabbling up the mountain anyway we could.


Getting to the top was a great moment :)


Just a pity that Fi couldn't see the view from the viewing pole....


After half an hour wait at the top the clouds finally parted as we had to start our descent! Note the pitcher plant on the side :)


Going down Tracker Fi spotted a tiny bright green frog on the trail.....which Bryn promptly picked up.......and then threw away quickly as Fi screamed it could be poisonous. Henry had only been telling us the day before that frogs can be much more deadly than snakes!! Turns out that this one wasn't poisonous and that actually it was quite rare. People have gone up the mountain for weeks just to see the frog and failed!!

Going downhill was pretty tough going and it took us all day to get back to camp 3 - where Bryn uncovered a near deadly leech attack.....


We'd actually been really lucky with leeches as it hadn't rained once on our trip - which was unbelievable luck as that would have made things even tougher!!

The next day, despite having trailed the lads all trip, the talk of post trip beers powered Fi down the mountain in record time...arriving at Camp 1 for a long river swim before the boys even turned up! Everyone was impressed to see us back in time for lunch. We were quite the celebrities down at HQ as all the staff seemed to know about our trip! Unfortunately Linus had to go catch a plane so we headed off on our own to Royal Mulu...the posh hotel in the area for our post trip beers.

The next day was a few more caves....Deer Cave, the largest open passage in the world....


With it's spitting image profile of which US president??


And Lang's Cave with it's impressive stalagtites and mites...


And then the bat exodus at 5:30pm. This was a really amazing sight.....as 2-3 million bats exit the cave for their nightly supper. They tend to leave the cave and swirl round until they have sufficient numbers to head off in curling ribbons made up of thousands of bats.....trying to stay as part of the group to avoid the bat hawks which in turn are after their supper. These ribbons went on for about an hour and we watched completely mesmorised by this display....we're told it is on Planet Earth for those with the DVD.


And then it was off to Singapore and a manic 48 hours there. We were staying in Chinatown which is a great place to stay and although we arrived at midnight we checked in and were straight out and enjoying our beloved dumplings...yumyum :) The next day we headed over to Raffles for our Singapore Slings, courtesy of a wedding present from Tom - thanks! We had fun eating the monkey nuts and chucking them everywhere.


Reeling slightly from the effects of a mid afternoon cocktail we headed over to Harbourfront where we were reunited with our winter clothes which friends of Katie's had been looking after for us - thankyou Nicci and Neill! We had dinner in Little India and the next day headed to Changi Airport which is definitely worth the hype. We were just upset that we hadn't arrived earlier in order to make use of all the facilities!! However, Bryn got himself in prime position for the Premiership roundup....


And then at 2am in the morning we were off on our flight back to China!!

Posted by FiColes 03:00 Archived in Malaysia

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