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Cruising Rivers and a Lake

May 24. Today we explore the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary, with three separate cruises, the first starting at 6:15 and ending at 10, with breakfast back at the lodge. After relaxing and lunch, to avoid the heat of the day, we set out again at 4, return for dinner at 6 and then set out on a night cruise at 8PM, which lasts about an hour. The cruises are on the Menanggul and Kinabatangan rivers, as well as on Oxbow Lake.
Here is the flower-decked pier that we return to after each cruise.
The cruises are very serene and relaxing, with Juan doing an excellent job of guiding in our open motor boat, which uses a silent, electric-powered outboard that prevents much of the wildlife from being scared away. The breeze created by cruising along provides a bit of respite from the heat.  At one point we spend at least half an hour trying to spot a rare Bornean ground-cuckoo, which Juan tries to lure out with the calls he broadcasts from his iPhone (yes, the iPhone has penetrated birding life in Borneo). Return calls indicate that the bird is nearby, but we are unable to spot it. Still, the hunt is fun and in birding as well as on safari, you win some and you lose some, and that’s all part of the game.

On our afternoon ride we were greeted by a lovely rainbow,In the afternoon, I mistakenly took and wore Carol’s glasses, and was concerned about my inability to focus the camera.  Afterwards, when I discovered the mistake, I told Carol and the Lewises that the upside of my mistake was that I had seen twice as many hornbills as they had. Carol told the Lewises that the glasses were only for reading, so she had not missed them.  I said that actually the glasses were both for reading and for hornbills.

Here are two examples of the scenery that we motored through and another of a log jam that was blocking a narrow channel through which we had to get in order to reach the lake. Our boatman skillfully used our boat to break the log jam, an adventure that we had not anticipated.


In addition to many birds (a few samples below) that we (mainly Juan) spot on both morning and afternoon rides
we spot a flying lemur climbing a tree near the river
and probiscus monkeys with their long tailsOur night boat ride was particularly ethereal, lit only by the search light the boat captain used to try to spot animals.  We found only two owls, a well-camouflaged lizard and a beautiful snake, but we all felt that the ride was well worth doing.  On our return, this quite beautiful poisonous guest awaited us on the pier.

We dressed for dinner tonight.

Overall, this was our best day so far.  Tomorrow we travel to a new location, and I’m not sure what the wifi situation will be, so stay tuned.

3 comments to Cruising Rivers and a Lake

  • Susie Kiphart

    Fabulous! I watched Chicago Tonight last night and they had a feature about Montrose Harbor bird Santuary — one of the best Spring birding places in the world! People come from all over at this time of year to see the birds who land there on the way south. Not trying to be a smart aleck but wondering if there is someone from Borneo at Montrose Harbor this year!!? There are however no monkeys at Montrose unless you count the little humans. Great travels to you both.

  • Kay Osborne

    The outfits are very impressive especially Arnie’s lovely skirt.

  • Kathie Dean

    Sounds wonderful and thank you for the great pix! Especially like your dinner attire…

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