Up the Batang Rejang

Trip Start Jun 19, 2009
Trip End Sep 17, 2009

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Flag of Malaysia  , Sarawak,
Saturday, August 1, 2009

On our way up the Mighty Batang Rejang! Or is that the Muddy Batang Rejang?

Shortly after sun up a taxi dropped us at the express boat terminal where the Bahagia No.8 was waiting, a fast ferry to Sibu. We headed off out of the estuary and across the sea for a couple of hours to the mouth of the Batang Rejang; we passed several fishing boats towing long boats from the regatta back to their homes on the way. We had seats in the (painfully) air conditioned cabin but made lots of trips on deck to warm up in the sun – we’ve worked out that the reason for all of these express ferries is that if they used slower boats then all of the passengers would die of frost bite before they reached their destinations!

Entering the mouth of the Batang Rejang we went from blue sea to muddy water as there is so much soil being carried in the water from the logging activities freeing up the topsoil.

The river trip was already turning out to be a real highlight (our guide book describes it as Borneo’s jugular); we’d seriously thought of just flying up to Sabah from Kuching but by now were glad we’d decided to go the slower route.

After 2 hours on the river itself (with a couple of short stops to drop people off) we pulled into Sibu where we were just in time to catch the last ferry boat to Kapit.

We’d met with Sebastien and Anna on our floating fridge, a German couple on their way to Sabah too. They shared a rushed lunch with us (try eating a bowl of steaming noodle soup in 3 minutes) and then we leapt onto our next boat, the Good Success 899; this was more of slim line torpedo typical of moving things and people around here. This was the last ferry of the day and acted as a delivery truck / local bus, stopping off at many small communities and houses and even one of the dredger boats all of the way up to Kapit - in many cases there wasn’t even a jetty and the boat just pushed up on the shore.  Martyn and Sebastien sat on top of the boat for part of the journey to get a real close up feel for the trip. Because of the many stops we finally arrived in Kapit after a further 3.5+ hours, just as the sun was setting over the river.
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