5 days, 1161kms, 1bike 2 very sore bums - Day 2

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Flag of Malaysia  , Sabah,
Thursday, March 18, 2010

After a well earned sleep at the Sin Garden Hotel we got up and headed straight to the Tourist Information Centre. The lady behind the counter was the most incredibly friendly and helpful person either of us had ever met. Almost too friendly, before we could ask any questions we had to tell her our names, where we were from, when we arrived, how we got there, what hotel we stayed in, what we thought of the hotel and a bunch of other questions of other questions.

We finally got a map of how to get to the Orangutan Sanctuary, the best time to get there and a recommendation of where to stay (we felt we should move out of the Sin Garden)- and a number of compliments on our big Australian smiles. All she wanted in return was the name and number of where we had got our motorbike.

So we jumped on the bike and headed toward Sepilock (the town just out of Sandakan where the Sanctuary is). We dropped by the "Rain forest Discovery Centre" on the way. This place had an amazing Garden and a huge boardwalk, in and above the rain forest canopy. We saw some beautiful flowers, tiny birds and a lot of green. we also spotted a little lizard catching and eating a small bug!

Then we headed to the Sepilock Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. We got there just in time for the 3pm feeding.

The centre takes in young and orphaned orangutans and rehabilitates them for a life in the wild. Due to the huge (and growing) Palm Oil Plantations throughout Borneo, the Orangutans' habitat is being increasingly destroyed. Often palm plantation workers will take baby orangutans and try to keep them as pets (this is illegal). Anyway the centre ends up with any orangutans which are seized and need some sort of rehab. 

At one stage of this rehab the orangutans are living in the jungle surrounding the centre, but are still fed on special platforms twice a day. It's at these feeding times that the public get to catch a glimpse of the young orangutans. We had been told we could expect 5 to 6 Orangutans to turn up to any feeding. However the feeding which we went to only one turned up! But it was still so amazing to watch. So human in some of its mannerisms. The 2 keepers hung around for about 10 minutes with the food, but when no other orangutans turned up they left the watermelon and bananas on the platform.

As soon as the keepers left 10 or more little Makaks just appeared from all around us and descended on the food. This scared the orangutan off pretty quickly. We stayed and watched the troop of little monkeys devour the free meal and then headed out of the sanctuary. On our way out we did spot another Orangutan, climbing across the roof of the gift shop!

The plan we then devised was, instead of heading back to Sandakan, we would head to Sakau, where we had heard that you could get a river cruise into the jungle. So we jumped back on the bike and headed to the last petrol station on the outskirts of town.

When we got there we were told that they were out of petrol. When I asked where the closest petrol station was, I was told "tomorrow". So I tried the old sign language, pointed in the direction that we were heading and asked "petrol?" The man nodded so we headed on our way. After about 45mins and only palm oil plantation, definitely no petrol, we turned around and headed back to Sandakan, not wanting to run out of petrol in the middle of the Plantations.

We checked in the place recommended by the information centre lady and went for dinner on the water front.


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Pod on

Great adventures and some amazing shots! Looking forward to the next chapter, Indonesia. xxxxx

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