Thursday, July 26, 2007

Mulu - Natural Formations

The Gunung Mulu National Park is situated close to the southern border of Brunei with Malaysia, about 100km east-southeast of the town of Miri and 100km due south of Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei. It lies between the headwaters of the Tutuh River, a tributary of the Baram River and covers 544km2, ranging in elevation from 50 meters to 2,376 meters. The park is important for its high biodiversity and unique karst (limestone) features. Besides that, it contains seventeen vegetation zones, exhibiting some 3,500 species of vascular plants. It was first constituted on 3 October 1974 but only opened to public in 1985.

The climate here is determined by the Indo-Australian monsoon system. From December to March, it will encounter the wet northeast monsoon and the slightly drier southwest monsoon from May to October. Generally, rainfall is high here with seasonal averages ranging from 4,000 to 5,000mm. Temperatures in the Melinau lowlands range from 23ºC to 26ºC and at Gunung Mulu between 14ºC to 18ºC.
The Park has three mountains, Gunung Mulu 2,376m, Gunung Api 1,750m and Gunung Benarat 1,585m. Many of Mulu’s attractions lie deep below the surface. Hidden right underneath the forested slopes of these mountains is one of the largest limestone cave systems in the world. The Park has a number of world record-breaking caves such as the Sarawak Chamber - largest cave chamber in the world, Deer Cave - largest cave passage and the Clearwater Cave - longest cave in Southeast Asia. There are at least 300km more of explored caves, which provides a spectacular sight. These caves are also home to millions of cave swiftlets and bats.

The oldest of Mulu's caves started to form about 5 million years ago when sideways earth movements resulted in the formation of both limestone and sandstone mountains, lying side by side. Millions of years of heavy rain and the action of rivers and running water carved out the vast subterranean system that exists today. The weathering process still continues; dripping water creates new rock features, limestone is slowly worn away, and underground rivers carve and sculpt the caves, transporting limestone debris to the cave mouth or redistributing it within the system.

Gunung Mulu National Park, World Heritage Area

A while back I wrote about my short excursion to Gunung Mulu National Park (that was way back in 1998) and wanted to do some follow-up postings after that but never did. Anyway here goes. My memories of the place never really left me compared to other places I’ve been to and I never really figured out why. Until yesterday, when I saw my son drew a mountain on his colouring book. “Sharp sharp one, daddy”, he said as he tried to emphasise on how high and sharp the peaks of the mountains her drew were. First thing I thought of was, Mulu. Not Kinabalu (well maybe because I’ve never actually been there, only fantasized about it) or Everest (same reason as well). Gunung Mulu (“gunung” is mountain in the Malay language) would captivate any nature lover down to the very depths of your soul. When you enter what I refer to as ‘hallowed natural ground” that is the entrance to the national park area proper, the very first thing you will notice is the pungent smell of its natural surrounding flora, age-old and strangely enthralling. You will feel as if something or someone is beckoning you to go in further into this realm of ancient natural world, sublimely luring you with thoughts of hidden beautiful places and scenery that you have never encountered before. And I assure you, you would never have. Until you visit Mulu. I’ve got some text book information here (in the subsequent posts) which I’ve borrowed with much gratitude from the official Gunung Mulu National Park website.
A must-go for all.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Fish and Fishing

It's the latest thing I have, fishing. I've been trying to look for good fishing spots in and around Kuching City in the last couple of weeks. After my last fishing trip to Tg. Datu, I decided I needed to find some less remote spots which I can just whisk off at a moment's notice and not having the need to prepare much gear before setting off. My good friend Wilfred the Chief suggested the other day, why don't we rent a small sampan (that's a small wooden boat for river travel) and go upstream of Sg. Sarawak, as far up as we can afford to? And I thought, well that's a swell idea, why don't I source for one. So that's where I am right now, sourcing for a small boat to go upriver freshwater fishing. I know of a place at Batu Kitang on the way to Bau town, about 20-25km from the city centre where there are some villages by the riverbanks, and I've seen some of them who've got boats and stuff. Maybe I'll try there.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Fishing Trip to Tanjung Datu

I went for a fishing trip on 6th - 7th July with some friends to Tanjung Datu, off the coast of Sematan, Lundu about 100km from Kuching City. There were 6 of us and we chartered a fishing boat (about 35-40 feet long, 10 feet wide) for about RM650.00 for an overnight fishing trip. It was actually my very first sea-going fishing excursion, so a few days back I got myself a new set of fishing rod and reel. I managed to catch one 1.5 kg fish (not sure what species) and felt well-chuffed about it. Not bad for a sea fishing virgin eh. I've uploaded most of the photos I took in To get to the fishing spot at Tanjung Datu, we sailed northwest to the South China Sea, passing by Talang-Talang Island. Talang-Talang Island is Sarawak's primary turtle sanctuary, a protected area and I think it is part of the Tanjung Datu National Park area. Or maybe not, I'm not sure.
Click on the link below for some photos of the trip. For more photos, go to, go to Search, click on the small down-arrow and do a Member search, fill the "Find a Member" with "ghostpipe" and click. Enjoy the photos. I'm hoping to go again early next month, or when weather permits. The seas have been harbouring strong gusts of sporadic wind patches lately, the reports have been saying.