May 1 was certainly a good day to go on holiday. We decided on Kuching, Sarawak, E. Malaysia. Have you heard of this city known as'Cat City'?
Upon arrival at the airport we were welcomed by Anthoni, a Bidayuh guide sent by Hilton Hotel. Without hesitation, we plunged ourselves for a first taste of Sarawak.
'How about Santubong Wildlife Cruise?' Being city folks, nature in the wild is always welcome. Why not?
So, at 4 pm Anthoni met us in his van, a ride of about 45 mins to the Sarawak Boat Club where we waited for 2 other tourists. Before the cruise, Anthoni regaled us with the legend of Santubong. From where were standing, we could see the iconic shape of the mountain.
Santubong is a popular tourist destination and the legend makes it all the more enticing. As the legend goes, Mt.Santubong tells the story of 2 beautiful princesses, Santubong and Sejinjang. Santubong was an expert weaver while Sejinjang was an excellent rice thresher from the mystical kingdom of Kayangan.
One day, trouble started when both fell in love with the same man, the crown prince, Putera Serapi but refused to be joint wives. The princesses quarrelled and exchanged blows. Sejinjang swung her thresher which hit Santubong's cheek and made her fall flat on her back. Santubong threw her thresher at Sejinjang, hitting her in the head. The King of the Heaven was angry and put an end to the quarrel. He cursed them and turned them into mountains.
Santubong turned ito Mt. Santubong and Sejinjang into Mt. Sejinjang. It is said that Santubong resembles a woman lying on her back. Look closely and you will see a distinctive profile - ? a woman lying with a preganant belly. The deep crevice at the peak is where the princess got hit at the cheek.
With the story told, the boatman launched the boat from dry land into the waters. It was a lovely ride on the Santubong river. Mangroves line the river and creeks.
Expectation was high to see wildlife but we were also reminded that nature is also not on demand. We looked around around for Irrawaddy Dolphins . But luck was not on our side. Bernard, another guide said it was the season for jellyfish and many were floating there some days ago. No luck there too.
Soon the sun was beginning to set at about 6.45 pm. It was lovely to watch the sky colours changing and the light fading. Clouds partially hid the sun from its full burst of colour. Nevertheless, to see the sun sinking on the horizon was a beauty indeed!
We came to look for the rare proboscis ( long nosed) monkey. We saw some but not at close range. As the boat drew closer, we caught glimpses of the monkeys swinging and chasing each other up the trees. The proboscis feed on seeds, leaves, mangrove shoots and they are arboreal.
I have to 'cheat' here Since I did not see one at close range, I snapped this specimen at the Sarawak Museum. That's looking at you, babe!
As dusk arrived, we searched for the fire flies and the crocodiles. The fireflies were there twinkling on the trees in the almost total darkness. The boatman shone earnestly the waters to spot crocodiles. If present, their shiny eyes will show red in the light. Alas, no luck again.
On the way back, it was already dinner time. A lovely bbq smell wafted to us from a boat stationary. People were enjoying a special dinner out on the river. As the torchlight scanned for crocodiles, we caught sight of colonies of white egrets roosting on the tops of trees.
The ride on the Santubong was an exhilirating experience. Sparse lights here and there twinkled from the floating villagers on the way back.
Peace and calm under the night sky. Nature surrounding us.