Thursday, October 31, 2013

Into the Heart of Borneo

To finish up the summer I headed out to Borneo for 8 weeks as part of Kayak Borneo. Before landing in Kota Kinabalu I had no idea what to expect, but what followed was two months of great food, minor mishaps and adventure.

We met indigenous tribes who have occupied the highlands for ten thousand years, paddled numerous first descents and ran countless class three rapids...upstream! Check out the Kayak Borneo blog for stories. Here is a collection of my favourite photos and memories.

The Telekosang

An awesome river found by the first team. We headed there early in the trip to warm up and get a feel for the white water of Borneo.

The Tuto

After warming up the team decided to leave Sabah (northern Malaysian Borneo) and head south west to Sarawak. After talking to helicopter pilots, consulting our seriously out of date topological maps and driving through the small country of Brunei we set of on an unconventional route to Mulu national park.

Two ferries, a long boat and a scary four wheel drive ride later and we were at the top of the Tuto. With persistent heavy rain we had to move camp three times on the first night whilst dodging the jungle wildlife.

The river was mostly big, big volume grade 3/4 but one rapid was so serious that it had us trapped for four hours waiting for the levels to drop. Every time we thought it was getting ok to run a tree would emerge like the sword from the lake below the drop.

Along the way we managed to get immersed in the tribal culture of Borneo; staying with Penan and Kayan tribes in traditional longhouses. We were even given a demonstration of the silent and deadly blowpipe.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Into the Heart of Borneo