Saturday, July 02, 2016

My Backpacking Brexit: At one with nature in Sepilok

So my backpacking Brexit coincides with the real one. No politics on here my friends (but would have been better IN) so let’s talk cute animals instead.

Wouldn’t say that I’m normally the person ‘at one with nature’. On a trip to Wales last year when my friend Marcia says to me ‘this is why I live in the country’ (green fields, no phone signal) my response was ‘this is why I DON’T.’

Don’t get me wrong, I love clean air, a dog walk and a weekend break with the best of them but generally I am a city (and beach) girl.

Then again, I’ve not been used to orang-utans, proboscis monkeys, sun bears, macaques, hornbills and Pygmy elephants crossing my path!

And then I came to Sepilok.

Just where do I start?! It has to be the orang-utans even though that was day two. Hugging an orang-utan is on my ‘Corp Comms’ bucket list – you’re not allowed to hug them but sometimes you just have no choice in the matter!

I cannot tell you how lucky I was on my visit to the Orang-Utan rehab centre. Even before the morning feed two happened to drop our way after we came out of watching the babies in the training area. For the morning feed two came along, magical to watch.

After this I went on a two hour trek through the reserve; a couple of kilometres in surroundings I’ve never been in before – was wonderful!

Was terrified of leeches so had my scarf in a shawl round me (thank you Kam – that scarf has been useful for many things but avoiding leeches on my skin wasn’t one of the original reasons I thought it would be!) so was clearly sweating to death in the humidity.

On the way back, two people stopped me and motioned to be quiet as an orang-utan was close by. So close he jumped down from the tree and then walked towards me.

He also liked my scarf and gave it a hefty old pull – but I couldn’t let him have it! It’s my scarf!! He spied my water bottle and easily got it away from me and then jumped up into the tree just a few feet above us, undid the cap and drank it all, well most of it, he seemed to delight in throwing some of it over us!

Pretty positive the wardens wouldn’t want him doing that so we waited; all ga ga with ‘isn’t he cute?!’ Until he jumped down and then held on very tightly to the German guy. My new pal Cressida in her best teacher voice was telling him ‘no’ but he gave a very human look of disdain!

It was a good five minutes before we could prise Geoff (we gave him a name) away but not before a million photos – I can honestly say the four of us were incredibly lucky to have had such a wonderful, close-up experience. Thank you Geoff!

We weren’t sure the afternoon feed would compare to Geoff, however, it was much better than the morning, four joined the feed with a host of macaques, which was great. They kept trying to steal the food, the orang-utans were having none of it!

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: My Backpacking Brexit: At one with nature in Sepilok