Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Klias River: No Monkey Business

A quick flash followed by a loud boom. I squealed with fear and anxiety – nothing unusual there – as my apprehension about being in our small boat on the Klias River in Sabah, Malaysia Borneo grew wider.

“Uh oh” said our driver Musa, apathetic about the approaching storm. I replied curtly, “What do you mean, uh oh?”

He revved the engine over and over again but to no avail. It had officially died right there as we sat in the pitch black dark observing fireflies light up the bush like a schizophrenic Christmas tree.

The family of four from Cairns at the front seemed less concerned, despite the fact they weren’t sharing our covered roof. We later learned this wasn’t their first rodeo with failed engines while vacationing in Borneo.  

A metal pole then appeared, and Musa repeatedly whipped it against the botched engine. Confused about how that would contribute to it actually starting, I still don’t know, but another rumble of thunder bellowed and I had enough.

There were other boats in the area but he never asked for help. We simply sat wading in the murky brown waters as their torch lights caught sight of us then steered away.

Small, single engine river cruisers line the mangrove banks of the Klias River offering tourists the opportunity to see the endangered, genital-nosed Proboscis Monkey as well as Long Tail Macaques and Silver Languor Monkeys by day and the natural firefly show at night, which is exactly how we had spent the earlier part of our day.

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