On 15th until 18th February, i was on my site familiarization visit to one of the Lanjak Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary (LEWS) field station called Nanga Segerak Biological Centre. It is located at Ulu Engkari river. On this southern part of LEWS, it is boundary with Batang Ai National Park of Sarawak, Malaysia and Betung Kerihun National Park of West Kalimantan, Indonesia.
We leave 7th Mile, Kuching at 6.30am, where the sun is still starts to show its face. It took us about three hours to reach Lubok Antu town. Both of us never step our feet at Lubok Antu town or Batang Ai dam, so we were not confident if we were at the right location. Luckily our contact person was reach town early and we can ask the direction from him via phone. We take our lunch at Lubok Antu town before we proceed to Batang Ai jetty, where our boatmen park their long boats.
Passing 13th Mile of Kota Padawan
The Batang Ai dam is amazingly calm when we reach there about 11.30am with its bluish colour of water. There is one block of shoplot that consists of a few coffee shops and mini grocery store. So we still can get our food supply from these shops but with a bit higher price.
The Batang Ai land mark is this fish replica
In order to avoid rough waters in the dam we were advise to leave the jetty before 1pm in the afternoon. As we already loaded our belongings to the longboat, we leave the jetty around 12.30pm. The water is still calm at this time.
On the boat heading to Engkari River
However, the sky looks very dark from the Engkari side and slowly i can feels the strong wind and the waves start to develop on the surface of the lakes. As we enter to the Engkari River, the raindrops starts and i have to borrow the plastic bags from my friend to cover myself from getting wet.
This is Rh Bada of Nanga Talong which we spent our first night
Our journey from Batang Ai jetty to Rh Bada took us almost five hours. We reach the longhouse about 5pm. I will not elaborate further about the longhouse because i already make a special entry about it in my previous post.
Getting ready to heading upper river
On the next day, we prepared ourselves to continue our journey to the biological centre. We were using only one long boat with a total of eight people on board. The boat quite overloaded but since the boatmen and rangers looks so confident about it, i just cast away my fears.
Strong current and strong, experienced boatmen
I get the adrenaline rush with this experienced going against the strong current and big boulders in the river. I shouted all the time and grabbing tightly to the boat (such a baby!). Ha ha ha..
Pulling the boat off the big boulders
Sometimes we have to get off the boat so the boatmen can push the boat off the boulders or when we pass by the strong current to avoid our boat capsized.
Happy faces after we succeed overcome the difficult part which they called Wong Jagai
They took the opportunity to catch fishes for our dinner
They using the casting nets to catch fishes for our dinner. These locals were allowed to catch fishes from this river for their own consumption. Only these communities have this privileged because they are the local community living adjacent to this wildlife sanctuary. I am quite surprise seeing them doing this, but as i read through the agreement and the management plan for this sanctuary, i began to understand that this sanctuary is special.
The catch is little but it is sufficient for us
We arrived at the centre around 2.30pm. It was because of a few stops and the river itself very rough and difficult.
Drying my caps and other clothes
I was all wet when we arrived at the centre because of all the water splash and walking in the river. Hungry and exhausted, we prepared our lunch together.
The lab & office of this biological centre
The view of the other building consists of kitchen, dining area & hostel
Once we arrived at the centre, we just can not doing anything because already very exhausted of the tiring journey. Thus, we settle in and having a rest for the next day i plan to hike to one of the trail which they name it Ubah Trail. It was an amazing and exciting journey to get to this biological centre.