As some of you know, I was holidaying in Kuching last week with my family. Don’t worry – I am not going to bore you with details of my holidays (… well maybe just a bit). After all, the places that we went to wouldn’t interest the majority of Singaporeans; such as the limestone caves (Wind Cave and Fairy Cave) of Bau, wild pitcher plant forests of Matang, wet market of Jalan Satok etc. although we did visit the popular Damai Beach and its nearby Sarawak Cultural Village.
But my own favourite part of this trip was the river ‘kayaking adventure’ organized by Francis Ho’s Kuching Kayak Sdn Bhd. Unfortunately, Francis was not able to join us. However we did get to meet up in the evening for a drink at a very interesting joint called the Car Wash.
It was at the starting point of our kayaking ‘adventure’ at a place called Kampung Bengoh, that I met an old friend that I have not seen close up for exactly 30 years. Here is a photo of the two of us, as well as one taken in 1977 in Gillman Camp.
Yes, I am referring to the Bailey Bridge that the combat engineers of my days used to construct. The BB is a World War II relic that our SAF no longer used. Because it is a semi-permanent bridge, you can actually find it in rural parts of Malaysia. This one was built over the Sugei Abang which was a tributary leading to Sungei Sarawak Kiri. During our trip, we stopped at a waterfall, a nice sandy beach at a sharp bend in the river, and a village called Kampung Danu. Our trip ended in Kampung Semadang in Borneo Highlands.
Although I have been fetching my son from his kayaking training sessions and regularly attending his competitions for the past 6 years, I have never actually rowed a kayak before. I was quite worried that my stiff back would not be able to take the journey. Fortunately our guide came equipped with a sort of back rest which was ingeniously designed to be strapped to the kayak. Although it did not give a very firm support, it at least enabled me to complete the journey with only some discomfort. However, I have to confess that my guide, a gentleman by the name of Azmi did most of the rowing. I had to stop after every 20 strokes or so to ease the pressure on my spine. My guilt was somewhat lessened by the knowledge that Azmi was an accomplished kayaker who took part in the gruelling Labuan Round Island Kayaking Challenge. I learned later from Francis that he was the kayaking champion of Sarawak!
Anyway, at one point I asked him to stop and let me row alone just to find out how difficult it was. It was actually quite easy mainly because we were rowing downstream and the recent rains had made the water flow quite swift. But unfortunately, the high water level caused us to miss the rapids because the rocks were well below the surface of the water. On the way, we passed some beautiful giant rocks as well as steep limestone mountains.
Below are some photos of our memorable trip down a Sarawak river.
This hanging bridge traverses the Sungei Sarawak Kiri at a village called Kampung Danu where we came face-to-face for the first time with hill padi. Also saw many interesting fruit trees like those we used to have in our kampong.
Pardon the poor quality of this photo. The battery of our camera was exhausted and we took this one with a mobile phone wrapped in protective plastic. Due to the high level of the water, we could not go all the way below this rock.
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