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  • Writer's picturekwankew

The Caves

This morning the sun came up bright and strong. We packed up and had an oriental breakfast of fried rice noodles as requested by the Dutch who were disappointed that they were the only group served a Western breakfast yesterday. They would be heading to another trek then down a river towards the border of Brunei for home. I would part company and retrace the 9 km track to Kuala Litut to meet my boat traveling with Wan alone to Clearwater Spring.

At the Spring Maria was not there to meet me so Wan left me to wait for her. In the meantime I went dipping in the cool clear water of the spring. There must be a mix-up of communication; Maria was not expecting me so I went with Rin to explore the Clearwater cave, the world’s longest cave (107 km) found thus far. The underground river, the source of the Clearwater Spring flows in the cave.

In Clearwater Spring
Clearwater Cave
The Collapsed Roof

The longtail boat took me to a small dock and I was taken to Benarat Lodge to settle down and have lunch. In the mid-afternoon Rizal took me along with nine other visitors to the Gunong Mulu National Park and trekked a 3 km plank walk through the rainforest to the largest cave passage, Deer Cave. On the way our guide showed us the various flora and fauna of the forest.

The Lantern Bugs
Deer Cave in the Limestone Hill

When Deer Cave was first discovered there were many deer coming to the cave to lick the bat guano for its salt content. However men began to hunt them and soon they disappeared altogether and the last time any deer was spotted was more than a few years ago. Abraham Lincoln’s profile could be discerned from the silhouette of one of the cave openings. At one end of the cave is the Garden of Eden, the collapsed roof of the limestone cave giving to an area of light and vegetation. Bat guano filled the floor of the cave like coffee ground. Swift lets flew around ready to roost for the evening taking turns with the bats to occupy the cave. Next to Deer Cave is the somewhat smaller Lang’s Cave with its many beautiful stalactites, stalagmites and columns.

Abraham Lincoln's Profile in Deer Cave
Garden of Eden
Cave Formation in Lang's Cave

The bats were tentatively making their exodus from the cave when we were entering Lang’s Cave. As we exited and walked to the observatory pavilion, more and more wisps of spiraling bats flying high overhead exiting from the Deer Cave into the evening sky in search for food. The faint flapping of their wings could be heard. Last evening it rained and only a few bats ventured out to feed. These must be the hungry ones who came out around five twenty for an early feeding. The exodus continued after we watched for close to forty-five minutes and we started our 3 km hike back to the entrance of the park. With the trekking this morning and afternoon today, I walked close to 17 kilometers.

The Bats' Exodus from Deer Cave

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