09: Malaysia > Sarawak > Mulu > The Bats

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The famous nocturnal Bats of Mulu (read excellent account HERE), some 3mil of them, would stream out of Deer Cave anytime between 4.30pm and sunset to feed. Every single day of the year, except when they, like any flying machines, are grounded by bad weather.

At Park HQ, this boardwalk leads to the Bats Lookout, some 3.5km away. It’s only several hundred meters from Deer Cave and Lang Cave, but we are too late to enter them, so today we’ll just go and see the bats. Tomorrow we do the caves.02-02-2007-15-29-46.JPG

Recent rains have made the riverine forest floor even more water-logged or soggier.
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Without this boardwalk, it would have taken one whole day to visit Deer Cave and Lang Cave, 3.8km at the other end. 02-02-2007-17-20-38.JPG

Along the way, pristine streams.02-02-2007-17-13-31.JPG

Full of fish …
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… and plants.
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A natural bridge.
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There’s also the aftermath of a mini-storm, decimating trees …03-02-2007-18-15-26.JPG

… including a huge one.
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We see interesting insects everywhere. An angry-looking spiky one .03-02-2007-14-57-05.JPG

A gentle one.
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A bushy one.
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A dazzling one.
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A pupa-ed one.
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Clustered ones.
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A shy chameleon.
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Not to mention beautiful plants. One thing about walking in the rainforest: do not rush, take your time, spot the interesting things.
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A fork in the trail, this one on plain soggy earth.
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The path to the summit of Gunung Mulu, 24km away, at 2377m tall. Only for the hardcore.
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Small caves, former burial places for the natives.
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And the spectacular canopy overhead.
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After 40min of walking, I saw something moving behind the bushes and we soon come to a clearing … and what’s this? People waiting to welcome us? 😀02-02-2007-17-38-11.JPG

Yes, people (who earlier went for the cave trip) waiting for the bats’ show. Obviously it has not started yet, so we are in time.02-02-2007-17-36-57.JPG

We duly join them …
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… and face the limestone hills …02-02-2007-17-43-35.JPG

… where gigantic Deer Cave is home to 2-3 mil bats, ready to make a grand appearance any time soon, weather permitting.02-02-2007-17-58-32.JPG

And barely 15min later, bingo! 02-02-2007-17-54-28.JPG

First, in spurts of black floating ribbons. 02-02-2007-17-58-47.JPG

Close-up.
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More close-up.
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Max close-up, showing the individuals.02-02-2007-18-06-40.JPG

Of course, this lad finds some creepy crawly more impressive.02-02-2007-18-03-11.JPG

This is one long ribbon!
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There was a pause and many people leave, thinking it is all over. 02-02-2007-18-09-48.JPG

Then the real show starts … continuous unbroken ribbon from the limestone hill …02-02-2007-18-17-41.JPG

… and into the sunset.
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Chaotic orderliness, as everyone decides to eat out tonight.02-02-2007-18-19-40.JPG

Humans witnessing the show are in awe, needless to say. 02-02-2007-18-12-56.JPG

A truly awesome display.
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Thousands upon thousands of the critters (and the odd raptor), floating and flowing westwards.02-02-2007-18-17-19.JPG

We are just mesmerised!
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30min later, they are still streaming out of the cave, and I’ve only counted 1,532,427 of them so far, honest!
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But it is getting dark, and we do not fancy a 40min night stroll in the jungle, so we call it a day. An hour later we stagger into comfy Cafe Mulu doggone tired, but justifiably satisfied with the day’s proceedings. We have also walked more than 7km today.
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TO BE CONTINUED …

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