From Cave of the Winds, the boat goes further upstream along Melinau River, and enters a tributary on the right, which ends here. The source of this river is an underground stream. Being a dead end, at peak hour, it’s quite a … boat-jam.
We leave our boat, and first, a toilet stop …
… and at Mulu NP, a first-class toilet like this is the standard. Well done to park management!
Further up there is a pool where the underground water surfaces. It’s like a natural retention pool.
And the water is crystal clear, full of fish.
We take a breather and have a chat with Michael, an excellent guide.
But Clearwater Cave beckons …
… and soon we are hauling ourselves up the hundreds of steps to the cave entrance.
I come to a platform …
… and gaze down at the people below …
… having a short rest before entering the cave proper.
At the entrance, impressive old stalactites …
… and tough plants hanging from rocky walls.
I gingerly go down the steps and glance back at the cave’s mouth.
And off I go into another wonderland. This one has big, roundish chambers, all filled with water aeons ago.
And this is why this cave is called Clearwater - there’s a bubbly river of crystal clear water flowing inside it, like in a tunnel.
Virtually pure water, as it gets filtered after seeping through the earth into this deep underground cavity. It’s a unique experience, sensing and seeing splashing water in near-darkness and hearing it reverberating in the cave.
A sight to behold, if you have great eyes. This is the reason people come to Clearwater Cave.
Nearby, another hole in the roof, allowing precious sunlight through to touch some lucky plants.
Having had our climax, it’s time to call it a day. We find our way back to the cave entrance though more impressive chambers.
The cave opening in sight …
Along the staircase up, a huge, sharp, jagged rock. It does not look like limestone to me, more like tough volcanic stuff.
And next to it, some pretty rocky plants.
Just below the entrance, more plants, looking surreal especially with the dripping water from the cave’s ceiling. The Clearwater Cave system is 130km in length, #10 in the world, but could be #1 for volume of air contained. It’s still being researched, so chances are, the length can increase further. It’s also connected to Cave of the Wind.
Out of the cave, we are soon on the way down.
Some people could not resist the inviting cool, fresh water of the pond. Swim at your own risk, do not dive, do not fish.
But these blokes, getting ready to dive at the deep end where the underground stream surfaces, just could not care less.
Anyway, the others won’t take any chances and eyeball them.
The boatpark. I wouldn’t mind having a snooze in one of those now, especially after the long hard walk.
We duly wait for our boat.
On the way back to Park HQ.
Our cool boatman, he orders everybody to put on the lifevest. Good man, but of course, he does not need a lifevest himself.
Passing by the white cliff again.
Splendid view along the way.
Soon the welcoming sight of the Park HQ footbridge.
Mr Boatman skillfully makes a U-turn in the middle of the fast-flowing river, and moves the boat sideways to the landing. I’m impressed.
In no time we are having a well-earned lunch at Cafe Mulu. Our 3 American friends are at the other end.
Fried rice for the mom …
… while Aina and I gobble up some nasi lemak. A very tasty fare indeed, but maybe I was just starving after a hard day’s work?
After the meal, we take a rest before doing the other two caves in the afternoon.
TO BE CONTINUED …