11: Malaysia > Sarawak > Mulu > Clearwater Cave

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! 03-02-2007-10-32-06.JPG

Further up there is a pool where the underground water surfaces. It’s like a natural retention pool.03-02-2007-10-33-10.JPG

And the water is crystal clear, full of fish.03-02-2007-10-34-08.JPG

We take a breather and have a chat with Michael, an excellent guide.03-02-2007-10-39-23.JPG

But Clearwater Cave beckons … 03-02-2007-10-44-58.JPG

… and soon we are hauling ourselves up the hundreds of steps to the cave entrance. 03-02-2007-10-47-38.JPG

I come to a platform …03-02-2007-10-50-34.JPG

… and gaze down at the people below …03-02-2007-10-51-29.JPG

… having a short rest before entering the cave proper.03-02-2007-10-52-23.JPG

At the entrance, impressive old stalactites …03-02-2007-11-39-07.JPG

… and tough plants hanging from rocky walls.03-02-2007-10-49-38.JPG

I gingerly go down the steps and glance back at the cave’s mouth.03-02-2007-10-52-41.JPG

And off I go into another wonderland. This one has big, roundish chambers, all filled with water aeons ago.03-02-2007-10-55-27.JPG

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.03-02-2007-11-29-49.JPG

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. 03-02-2007-11-21-54.JPG

A sight to behold, if you have great eyes. This is the reason people come to Clearwater Cave.03-02-2007-11-22-37.JPG

Nearby, another hole in the roof, allowing precious sunlight through to touch some lucky plants.03-02-2007-11-24-41.JPG

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.03-02-2007-11-05-25.JPG

The cave opening in sight …03-02-2007-11-31-24.JPG

Along the staircase up, a huge, sharp, jagged rock. It does not look like limestone to me, more like tough volcanic stuff.03-02-2007-11-33-31.JPG

And next to it, some pretty rocky plants.03-02-2007-11-34-45.JPG

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.03-02-2007-11-45-17.JPG

But these blokes, getting ready to dive at the deep end where the underground stream surfaces, just could not care less. 03-02-2007-11-46-48.JPG

Anyway, the others won’t take any chances and eyeball them. 03-02-2007-11-47-17.JPG

The boatpark. I wouldn’t mind having a snooze in one of those now, especially after the long hard walk.03-02-2007-11-54-06.JPG

We duly wait for our boat.03-02-2007-11-54-38.JPG

On the way back to Park HQ.03-02-2007-12-01-12.JPG

Our cool boatman, he orders everybody to put on the lifevest. Good man, but of course, he does not need a lifevest himself. 🙂03-02-2007-12-02-13.JPG

Passing by the white cliff again.03-02-2007-12-02-32.JPG

Splendid view along the way. 03-02-2007-12-07-03.JPG

Soon the welcoming sight of the Park HQ footbridge.03-02-2007-12-11-25.JPG

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.03-02-2007-12-12-27.JPG

In no time we are having a well-earned lunch at Cafe Mulu. Our 3 American friends are at the other end.03-02-2007-12-32-15.JPG

Fried rice for the mom …03-02-2007-12-32-36.JPG

… 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.