John - Day 1, Labuk Bay
After a long 18 hour journey across 8 time zones, we landed at 1.15pm feeling tired to say the least, but the lack of sleep combined with jet lag gave a sort of delirious magical feeling to our immediate excursion to the proboscis monkey sanctuary at Labuk Bay.
As we drew close, it was a bit alarming to see the close proximity of palm oil plantations which seemingly surrounded the sanctuary. This is a sight though, as sad as it is, that one will grow used to travelling around Borneo. Labuk Bay itself, although a sanctuary, consists of only 500 acres. This isn't nearly enough space for proboscis monkeys to survive in the wild, hence the feeding platforms. It does offer however a close and very personal experience with these bizarre yet very entertaining primates. The only rule is not to touch the wildlife, so you can get extremely close to the proboscis monkeys, though it’s would be worth keeping an eye on the larger males as they are prone to sudden and aggressive charges to show the other males their prowess. The males also seem to be popping Viagra, sporting constant erections which I can only assume is to show off their male vitality and promiscuity to other males and of course the ladies. One male even became a bit too enthused with displaying his genitals causing only laughter from any humans observing him.
Along with the proboscis monkeys were a group of macaques that join them at feeding time; far calmer and generally avoiding the rambunctious large males busy showing off. Overall it was a genuinely pleasurable experience and although the feeding platforms and walkways gave the site a slight feeling of being in a zoo, the hilarious behaviour displayed by the primates made it very worthwhile. As we were exiting the sanctuary we were also treated to see a troop of pig tailed macaques, the baboons of Borneo, and soon after a group of Langurs or silver leaf monkeys which had some very cute but extremely conspicuous bright orange infants.
Afterwards we headed to My Nature Resort; our home for the night. This is a brand new accommodation which shows a lot of promise for the future. Its main attraction and unique selling point is the almost guarantee of seeing a flying squirrel which nests in a tree next to the restaurant. Being nocturnal, this animal is extremely rare to see in the wild and the one you see at My Nature Resort has a preferred route to start its nightly rummaging at sunset. A route of which the first flight or glide is right in front of the viewing platform, providing an excellent viewing of the creature. A guide then took me on a quick nature night excursion along their boardwalks running through the nearby jungle. Unfortunately, I didn't see much, which is the way of wildlife viewing sometimes, but I did see a few black widow spiders and their enormous webs which seemed a little gratuitous for their size. On my return I had an excellent supper and then immediately crashed into bed, desperate to make up for my sleep deficit over the last couple of days.