Monday, June 14, 2010

Tanjung Salleh, Santubong




I have never been to the northern tip of the Santubong Peninsula before so on Sunday, I trekked with a group of friends to do some recce work. We intended to locate the trail that leads to Tanjung Sipang, about 5-6 km from our base point. Sounds near but by noon (we started around 830am), we only managed to reach Tanjung Saleh, one of the small headlands on the peninsula about 1.5km from our starting point.

Tanjung Salleh may be reached on foot at low tide in about 30 minutes or less by walking along the shoreline but trekking through the forest requires a wider time allowance. Rough terrain and slippery stretches slowed us down and being the clumsiest hiker, I slipped a good number of times. I put the blame on the heavy Nikon D80 and Sigma 18-200mm lens combo (I normally bring my compact Olympus e510 on hiking trips), which I managed to drop lens first on a rock, jamming the lens cap into the lens filter. Thankfully, no damage to the lens. Made in Japan rocks!

Having just been back from two trips to Bako's long but very scenic trails, I found Santubong’s landscape to be rather monotonous. Even though the two peninsulas are so close to each other, their vegetation and soil types differ significantly. While one can find almost all of Sarawak's (or even Borneo's) forest and vegetation types in Bako, Santubong is mostly covered by virgin rainforest. Some mangroves line the coastal areas and summit vegetation (stunted trees, mosses and lichen) dot the top part. In between, huge dipterocarp giants rule the jungle.


We rested for about an hour at Tanjung Saleh, visiting two beaches and seeing some interesting things including a pair of mating mangrove crabs, flowering orchids and flowering Hoya plants. Couldn’t stay too long down at the second beach cause the tide was coming in fast. We could literally see the water rising over the rocks and within minutes, the small rocks we had walked on earlier were all submerged.


Other wildlife spotted were some unidentified birds, beautiful bird-wing butterflies, a Provost squirrel and a snake that resembled a yellow-black garden hose. No hornbills or flying lemur (Colugo) this time.


On our way back, we found a dead silver leaf monkey. It wasn’t there when we passed by the spot earlier. It must have fallen and died of its injuries when it jumped onto a rotten branch which then broke and fell to the ground. The heat and humidity caused it to stink quickly and the carcass attracted a lot of flies. Pitiful sight…


It was another really fun trip with good company and lots of laughs. There are a few more headlands at Santubong; our next goal will be to reach Tanjung Belanda, then Tanjung Sipang on the northern tip and Tanjung Buloh on the eastern side. The last two will require overnight trips so my new tent will be put to good use indeed! :)


More photos:



Lots of big boulders along the way.



Not a tough trail but takes time to negotiate tricky spots.



Beautiful mosses and ferns grow on big boulders along the trail.



Rough terrain slowed us down and we only managed about 1.5km in 3 hours.



A few streams crisscross the trail and we refilled our empty bottles (purified with NaDCC tablets) from one of the clear running streams which flowed out to sea.



Rough terrain.



I dropped my camera on the rock I was sitting on when I took this photo. Thankfully it was a drop of less than a foot and no major damage to camera and lens or I would have cried on the spot…



Flowering orchids high above on a tall, large tree (zoom at 200mm). Looks to me like Bulbophyllum purpurascens.



Making our way to Tg. Salleh.



That rock on the right looks like a severed hand partially embedded in the sand. Or like the red fleshy comb on a rooster’s head :)



That’s the “landmark” tree at Tanjung Salleh. It’s a very old mangrove tree with a trunk diameter of about one meter, see following photo with person next to it.



See how large the tree trunk is, very old tree which has survived countless turbulent swells, storms and ever changing rocky shoreline (the rocks and boulders are constantly being shifted by powerful waves and currents).



Mangrove sapling.



That is Mount Santubong in the background.



This little crab tried to hide from me but couldn’t fit into the tiny hole it was trying to squeeze into. :)



A pair of mating mangrove crabs oblivious to the photographers invading their privacy.



Photographing the mating crabs.



Lots of cockles here…



Taking a break…



This is the second beach at Tg. Salleh, the rocks are smaller here and the sand coarser and more golden in color.



Arriving at the second beach.



The fast rising tide, within minutes we no longer could walk on the rocks here…


hiking_in_Santubong_25 hiking_in_Santubong_26

Giant seed pod of a Hoya species.



The giant seed pod of a Hoya species. Looks like a mango! Note the two flowers just right of the seed pod.



Flowers of a Hoya species. This particular species, name escapes me Hoya coronaria, is said to be difficult to flower in cultivation. It needs to attain a giant size like these wild plants to flower, so says my Hoya obsessed friend. :)


Here’s another photo of H. coronaria flowers taken on an earlier visit:




One person holds the Hoya vine steady so that it doesn’t sway in the wind while two others snap photos of the flowers.



Busy snapping photos of Hoya flowers.



And here’s the poor silver leaf monkey (aka silver leaf langur) that wasn’t there in the morning. It must have fallen from the high tree tops and died of severe trauma, perhaps a broken neck?



A very pitiful sight… the heat and humidity caused it to stink pretty quickly and there were already lots of flies and a heavy rotting stench when we found it.



It must have fallen from high above. There was a rotten branch or liana next to the monkey. That’s the cycle of life in the wild, nothing we could do.


We took a group photo before leaving, then headed off for a late lunch around 4pm at a seaside restaurant. It started raining while we were eating but it had been a really good day for taking photos and exploring the jungle. Looking forward to the next outing!


Sze Hong said...

Hi... Is it difficult to go to this beach? Is GPS a must to reach here? It's a nice place I'm interested to go but don't know how. :-)

sarawaklens said...

I think the trail is maintained by permai but there are no markings, just a small path. I would advise you to bring a gps unit to be safe. i mean a real gps unit which can receive signals even under heavy tree cover, not mobile phone gps. ;)

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