Friday, June 29, 2012

Love our rivers - part 3

Here’s part 3 with more photos taken during my outing to this beautiful river near Kuching. It was the perfect day to go “riverwalking” because it wasn’t too hot so we could wade in the middle of the river and dip in the water whenever we felt like it. It was also nice to swim in the deeper pools formed wherever the river bends.

I’ll post more photos of beautiful streams and rivers in this “love our rivers” series so check back often.













Thursday, June 28, 2012

Love our rivers - part 2

More photos as promised. More to come in part 3. See part 1 here (click).

Our sweaty bags and towels often attract sweat bees and other insects like this beautiful butterfly.

Weathered sandstone walls along the riverbank. Ferns such as those in this picture (Dipteris lobbiana) quickly take a foothold in the cracks where organic debris collect.

There’s planking, and then there’s rock surfing. :)

A small jungle stream cascading down smooth sandstone into the main river. Due to the dry weather, water volume is low. This pool which is normally very deep is now shallow enough to wade in to get to the other side.

river_orchids_in_sarawak_03Small orchids that grow in great abundance by the river bank.

There’s a fishing net laid across this stretch of the river. Note the leaves that have collected on the surface, caught by the net.

Hooray! Sunlight!

It was cloudy when we started. Then just before we got ready to leave, the sun came out. It became cloudy again after we left the place.

Pictures are always prettier when there’s bright sunshine!

When the monsoon rains return, this river will be a raging beast!

Those palm trees look like oil palms but they’re not, they’re some kind of wild palm.

Relaxing in a deep pool. This is probably the deepest pool we came across, so deep the bottom could not be seen.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Love our rivers - part 1

One of my fav things to do on a weekend is to go exploring somewhere far away from all the noise and crowds. River-walking is a fun outdoor activity that lets me relax and cool down after a tiring walk by dipping in the cool and refreshing water. I get to burn fat and calories *and* relax and unwind in a natural setting too!

Sadly, many of the beautiful clear-water streams and rivers that I remember from my childhood have today turn into nasty, smelly, polluted streams because of runoffs from poultry and other livestock farms (pig farms seem to be the worst!). People living by the streams also dump rubbish into water freely, hoping the currents would take it all away but it all comes back when the stream is clogged up and flooding occurs.

Fortunately, there are still some rivers that remain relatively unspoiled thanks to their hidden locations and the locals who depend on them for all kinds of activities from bathing and washing, to collecting water for drinking and cooking.

This is one such river. Lately, it has been very hot in Kuching but last weekend it was cloudy and much cooler than days past. These photos were taken with the sun behind clouds. The water in this river normally is quite fast flowing and the level much higher but due to the current hot and dry spell, it’s quite calm and shallow.

When visiting places like this, remember to remove or take out with you whatever non-biodegradable trash that you bring in, even the smallest sweet wrappers. You might think what harm can a little piece of plastic do? Well, plastic takes forever to break down and as the old Malay saying goes: “sedikit sedikit, lama lama menjadi bukit.” Little by little, the amount of trash left behind by each subsequent visitor will collect and become a small hill!

Once a place becomes more and more well known and popular with visitors, trash usually starts to mount too. For this reason, I usually do not disclose the location of the places I visit unless they are public parks, national parks or forest reserves.

Rivers like this will never really run dry even during the driest months for as long as there is a bit of rain now and then and most importantly, the water catchment areas (surrounding hills and jungles) remain forested with native vegetation.

Calm water: Due to the dry weather, the water level is low. Water in the river is also relatively calm.

Reflections: Colour of the water is brownish because of tannins. Look at the beautiful reflections!

Serene: It is possible to cross the river by walking on the rocks. Those in the middle normally would be submerged but not during this time of the year when there’s little rainfall.

Age-old beauty: The twisted lianas and tree with overhanging branches must be several decades old.

Inviting: The colour of the water may look dark and mysterious but that is only because of tannins. The water is actually quite clear and very cool.

River rapids: During the dry season, the rapids here become quite tame.

Flowing water: As long as there is a little rainfall, a jungle river like this will never really dry up provided we take care of our forests and water catchment areas.

Deep pool: There are several deep, natural pools where the river bends. These are perfect spots to swim in but always ensure there are no tangled branches underwater and avoid jumping in if it the bottom cannot be seen.

Calming scenery: Take time to enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Usually, there are also many birds that can be seen in the trees and bushes along the river.

Irresponsible: And lastly, if you must make a fire to barbeque or boil water and cook a packet of instant noodles, please do not leave your trash behind (note the half-burnt Maggi wrapper and soup base wrappers in pic).

More photos to be added in part 2.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hot and dry weather in Kuching!


We're entering the driest period of the year. The rains have stopped but keep our forests and hills (water catchment areas) forested and streams like this will continue to flow even during the driest months.
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