Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pulau Bawai : Room for 14 on Valentine's Day

We thought we could sell the idea of a romantic weekend camping and watching waders on an uninhabited island at the mouth of Kuala Baram estuary on Valentine's Day to our members and friends.

Long and behold, we were oversubscribed! Fourteen people signed up to spend 14th February on a sandbar of an island for Valentine's Day. Our party was made up of 1 family of 4, 1 married man, 5 single young ladies, 5 single young men. We had to turn down another 6 individuals due to limited seats on our boat! Not bad for a weekend of wader watching eh?

We hired a big boat large enough fro 16 people and their gear from Kpg Masjid with the help of friends nearby. Within 20 minutes of loading we were cruising down the mighty Batang Baram to our intended weekend getaway. Within the hour, our gear was unloaded, camp set up, wood fire roaring and marinated chicken roasting!

The island is uninhabited save for a fisherman or two stopping by to mend their nets or fish. Vegetation on the islands is mainly causarina and mangrove. The island being at the estuary enjoys saltwater on the South China Sea on the West and freshwater from Batang Baram on the East. There were plenty of accumulated debris in the form of logs, tree roots and tree trunks - plenty of fuel for the campfire. In general, the island is fairly clean and presentable.

As suspected, being uninhabited and not regularly visited the island hosts a variety of waders. The usual Sanderlings, Lesser Sand Plover, Greater Sand Plover, Kentish Plover, Long Toed Stints and Red-necked Stints were recorded. Also present were Peregrine Falcon, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Tern Sp., Little Egrets and Intermediate Egrets. More Ubiquitous were the Yellow vented Bulbuls, and Collared Kingfishers. Of special note were several pairs of the amicable Malaysian Plover and the slightly more sedate Grey Plover.

Members also saw first hand tracks made by a 10 footer crocodile on the sand by the beach not fifty feet away from our base camp.

Thank you to the following members and friends for a Valentine's Weekend well spent:
Musa, Anura, Afiq, Aju, Malino, Ernyza, Amalia, MingYi, Sara, Ali, Aisya, Nazeri, Clare.

Thanks especially to Musa who had prepared 4 special Valentine's chicken basted in special Egyptian concoction for the occasion.

Next : Kuala Baram Sandbar Camping in April, any takers?


Our basecamp.

Egyptian chicken ala Moosa, Valentine's victims.

Bawai sunset, serene and oozing with tranquility.

Malaysian Plover on your doorstep, this one was quite friendly.

A walk on the South China Sea side of the island.

There are plenty of wader prints!

The mighty tree that got chopped down from upriver.

Would've been a great nite for stargazing too if it weren't for the clouds!

Waiting for the ride back to Kpg Masjid.

Where's the wader?

Common Greenshank ... we saw 17 roosting at the bank of Batang Baram near Kpg Masjid.

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