So moving on from orangutan day, turtle day to the less exciting boat day. To try and demonstrate the size of the jungle and give us a good feel for how most people navigate this landmass our tour company had chosen the boat over the vastly more efficient plane for this leg of our journey. Minor quibbles aside it was an interesting chance to see the villages perched on the banks of this busy river float past. Before enjoying this we had to leap out of bed for the traditional early start, getting a taxis to the launch point of our first boat, the ironically named 'Express Boat', where we had breakfast. While the facilities closely resembles a large warehouse and the menu appearing to be food or not we had a good feed. I had heard a few years ago that a group of tourists in Malaysia died when a boat sank on a river. Without doubt this is a tragic incident but I remember thinking at the time how it could happen. Surely if on a boat which is in trouble simply step off the side and make a dash for the shore. Well, the answer to my past niggle soon floated round the corner. The designer of this boat had rain firmly in his mind when getting the drawing board out but was probably in a burning building at the time given his attitude towards health and safety. Nicknamed a floating coffin I think this fits the bill quite well. Take a large tube of metal, big enough for a row of four seats to fit inside, flatten the top and bottom, put a single exit at the front and a large engine in the back and have windows as a luxurious extra and you've got the idea.
With the rain falling we all stayed in side and after two hours we arrived in Marudi to stretch our legs a bit. Eleanor, Steve, Rich and I headed for a bit of food and found our waiter spoke excellent English and the food was good. Steve celebrated this with a beer, which was definitely a holiday move given it wasn't even 11am at this point. Our second boating leg was on a similar boat to the first but with the weather clearing up we mostly decided to sit out on top. With the warning of our guide in our minds we held on tight as the boat had to dodge floating debris coming downstream. At some of the villages a local would be dropped off with all manner of luggage including tyres and corrugated sheets. One cool young lad jumped off and looked very out of place on the landing platform, dressed in the latest fashions. As well as the villages, and their well dressed occupants, we also saw signs of extensive jungle clearance as more room is made for palm tree plantations which is sad but understandable given the economic benefit these have for the country. With most people up on deck I thought it was a good time for the camera. The driver thought it was a good time to rev the engine and cover me in a cloud of diesel. Nice.
Four hours of boating and we came to our final boat of the day, a small wooden affair for navigating the smaller waterways. With the jungle going past looking very familiar by now my main memory of this boat ride was the comfort of the seats, specifically the lack of it. Hard wood seats took their toll until we eventually arrived to the Miri national park headquarters just as the light was starting to fail. Having checked into our very nice rooms we jumped on a 4x4 to go to a restaurant for food. The food was adequate, the complete lack of beer unforgivable so we sent the owner out into the night to find us something sensible to drink, as last joining Steve after only 9 hours after his first of the day!