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This week, we head back towards the pirates (hitting submerged logs, dodging debris, running aground and navigating shallow water on the way). But first we have one more night in the Kinabatangan River.
It’s the question we get asked most, and as we started living full time on our sailboat in 2006, we reckon we’ve amassed enough experience to give a useful answer. So here’s our way of planning a cruising budget to help those of you who are thinking of sailing around the world.
Our chances of seeing them were deemed to be low by local experts who told us that they had headed hundreds of miles away. No guided tours were on offer. Undaunted and with the fatalism of all seafarers, we headed off to look for them in the small tributaries of the river.
The Kinabatangan River, at 342 miles, is the second longest river in Malaysia. Bordered by mangroves, rain forest, limestone caves and swamps, it’s like nowhere we have sailed before.
The orangutans and sub bears were uplifting, but the experience which overwhelmed us (and still brings us to tears) was learning about the WWII Borneo Death Marches at The Sandakan Memorial Park.
When a second squall followed behind the first, all six rally boats turned 180 degrees and were pushed towards the reef. Boats began dragging in the soft sand and one of our number motored deeper to escape the danger.