Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Release the bats part 2: Miri, Niah Caves
The next day we headed to Miri, a slightly sketchy and seedy town. It does have nice sunsets and no pork but its main attraction was being the gateway to Niah caves. Well, it was a choice of visiting the Niah caves where they've found remains dating back some 40,000 years or visit Miri's Petroleum Museum. I was all for the museum but Ruth insisted on the cave - bummer. Next time, Jon, next time.
The walk to the caves was two hours through jungle and we tried to enjoy that as much as possible walking slowly trying to find crocodiles (no luck). We saw some movement in the distance but couldn't be sure that it wasn't more tribal tattooed bogans. However, as the sign says, there is no love allowed in the national park.
The first set of caves you hit is the Trader's Cave where a number of itinerant workers traded and lived for a number of years. Strangely, there was no one there to sell me the bottle of cold water or deodorant I desperately needed.
Next up is the Great Cave, which, you know, is pretty great in terms of both its size and grandeur. It's hard to give you a photo of the scale of this place but this is the view from inside the cave. That little house is under the second column of rock to the left of the picture. It was pretty big and smelled terribly of guano. To be honest, it was pretty exciting as I felt quite adventurous and manly walking through a scary bat filled cave - idiot. At one point you walk for quite a while with no light except your little torch.
We had nothing but our wits to depend upon to survive this - ha! That being said, occasionally our torches illuminated these crazy looking bugs that would give HR Giger nightmares.
If Indiana Jones is still looking for the Ark of the Covenant, it can be found here.
At the end of the Great cave, you made your way to the Painted cave where you could see remnants of ancient cave paintings and graves. Sadly, it was all a bit faded (well, duh) and I couldn't really see the graves because all the historical sites were behind 10 metre high barbed wire. So here's a picture of Ruth to prove that we made it.
(continues - sorry for the delays but consistent internet is hard to find in the jungle. We're currently in Kinabatangan River for a couple of days - lot's of monkeys and flies).