10-Apr-2006 -- Long Seridan is a small village lying in the heartland of Northern Sarawak on the South side of Mount Mulu, amongst steep forested mountains and fast flowing rivers. It is only accessible by air, via a twice weekly (Sat and Thur) Twin-Otter flight from Miri. I took the Saturday flight to Long Seridan and on arrival was given a simple room for my stay by the Headman’s family.
Next day I went looking for a local hunter to ask if he would be my guide, he agreed after negotiating a fee. There are no maps available (to foreigners anyway) for this area. But I had printed some "Google-Earth" pictures of the area, and luckily I noticed there was an old logging road roughly heading in the direction of the confluence point. My GPS put the distance to the confluence point at 8.02 km from the village, (as the hornbill flies). But it turned out the distance on foot was over 22 km, including a climb to over 3000 feet.
On the agreed day we set out from Long Seridan. The journey was very hard up and down the mountain road, often blocked by landslides and fallen trees. This is an area of high rocky mountains and deep, steep valleys. Any wandering off the trail and into the jungle would have meant a very dangerous situation. Walking in the midday sun, when only 4 degrees North of the equator, on logging trails with no shelter tends to question one’s sensibilities??
After about 5.5 hours of exhaustive hiking we came to a point above the confluence point that told me we were very close, and the confluence point was somewhere below us down the steep mountain side. The guide said there was no way we could climb down through the dense jungle. I wandered around the area and then luckily found a cutting through the forest that had been made by a stream, it was very steep but was heading in the right direction. The guide agreed to give it a try and we carefully picked our way down the slope. After about 150 m we came to the E 115 .00.00 degree point, but now to turn North meant climbing up the mountain side and cutting our way through jungle. The guide said it would be impossible, so I had to settle for at least one of the points being spot on.
The error reading on the GPS was 4 m, but I didn’t know how far away the 4 degree point was.
There is also the fact that as soon as you enter the jungle the thick canopy of trees overhead blocks out the GPS signal leaving you not knowing your exact location.
The required photos were taken, notes logged and the return journey started. We arrived back at the village some 5 hours later. I was thoroughly exhausted and looking forward to a cold shower and a hot dinner.
The following Thursday I took the flight back to Miri. An interesting five days in the village, with no electricity, no TV, no computers, no fridges, no telephones, a rather restful and quiet time.
I was disappointed we couldn’t make both North and East readings spot on, but under the circumstances I agreed with the guide and felt it would have been too dangerous to try and do any better.