Saturday, 18 December 2010

Goodbye, Ingei! (Day 17 - 18/07/2010)

Someone's alarm went off abruptly and the time was already 6am. Excitements filled the base camp as the participants released the air from their air mattresses and took down their mosquito nets. Our main chef and his assistant had boiled some water and even cooked breakfast. The Iban boatmen were refuelling their boat engines and checked that their boats were in good condition.

Everyone was very eager to pack up and go home!

Day 17 was the last day of the Sungai Ingei Faunal Expedition Phase 1. Despite the eagerness to head home, all the participants were instructed to help out in any last-minute packing such as taking down some of the remaining tarps, packing up of kitchen utensils and toilet buckets and etc.

In addition to that, Dr. Charles (expedition leader) and Samhan (field coordinator) held a short meeting to inform the male participants about the loading of luggage and other equipments onto the boats. 8 boats were available on that morning, in which 5 were allocated for passengers and the other 3 were for transporting our luggage and expedition equipments.

On Day 17 itself, there were 25 participants in the base camp as 4 others have left a few days before which are Dr. Zohrah, Amalul, Hajah Yatty and Zaiedi. Hence, 5 participants were allocated to each boats for safety reasons.

After the meeting, the male participants and the Iban boatmen proceeded to load the luggage onto the boats. The number of luggage was numerous but with proper coordination and planning, all the luggage were loaded carefully.

Small meeting held by Dr. Charles and Samhan

While the short meeting was held, Haji Ramlee (main chef) and Azri (assistant chef) were helped by the girls in the kitchen in preparing packed lunch for everyone. The packed lunch were prepared and eaten in the boats when we had short breaks during the return journey to Bukit Sawat jetty.

Packed lunch being prepared in the kitchen prior before departure

Haji Ramlee (middle) instructing the girls

The time was already 9am and everything was going as planned. The base camp looked barren as nothing was left behind. Moreover, all the luggage were placed in the boats and some of the participants were already boarding the boats with their life jackets.

Dr. Charles was the last to leave the base camp as he made some final check-up before boarding the boat. A doa selamat was recited by Haji Roslan (paramedic) prior before our departure. After that, the Iban boatmen signalled one another as they ignited their boat engines.

The water level was quite low that day but the boats managed to slowly made their way out to the mouth of Sungai Ingei, which connects to Sungai Belait. It was good enough that some of the male participants cleared the river the day before as mentioned in Day 16.

Although everyone was happy to be heading back home, mixed feelings clouded most of our emotions as we slowly left Sungai Ingei. The last sights of Sungai Ingei, as the boats enter into Sungai Belait, included the tall lush trees and white sand beaches and they shall remain as fond and beautiful memories of Sungai Ingei.


Goodbye, Ingei!


The water level of Sungai Belait was unexpectedly high that day and we reached Kampong Melilas within an hour's time. Some of the participants decided to eat their lunch or rest while others hiked up to the Melilas longhouse to visit the folks there and to buy their handicrafts.

Participants resting at Melilas

Dr. Charles looked weary but everything went really well for him

The expedition has brought everyone closer together like a family
Picture shows BB (project administrator) and Angus (chief guide)

We only spent about an hour resting at Melilas and continued our journey back to Bukit Sawat jetty after that. The weather was on our side as it had been sunny the whole morning with no signs of rain clouds.

Moreover, the water level was quite high and hence, the boats could move faster. The time was near 2pm as we finally reached Bukit Sawat jetty, much to everyone's relief!

Happy reactions as we reached Bukit Sawat jetty!

Sigh of relief!

The buses that we hired were not there to greet us at Bukit Sawat as the boats slowly dock at the jetty. Apparently, we arrived earlier than expected at the jetty and hence had to wait for awhile before the buses arrived. The participants were instructed to get off the boats slowly before helping out with the unloading of luggage from the transport boats.

Docking of boats at the jetty

Participants helping out in unloading the luggage from the boat

Our indispensable Iban boatmen and their boats

After all the luggage and expedition equipments were unloaded, another doa selamat was recited by Haji Saifullah (Iban boatmen) to bless the safe return of the participants to Bukit Sawat jetty.

The participants also thanked and shared their happy moments with the Iban boatmen, whom had been indispensable to the expedition. The expedition would not have been a success without their commitments and big help!

Haji Saifullah recited the doa selamat
Moments later, the buses arrived too

Participants and their luggage

Moments later, the buses arrived and we eventually load all the luggage onto the buses. We bid our farewells to the Iban boatmen as the buses headed straight to UBD, in which we needed to unload the expedition equipments and stored them in the store room. Day 17 itself saw the day in which a few sessions of loading and unloading of luggage were done.

We reached UBD at around 4pm and unloaded and stored all the necessary equipments in the proper places. Everyone was already tired and looked weary! The participants then parted their own ways as they got picked up by their spouses or families, much to everyone's happiness.

The Sungai Ingei Faunal Expedition Phase 1 reached its final end on Day 17 after running for nearly three weeks. No injuries occurred during the stretch of the expedition and everything ran smoothly as planned.

On behalf of the participants of the Sungai Ingei Faunal Expedition, I would like to congratulate Dr. Joseph Charles (expedition leader) and his tireless administrative team in the successful running of the Sungai Ingei Faunal Expedition Phase 1 2010.

Group picture of all the participants of the expedition
with Pehin Yahya and other VIPs at the base camp

Check out this blog for more post-Ingei stories! Cheers!

1 comment:

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