Selasa, Oktober 13, 2009

Journey To Madai Cave 1887 ( phart 2 )


Thursday, April 14th 1887 -At 3.30 a.m. I was called, and tried to dispel my drowsiness by the pleasing consciousness that an expedition to which I had long looked forward with such deep interest was about to be undertaken, and, as we had reason to hope, through the kind exertions of Mr. Treacher and Mr. Callaghan, duly accomplished. An hour later, these two gentlemen, accompanied by Mr. Crocker, came on board; and then we started directly in a long native canoe, with a crew and escort189 of thirty coolies, Sulus, Dyaks, and policemen. Our destination was the famous caves of edible birds'-nests at Madai. The steam-launch, well laden with extra coal in bags, and a few spare coolies, led the way, having in tow the heavy gig, filled with provisions of all sorts, and materials for camping out. Then came the long prahu—also in tow—laden almost to the water's edge with her thirty passengers and their gear. The extent and weight of this little flotilla reduced our progress to a speed of about five knots. It was a perfect morning, and the air was quite calm except for the slight breeze which we created for ourselves as we progressed. Soon after seven o'clock the sun became unpleasantly hot, and we were glad to spread our awning. At eight we breakfasted extremely well, the necessary cooking being done over a small spirit-lamp, in the absence of kerosene or any of190 the mineral oils, the use of which is not allowed on board the 'Sunbeam' or any of her satellites.

Commissariat Department
A little before nine we reached the mouth of the river, and safely accomplished some intricate navigation through narrow channels between coral reefs. The mists were still lying in solid white masses in the valleys and between the mountain peaks; but the small densely wooded islets that dotted the bay were mirrored in its unruffled surface. The scene was altogether most picturesque, and reminded me a good deal of the splendid harbour of Rio; but without, of course, the Corcovado or Sugar-loaf Hill, or those curiously shaped Organ Mountains in the background. Once in the river, the view became quite different, and much more shut in, owing to the dense walls of mangrove and other tropical vegetation which lined either side of the wide stream, up which the tide was swiftly flowing. The air now seemed fresh and pure; but in other states of the tide it is, I am told, very much the reverse.

Return of the Head-Hunter

In about half an hour we reached a junction of two streams, where the boats composing our flotilla had to part company—the steam-launch to be left behind, the prahu to lead the way, and the cutter to be paddled and punted up after us as far as she could go. This point proved to be only to a small landing-place, at which eight prahus were drawn up near two temporary wooden kajang huts belonging to the bird's-nest takers, members of the Eraan tribe, to whom the caves are let. Birds'-nests, it may be remarked, are a profitable property, yielding a royalty of 15,000 dollars, or over 2,500l. a year, to the North Borneo Company.

Fording the stream for Madai

From the cutter we embarked in the prahu, and from the prahu we finally landed in a swamp, where an hour's rest was allowed for the coolies to get their food, whilst we completed the arrangements for our return voyage, which, on account of the tide, promised to be much more difficult.

Sulus at Silam
At 10.45 a.m. we commenced the real hard work of the expedition. Everyone walked except me, and I had to be carried in a very light chair by two coolies, who were frequently relieved. It was rather serious work for the bearers—to say nothing of my feelings—for they had never carried a chair before, and the way lay through thick jungle, constantly interspersed by morasses and swamps, and obstructed by fallen trees, overhanging branches, thorny creepers, and marshy streams. At first I had many misgivings, but soon gained confidence when I saw how careful the men were, and how anxious to avoid an accident. Two coolies went on in front, and with their sharp parongs cut down or hacked away the more serious obstacles. If either the chair or I caught in a tree or a thorn, or if any special difficulty presented itself, somebody appeared from somewhere and rendered prompt assistance.

Returning at Low Water
I scarcely know how they managed to make their way at all through the dense jungle which hemmed us in on every side, or to disentangle themselves from the numerous obstacles which beset our path. If one of the bearers suddenly plunged up to his waist in a morass, someone else instantly came forward to pull him out and to raise the chair again. When huge fallen trees obstructed the way, one or two men rushed forward to assist in lifting the chair and me over the barricade. In less than two hours I had been borne over an intricate and fatiguing path, up hill and down dale, with frequent changes but with no stoppages, until at last we fairly faced the limestone cliffs which we had seen from the distance rising straight out of the jungle. We had passed, and in fact followed for some distance, the fresh spoors, eighteen inches in diameter, of an elephant, the sight of which caused great excitement among the natives, especially when we met other natives armed with guns.
One bird's-nest taker whom we passed had just seen192 two elephants, and a great palaver ensued, in which the word 'harden,' or some such equivalent for ivory, frequently occurred. Many of the trees on the line of route were very fine, specially the tapangs, the splendid stems of which, supported by natural buttresses, rose in several instances at least two hundred feet from the ground, unbroken by a single branch. In the stem of the tapang the wild bees build their combs, and beeswax is an important and valuable product of the country. These trees, either singly or in groups, are the property by inheritance of the natives; so that whenever any attempt is made at clearing, or even193 cutting down a single tree, one of these small proprietors is sure to come forward and swear that his interest, derived from his father, his grandfather, or some even more remote ancestor, is likely to be affected. The timber itself is valuable, and where two buttresses occur exactly opposite to one another the width of the tree is often so great that large slabs, with a fine grain capable of taking a high polish, and large enough to form a dining-table for twenty-four people, have been cut from them. The Borneo jungle is so dense, and is so completely overshadowed by the trees rising from it, that there is no undergrowth, and the effect of bareness is produced; though I dare say that, if one could only look down on the forest from the car of a balloon, the flora of creepers, orchids, and parasites would be very beautiful wherever the light and air could penetrate.
By. Lady Annie Brassey 1887

4 ulasan:

  1. TQ en.KSJK atas pertanyaannya...
    kisah ni saya dpt dr buku "THE LAST VOYAGE 1887"

  2. Assalamualaikum. saya syamsul maarif suardi, asal kunak kaya dan sekarang menuntut di UMS dalam bidang sejarah. sekarang, saya sedang membuat penyelidikan tentang sejarah perikanan daerah kunak untuk latihan ilmiah saya semester akhir ini. terdapat banyak bahan daripada blog saudara/i namun sumber rujukan amat terhad. saya dengan berbesar hati daripada pihak saudara/i untuk bertemu dengan saya untuk memberikan sedikit sebanyak maklumat untuk bidang ini.

    sekian terima kasih.

    syamsul maarif bin suardi
    0198214521 call/watsapp

  3. Tqvm good history lingers on at least something to know about


Hanya pengulas/pengomen yang berdaftar dan menyatakan nama sahaja yang akan dibenarkan mengulas/mengomen di ruangan ini dan semua ulasan adalah tanggungjawab si pengulas sendiri, pihak blog adalah tidak bertanggujawab sama sekali..

Related Posts with Thumbnails