After the storms of Turtle Island, it was a relief to reach a sheltered town. While one rally member dealt with diesel bug, after jury-rigging a fuel system to bypass the engine's clogged filters on the 25 mile passage to Sandakan, the rest of us went ashore
We visited the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and, with hardly any tourists around, were able to get close to those extraordinary human-like creatures.
The Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre gave us a chance to go down to the woods to see the “smallest bear in the world”. And we also went back in time, to pre-war colonial living at Agnes Keith’s House.
But the experience which overwhelmed us was learning about the Borneo death marches at The Sandakan Memorial Park, a piece of modern history that had been omitted when we learned about WWII at school.
Approximately 2,400 Australian and British prisoners of war were killed in the march across Sabah, as well as untold numbers of local people who died fighting in the resistance alongside their western allies.
For more information, visit the Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre and Agnes Keith’s House websites.