Taman Negara National Park, Malaysia
We caught a boat over to the other side of the river and made our way to Gua Telinga – a limestone cave – this time with three 1.5 litre bottles of water. The bag was heavier but the cold water felt cool against our backs. Despite setting of at 9.40am, the sun was still strong. However within 10 minutes of following the trail, we were in the shade. As we turned the corner we saw what I dreaded the most – a steep hill, again with rope to hold on to. The path was up and down for about an hour, and then flat for the rest of the way. We saw a pretty bright blue butterfly and a cat squirrel high up in the trees. Several times we heard noises but couldn’t see anything. We crossed a river by walking along a fallen tree lying across it. In the cave, there was a rope to guide us through 80 metres out to the other side. Once we were inside, we were surrounded by flying bats. One brushed past the side of my face, one landed on Mike’s arm. It was quite scary, feeling the draft from their wings as they flew within inches of us. Shining our torch into crevices, we saw hundreds of bats, just hanging. It wasn’t long before the cave narrowed or becaume impossible in places, forcing us to crawl through the slime and bat droppings. Another couple were in the cave too, and when we spotted a racer snake, the guy picked it up in his hands and held it. We touched it too. It was soft and smooth. A type of constrictor, it wrapped itself around Mikes wrist. There was water in the bottom of the cave and we spotted many toads. Towards the end of the cave, the rocks got really sharp and slippery. One section was vertical and about 5 foot high. The rope had a couple of loopholes to pull yourself up with. Even then it was difficult. We looked for another way out. The sheer amount of bat droppings made rock surfaces slippery. Mike fell and cut his hand. The rope was the only way out.. Mike managed after several attempts. At one point I thought I’d never make it, but he pulled me up. On the last section the gaps were only just wide enough to crawl through. Every part of us was covered in bat droppings. When we got out, I was glad to see sunlight. Glad that I wasn’t surrounded by flying bats and glad that we’d brought wet wipes! The cave was a good experience but I wouldn’t want to go through that again. And as we made our way back, over those steep ups and downs, we both made another resolution – NO MORE WALKING! Once we were back in our rooms, I noticed a trail of blood round the back of my ankle. The same thing had happened yesterday – I’d found blood on the back of my leg and thought that I’d somehow cut myself. But this couldn’t be a cut as well, it was covered by my socks and trainers. Then Mike and me thought of something – leeches! I looked into my sock and there it was, a tiny leech…Mike squashed it and there was tons of blood – my blood. How it got through my sock I don’t know, either it squeezed its way through my sock, or it was in my sock before I put it on… Mike checked himself over as well and found a long drip of blood, but no leeach. It had obviously had a good drink and then fallen off.. What an end to our first real jungle experience – complete with leeches!!!!