Paul will be a few months off work to volunteer in Borneo for the SBT again this summer. The details are all to be confirmed, but the provisional itinerary looks something like this:
End of April/Start of May – Recce of Pulau Banggi, Sabah, to investigate potential of area as a site for future study.
4th of May- Sponsored 42km run at the Borneo International Marathon. Have spent last 2 months cooped up indoors in a Russian winter, so this is going to hurt!
As soon as able to walk again – Visit to BSBCC
Remainder of May & June – Assisting Oxford WildCRU at Tawau Hills National Park, Sabah with carnivore research. This work is intended to help formulate ideas and plan for future research into sun bear ecology in both fragmented and remote forest.
October – November? (t.b.a.) – Camera trap survey with HeartofBorneo.org to gather data to hopefully form foundation of a medium-term study into the ecology of sun bears in remote forest.
This is ALL subject to change. All digits remain crossed.
Yesterday I ran in the Borneo International Marathon. What an epic that turned out to be!
I went snorkelling two days before and somehow, whilst simultaneously kicking and twisting in the water, managed to make my right knee crunch about in a way it shouldn’t have. Snorkelling! I was so angry with myself.
By the time I returned to my hostel it felt quite swollen, so I gave myself some first aid. standard procedure is RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) and I did all these: Rest (staying off my feet as much as possible), Ice (20 mins on, 20 mins off with a bag of frozen sayur campur), Compression (an adjustable neoprene knee support done up as tight as it would go without my foot turning blue) and Elevation (hanging my foot in a loop of rope from the bunk bed above mine). I also bought some very strong painkillers (prescription only in UK) used by arthritis sufferers in order to reduce the swelling.
The start of the race.
The race started well enough, but by 14km in I was almost dizzy with pain from my knee and almost considered stopping when I saw an ambulance at the side of the road. Now, this may seem really corny, but it’s true: I started thinking of wild bears and how they endure pain when trying to get of of traps. It made me very emotional and also made me realise that my worries were trivial by comparison. I ran on.
When the sun came up it started to get a bit warm.
By 26k the sun was beating down on everyone with full force. I was hot and starting to get tired. at the following water station I took 2 drinks (plus 1 poured over my head) and washed down a mouthful of worms & nuts). I repeated this every 20 mins or so.
The final 13k was bloody hot. Everyone in front of me was starting to take walking breaks, so I did the same. However, I made sure that my walking break was always about 5 seconds less than that of the person in front. It felt like a slow motion race, but 1 by 1 I picked off my targets. This “game” was very motivating and a welcome distraction.
Crossing the finish line. Thanks to M. for the footage.
500m out from the finish I decided to just go as fast I could. The finish was at a stadium and when I heard the crowd and realised that they were cheering for me it was quite a feeling. As you can imagine, it took a while for me to get my breath back and cool down.
“Somewhat fatigued” whilst chatting to the author of mysabah.com.
I also bumped into Ian, the BSBCC’s pet architect, who was there watching his girlfriend run. It was quite unexpected, really nice to see him.
Humans are quite a pathetic species when you see how much we whine and complain. Working with the bears seemed to have helped bring out the “beast” in me for this event. I don’t actually know what my time was yet. I’ll see when they put the results on the website. Whatever it was, I did my best and that’s good enough for me.
It’s been raining all day. Cut some greens for my hairy friends, planted up some of the top of the screen wall near the quarantine centre and started to experiment with using some fallen wood to make steps on an area of path which is for now a slippery slope.
Today was an easier day as I had no exercise to do. usually I do some running as I shall be doing the Borneo Marathon for the BSBCC in May. I am keeping a log of my training here, in the hope that it keeps me motivated.
We also picked up a fresh volunteer, Marianne, from the airport. She became interested in the sun bears when she came to Sepilok several years ago to work with the orangutans.
One of the most interesting things of the day was finding snake eggs in the toilet’s cistern pipe at home. No wonder it wouldn’t flush properly! I’ll be extra vigilant next time I need the Frank Zappa.
For me, the truly amazing thing was how the snake had laid a cluster of eggs in the pipe, blocking it, and then escaped.