After washing of the forest and dressing in our finest clothes, we headed to the Grand Marguerite Hotel for the projects presentation dinner with students from MRSM, Sarwak Orchid Society members and Dr Zalihah representing Sarawak’s First Lady.
The meal was really posh with lots of courses, and of course our experienced Sarawak diners coped admirably.
We finished off with speeches and certificates of appreciation for all the team.
With the help of Karin (from the Herbarium) we tackles Mount Pueh today and found it putting challenges in our way. We started by following the river at the base of the mountain as the trees were full of orchids including Coelogyne, Bulbophyllum and others.
Unfortunately the river consisted of enormous boulders covered in moss and though crossing the river and working up stream was a great team building exercise as we and our MRSM friends all had to help each other, our dynamic risk assessment of the activity was that it it was to dangerous to press very far – but we made it back with no one too soaked (apart from Hannah who had a little dip) and no injuries – we passed the trial of the rocks.
We then set off up the mountain following the route of a Hydro scheme – it was very steep but did have steps – hundreds of them! – exhausted we passed the trial of the steps.
We pressed deeper into the forest – we passed the trial of the bridge and finally reached a gorgeous waterfall. It then rained the heaviest rain for about an hour as we fought our way back – bus we passed the trail of the rain though all our boots were now full of water and we were all as wet as Hannah. More on the orchids we found later.
This dramatic species is found in Malaysia, Borneo and Sumatra and we have seen it high on trees exposed to good light. It is easily distinguished from Bulbophyllum and Coelogyne by its two chunky leaves (just like our epigeniums at home)
We have seen plants growing at Semenggoh and Santubong both at around 200m altitude and so this is definitely a species for warm growing conditions.
Thankfully Hi-bread is open very early even on Sunday as we are diving to near the Indonesian border for our last forest day on Mount Pueh
The student team on this trip have been fantastic, and have seemed completely at home in the forest, meeting local scientists and VIPs, or running workshops at MRSM. They have worked really hard and so it is great when an opportunity comes to have a sit down and what could make a better seat than a twisted vine deep in the rainforest – Tarzan has nothing on Issy.
I don’t think we have yet posted any fungi. This is odd as we have seen some spectacular ones. The best to date is this Veiled stinkhorn fungus (Phallus multicolor) seen on Santubong.