Home of the yacht "RHUMB DO"
|klias wetlands - sabah, Borneo
If you are in either Muara, Brunei or Labuan and have a few days to spare for exploring, then a visit to the Klias Wetlands is worthwhile. It is one of the few remaining places where you can see the endangered Proboscis Monkey in it's natural habitat. The river is completely sheltered from wind and swell. There are no ships, no barges, no logs and very few mosquitoes or sandflies.
C-Map charts show depths of 0.3 metres on the approach to Menumbok......but there is a channel used by the ferries between Labuan and Menumbok and I have listed these waypoints - provided by the skipper of the car ferry 'Wawasan Perdana.' Rhumb Do draws 1.8 metres but I have entered and left the river at all stages of the tide, with relative ease.
Waypoints from Labuan to Menumbok:
1. 05o 19.000N 115o 18.100E
2. 05o 19.000N 115o 18.780E
3. 05o 17.800N 115o 20.090E
4. 05o 17.580N 115o 20.883E
5. 05o 17.381N 115o 21.804E
6. 05o 17.637N 115o 22.280E
7. 05o 18.230N 115o 23.130E
After entering the mouth of the river, you can see the jetty at Menumbok and the entrance to the river proper is to starboard of the island, so veer to starboard before the jetty. We anchored by the island for the night before making the 25 mile trip upriver. There are several smaller tributaries but just follow the main channel to Kota Klias, staying on the outside of the bends for the deeper water. Minimum depths for the whole of the river are 3 metres but you sometimes have to 'poke around' a bit for the channel.
Beware:- At 5o 20.012N, 115o 23.682E (approx lat/long) there used to be a marker post which has now disappeared, leaving an uncharted rock! Pass with caution on the eastern side of the river. Thanks to my friend George for the heads up......and sorry you found the rock George!
The upper limit of travel is at a position of 05o 26.9N and 115o 37.4E, where overhead power lines cross the river. This is a quarter mile past the visitor centre at Kota Klias (on the left bank of the river). You can anchor, as we did, on the last bend before the power lines and take your dinghy further upstream to a beautiful part of the river with ever changing scenery.
There are numerous types of birds, Proboscis Monkeys, Grey Monkeys, Black Monkeys, Fireflies and bats. Crocodiles up to 5 metres long have been seen on the banks although we didn't see any! Other lucky yotties claim to have seen Orang Utans beyond the anchor point.
From Kota Klias, you can thumb lifts to the town of Beaufort which has a few shops and a supermarket.
Another point of interest is the railway from Tanjung Aru (Kota Kinabalu) to Tenom in the interior. It's the only railway in Borneo and has a total length of 138Km. The original purpose was to transport tobacco down to Jesselton port but now it's a lifeline for some of the residents inland, and a tourist attraction. The tobacco plantations of Tenom have long since gone and the town is now known for it's coffee. We arranged transport from the Klias Visitor Centre to Beaufort and caught the 0750 train to Tenom, a distance of 48Km along a single track line through the rainforest, following the banks of the River Padas. Arrival in Tenom is around 1100 which gives you time for a wander around and some lunch before catching the 1300 train back. You have to change trains at Halogilat The cost of the journey per adult is 2.75 ringgit each way. The video below is a short section (under 2 mins) of our ride back from Halogilat to Beaufort.