Location : Bakun Dam, Belaga, Kapit Division, Sarawak, Malaysia.
Long Bulan may be history and buried under 200m of water at Bakun but its resettled inhabitants still return to their old settlement or its vicinity for hunting, fishing or rattan gathering. One such villager is Mr Lawing a Kenyah from Uma Bakah at Sungai Asap who has a house built there so he could come back for his occasional hunting/fishing trips.
To a city dweller like me, the idea of hunting and fishing is quite shockingly different from that of a jungle dweller. Lawing and I set out after 5pm on another smaller boat and headed for wherever he was bringing me for a hunt.
He had his shotgun no doubt. What was surprising was that in about 5min boat ride we arrived at his friend’s house with his pack of about 10 dogs barking and waving their tails in a very happy fashion. 6 of them boarded our boat without any invitation. Lawing picked up one of them and threw him back into the water, explaining he was not a good hunter. A greenhorn I guessed.
Observing how these Dayak hunting dogs behave for a first timer like me was really fun and felt amazed at how disciplined and instincts gifted these dogs were. As Lawing slowed and glided along the water near land, I could see how these dogs stood on their front paws on the narrow edge of the boat, pricked ears, protruded neck, nose in the air sniffing for whatever scent like they could jump anytime into the water to chase after their preys. Fortunately or unfortunately, we went home empty handed on our first try. The dogs were returned to their owner without any rewards. Hunting dogs can be rented here!
Early next morning, Lawing woke us up to a boatful of fish. He had the night before , set out with his assistant to lay nets across some rivers that flowed into the dam. This passive kind of fishing is called ‘pukat’ a very effective method but minus the thrill of casting which was my presumption before the trip.
Despite all the luck, my friend Sia felt dissapointed as the fish he came all the way from Langkawi for, eluded him. Not one empurau fish among all the semah and other good fish. With the price of empurau at retail value of about a thousand ringgit per kilo, it is no surprise that this pricey fish gets over harvested.
Personally, I would mark this trip an 8. It could have been an easy 10 if we had flown in to Bintulu and not drove from Kuching. A very good tourism potential but more acrivities need to be created for the more adventurous.
Please check out our last trip to Bakun Dam here : https://bombasticborneo.com/2017/10/%e6%b2%99%e6%8d%9e%e8%b6%8a%e5%b7%b4%e8%b4%a1%e6%b0%b4%e5%9d%9d-bakun-dam-sarawak-native-market/ And our YouTube video on Bakun Dam Market here : https://youtu.be/dpPAyxBXIbw
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