Saturday, August 29, 2009

Long yet fulfilling day at Ubin

It has been ages since I've ever explored the terrestrial side of Ubin. The last trip was with Ron, July, Ivan and Justin more than 1.5 years ago.

Finally, I kicked myself out of the bed with sleepy heads to get to Ubin early in the morning before 9am. For what? It is to cycle with Pamela and Ben.

The trip was supposed to be for a bigger group of friends but unfortunately, most last minute couldn't make it. But we still went ahead. On the way, we saw Ron, Robert and Luan Keng. :-)

By the way, I left my usual fully functional camera at home accidentally so I had to make do with a half working old lumix camera that has limitations in taking certain zoomed photographs.

Blessed with good weather, our first stop is Puaka Hill, the highest natural point in Ubin. I never fail to bring new friends to this amazing hill though the climb is just treacherous!

We noticed there's lots of riped rambutans all over the island while we trekked up to the summit.

There's also plenty of pretty Singapore Rhododendron (Melastoma malabathricum) all over the island. Read up more about this wildflower at the Guide to Wildflowers of Singapore @ Science Centre website.

And after much climbing, we finally reached the peak of Ubin with a magnificent bird's eye view of the island, mainland Singapore and Johor. Just below us is Ubin Quarry which we do not want to have a free fall of 60m downwards to land into. Hahaha.

Soon, it was phototaking frenzy! Who can resist not taking photos of the landscapes and humans in the landscape? Timer was set to take a photo with all 3 of us.... perfect!

And more individual shots of us trying the thrill to be at the very edge of the summit.

Of course, the wackiest goes to Ben with his "I'm skydiving to Ubin quarry" pose!

I'm probably more sane (note the word "probably") and took more landscape photos. One of the island I cannot wait to find out more is Pulau Ketam. It is one of the forgotten islands off Ubin. From the top shot, you can also see Punggol and its LRT at the background.

And the next moment, we were at the coastline of Ubin just opposite Ketam! There's lots of mangroves there and probably a little shore that I suspect is extremely soft. Who knows what rare mangrovey plants lies there?

This shore opposite Ketam is rocky and I remembered camping overnight here when I was in ODAC (Outdoor Activities Club) during JC. We have not explored this shore during low tide though.

But at the high shores are nerites and other snails. Also seen are barnacles.

I took a closer look opposite towards Coney Island and spotted works going on from mainland to the island.

Just at the middle part facing Ubin, the sandy shore is still THERE! I hope the marine life survives all the development that is going on.

Because at the other end are more constructions where a seawall has been built.

After a while, we all got tired of cycling and rested for a while. Ben had to leave early so Pam and I explored the sensory trail for a while.

There were several grasshoppers among the Pandan leaves.

As well as this white-gloved fly on another leaf.

Both of us spotted this long tailed macaque as well as another two more at the mangroves after the trail. It was a good change to see a vertebrate after all the flies and insects. Hahaha! :)

Next up, Pam left for yet another event in the afternoon and James joined in! We went for another round of the sensory trail.

When I saw this monitor lizard at the back mangroves near the trail, I was stunned because its quite large.

James got bit closer to take a photo while I just slacked off since I can't really use the zoom of this half working camera.

We went to take a quick look at a new shore. And the rocks there looks beckoning to me for exploration during low tide.

Furthermore, there are several tiny bits of snail shells and coral fragments. Do they represent the marine life here? If yes that will be fantastic!

I tried to gather a few of the shells and fragments together here to have a clearer of what this shore is like. My first impression is good! Hope to come back again.

On the way back to the jetty to meet up with the naked people aka Naked Hermit Crabs, I saw this pretty Stork-billed Kingfisher (Pelargopsis capensis) which was quite near us. I didn't get a good shot of this bird and James had difficulty seeing the bird given that it is brightly coloured (sarcasm hints).

To make matters worse, he complained that the bird was in a bad position and view for photography. Immediately after he complained, the bird which seemingly understood the nasty remark flew off. Arrgh. So he didn't get a shot as well. Aha.

I later also spotted an attractive looking and bright coloured Green Crested Lizard (Bronchocela cristatella). This must be the prettiest one I've seen so far!

Soon, we met up with the crabs and off we went to Chek Jawa. Yes, I visit many places in one day today.

Greeting us at the entrance are more long-tailed macaques! There are at least five of them, but all are males. Looks like I have quite good monkey sights, maybe because November the monkey was around.

Chek Jawa looks already very charming to me today with the bright sunny weather. And we are all out to guide a group of NIE Green club friends to inspire them to share nature with the others as well.

Our group is quite solid, we have July, Chay Hoon and myself. So guiding was slack... hahaha!

We talked a lot about Chek Jawa, come join us for a walk to find out more!

Among the plants we shared include this stunning yellow flower of the Sea Hibiscus (Hibiscus tiliaceus).

And this is Chay Hoon sharing about mangroves to our interesting group of friends!

That was also the last shot when my half-working camera became totally dead. Hahaha. So no more photos, we'll just wait for the rest to blog. November and Marcus saw a mud lobster!!! And there are other exciting finds as well. Look out for their posts!

Today was really a tiring long day out at Ubin at various locations. But it was truly fulfilling at least I must say. Hehehe...

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