Monday, October 29, 2007

Sentosa Walk on 27 Oct 2007

Once again, the Naked Hermit Crabs were out on Sentosa to conduct a guided walk!

We had two groups going for the Adventure Trail (I took one group while Ivan took the other), and one group going for the Family Trail (guided by Marcus), adding up to a total of 22 participants. Sijie was my assistant (the above photo was taken by him), while July and Helen were the hunter-seekers.

And I must say our hunter-seekers were really good! We certainly had a great day, and saw lots of interesting things, including butterflyfishes, a squid, octopuses, nudibranchs, leaf slugs, sea cucumbers, crabs, pitcher plants, tongkat ali, and of course, lots of beautiful corals!

I didn't managed to take many photos, but the others sure managed to take some really great shots!

Do check out the following blog entries for the full story and more photos!
And at the end of the walk, our visitors kindly found time to write in our guest book. And here are some of the comments:

Thanks to all our enthusiastic visitors for making this trip such an enjoyable one!

And also, thanks to all the Naked Hermit Crabs who helped out - Marcus, Ivan, Sijie, Helen and July.

Looking forward to more great naked trips!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

A child's joy at Chek Jawa

What joy to the Naked Hermit Crabs to bring gladness to a child!

We chanced upon this encouraging post about a family who enjoyed the guided walk at Chek Jawa with the Crabs...

"We were lucky that there happened to be a guided tour group there at Chek Jawa last Sunday at 2.30pm. It was organised by the Naked Hermit Crabs.

My boy enjoyed the whole trip. We walked along the boardwalk and even went up the Jejawi tower. We spotted different types of crabs, ants, frogs, mud skippers, shellfish, sea grass, fish, butterflies, moth, caterpillars, birds etc.

I strongly recommend the tour cos' we won't have spotted certain things if we had gone on our own.

My verdict: Definitely worth a trip for kids 3 years and up and if you like nature.

And here's Corey with the fascinating moth in a winter coat!

Thank you Corey for making our day, and mum and dad for permission to post their very kind comments.

An account of the trip is also on Corey's own blog!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Naked Plea on Blog Action Day


Here we are, hermit crabs gathered together for Blog Action Day.

You might see some of us on the shores of Singapore.
Look carefully! Some of us are tiny. But aren't we pretty?!

We the Striped hermit crabs are quite large and commonly seen. We are usually orange, although rarely, some of us are blue (some hermits just HAVE to be different...hmmm).

Mr Big Red Hermit Crab with White Spots is rarely seen except on undisturbed shores. While Pretty-in-Purple Ms Land Hermit Crab is also rare because she and her friends are often taken away to become pets in people's houses. We really don't do well away from the sea. And we will miss our friends on the sea shore. Please don't take us away.

But MOST importantly, us hermit crabs need empty shells! Our backsides are long and soft and we need to tuck them into a nice hard shell or some nasty thing will EAT US!!
Sometimes other animals like sea anemones also settle on our shell (see the nice big anemone on the photo at left). So it isn't just hermit crabs that need the shell. Even tiny shells are homes to tiny hermits!

Any kind of shell is a potential home for one of us. Big ones, small ones, broken ones, pretty ones, ugly ones.
Do visit us. We'd love to see you.

But please leave empty shells on the beach. Don't bring them home!!

We will be naked (and dead) without a shell.

Thank you!!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Blogging for Nature with Web 2.0

The workshop arm of Naked Hermit Crabs held its 2nd ever workshop last Friday, 12 October 2007, at a computer lab in NIE/NTU courtesy of the NIE Green Club.

It was well attended by about 20 participants who spent 2 hours with various naked crabs sharing tools for sharing nature via the web 2.0 technologies while feasting on the food and drinks kindly provided by Vilma and Ria. (Thank you!)

This is part of a series of 2 workshops on Blogging for Nature, also known as Sharing Nature via Web 2.0. This workshop was targeted at advanced users who are already blogging to introduce them to a set of tools that would enable to reach a greater audience.

The workshop was structured such that different components are shared by different speakers who give diversity of presentation and ideas. Some of the slides are uploaded and shared on Google Documents. The components included:

1) Why blogs make a difference - Ria
2) What is web 2.0 - November

3) Photos and Flickr - Marcus
4) Youtube - Chay Hoon
5) Widgets - Ron
6) RSS and Google Reader - Ria

Social Network Tools
7) Twitter - November
8) Facebook - November

9) - Marcus
10) Stomp - Ivan

Collaboration Tools
11) Google Documents - November
12) Wikipedia - November

Unfortunately we were not able to talk about the importance of manual submission of information. Trawling for information to submit to Wildsingapore for further dissemination. Sadly we didn't have time for elaboration on the collaboration tools either. However, participants are invited to collaborate on a list of web resources covered during the workshop on Google Documents.

Luckily, we are planning for more of these workshops in the coming months. Next time hopefully we'll be able to cover everything by expanding this workshop further into 2 parts.

Coming up next week, "blockheads to blogheads" is a beginner class that will give participants a hands-on session on to how to start their own blog. All participants will leave the session with a blog!

Meanwhile for last friday's advance class, the mission for students is to commit to the Blog Action Day on 15 October 2007. It is a day where bloggers all over the world will be blogging for the environment in a show of solidarity and support! Register your blogs today. I look forward to reading each of the participant's blog post for the day and I've already got mine planned!

See more photos of the workshop here. July has also blogged about the workshop!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

CJ Boardwalk Tours on 7 Oct 2007

Today, the Naked Hermit Crabs were out at Chek Jawa Boardwalk again! Again, it was a rainy day, and LK told us that she actually saw a water spout at East Coast while on her way here!

We were quite fortunate that the rain stopped when we reached Pulau Ubin. We got Uncle Chu to drive us to Chek Jawa in his van.

On our way there, we noticed that the wild ixora were all blooming! Wow! I've been to Pulau Ubin so many times, but it never occur to me that there are some many wild ixora plants on the island. We could even see many of them blooming in the middle of the forest!

And when we were at the Chek Jawa Information Kiosk, we had another pleasant surprise - a pair of oriental pied hornbill! The photo above shows one of them. Some of our visitors saw it, but they flew away before the rest arrived.

We had 2 groups of visitors today - a group of 10 visitors who booked the trip with me through email, and another group of walk-in visitors. Ria took the former group, while LK took the other.

Although we were just walking on the boardwalk, there were still plenty of things to see.

At the mangrove section, there were lots of vinegar crabs on the mud lobster mound.

There were many mudskippers too.

And yet again, we found the fiddler crab with red eyes!

LK's group also spotted several huge atlas moth caterpillars. They have eaten most of the leaves of the poor tree though.

And here's one of our young visitors from LK's group looking at a moth on the railing, with LK and the other group members behind.

And here's another young visitor from Ria's group taking a group photo for the group.

The coastal section was full of surprises too!

We saw this HUGE school of fish swimming just under the boardwalk. There must be like thousands of them!

The jellyfish were out in full force too! We saw many of them in different colours and sizes!

Don't know why, but the little boy seemed to be quite fond of me. Or perhaps he liked the Naked Hermit Crab flag I was holding? Haha...

After the walk, we went to the Chek Jawa Visitor Centre aka House Number 1, while the visitors drew some lovely pictures for our guest book.

Thanks to the wonderful visitors that we had today. And also special thanks to the Naked Hermit Crabs for helping with today's walk - Ria, LK, CH (who together with Ria contibuted some of their photos), July and Sijie. We sure had a lot of fun today! :)

Sharing Nature with Ordinary People

Apart from our expanding guided walks to various shores under threat in Singapore, the Naked Hermit Crabs have now sprung a new arm focusing on training workshops for nature guides, nature lovers and all interested public.

Our first workshop in the series was held on 29 September 2007 at Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve. The workshop was initially the brainchild of Sheila, the NParks staff at Sungei Buloh and Ria, who thought it would be good to have a session on stories to share with visitors to nature areas but the numerous ideas soon evolved into a full workshop on "Sharing Nature with Ordinary People". In attendance were volunteers from SBWR, Naked Hermit Crabs and just about everywhere else! Several toddycats were also present, especially familiar faces from my Pedal Ubin group.

The workshop was held shortly after Ria's talk on the Secret Shores of Singapore at the Theatrette in Sungei Buloh. Although we only anticipated 24 people for the workshop, almost 40 turned up! There were a total of 39 people including Ria and myself, the lovely assistant monkey for the day. It was an excellent sharing session where guides of all experience level comes together to share problems and solutions for different type of situations a guide encounters out there in the "wild". Mainly with different type of visitors.

I couldn't capture everybody in the room with my camera but it was a huge crowd!

The workshop started with a general overview of where everybody are from - at least those 24 who preregistered - what their favourite and least favourite aspects of guiding were and a short discussion of each aspect. Discussions really got on the way with animated conversations and contributions from everybody when we broke out into smaller groups. Each group was tasked with a different type of visitors.

Group 1: "School Children" group

Group 2: "Photographers" group

Group 3: "Foreigners" group

Group 4: "RC" group

Group 5: "Mixed Families" group

We overran the time a little towards the end because there were just too much to share. I guess I forgot to introduce to the group that I was actually the note taker for the workshop so I guess people were wondering why I'm walking around taking photos of them! My job was to "instantly" transcribed the points discussed into the round up slides and other general miscellanea. All in all the sharing session had its share of laughter and good ideas! I think we all took away something useful from the workshop. We were expecting some role playing from the groups but darn, none gave us the pleasure of watching them play out the situations prescribed to them. I think next time we'll have to give specific instructions! *grin*

Feedbacks are still coming in from the participants but so far it's been very encouraging and we definitely hope to do this again for the other guides who were actually out on our shores and forests while we were at the workshop! We have not forgotten you - more workshops are definitely in the works.

Photos can be seen at my flickr set.

This is not the end of our workshops but only the beginning! In fact, there are a series of 2 workshops coming up next in the month of October on "Blogging for Nature" which is kindly hosted at NIE @ NTU by the NIE Green Club.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Chek Jawa Boardwalk Tours

All of us can now visit Chek Jawa any tide thanks to the launch of the Chek Jawa Boardwalk on 7 July 2007!

The Naked Hermit Crabs have designed a special tour on the boardwalk to introduce everyone to Chek Jawa!

Enjoy the great view and find out more about Chek Jawa. Join us to check out rare coastal plants, cute fiddler crabs, aggressive mudskippers, sturdy mangrove trees, interesting bugs and more!

For more photos of the boardwalk, check out the following blog entires:
- First NHC Guided Walk at Chek Jawa Boardwalk
- An Outing at CJ Boardwalk
- Naked Hermit Crab preview at Chek Jawa

When is the next walk?
Date: Yet to be confirmed
Time: Yet to be confirmed
Duration of walk: 2 hours
Cost: $4 (does not include transport to Pulau Ubin and Chek Jawa)
Meeting Point: Chek Jawa Info Kiosk, in front of House No. 1 at Chek Jawa, a short walk from where the van drops you off location map

How to join us?
Please book your walks by sending an email to with "Chek Jawa Boardwalk Tour" in the subject line and these details:

(a) Name and contact no. of lead person
(b) Number of adults
(c) Number and age of children

Why is the group size limited?
Firstly, there aren't many volunteers right now to help conduct the walks. Secondly, it's much more enjoyable for you if the group is small. You don't have to jostle to see or hear the guide, or the wildlife being discussed. If we were unable to accommodate you this time around, hopefully you could join us in our future trips? If people enjoy our walks, we promise to continue to hold more of these walks.

Who is organising this walk?
The Naked Hermit Crabs! Who are we? Why are we naked? and more gruesome details.

Why are the walks charged?
Your contribution of $4 per person will help partially cover the transport cost for the guides, and the costs of training and developing the walks. The bulk of the costs are currently funded through personal contributions by the Naked Hermit Crabs. The Crabs will of course gratefully accept any additional donations to this cause! Thank you!

How to get there?
Chek Jawa is on Pulau Ubin.

To get to Pulau Ubin, take a 10-min boat ride from Changi Point Ferry Terminal (at Changi Village). The boat leaves as and when there are 12 passengers, and you pay your boat fare after you get onto the boat. You'll go through the same process on your return trip to mainland Singapore. The boat ride costs $2/person each way, meaning $4 to-and-fro.

From Ubin Jetty, you can take a van to Chek Jawa. the van drivers will usually gather near the Ubin Info Kiosk near the jetty. The ride takes about 15 min, and the van will drop you at the entrance to Chek Jawa. You need to go through the gate and walk for about 2-3 min to reach the meeting point - Chek Jawa Info Kiosk. The van ride also costs $2/person each way, meaning $4 to-and-fro.

You can also rent a bicycle at one of the shops near Ubin Jetty, to cycle to Chek Jawa. It'll cost you about $5/bicycle, but note that terms and conditions vary among the shops.

As the trip from Changi to Chek Jawa takes about 30 min, please ensure that you start off earlier to reach the meeting point in time.

More details on how to get to Ubin on the wildsingapore website which has details on how to get to Changi, how to get on a boat, and about hiring a van or bicycles on Ubin.

More details on Chek Jawa on the wildsingapore website.

How much will it cost to get to Chek Jawa?
The boat ride costs $2/person each way, and the van ride $2/person each way. So total cost for a round trip journey is $8/person.

Bicycle rentals start from $2-3/bicycle/hour, or you can rent it for the whole day from $5. Terms and conditions vary. There are several bicycle rental shops at Ubin Town.

Why is the group size limited?
Firstly, there aren't many volunteers right now to help conduct the walks. Secondly, it's much more enjoyable for you if the group is small. You don't have to jostle to see or hear the guide, or the wildlife being discussed. If we were unable to accommodate you this time around, hopefully you could join us in our future trips? If people enjoy our walks, we promise to continue to hold more of these walks.

Why can't I sign up for 100 people from my company?
The Naked Hermit Crabs are small and ... well ... naked. We are very sorry that we can only handle small groups at this point in time.

What to prepare for the walk?

1. The walk itself should take about 2 hours. But if you include the journey to and fro and leisure time, it will probably take about 4 hours. So ensure that you bring enough water and also some snacks.

2. We will be staying on the boardwalk and we are NOT going onto the intertidal area. Wearing a pair of comfortable shoes will be sufficient.

3. Bring a hat or umbrella in case of hot weather.

4. Please be prepared for wet weather. A poncho will be more reliable than an umbrella as you won't have to struggle with the wind. If there is heavy rain or lightning (which can happen without rain), the walk will be stopped or aborted.

5. We will meet on Ubin even if it rains, as we will proceed to have the walk if the rain stops or is less heavy and there is no lightning.

6. You may also want to bring insect repellent as there are mosquitoes in the area.

7. All stuff will have to brought along for the walk, so keep the backpack light.