Sunday, February 24, 2008

Free Chek Jawa boardwalk tour 24 Feb 08

Today is the first day that the Naked Hermit Crabs are trying out the FREE Chek Jawa boardwalk tours. With a brand-new approach that is guaranteed fun for everyone! Just walk in and join us, no pre-registration required!
We pose hopefully by the lovely poster that Gaytri and LK created and set up at the Ubin Jetty entrance.

And what a pleasant surprise to meet several people who came specially for the walk. Although it was terribly muggy and hot, there were lots of visitors too who came by and agreed to join the walk.
Here's my group, Linfred, Kelvin and Maggie from the Philippines, who heard about Chek Jawa from an SIA inflight magazine and specially made the effort to visit; and the Knott family from Australia who missed out on Airshow tickets and came by to Ubin instead. They all have mangroves too at home and shared stories about them. Wow, I learnt much from them.

The tide was really high, but we still saw lots of mudskippers of all kinds: from enormous Giant mudskippers, to smaller frisky Gold-spotted mudskippers to really tiny ones frolicking in the back mangroves, which were wetter than usual due to the very high tide (3metres today!).
We also saw various crabs on the mudlobster mounds, lots of tiny fishes swimming in the pools enlarged by the high tide, and one of the Knotts spotted a mudlobster just before it slunk back into its burrow! Wow!
We climbed up the tower for a spectacular view all around.

Meanwhile, Andy was taking great shots of Chay Hoon and her group.
Satish is the best spotter of all!Andy has lots more photos of the visitors and what we saw on his brand new sgbeachbum blog

As we headed back along the coastal loop, we stopped by to listen to July's excellent explanation about the seagrass lagoon.
It got a lot cooler and we realised why! It was raining on the mainland!
One of the most fantastic features of Chek Jawa is that you can see the sky all around you in 360 degrees! So you get a really early look at incoming weather. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see a water spout.

All too soon, the showers blessed us too and we all hurried back to House No. 1.Where the visitors as usual shared such wonderful drawings and thoughts about Chek Jawa. Our favourite participant, Isaac, is here at work on his masterpiece.

Here's some of the wonderful guestbook entries...
A tribute to CH, pictured here at centre left with the many badges on her bag.

And a tribute to July and the many things he shared with his visitors.

All the guestbook entries have been uploaded to this flickr account.

We take the obligatory photos of kitty cats on Ubin before saying goodbye to our favourite island.As we headed back in the dying day, the tide got low again.
And we could see the rhino rock again.

When we first started the walk, only the tip of the rhino 'horn' and its 'forehead' was sticking out of the water!

Join us for the next FREE guided walk on the Chek Jawa boardwalk on 30 Mar (Sun)!

Thanks to the naked ones for coming to guide today: CH, November, Marcus, Andy, Robin, July, LK and Ivan. (I'm sorry I missed taking photos of the other groups and their guides, will post them once I get the photos. Or look out for blog entries by the other guides).

More stories and photos ...
Andy's sgbeachbum blog has stories and photos of our guides with their visitors, all the special finds, a great fish eye shot from the tower.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Free CJ Boardwalk Tour every last Sunday of the month!

Hi Friends of Naked Hermit Crabs,
Sorry for the long silence. We took some time to get the shell in order and now we’re back in ‘naked’ business!

We have decided to make our Chek Jawa Boardwalk Tours a monthly feature, i.e. the last Sunday of the month. You don’t even have to sign up. On each public walk day, a few of the volunteer guides will be stationed at the Chek Jawa Info Kiosk in front of House No. 1 at Chek Jawa. We will trial this format for 4 months and then review it after that.

When is the next walk?
24-Feb Sunday
30-Mar Sunday
27-Apr Sunday
25-May Sunday

(the following dates are published on 27-May-2008)

29-Jun Sunday

27-Jul Sunday

31-Aug Sunday

28-Sep Sunday

26-Oct Sunday

30-Nov Sunday

28-Dec Sunday

Time: 3 pm
Duration of walk: Two hours
Cost: no charge for now. We do accept contributions to our cause if you feel led to make a contribution.
Meeting place: Chek Jawa Info Kiosk
No sign-ups needed. We accept walk-in visitors.

What can you see from the boardwalk?
Lots of stuff! Here's what some past visitors have shared about their sightings.

More about what past visitors say about the boardwalk on the Naked Guestbook

Who is organising this walk?

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

What is the group size?
Come in small friends and family groups of around 6 people or fewer. We expect to have a few guides volunteering each time, but cannot guarantee that we will have a lot of guides. Please …. don’t organize a huge company group and show up at our free walk-in tours. We will be overwhelmed and you will go away very disappointed. We will accept walk-ins on a first-come-first-served basis and once all our guides are out on the boardwalk with their groups, we will stop accepting walk-ins. If you want to organize a corporate event, contact us at We might be able to do an event with you at a reasonable fee.

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

To get to Pulau Ubin, take a 10-min bumboat ride from Changi Point Ferry Terminal (at Changi Village). The boat leaves when there are 12 passengers on board, 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.

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.

You can also rent a bicycle at one of the shops near Ubin Jetty, to cycle to Chek Jawa. Prices vary depending on the type of bicycle, but generally they are cheaper than rental prices at East Coast Park.

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 can be found 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 $2.50/person each way (with effect from April 2008), and the van ride $2/person each way. Some van drivers may charge a higher rate if you have a small group. In most cases, the total cost for a round trip journey is $9/person.

Bicycle rentals vary depending on the type of bicycle. Terms and conditions vary among the several bicycle shops at Ubin Town.

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 will NOT be going down to the shore itself. 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. If it is raining heavily or when there is a lightning storm, we will not conduct the walks. As a rule of thumb, if it is raining on Singapore island, the guides will still proceed to Chek Jawa. We will wait for the rain and lightning to stop and then resume the walks.

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

7. We do not have any locker service at Chek Jawa. So keep your backpack light as you will have to bring all your belongings with you.