Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Announcing our Sentosa Walks 2008

If you have been following our blog, you will know that the Naked Hermit Crabs is one year-old this June. In fact our inaugural walk took place at Sentosa on 5 June 2007!

Time flies. It is also a wonderful feeling to be one year-old and the satisfaction of having done something good for the wild and threatened shores of Singapore!

Hey, we’re celebrating and what better way than to go back to where it all began for us. Sentosa! Mark these dates.

6-June (Friday) - we had a great trip out!
9-June (Monday) - sorry, we are full!
6-July (Sunday) - sorry, we are full!

Let’s make it a double celebration. 5 June is World Environment Day! Join us in our mission to showcase the diverse marine life and natural beauty on our shores. We will bring you on a mini adventure to a beautiful natural shore tucked away in a corner of Sentosa. There will be lots to see. Just read our old blogs on Sentosa.

However we do need you to register for these walks. Write to us at our email address (nakedhermitcrabs@gmail.com) and let us have the following information:

- Name of contact person
- Telephone number
- Preferred date(s) of walk
- Number of people in the group and their age

Meeting place and time = we will inform you when we confirm your attendance through e-mail. The walks are in the morning.

Do take note that we DO NOT accept walk-in’s at our Sentosa walks. Sorry about that.

Triple Celebration!

Now for more good news. You will be happy to hear this. We used to charge $5 per person for our Sentosa walks. But this year, the Sentosa walks organized by the Naked Hermits Crabs are sponsored by Transitions Optical. So the Sentosa walks are FREE this time round!

Transitions Optical, world leader in the manufacturing of plastic photochromic lenses, have spent the last few years educating the public about the dangers of UV rays and the need for protection of our eyes. Thus, it is fitting that Transitions Optical support our passion of protecting the wild shores of Singapore. We are delighted with this financial and moral support provided to us.

Please read on for Some Really Useful Information:

Why is the group size small?

Because we want you to have an enjoyable trip! When the group is small, you can hear the guide’s explanation and see the specimens better. We are also concerned about excessive trampling on the precious animals that we are showing you. We want minimal impact on the fragile shore as far as possible!

Is this walk suitable for the very old and the very young?

The answer is No. But it is suitable for kids in K1 and K2, and of course for our seniors who are fit and active.

Why can’t I sign up for 50 people from my company?

The Naked Hermit Crabs are small and …. well… naked. We are sorry, but we can only handle small family and friends groups of up to 6 people right now.

How to get to Sentosa:

Nearest MRT station is Harbourfront
You will be able to board buses and the Sentosa Express.
Cars and taxis are allowed to enter Sentosa, but not motorcycles.
More details on the Sentosa website.

Entrance fees to Sentosa:

While our walks are free, you will have to pay your own entrance fees to the island.
$3 per person for entry by bus/monorail, inclusive of free use of Sentosa bus and rail within Sentosa all day.
$2 per person for entry by car/taxi. In addition, there is a $2 charge per car.
More details on the Sentosa website.

What to prepare for the walk?

Wear covered sports shoes. Diving booties are ideal. Don’t wear your very old shoes. We’ve had lots of visitors whose shoes gave up on them halfway and they had much difficulty with the trip after that (not to mention, the danger of getting cuts). Make sure your footwear still have good traction as we may need to step over some slippery rocks at some point.

Please know that open sandals and slippers are NOT suitable. For your own safety, we will not allow you to take part in the nature walk if you do not wear covered shoes.

Wear lightweight clothes, preferably sportswear or outdoor wear. Long pants are good for protection against scrapes and sand fly bites.

Wear a hat. Wear sunblock. Wear your protective eyewear. Hey, do you know … Transitions Optical lenses block 100% of UV! That’s cool!

Bring drinking water and a light snack.

Bring a change of footwear to go home. Your shoes will get wet.

Keep your backpack light as you will need to carry it with you during the walk.

We look forward to meeting you real soon!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Guestbook Entries for 25th May

Here's some of the wonderful guestbook entries made by our visitors yesterday. It's always so interesting to see what they have to say at the end of our walks!

Wow! This person really remembered quite a lot from the guided session!

To have a high chance of seeing starfish, you'll have to book a session with the NParks volunteers, who'll bring you off the boardwalk and onto the shore itself. =)

Another person, who has learned much from his experiences at Chek Jawa. Yes, atap chee comes from mangroves, specifically the fruit of the nipah palm!

Here's a drawing made by one of our young visitors. Aren't the fiddler crab and the mudskippers really cute?

I think this is supposed to be a drawing of me in action, pointing out the fabulous things that can be seen along the boardwalk. =D

A beautiful sketch of the boardwalk.

It's amazing to see the various artistic talents of our visitors. And it's really so encouraging that people are able to appreciate the beauty and value of places like Chek Jawa.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Chek Jawa Public Walk, 25 May 2008

It's the last Sunday of the month again, and the Naked Hermit Crabs are back in action at Chek Jawa!

Quite a few people had heard about us or visited our blog, and so were at Chek Jawa specifically to take part in our guided walk.

The tide's very high, so the seagrass lagoon and sandbar are all submerged. But even so, the scenery is beautiful.

Ivan led a bunch of fun-loving students, who were fascinated with the many mudskippers they saw along the mangrove boardwalk, as well as the story of where atap chee comes from. Here they are filling in entries for our guestbook.

A white-bellied sea eagle was spotted soaring over the Jejawi Tower.

Though the weather was really hot when we first began, things really improved later on, with an overcast sky and nice cooling breeze. So our visitors were able to have a relaxing and scenic stroll along the coastal boardwalk.

The groups led by LK and Ivan were treated to the splendid sight of the hornbills flying around right in front of House No. 1. Cool!

We've had such fun conducting our monthly public walks at Chek Jawa. At the beginning of this year, we were not sure how the response would be like. Initially, we decided to try out our current schedule of conducting our walks every last Sunday of the month, and review things after 4 months. But over the past 4 sessions, the response has been so great, that we are definitely going to carry on.

Thanks to LK, Ivan, Bian, Haliah and Vyna for coming down! And a big thank you to all our visitors, for all your support, and your lovely entries in our guestbook.

Watch out for us in June!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

25th May - Free Chek Jawa Boardwalk tour

School's out!

Come and join the Naked Hermit Crabs in their monthly free tour of the Chek Jawa Boardwalk. You will see more, learn more and enjoy more! What will you find in Chek Jawa? Find out more about rare coastal plants, cute fiddler crabs, aggressive mudskippers, sturdy mangrove trees, interesting bugs and more!

This free walk is held every 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.

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.

Time: 3 pm meet at the Chek Jawa Info Kiosk
Duration: Two hours
Cost: no charge for now, but donations accepted.
Contact: nakedhermitcrabs at gmail.com

Oh, this tour is suitable for kiddos and grown-ups alike. Just come!

To find out more about Ubin and Chek Jawa, and stuff like "how to get to Chek Jawa", please read our FAQ sheet.

The Crabs

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Dugong Ambassadors and Naked Hermit Crabs at Chek Jawa May Day outreach

Today was a fabulous gathering of folks from the Naked Hermit Crabs, TeamSeagrass and more at Joseph Lai's amazing Dugong Ambassadors at Chek Jawa! This May Day outreach is also to celebrate International Year of the Reef. Here are some of the volunteers on the way to Ubin, checking out Siti's spiffy new educational materials fresh out from International Seagrass-Watch.The event involves the homeschool families, a delightful bunch of people we met earlier at Joseph Lai's Changi seashore walk and November's seashore blogging workshop. Here is the ever gentlemanly Andy making sure everyone gets on the jetty safely. It is also sponsored by Intel and their volunteers also turned up for the event.

The event started off with a very quick tour of the Chek Jawa boardwalk. The Naked Hermit Crabs were among those who brought everyone around.Andy shared about the critters in the mangroves.November had a very enthusiastic and large group of families.While Marcus enthralls with stories of civet cat poo ... in white circle.

Unfortunately, I didn't see Ivan or Haliah at the tour, must have missed them in the loops of the boardwalk.

Of course, what is the event without dugongs!Where do these come from? Well, as I explained to those who asked, Australia has the largest number of dugongs and there are also dugongs in ... (at this point I would usually get cuffed on the head). These fibreglass dugongs come from Ubin Lagoon Resort, now renamed to Kampong Ubin.

Shortly, we gathered for an inspiring launch by Joseph Lai.And immediately went on to the three simultaneous events!

First, there were designated Dugong Ambassadors who would set up at stations throughout Chek Jawa to explain to visitors about dugongs.

Siti, November and young friend formed the Ambassadors who shared about seagrasses.Meanwhile, on the shores, there was a contingent of Intel staff and homeschool families out for Beach Cleanup, with Andy lending a hand at it.Despite the hot humid weather they combed through the back mangroves and hauled up all the trash they found there.MEANWHILE, back at House No. 1 the homeschool families were busy with the mural!As well as expressing themselves on paper.Here's some of their amazing masterpieces...And all too soon, we had a group photo and it was time to go home.What a fabulous opportunity to share about Chek Jawa and dugongs!

Thank you to all Naked Hermit Crabs who came for the event: Andy, November, Marcus, Ivan and Haliah.

More about the event on the wildfilms blog.

If you'd like to learn more about seagrasses and our shores, come for these upcoming talks!

3 May (Sat): Secret Shores of Singapore by Ria Tan
2pm at the Botany Centre, Singapore Botanic Gardens

6 May (Tue): Seagrasses are not just for dugongs by Siti Maryam
11am at the Botany Centre, Singapore Botanic Gardens