Sunday, September 9, 2012

Holiday fun at Chek Jawa!

The Crabs are back at Chek Jawa with enthusiastic families at our monthly FREE guided tour of the boardwalk.
As usual, the kids spot all kinds of interesting stuff, and we had a great time exploring Chek Jawa.
We're delighted that Dr Tan Swee Hee of the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research and his family could join us. It's Woon Yong's first trip out to Pulau Ubin and she's excited to see bumboats!
Kok Sheng is back with his students who are learning to guide with the Naked Hermit Crabs. This is part of his EXCEL programme at Dunman High School which hopes to expose students to real issues, and real efforts to address them by real people. Bravo!
When we arrive at Chek Jawa we have our usual look at the rubber tree there. An Ubin van driver who used to be a rubber tapper, taps this tree regular just so the kids can see how this is done. A dried drip of rubber tree sap twangs just like a rubber band!
When we arrived at the Information Kiosk, there were lots and lots of volunteers already at Chek Jawa. They were here for the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore effort to collect data on marine litter on all our shores. More about their effort here.
We're glad to have about 20 mums, dads and kids join us today! Kok Sheng and Daniel leads the first group off. Chay Hoon does another group, I forgot to take a photo of her.
Ivan and I take up the last group and we have a look at some of the interesting fruit trees that were planted here by the villagers that used to stay at Kampung Chek Jawa. They were relocated when there were plans to reclaim Chek Jawa, which thankfully were deferred in 2001.
Ooo, Ivan has found a tiny little cricket! I just learnt that a cricket new to science was discovered at the Chek Jawa boardwalk recently. Is this that special cricket? We never know what treasures we can find on Chek Jawa!
As we climb up the Jejawi Tower, we spotted an Osprey. Ivan points out the Changi Airport Tower that can be seen in the hazy distance through the forest of Pulau Ubin. We also enjoy a panoramic view of Pulau Tekong, Johor and the Johor Strait.
Along the mangrove boardwalk, it is the little ones who spot all the great stuff!
Little mudskipper and all kinds of crabs including tiny colourful fiddler crabs. Later on, we saw a Little heron patiently hunting along the water's edge.
I'm impressed by the dedication of mums and dads in bringing along even their youngest kids to experience nature. Here's Ivan telling us more about the Giant mudskipper that we spotted.
Mangrove trees have fascinating roots that grow upwards! They look like lots of pencils stuck in the mud!
We say hello to the mudskipper next to the shelter. Wow, it seems he has found a mate! Usually, we only see one mudskipper. On this trip, we saw two sharing the burrow that the fishes dig out on their own.
We also met up with volunteers from Ubin NParks who are working hard to clear the mangroves of 'weeds' which can smother the mangrove plants. Here's Jac explaining more about their work.
As we head out to the seaward side of the mangroves, we spot even  more fiddler crabs! Also mudskippers of all kinds.
On the way back, we are impressed by the large haul of rubbish that the ICCS volunteers have removed. Bravo!
More information have also been put up at Chek Jawa so we can learn more about the threat of marine litter.
At the end of the walk, everyone has fun drawing what they saw.
Ian draws an awesome anatomically correct crab!
Dr Tan, an expert on crabs, is impressed!
Proud mum takes a photo of the beautiful work done by these talented young artists.
Here's a slide show of all the marvellous artwork shared by the visitors young and young-at-heart.
The Crabs end off with another great home cooked lunch at our favourite restaurant at Ubin Town. There's lots of historic and informative photos about Chek Jawa and Ubin at the restaurant. Kok Sheng took the opportunity to highlight some of them to his students.
At a nearby bicycle rental shop, more interesting information about life on Ubin in the past, including encounters with a tapir.
Also an elephant, dugongs and wild boar! Although we didn't see the wild boar at Chek Jawa today, our friends who came for ICCS said they did spot them.
There's so much to experience at Pulau Ubin and Chek Jawa! Thanks to Ivan, Chay Hoon, Daniel, Kok Sheng and his students for guiding.

Looking forward to our next free guided tour of the boardwalk is on 13 Oct! More details here.

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