Sunday, October 20, 2013

Announcement: Chek Jawa Boardwalk trips in November and December

Hi friends of the Crabs, we are pleased to announce the 2 public walk dates for November and December. Do join us to explore the mangrove region of Chek Jawa from the safety and comfort of the boardwalk. We welcome visitors of all ages as long as you're able to walk 2 km with us on a boardwalk.

Chek Jawa is rich in plant and animal life. The volunteer guides, including several student leaders from Dunman High, should be able to show you lots of interesting animals in the mangroves. On a typical outing to Chek Jawa, one should be able to easily spot mudskippers, tree-climbing crabs, fiddler crabs, snails, bugs, monitor lizards, kingfishers and even snakes. Of course, sometimes we can get really lucky with sightings such as otters, white-bellied sea eagles, Oriental-pied hornbills, woodpeckers. No trip is ever alike, and that's the fun of it all. The kids, in particular, are excellent in spotting animals. So kids, you have some work to do when you come for one of our 'Crabby' walks. Just like last month, we would not have spotted the otter if not for the keen eye of one of the kids. Read about the awesome walk in October.

Our outings are fun and educational although a tad tiring. Come prepared for both hot and wet weather. It is always nice to get out of the city to enjoy the natural woodlands in Pulau Ubin. Make an effort too to understand nature conservation issues, especially because we all live in an urbanised country, and we tend to lose an understanding of what it means to share our space with animals, plants and natural habitats.

Dates: 2 November and 7 December (Saturdays)
Time: 9:30am
Duration: 2 hours
Meeting place: Chek Jawa Information Kiosk, Pulau Ubin
Charge: Free

Click here to get to our online signup page. We will give you a confirmation by email. Do be patient with us as replies may be delayed. If you have questions, feel free to write to us at

Do read on to find out what you need to do to prepare for the walk....

Monday, October 7, 2013

Dugong and more at Chek Jawa!

Yesterday's public walk at Chek Jawa was awesome! There were sightings of the white-bellied sea eagle, otter and.... a dugong!

Gosh... it was so exciting, I don't even know where to begin describing the sighting! The last group (Ian Siah with his family and friends, and Bernadette and friend) led by Leykun saw the dugong swimming in the area between the Chek Jawa front beacon and the coastal boardwalk. 

We first saw a large pinkish-brown animal with a large strong tail moved just about 25m in front of us. We shouted "Dugong!" and fumbled for our cameras. By that time, the dugong sank into the water and we could not see it any more. There were large ripples around. Half a minute later, it surfaced again, and its large body and tail still visible. We could tell the animal does not have a dorsal fin. It was slow-moving, certainly not traveling fast in the water. It disappeared from sight after a few seconds. All of us hung around hoping for another glimpse of the elusive animal. And it came back, 8 minutes later (according to the timestamp on our photos), and at a location further to the right. Here are the photos contributed by Leykun and Ian.

timestamp 11:28:12
11:28:53 AM
11:28:53 AM

11:28:54 AM
11:36:11 AM
(photo contributed by Ian Siah)
Chek Jawa has excellent seagrass meadows in the inter-tidal region, so we are not surprised at all to see a dugong in the waters off Chek Jawa although we all know just how elusive it is. The wildsingapore website has a good writeup about dugongs, what they eat, and their status and threats to survival. Do have a read.