14 October 2012

Family fun at Chek Jawa with the Naked Hermit Crabs

I'm back at Chek Jawa with enthusiastic families for the Naked Hermit Crab's monthly FREE guided tour of the boardwalk.
We had another great morning exploring fascinating Chek Jawa!

Today Pei Yan brought a large contingent of Katong Convent Girl Guides to explore Chek Jawa with the Naked Hermit Crabs. Here she is sharing about rubber trees and how they are tapped.

In addition, we had many happy families at the walk too. Fortunately, there were lots of volunteer guides as well, with Kok Sheng bringing along three of 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.
I had the pleasure of leading a large group of families with enthusiastic young gentlemen who are very good at reading maps and finding animals too.
Oo, a Golden orb web spider! We saw all kinds of different spiders today.
Chay Hoon is helping Pei Yan to guide the Katong Convent girls who are thrilled to see all kinds of strange animals in the back mangroves. I took this photo from the Jejawi Tower where we had a panoramic view of Johor, Singapore, Pulau Tekong, and on the way down had a look at a curious nest of leaves made by Weaver ants.
Mums and dads and kids then had lots of fun spotting crabs and other little critters along the boardwalk. We even saw one tree climbing crab nibbling on a leaf!
I was delighted to see several Blue-spotted mudskippers. The Chek Jawa boardwalk is one of the best places to take a closer look at them. The tide was rushing in so all animals were lively. We also saw a Giant mudskipper and all kinds of small mudskippers.

Even the littlest ones had fun.
While the older ones took great photos of all kinds of animals that were seen here.
Oh, Ley Kun has spotted a large Malayan water monitor, that splashed away deeper into the mangrove forest. But the boys kept an eagle eye on it as it moved about.
The tide was really high today! This meant that it was easy to spot lots of fishes like mullets and young needlefishes. The kids spotted shorebirds on the rocks and Kok Sheng spotted a Great billed heron hiding among the trees which the rest of us missed.
The beautiful Critically Endangered Delek air trees were in full bloom, their pretty purple flowers could be seen even from the boardwalk. This tree was thought to be extinct in Singapore until they were rediscovered in Chek Jawa. They are also found on Sentosa, Pulau Jong and some of our other undisturbed shores.
The pontoon that heads out to see is still under repair. Hope it will be fixed soon.
Raphael takes his turn to tell the fascinating legend of how Pulau Sekudu came about. It's the little island on the left in this photo. He did a great job at it!
Dad has found a durian! Alas it was unripe, but still, an interesting encounter with one of our favourite fruits in the wild. Earlier on, we talked about how mangroves are important for a good crop of durians. Because flowering mangrove trees support the population of nectar-feeding bats that also pollinate the durian trees.
All too soon, we are back at House No. 1 where everyone had fun sharing their thoughts and encounters in drawings for the Naked Hermit Crab guestbook.
The Katong Convent ladies reviewed photos they took along the walk as they put down their thoughts.
Working together to fill up a guestbook entry.
As we were drawing, Ivan spotted the wild boar quietly foraging near House No. 1. We stayed behind the wall as she slowly snuffled in the leaf litter to look for edible bits.
Keeping our distance, the pig just went about her business.
Here she is in front of the jetty at House No. 1.
A last look before she headed down to the shore. Wild boar are quite capable of finding food in our forests and shores and there is no need to feed them. If we don't disturb them we can get a glimpse of these amazing wild animals behaving naturally.
Following the incident at Chek Jawa where an elderly woman fell following an encounter with the friendly wild boar, there is now a new sign to tell people to move calmly away from these wild animals, to avoid using flash photography and do NOT to feed the animals. If we treat wild animals with respect, we can enjoy looking at them without any people or animals coming to harm.
Loud rumbles of thunder alerted us that it was time to leave before the storm. We got to our favourite Ubin restaurant before the heavens opened up. This restaurant is a living museum with lots of old photos of life on Ubin and Chek Jawa. Kok Sheng took the opportunity to highlight them to his students before we sat down to a well deserved lunch.
Come join the Naked Hermit Crabs for the next FREE monthly guided tour of the Chek Jawa boardwalk. More details here.

Posts by others on this trip
  • Pei Yan with lots of information and photos about Chek Jawa.

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