14 March 2010

Chek Jawa with Omnitoons

This morning, I finally got outdoors! To share Chek Jawa with Debby and her Omnitoons colleagues who are developing an iPhone application to share about Chek Jawa.
It's been a long period without good low tides, so it was nice to be out on a sunny morning.

Of course, we begin the day with Pak Ali's superb Lontong! Everyone has some.
Then we pile into a van for a quick look at Ubin's kampong countryside on the way to Chek Jawa. There's durians, coconuts, rubber trees and other rural sights.
Although it's the school holidays, we arrive quite early so we have Chek Jawa all to ourselves!

Today, the forested area is festooned with enormous tree-spanning webs of the Golden orb web spiders (Nephila sp.). Liana shares stories about them, including some rather gruesome details of parasites that infest these poor spiders. While Chay Hoon does a great translation for Karen's mum.
The deafening calls of cicadas resounded in the forest. Chay Hoon spots one very close by!
Also within easy viewing are masses of Cotton stainer bugs (Dysdercus decussatus) that huddle under the leaves of the Sea hibiscus.
They sure look scary, but they don't bite.
The big highlight of the day was the 'figging' Jejawi (Ficus microcarpa) next to the Tower. Here's more about what we saw there. Along the boardwalk lots of crabs, mudskippers and MORE creepy crawlies. Marcus and Liana have more stories about them.
I was really excited to see that the big old Lenggadai (Bruguiera parviflora) was bursting with flowers! This mangrove tree is listed as 'Endangered' in Singapore.The flowers are long and skinny! I've never seen one with so many flowers before! Perhaps it's the hot weather?
The Sea apple (Syzygium grandis) was also blooming profusely. With little fruits forming as well. The trees flower after a dry season, usually once, sometimes twice a year. The white flowers last only 4-5 days. Corners describes them as having a 'sickly sweet' fragrance, and the mass flowering as 'most striking', with 'the crown whitened as with snow'.
While the leaves of the Sea almond trees (Terminalia catappa) were bright red, adding a splash of colour to the coastal forest. This happens seasonally, usually around this time. According to Burkill, this habit is 'peculiar among Malayan trees' and such 'autumn leaves' are very rare in the tropics.
The Licuala palm (Licuala sp.) at the boardwalk had sprays of bright orange fruits!
Debby investigates the Serengan (Flemingia strobilifera) and found the little delicate yellow flowers not only at the tips but also nestled within the brown bracts. There were also tiny pods in the bracts!
Among the last stops on this hot humid day was the Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia). As usual, causing much beamusement, especially when Marcus shares about this plant renowned for its aphrodisiac qualities. Unfortunately, overharvesting has earned it 'Critically Endangered' status in Singapore.
Sadly, the beautiful view at the top of the Jejawi Tower is marred by an increasing amount of graffiti. What is it about some humans that they can only enjoy something by defacing it?
It seems that every time we visit Ubin in the morning, we see a few barges hauling sand to the sand stockpile. More about sand issues.
There is a big banner at the Ubin Jetty by the establishment that has taken over the Ubin Lagoon Resort.
Among the featured facilities is a disturbing element entitled "Marine Fish Collection". I'm not sure what it really represents.
We had a big BIG lunch after the trip. And as usual, I forgot to take photos. It was nice day out with a great bunch of people. I'm really looking forward to the iPhone app on Chek Jawa that Debby and her team from Omnitoons are working on.

More about the Chek Jawa boardwalk.

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