10 December 2011

Massive family fun at Chek Jawa!

We have a huge gathering of families and kids for the last Naked Hermit Crab tour for the year!
We also had an interesting encounter with Mama Wild Boar, other cool critters and the guides celebrated with a massive Pepper Crab lunch.

Ten happy Crabs head out to Ubin this sunny morning. We are so glad to have the Student Councillors from Dunman High School with us as we expect 85 visitors today! Read more about their reflections on the EXCEL Exposure blog.
Even before we began our walk, Mama Wild Boar is spotted with her young ones. Everyone rushes over to have a closer look.
After we observe Mama for a while, Ley Kun explains that Mama is trying to cross the path to get to the other side.
The visitors kindly make an opening so the path is clear.
Mama and her babies come a little closer.
Then make a dash across the path! Shortly followed by another of her piglets.
We hurry over to the other side and the young piglets give us another chance to take a closer look at them.
After the visitors kindly gathered for our massive group photo, Ley Kun got us quickly sorted out to start the walk.
I was so glad to guide the Teo and Pang families. They were great at spotting stuff and were a joy to share Chek Jawa with. I'm so encouraged that there are so many parents who feel it is important to bring their kids outdoors and who make much effort to have them appreciate nature. Hurray!
The tide was so high today, the water sloshed all the way to the other side of the boardwalk on the coastal side!
With the rushing incoming high tide, we saw lots of Giant mudskippers! Also lots of other kinds of mudskippers and crabs. We even saw a Mud crab (my photo of it isn't very good).
As usual, its the young ones who find the good stuff. Mums and dads were were also good at spotting interesting marine life in the mangroves.
A toad is spotted in the incoming saltwater! Wow, my first time encountering this. Thanks to Ivan for identifying this as a toad. At first I thought it was a frog.
It's a bright bright blue day!
We also saw lots of little spiders, cotton stainer bugs and even this nice large dragonfly.
Fortunately, it was a breezy day and the stroll in the sun was quite enjoyable. The tide was super high! Strangely, we didn't see much fish today.
All too soon, the walk ended and it was time to draw for the Naked Hermit Crab guestbook. These precious drawings will be kept to show what Chek Jawa mean to kids and other visitors. And hopefully, these sincere thoughts will help protect Chek Jawa for the future! One of the kids drew an Angry Boar! Others created lovely colourful drawings, or cute little sketches.
I'm always stunned by all the amazing drawings and what the kids can remember from our short walk!
Kok Sheng had a friendly and enthusiastic little helper to gather all the wonderful drawings done by the kids. Thank you!
As dark clouds loomed and it was time for a last photograph before we headed back to Ubin Town for a well deserved lunch!
We met up with Mama once again while waiting for the van!
Chay Hoon has another batch of lovely Christmas presents for the guides!
Pei Yan got the spotted one and Ley Kun got the pink one. Aren't they adorable!
To mark the end of another wonderful year of guiding, Ley Kun is treating us to Pepper Crab. We get four fresh ones right from the tank!
As the crabs are being prepared we enjoyed our other traditional favourites. The food is delicious as usual. Thank you Ley Kun!
The Crabs finally arrive! But wait! Before we eat it, Auntie requested that she have a nice photo of the dish to put into her menu. Kok Sheng very kindly obliges with a good aerial shot, while the rest of us restrain ourselves despite the delicious smell.
Although our mouths watered at the sight, we realise this doesn't make for a great photo.
So a little re-arrangement, a dash of colourful garnish and wow, this looks a lot better, don't you think?
As soon as the photo taking was over, the crab was very quickly devoured.
Alvin is determined to get every last bit out of the crab claw. We protect ourselves from shell shrapnel as he works on it.
In the end, only tiny bits of very clean crab shells were left behind. If we want to continue to enjoy eating seafood, we need to protect our marine ecosystems. Mangroves and seagrasses are particularly important for crabs and shrimps, and the young of fishes that grow up to live in deeper waters where they are caught for the table. And Chek Jawa has lots of mangroves and seagrasses!
It has been a delightful year of guiding families at Chek Jawa with the Naked Hermit Crabs. We will be taking a break in January but will resume the free monthly guided walks in February 2012. Do visit the Naked Hermit Crabs blog for updates!

More about this trip on Kok Sheng's blog.


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