09 September 2012

Chek Jawa: teeming with volunteers!

I'm back at Chek Jawa with enthusiastic families for the Naked Hermit Crab's monthly FREE guided tour of the boardwalk.
There were lots of other volunteers at Chek Jawa too! Working hard on all kinds of threats that affect our shores. Bravo!

We meet so many familiar faces today. Rick at Ubin Jetty gathering volunteers for the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore (ICCS) effort to collect data on marine litter on all our shores. We also bump into Pei Yan, Andy and more. What is ICCS about? More details here.
In the queue for the bumboats were Robert H leading a tour. Also leading walks today were Subaraj and Sek Chuan.
Ahead of us, a phalanx of bikers!
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 arrived at the Chek Jawa Information Kiosk, there were lots and lots of ICCS volunteers there, ready to clean up Chek Jawa.
The Crabs had a great time guiding families at the boardwalk, spotting all kinds of interesting marine life. More about what we saw here.
Meanwhile, volunteers from Ubin NParks led by Alan are working hard to clear the mangroves of 'weeds' which can smother the mangrove plants.
Jac spared some time to share more about their work.
On the way back from our tour, 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 our walk, the kids share what they had seen. Young Ian has drawn an awesome anatomically correct crab. Dr Tan, an expert on crabs, is impressed!
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!
These days, the first thing to do when we get to sit down is catch up with a different kind of socialising (as Ivan explains).
Even the young ones do it! We enjoyed a fabulous lunch and are surprised and grateful for the lunch treat by Dr Tan. Thank you!
It seems to be mangrove seedling season! We saw flotillas of them bobbing in the water near Ubin Jetty as we were leaving. It's fascinating  how the seedlings float 'upright' all ready to root in mud when they make landfall.
Oh dear, we spot an abandoned drift net right next to Ubin Jetty. Thankfully, ICCS is there to clear this mess. Driftnets are threat to our marine life, here's more about them.
All kinds of large vessels ply the waters around Chek Jawa. We saw this huge ship pass by Pulau Sekudu from the Visitor Centre at Chek Jawa. There are massive shipyards in Singapore as well as major ports at Johor along this part of the Johor Strait.
As we headed home, we saw this strange structure being shipped along the channel.
Earlier, on the way to Ubin, we saw the usual convoy of barges carrying huge piles of sand. This is a regular sight.
It was heartening to see so many people working hard to share and care for Chek Jawa today!

More about Pulau Ubin and Chek Jawa: how to get there, what to see and do and how to make a difference for them!


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