Saturday, May 26, 2007

Blessings for the Chek Jawa Transect

Well, it is always good to count your blessings no matter what you do, and I do really feel blessed during the day of CJ transect on 22nd May 2007.

First blessing is with regards to the weather. The forecast given the night before says that there will be predawn and morning showers with thunder. This sent me with jitters and I quickly reminded my friends who are helping me to come regardless of bad weather or not. Thank God for answering my prayers, the weather was not stormy, only slight drizzles at the beginning and it turned hotter as time passed. Phew.... And what was surprisingly timely is that the thunderstorm and strong wind came straight after we finished the transect... wow.

Second blessing is to hire a cab in the morning at about 6:10am. This is not a good time to get a cab because it is the time for them to change shift as explained previously by a friendly cab uncle whom we chatted a lot! He even chatted about tides in Sarawak different from the diurnal ones in Singapore.. ok, before i get drifted away, straight after 6, when midnight surcharge was gone, I had a lot of difficulty waiting for a cab at Sims Ave. Normally before 6am for other predawn trips, I hardly have to wait for more than 2 mins I can get one. After waiting for quite long, I was about to call for a taxi through phone. Thank God He sent a taxi when I was about to do that. What was interesting was when I got into the taxi, the friendly uncle kept saying I'm very lucky. He wanted to pick up passengers at the right side whom was also waiting for one. But because of heavy traffic, he decided not to pick them and instead went straight ahead more and saw me at the left side. He said most passengers usually wait at the right side though. Anyway, sorrie for the long long paragraph here, but I'm really glad God helped me a great deal, even in small ways, I wanna thank Him!

Third blessing will be my friends which I'll commend them more later on in the post.

After a long long wait at the Changi point ferry terminal, even with a chat with Ria who was heading for Sekudu, we finally left the place after I decided not to wait anymore but to pay for the rest of the boatfare so it can leave. In the bumboat, I met a kind Nparks officer and he told me that the gates are opened already, so no worries. Thanks Ria for reminding me to check out on that. I'm just too blur to think of everything needed. We met Mr Chu, the van driver who drove us to CJ. He chatted with me about his mother in law family living in CJ back then and he does fishing for a living. He even shared that during a blasting of the quarry, a rock flew all the way and hit passed the roof which ended up injuring his mother in law's head. Gosh!! She was hospitalised for quite some time. So when Kekek quarry reopens, pls take heed of all warnings to avoid the place okie? It's not funny to be dangerous.

Upon reaching CJ, we quickly walked to the furthest two transects to start first after much briefing was given. Along the way while we were walking along the sandbar, I tried to talk and walk to show them some stuffs, because its the first time Khairul and Weilin came to an intertidal shore. What a waste if they totally didnt know what gems we have there.

Here's the transect set up with red poles for line of sight and 100m measuring tapes.

Also to thank Siva for helping me arrange for the logistics from Eco lab to get these tapes, GPS and the quadrats. Thanks also to Angie from Marine lab for another GPS.

Here's a good intro portion to my friends. Actually 7 are supposed to join me. But 3 of them couldn't come on the last min, so we ended up with 4. Here's Raymond and Weilin settting up the transect. Raymond is in team seagrass and he is pretty familiar with how to do it..yea. Weilin's first attempt over here but she is very helpful despite her legs come out often from her loose sport shoe that get stuck in mud. Her cheerful disposition definitely made the tiring day more enjoyable.

Here's Khairul and Siyang doing the transect. It's also Khairul's first time visiting an intertidal shore...

and look here, I was so pleasantly surprise he is very dedicated into making sure the transect is done well and accurate despite this is not his project. This photo i must definitely share over here.

Criminal photo no. 1 with Weilin...haha

Criminal photo no. 2 featuring Raymond

The middle two transects took us 1.5 hrs or more for each group. This is because it is as long as 500m and it stretches across the seagrass lagoon which is very muddy. Every step is difficult esp for Weilin. I'm so sorry she has to go through all these... falling down, mud splashed on her face, getting made fun by Raymond as a pig rolling in the mud... hahahaha. Really hilarious as she accounts all these to us.

Halfway through, towards the direction of Changi airport, we saw this.. Dunno what actually.

The tide was indeed coming in like crazy after 11am and we rushed like mad to try to complete the last two short transects. I wanted Weilin to take a rest from the last 2 transect thus told her to take our belongings and go back to the entrance to wait for us. Actually it was not so easy but instead adventurous! Do read her vivid account at her blog here.

After we slogged to fight against the tide, we finally could call it a day with blisters on our feet, mud on Weilin and Khairul's feets as they dont have booties. Thunder and rain started to tell us to get out while Siyang and I tried to retrieve all our belongings back and gathered at the info kiosk outside house no. 1 where the heavy rain immediately poured.

Wonder how all these entanglement can be solved.. it takes a lot of time and a lot of patience.

Ok, time for some photos to remember this vivid day.

Siyang smiling despite thirst, exhaustion etc.

After a good fulfilling lunch at Ubin, all is not over, it's time to clean up. Well, I'm guilty that they have to help me on that. They are really rare friends indeed that help me a lot.

I wanted to get a good rare shot of Weilin looking like an auntie. She's a city girl ok? So this is rare.

Ok lah.. here's a nice shot to cover up the aunty shot. You deserve a big award for being such a brave girl in a foreign place.

Inspired by Ria's photo at the end of Sentosa transect 06, I wanted to also share how to clean and dry so many 100m tapes in a 3 room flat. It was everywhere including kitchen, living room, bedroom etc. Was a big mess!

To end up, I want to thank God again for everything. Also thank my friends for their selfless help. We were really very tired, exhausted, irritated, thirsty, frustrated etc that day because we were shorthanded and couldnt afford to take a rest at any time throughout 3-4 hours.

Thanks for making a difference in big or small ways. Without you all, I surely cannot do all these myself. Thanks again for being true blue friends who are willing to go the extra mile. Esp to Siyang who accompanied me for 2 recce to Chek Jawa through bikes in the early mornings.

Thanks also to Siva my supervisor, Ria, Dr Dan, Joseph Lai, Zeehan and everyone who has helped me.

That day was really memorable to me.

And that marks the end of this series of low spring tide trips. Till next time...

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