Sunday, June 18, 2017

Chek Jawa Wetlands Tour (Pulau Ubin) - Part I

It has been a long, long time since i went back to Chek Jawa mudflats or after been managed by NParks, the Chek Jawa Wetlands Tour. Registration is via the NParks website and cost $60 for a group of up to 15 pax. The dates and timing for this tours are dependent on the tides and tours are arranged when tides of 0.5 metres or below occur exposing the intertidal flats making it suitable for exploring. That means waking up early in the morning and likely on a weekday as well. There are evening low tides as well, but i guess depending on lighting condition, public tours to Chek Jawa mudflats are likely in the morning. For this tour (16th June 2017) i was fortunate to be invited by my friend and his family who knew of my love for Ubin. The meeting point is at the Chek Jawa Information kiosk and getting there requires taking the bumboat from Changi Village ferry terminal ($3 one way) to Ubin Jetty. From there, you could either rent a bicycle there or pay for van ride there (estimate $2 per pax one way)

Rising sun over Pulau Ubin 

Local resident checking us early "birds" out 
The walk to the Chek Jawa mudflats starts downhill from the information kiosk and one of the structures you will see is a well that in the past i remember using to wash up after a walk in the mudflats. I remember there was a pail with rope attached in which i could drop into the well and pull up the crystal clear cold water to wash up. That was in 2003. Fast forward 2017, the well is locked up. The well and the Muslim tombs nearby is a reminder of the residents who once lived, work and for some died there.

Its the macaque's breakfast time

Resident Wild boars curious to see what the buzz is about 

Family of wild boars too busy foraging for food 
We started with the board walk, experiencing the eco-system's there including how to identify the different type of mangrove trees there based on the trees breathing root structure, such as pencil thin Pneumatophores of the Avicennia trees as opposed to the larger conical Pneumatophores of the Sonneratia trees. Nearer to the coast line, the prop or stilt roots of the Rhizophora or Bakau trees take prominence and plays an important role of preventing soil erosion and during high tide, the roots become an instant nursery to small fishes and crabs as larger predatory fishes are unable to navigate their way in the maze of roots.

Board walk with Nipah trees 

Unknown Insect 


Rhizophora / Bakau Tree

Mudskipper 

A curious Fiddler Crab 


Morning rays 

Beautiful Chek Jawa during low yide

Look for the next article [ Chek Jawa Wetlands Tour(Pulau Ubin)-Part II ] where we went down and learn about the living organisms that are found in intertidal flats of Chek Jawa. The NParks Chek Jawa tour can be found from their website.

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