4.30am. The alarm went off. I jolted from my sleep and sprung out of bed. After a failed attempt the day before, there was no way I was going to miss another intertidal walk with one of my heroes in #marineconservation in Singapore, #RiaTan . The weather report from National Environmental Agency had reported “thundery showers” for the day before when I had checked at 4am. Secretly grateful, I thought that the walk would be cancelled. But, I was wrong. Ria told me later that, rain or shine, they go on with their walks. Unless there is lightning then, they would find a place to take cover.
It wasn’t easy to get onto one of Ria’s walks. She would only allow you to join her if she was sure that you were not going to be trouble to her or to other people on the walks. She is one amazing woman who has taken it upon herself to document what goes on along the shorelines of Singapore on her own initative, without any government funding. So, when she invited me to join her, I was ecstatic. (Although less excited about the 5am meetup times.)
So, as it turned out, attempt number 2 to join her the next day met with another little hitch… while I was lucky to get a ride from a friend who volunteered to pick me up at 430am (he is Godsent!), what we didn’t anticipate was that the road leading to our destination did not connect with Changi Coast Road… it WAS 5am… and I was not much of a navigator at that hour,( or at any hour for that matter…) When we finally found the meeting point, everybody had left… I didn’t have Ria’s phone number, and in any case, it wouldn’t have been much use as she was unlikely to answer her phone while wading through the coast. She did say that she would not wait… “time and tide waits for no man” as they say… and the intertidal walk was very much reliant on getting to the coast at the correct tide. So there we were… looking at each other and wondering which way to go. We decided to follow the Park Connector that would lead us to the coast and hope that that was the direction that they had gone… It was dark. Very very dark. Luckily we had our torches with us. We half jogged and walked for what seemed like an eternity (but in reality probably really only like 15 mins) until we finally saw some lights in the distant shore and reckoned that that must have been where Ria and the others were.
It was. And boy am I glad that I did not get out of bed at 4am in vain. I had the most wonderful time exploring the coast. There was so much to see in the seagrass. So many little critters hiding and feeding… I wished the sun would never come up and the tide would stay away, so that I could spend more time with these beautiful little creatures. So many little crabs playing hide and seek with you. Fish that you didn’t think you would ever see in such shallow coastal waters… it was discovery after discovery….
Somebody found this moon crab basking on the sand. We took turns to take its picture. I like my picture the best, ahem… Walking around on my own, I also found treasures of my own… like this #rabbitfish
It had kept so still… that, at first I thought it was dead, until I noticed that its mouth was moving, as if it was filtering the microscopic silty water through its mouth.
There were also many little #shrimps like these little guys… no bigger than the width of my finger nail…
I am so heartened to see that we have so much healthy #marinelife and amazing #creatures right at our doorstep, and you do not even need a scuba tank to see them. We are lucky to be surrounded by water. There is so much more to see and discover along our shores, and I am so grateful that people like Ria and Dr Karenne Tun of #Nparks are doing all they can to preserve and share the beauty of our waters.
Watch this space… will share more when I go on another inertidal walk. (If Ria had not banned me yet…) In the meantime, check out Ria’s blog. It is a great resource with good updates and reporting on her recent walks.
Also, Nparks has got plenty of great information on our #marineenvironment and programmes that you can get involved with…