Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

Rays of Hope

July 10, 2009

morning
^ Pasir Ris Park (Snapped on Fri 10th July 2009)

Ketam Mountain Bike Park

June 29, 2009

Eagle’s Nest, Golden Orb, Overshot, Black Cobra. Seems like the codewords in an SAF Open Mobilisation Exercise. Rather, these are some of the names given to the mtb circuit at Ketam MTB Trail located at Pulau Ubin. I had the opportunity to traverse the ‘beginners’ routes of the Ketam MTB Park with much huffing and puffing two weekends ago.

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^ Map of Ketam MTB Park.

But before embarking on such a strenous activity, it was time to tuck into some food at Changi Point hawker centre. One of the stalls I usually patronise at Changi Village hawker centre is Wing Kee Ipoh Hor Fun (since 1976).

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^ Wing Kee Ipon Hor Fun located at Block 2, Changi Village.

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^ The image already makes me hungry.

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^ After a hearty breakfast, it was a short walk to Changi Point Ferry Terminal to board the bumboat to Pulau Ubin.

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^ An old hand securing the mooring ropes before we embarked.

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^ The best seats are those with the verandah view located at the back of the bumboat.

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^ At $2.50/person and a 10-minute boat ride, another set of old hands seen at Pulau Ubin jetty putting their experience to work in ensuring a stable secure before the passengers disembark.

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^ A picturesque view of the shores of Pulau Ubin seen from the jetty.

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^ Welcome to Pulau Ubin.

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^ Ubin Town. The buzz of activities at the heart of the island. Some of the two storey houses have been converted to bicycle rental kiosks, provision shops, coffeeshops. A way for the islanders to make a living.

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^ Away from the bustling crowd. Heading in a westerly direction along Jalan Jelutong, one can see the urban and rural folks.

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^ At the Y-fork where Jalan Jelutong ends and Jalan Wat Siam begins, you will see this signboard which marks the entrance to Ketam MTB Park. Don’t forget to take the left trail at the Y-fork junction.

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^ Keep the environment clean so that others may have an enjoyable experience too.

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^ The easy routes for beginners are relatively flat. But beware of the sandy gravel surface that may cause a loss of traction if you happen to brake suddenly.

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^ On the shoreline situated southwest of Pulau Ubin along the Ketam trail, anglers were seen hoping for a good catch. In close proximity of Pulau Ubin are two smaller islands. Pulau Ketam in the background. The other is Pulau Sekudu located on the southeast of Pulau Ubin near Chek Jawa.

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^ Water-ski. It was probably because this stretch of waterway is shielded from the main shipping channel where vessels do not ply due to its shallow depth.

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^ One of the many signposts that provides the name, description and distance of the circuit. The degree of difficulty range from the Blue trail for beginners to Double Black Diamond for the expert mtb cyclist.

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^ The easy route along Eagle Nest…though I did not spot any eagle’s nest around.

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^ Meandering along Pine Ride route.

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^ it was huff and puff on an upslope to the top of the knoll arriving at Pipit Hut. Time to take a break.

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^ At Piput Hut, you have a panoramic view of the surroundings. In the photo is Ketam Quarry and the circuit of Ketam MTB Trail circumvents the Ketam Quarry. Be careful as you near the edge. One mis-step means all the way down. Judging from the land form and terrain, I’m not too sure how one gets out. Some skills in rock climbing may come in handy.

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^ Lush greenery surrounding Ketam Quarry.

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^ In the opposite direction, you can see the the cluster of kelongs and well as the shoreline of Singapore and the urban areas of HDB dwelling.

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^ Colour codes denoting the degree of difficulty of the circuit.
Blue trails are for beginners.
Black (single Black Diamond) trails for the advance cyclists.
Black (Double Black Diamond) trails for the expert cyclists.

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^ Some of the more treacherous trails that you should take caution if you are unfamiliar in riding on such terrain. Better to dismount and walk.

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^ You may notice the beauty of nature around.

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^ You don’t want to have any of these biting you. Keep a lookout.

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^ Wonderful weaver of webs. But don’t walk/cycle right smack into it with the spider clinging onto your face.

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^ I had only covered a small section of the blue trails for beginners. Perhaps I would take the more difficult ones. While on the way back along Jalan Jelutong, one can see the durian trees bearing fruit.

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^ As the bumboat sailed back to Changi Point, you cannot help but experience the rustic charm of a bygone era on this little granite island called Pulau Ubin.

Dive…Snatch…Lift-Off

June 21, 2009

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^ Spotted at Tampines MTB Park this morning.

Birdie Breakfast

June 18, 2009

Two Sundays ago while cycling at Pasir Ris Park, a series of loud squawking stopped me dead in the midst of my pedalling. It was definitely the sounds from some birds. Curious to find out the source, I dismounted and walked quietly to a tree where the squawking was heard.

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^ At first glance, one feathered friend was spotted.

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^ Then, two appeared. Both were busy having their breakfast and do not seemed perturbed by the close proximity of my presence.

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^ Its sharp claws grasped the seed pod while its beaks cracked open the pod to reach the seeds inside.

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^ The marks on the seed pods can be seen after all that pecking.

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^ There were actually three of them. You can spot the third that was partially hidden by the clump of seed pods.

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^ A hearty Sunday morning breakfast.

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I have no knowledge in the identifications of bird species except for the common ones. Perhaps if there are any ornithologist out there who can provide some information or useful links on its name, feeding habits, and habitat. Many thanks.

Cycling at Changi Beach Park

April 3, 2009

A quiet day cycling along Changi Coastal Road which is part of the Eastern Park Connectors Network. If you travel further up the road past the various spots along Changi Beach popular with visitors and campers, and past the SAF Ferry Terminal, you will find yourself enveloped in another environment of lesser buzz fill with tranquility.

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^ A pavillion shelter with the location map of Changi Beach Park. The red arrow shows the location of “You Are Here”.

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^ A new feature of bicycle rental for cyclists. You can rent a bike from any one of these PCN Pit-Stop stations located along the Eastern Park Connectors Network  and return it to any stations along the route. Much better than those bicycle rental kiosks where you have to cycle all the way back to the station where you first rented the bike. A time to refuel as this is just the beginning of an ardous journey. Why? The next photo says it all.

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^ No water supply for the next 7.9km. So refuel at the Pit-Stop and perhaps have a spare water-bottle with you.

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^ This stretch of distance covering 7.9km is known as the Coastal PCN. Its route runs parallel to the runway of Changi airport and beyond, passing the golf course of NRSCC, right upto the National Sailing Club at the ECP. It is also a good opportunity to take a rest-stop along this route under one of the little shelters while watching aircrafts take-off and land.

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^ Along one section of the Coastal PCN, trees were being felled. Why? Below was what a friend of mine in the Canadian forestry industry said:

This is the practice of high-stubbing. It is a means of preventing “windthrow” or what foresters called “blowdown”. The location of this tiny tract of forests lies by the sea and so it is subjected to heavier than normal shore winds. Besides, these coniferous trees are useful for the timber industry and would likely be purchased at very low stumpages rates by local sawmills for furniture and other forest products. Stubbing – that’s what the guy in the cherry picker is doing.

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^ When the tree trunk fell, there was a loud thud that reverberated in the immediate surroundings. From the spot where I stood to snapped this photograph to the spot of the cherry-picker where the tree fell, the ground shook for a moment when the tree trunk hit the ground.

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^ A cyclist zipping by. A popular training route used by triathletes, weekend cycling warriors, and the casual biker.

If you run out of ideas where to cycle or have not explored this segment of the Changi Coastal PCN, you might just want to pump up those bike tyres, strap on your helmet and head to this location over the weekend.

Sunrise

March 29, 2009

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^ The morning sunrise after Earth Hour.

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^ Friends along the beach.

How Stuff Works

May 21, 2008

What causes an earthquake like the one that measured 7.8 on the Richter scale that devasted the province of Sichuan in China? What about cyclone Nargis that swept through Myanmar? Came across a site that provides explanations to these questions we often wondered about at www.howstuffworks.com.

Here is a short videoclip on how earthquakes are caused: http://videos.howstuffworks.com/howstuffworks/236-how-earthquakes-work-video.htm.

Owl @ Pasir Ris Park

May 19, 2008

Chance upon sighting a baby owl next to the cycling track while pedalling my two-wheeler at Pasir Ris Park yesterday. Not sure which species does it belong too. To prevent it from being unknowingly crushed by cyclists or accidentally trampled by joggers, a fellow cyclist and I prodded it onto a piece of fallen tree bark, lifted it and placed it onto a low hanging branch of a tree. Hope it manage to survive.

Mind-control sex swap

April 22, 2008

An interesting article I came across to share with readers. Wonder if such technology will become of age during our lifetime.

And if the female likes that sound, she’ll surrender to his advances.

Read the story

Take a walk in the park

December 8, 2007

Oh NO!! Not another 42km distance again? You guessed right. But this time round, it is not the gruelling marathon we are talking about. Rather, it is the distance connecting the parks located in the eastern parts of Singapore. Known as the Eastern Coastal Park Connector Network, it stretches for a distance of 42km linking East Coast, Bedok Reservoir and Changi. With such park connectors, there is no worry about having to step onto roads with vehicular traffic. It’s time to bring our your bicycles or inline skates to enjoy the outdoors again. For the marathoner, this will be your trials for preparing the marathon distance of 42.195km. More news from Channel News Asia about the Eastern Coastal Park Connect Network and the vodcast from Straits Times.