Written by: Joanne Koong, Asstant Sixer & Scribe
“I am so excited! I cannot wait for the bumboat ride!” All the scouts were bubbling with excitement about the trip to Pulau Ubin. For the first time in history (I think), our scouts were extremely attentive and we only had to do the headcount once! Well done!
After much anticipation, we finally reached the jetty at Changi Village where we could board the bumboats. We were making such a ruckus that Kaa glared at us and all of us immediately kept quiet. As most of the boys wanted to go to the toilet, the girls boarded the first bumboat to Pulau Ubin!
The ride to the Pulau Ubin was very scenic and we were even fortunate enough to see a bumboat pulling a barge containing heaps, no…. mountains of sand! Every time one of us spotted something interesting, everyone else would go ‘oo’ and ‘ah’.
Within minutes, we reached Pulau Ubin. We waited at the jetty for the others. Kaa briefed us on why the adult leaders were carrying sticks - to ward off monkeys and wild boars! Not long, we started on our hike. Our target was to reach Chek Jawa. Life on this island must be very different from Singapore - there were lots of greenery, and no tall buildings, cars and buses. All the vans, which were taxis, had licence plates starting with the letters “PU”. I guessed that “PU” stood for Pulau Ubin.There were many bicycle rental shops.
Our first stop was the Chek Jawa Wetlands. Along the way, there were many interesting sights - kampong houses, palm trees, coconut trees, colourful flowers, etc. A man appeared from among the trees with 2 durians! Unfortunately, I noticed there were all sorts of litter scattered on the ground and along the shoreline. It took us 2 hours to reach Chek Jawa.
Upon reaching the wetlands, we lined up in indian file. I noticed there were some motifs on the gate at the entrance. After a short walk, we reached a tower. While waiting for our turn to go up the tower, my six noticed a few crabs on the ground. It was a bit tiring to get to the top of the tower but the panoramic view at the top was amazing.
We continued our hike along the boardwalk. The mangroves had unusual roots. We noticed a few mudskippers at the shallow waters. We stopped for a while at the Visitors Centre as some cubs needed a toilet break. Soon, we continued walking. There was a lot of murmuring about hunger and lunch. After walking for 2 hours, we finally stopped at a large covered area for lunch.
“Ahh!” all of us chorused. We were relieved that we managed to complete the hike. According to Kaa, we walked about 8.2km. We were dispersed to our sixes. LUNCH!! FINALLY!! We wolfed down our food as we were famished. Om nom nom..
After lunch, while we were in Indian files and being briefed by Kaa, a Caucasian lady approached us. To our delight, she was a cub scout leader from Worcester, Birmingham in UK! She shared that cubs in UK do a lot of similar things as us, but they have less camping and hiking due to the cold weather. Their Scout Promise was slightly different:
On my honour, I promise I will do my best
To do my duty to God and to the QUEEN (Yes! The Queen! This is the difference.)
To help other people and to keep the Scout Law
We also played games such as “Evolution”, “Bomb”, and “Scissors, paper, stone!” We had a super fun time! It was hilarious to watch those who had to perform forfeits as they looked very silly.
At about 2.15pm, Raksha reminded us it was time to leave Pulau Ubin. Before heading to the jetty, she asked us how many flights of stairs and how many steps per flight there were at the tower at Chek Jawa. (Answers: 8 flights and 14 steps per flight)
We trudged happily to the jetty as most of us were looking forward to going home. The bumboat ride was choppy. During this time, I reflected on the day’s event. I had gained more knowledge about Pulau Ubin - the kampong-like houses, less traffic with no traffic light, and most people walked or cycled on the island. During the hike, I saw many different types of plants, flowers and fruit, including durians, rambutans, coconuts, palm trees, birds of paradise, hibiscus, morning glory, etc. There was lots of greenery which relaxed my eyes. I heard many different bird calls, too!
On our way back to school on the bus, a few cubs fell asleep, exhausted. The rest chatted nosily. Thank you, Raksha, Kaa, Mdm Kerina, Mr Lin and Mr Cheong. What a wonderful experience and unforgettable hike!