Saturday, December 02, 2006

Out on the Boardwalk

On 30 Nov 06 Choon Beng and friends from NParks gave the Chek Jawa Committee and Chek Jawa volunteers and friends a briefing and tour of the Chek Jawa Boardwalk.

Choon Beng gives an overview of the route. The boardwalk hugs the coast, with a bit sticking out at the Southern sand bar and a loop into the mangroves. It looks very exciting.

There was also a presentation about the educational panels and features that would be installed in House No. 1 (which is to be the Chek Jawa Visitor Centre). After some discussion of that, we went to have a look for ourselves...

Wow, House No. 1 sure looks wonderful! It's just like the way I remember it, chimney and all, but everything a lot cleaner. Joseph Lai points out some features to Yuet Tin.

Inside, it's amazing. Here is the lovely fireplace with the equally lovely Vilma. House No. 1 is considered a Heritage Building and thus restoration was a serious business with everything done carefully to preserve it.

Upstairs, it's just as nice: Joe and Vilma say.

We shortly realise (pun intended) that while the ceiling height might be OK for standard Singaporeans (like Siva on the right)--others might have to watch their heads.

The jetty has been totally repaired and is now safe for walking around. We are assured the railings and concrete will soon weather and the jetty will look less like a police jetty after some time :-)

These are the old signs that refer to the old jetty and the old state of House No. 1.

But it was still tricky to get on and off the boat for the ride to the boardwalk at high tide.

What a glorious view! The boardwalks will allow visitors to enjoy Chek Jawa even at high tide.

And see some things we don't see at low tide. A silvery swarm of fishes! A jellyfish was also spotted. If we stay on long enough, who knows, we might spot the dugong!

There is the boardwalk, hugging the coast.

Siva and Toddycats went on the first boat trip and are already exploring the boardwalk.

Here's the part of the boardwalk that follows our usual low tide route for the intertidal walk. Chek Jawa sure looks different at high tide!

We venture out to the part of the boardwalk that sticks out onto the sand flat, now well covered by the high tide. This part floats so it goes up and down with the tide (and the waves too!). This will allow a closer view of the marine life on the bottom as the tide falls.

While some are seriously discussing the panels which will allow viewing of underwater life even at high tide; Subaraj (top right corner) is checking out the birds. "Why are you looking at a hole when there's a gorgeous view?" he later asks the group. A pair of White-bellied fish eagles swooped above our heads throughout the trip.

After the exhilirating tour, we all pile back into the boat for the trip back to House No. 1.

What a glorious view from the boardwalk! The beacon at high tide with Tekong in the background. And serious weather heading in our direction!

Thanks Choon Beng and gang for a great introduction to the boardwalk. We can't wait for it to be ready.