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Chek Jawa Wetlands Tour by NParks

So many firsts, Alhamdulillah. Although it was a second trip for Umar, it was my first time taking the bumboat to Pulau Ubin and experiencing Chek Jawa today. The first time Umar went, he went with his father.

I was extremely nervous about the bumboat ride that I asked the person who was queuing in front of me if she knew how long the bumboat ride would take. My nerves calm a bit when I was told it would take roughly 15-20 min. I mean, 15 min would pass by in a blink, is it not? 😀

Our bumboat ride.

The kids were very excited.

We were greeted by the most beautiful sight. Pulau Ubin is probably Singapore’s last standing kampung. There is just something about places with no high rise buildings. It feels like nature greets me like an old friend. 🙂

Since it is a tour by NParks, we were assigned with a guide throughout our journey. We started off with a bit of history on Chek Jawa and Pulau Ubin. Chek Jawa got its name because it was believed to be the village of the Javanese people from the island of Java, Indonesia. How apt as we are starting on Singapore history very soon with Parameswara and Sang Nila Utama as our first topic. 😀

That is a man-made well you see right there!

Chek Jawa is apparently home to six habitats – mangrove, coastal forest, rocky shore, seagrass lagoon, coral rubble and sandbank, making the place extremely rich with biodiversity. The guide walked us through how to differentiate between the home of a mud lobster and the home a crab. Apparently, the mud lobsters are nocturnal creatures so you are most likely not see them in the day. Now, I realised why I have not spotted any mud lobsters at Sungei Buloh.

We were also blessed with a close up view of sparkling salt crystals on the leaves of a mangrove tree. Although the roots are said to have filters, there is still a huge amount of salt entering the plants through the roots. One of the ways is excreting salt through glands in the leaves. It is conveniently removed by wind or rain afterwards. SubhanaAllah. Truly, yet, another fine example that the Lord will never abandon any of His creation. <3

Can’t see it here but the white spots were the salt crystals that glistened under the shiny rays of the sun. I volunteered to taste it. It is salty. 😀

We spotted an empty shell of a horseshoe crab which only then I realised that horseshoe crabs molt too! SubhanaAllah! Further down, we were informed about the agar-agar seaweed. Agar-agar seaweed can go through a drying process to get the agar-agar powder which we can find plenty of them in our local supermarkets. I was major excited because last week, I read about the origins of agar-agar to check if it is a safe ingredient for a dessert I wanted to make for Umar. 😀

Down the boardwalk, we spotted loads of fiddler crabs. The male fiddler crabs have one arm bigger than the other. Like many animal species, the male are usually the one with a unique or more colourful characteristics to attract their female counterparts.

The littlest watching the fiddler crabs

Now, the highlight of the whole trip is going down to the sandbank habitat. Prior to this, I have pre-empted the kids that their shoes were going to be totally drenched and that they have to ‘live with it’ until we get home. Of course, I did not need to because who am I kidding? Getting their shoes wet is probably a dream come true! 😀

There were only smiling faces, masyaALlah.

We had to take a vertical ladder down to the Sandbank. Alhamdulillah for all of the gracious and patient adults who were there and helped the littles safely down.

It felt like I was walking through the Botanicum and Animalium. It was truly a delightful experience.

We studied the anatomy of a sea star. Apparently, it is not a starfish because it is not a fish.

Sea Urchin

This is what makes Minyak Gamat. SubhanaAllah.

Sea cucumber

Sea pen because of their close resemblance to quill pens.

Even horseshoe crabs and crabs goes through molting!

The different types of shells which the guide reminds us not to remove any shells off the beach because the hermit crabs could use them as their new homes.

Looking at barnacles and ascidian.

This little one enjoying every bit of the puddles.

Wished we had more time because the stroll back was calming after all the adrenaline rush at the sandbank.

Saw something interesting, yet again.

Our last pit stop before we parted ways.

Till next time, insyaAllah.

If you wish to get to one of their guided tours, you can check out their schedule here: Guided Tours at Chek Jawa

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