Wednesday, April 23, 2008

ski 360 @ east coast park

one sunny saturday morning with miko, raycee and alan. our first time to try cable skiing - we tried kneeboarding first(a bit bumpy sometimes but relatively easy after a few tries). we noticed only kids and old people and us were using the kneeboards so later on we shifted to skis :). double ski was more complicated and i fell so many times - its either i wasnt leaning back enough or i was leaning too much on my side or i was trying to straighten my legs too early - i always end up on the water with the skis floating beside me.

as expected, raycee (aka mr.accident prone) got himself a bloody knee and got a free 30-minute weekend pass because of it!
lets get ready to rumble :)

on our way to the ski 360 park

miko, lala and alan with kneeboards

miko was the first to try :)

eto na si mr accident prone. and he's blaming the mossy path as always

after my nth time to fall on the skis

our 2 hour pass(64 sgd on a weekend) went by so fast that we didnt even get to try the wakeboards. we'll definitely be back!

at the hawker just beside the ski360 - nasi ayam penyet(yummy!), fried hokkien mee and satay

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

birthday ni tanya

ang bilis talaga ng panahon... 1 year old na sya. marunong na maglakad, madaldal na nga e at marunong magpose sa camera. naka dress na nga nung birthday party nya at naka-havaianas flipflops pa (na palagi nya naman hinuhubad basta may pagkakataon, mana sa ninang :) ). ang tawag nya kay bess ay mommy, ang tawag naman nya kay ay joey ay mama. ang cute talaga ng inaanak ko!

tanya and mama

si joe habang nakikipaglaro kay tanya at nate

birthday girl

bess, cath, lala, joe and joey

kids watching the magic show

kids impressed with the magic

ang pamilya segarra

matapos ang birthday party ay dumiretso kami sa swimming pool para magtampisaw. unang swim ito ni tanya at talagang naka bathing suit sya :). sobrang naaliw sya sa tubig at kahit nga obvious na giniginaw na sya ay ayaw pa umahon.

nagmamadali pang maglakad sa swimming pool

Friday, April 11, 2008

pulau ubin

i admit it is a bit ridiculous. i've been living here in singapore for almost 3 years now and ive never set foot on pulau ubin yet. and to think i live in the east coast side which is just a bike and bumboat away from this island.

in fact it is so near that i just biked from my house to the ferry terminal in less than an hour and a half. and there i waited.. and waited for my friends.
9am: ok im still early. i'll just wait for them while i watch the bumboats come and go. (these are the bumboats bound for pulau ubin)

10am: they're kinda late but its all right. the view is nice and i get to see people load their bikes on the boats just like this group.

10:30am: they are very late. i'll just cycle and walk around the changi beach. i found a doll's lower body.

11am: they finally arrived and we've decided to get some lunch first at the nearby changi village hawker center. this stall is very popular for its nasi lemak.

after the 10-minute bumboat ride(2 sgd per person), we arrived in pulau ubin. here's anet and cath checking out the bikes for rent

denden didnt know how to bike so she and roy had to get the tandem bike. here's roy looking very exhausted. tandem bike is just not fit for this trail. our next project is to teach denden how to bike :)

cath, roy, denden and anet having a break

we weren't able to cover much ground - not with roy and denden's tandem bike in tow. and the rain did not help at all. by mid afternoon, it started to pour down really hard and we were stuck in some sheds most of the time. it was still fun just hanging out with these guys. here we are at the chek jawa mangrove tower, it was a bit scary because while we were climbing the tower, we saw a few lightnings.

pulau ubin with miko

i had to come back, i didnt see much the last time(2 weeks ago) i went to pulau ubin. this time i asked my old dive buddy miko to come with me.

we were early this time. we had a quick roti prata breakfast at the changi village hawker centre and then we're off to pulau ubin. here's miko and my bike during our 10-minute bumboat ride. (2 sgd per person plus 2 sgd for my bike)

decent mountain bikes with disc brakes for rent (20 sgd)

miko and his bike at the ketam mountain bike park

it was a very hot day and we really wanted to dip in the water. it wasnt inviting at all though, we found some rubbish here and there.

we passed by a chinese cemetery just beside one of the bike trails. most of the tombstones have a photo of the dead.

lunch at last! we had steamed fish, prawns, kangkong and heineken! :)

miko trying to say "we're lost!"

a fiddler crab we found in chek jawa wetlands. we saw colonies of them!

miko and me at the chek jawa coastal walkway

the chek jawa coastal walkway and the very green seagrass bed

uncle cleaning my bike :)

it was a fun day. we cycled on some nice trails and saw a big monitor lizard, colorful birds, fiddler crabs and mudskippers along the way. miko said he'll buy a bike soon. i want to come back to pulau ubin soon :)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

pulau dayang

Pulau Dayang is the second biggest island of the Aur group, the others being Pulau Aur, Pulau Lang and Pulau Pinang. The island is 65km off Mersing, which looks deceptively close to Singapore if you look at the map.

I booked a weekend dive on this island for my Advanced Open Water Course, so on one warm friday night, I boarded a bus full of young and noisy divers from Bugis which will take us all the way to Mersing jetty. Most of these divers looked like they already know one another so I was a bit of an outsider. And then I saw Andreas looking very comfortable and more or less as out-of-place as me. I remember him from our classroom training because he's the star student who filled up in advance the Knowledge Reviews on our course book, while the rest of us struggled to listen to the lecture and fill up the questionnaires at the same time. I thought to myself that's a good point to have in your dive buddy right? So I sat next to him and asked him if he's french. He was actually swiss. He's spending his 6-month sabbatical in Singapore while doing his Phd and I thought if I could get him as my dive buddy, we can ace our Underwater Navigation exercise. I reckoned compass reading and some navigation stuff would be elementary for him.

So the next 3-hour bus ride wasn't too bad especially when I had my soon-to-be-buddy to chat with, even the long wait in the ferry terminal was fine, but the rough and bumpy 4.5 hour boat ride was a bit of a torture. It was also freezing cold inside the cabin and with only my malong* to wrap myself into, it took almost all of my self-control not to grab Andreas' blanket.

I still managed to get some sleep though how I dont know, and when I woke up we were almost in Dayang. They had these dorm-type rooms and I just picked a random bed and tried to sleep some more, we were only given 3 hours to sleep before we start diving.

A view of the Pulau Dayang from the pier

Next day, Carla - our dive instructor assigned us to our dive buddies and I was glad to be teamed up with Andreas. Our first dive was just a fun dive so Carla can check our bouyancy and all. I was a bit stumped when everyone started setting-up their own equipment. You see I took my Open Water Course back in 2005 and since then I haven't setup anything again - I always let the resort do the work. So while everyone was setting up, I intently observed how to mount the bcd in the tank, connect the regs to the bcd, check the air, check the SPG, etc. We did our pre-dive safety buddy check (thank god!) and in a short while, we were finally underwater.

setting up our equipment

We've only been in the water for 30 minutes and I havent seen much yet when Carla signaled us to surface already. It seemed that some of us were almost low on air so we had to finish the dive early.

this is me with my new yellow split fins :)

For our 2nd dive - we had to do our kick cycles and compass reading underwater. Buddy and I finished our task early and so we had some time to explore while the others are still navigating. We saw lots of hide-and-seek christmas tree worms and they're always fun to play with when they burrow themselves inside the corals that they live in but reappear again after a short while.

false clown anemone fish

Among all the adventure dives we're taking on that weekend, night diving is the one im most looking forward to. It was definitely fascinating, we went to the same divesite we visited during the day but we saw a whole new set of creatures, nocturnal ones that you wouldn't normally see during the day. It was also fun turning off all our lights and disturbing the planktons around us - their bioluminescent characteristic make them seem to sparkle underwater. (couldn't bring my camera though)

A rock in the shape of a lion (Batu Berhala) in Pulau Aur

It was deep and drift dives on the following day. I enjoyed drifting because there wasnt much work involve, and so I was able to take more pictures. We saw a huge more than a meter bumphead parrotfish which made my day :). There were also a lot of puffers, featherstars and the last one we saw was a cute baby green turtle.

baby green turtle

After our dives, we had some free time so buddy and I explored some parts of the island. Pulau Dayang has a gorgeous beach with fine white sand. We were more drawn though with the impressive granite rock formations of the island and if we had time we would have wanted to climb it. The summit was rumored to be inhabited by giant kingkong mosquitoes.

buddy andreas on the beach after our dives

from top left to right: 1) our room, 2) the other room occupied by very neat people, 3) dining area/social hall, 4) sun deck

The trip back to Singapore took us 9 hours. And so I finally got my advanced open water license, made new pals, and unfortunately got bitten by some parasitic larval forms. I was itchy all over on most of the way back, and my skin developed pimple-like red bumps. I recently found out it was called a swimmer's itch and since I've been previously exposed to these parasites, I'm now allergic to them. Oh well, next time I'll just make sure to wear fullbody wetsuit.

sunset after our day 1 dive

*malong is a woven multi-colored cloth from mindanao that can be used as a blanket, dressing room, hammock, etc.

Hello 2017

Hello blog, it has been 4 1/2 years since my last post! I thought I'd just give you an update with what's happened since then: I...