Last weekend was a very busy one for me. I was hosting my Malaysian friends at my house, but I’ve already signed up for a nature walk at Sentosa on Saturday morning, and was also organizing a surprise birthday for one of the girls in the night. I had wanted to back out but decided not to, as all the vacancies for the walk were still not filled.
So last Saturday morning, Mike, Aaron and I woke up early and drove to Siloso Beach at Sentosa. This walk was organised by CTSS PSG and because of the limit in number, only the committee members were invited to go. Our guides were volunteers from the Naked Hermit Group (NHG). The group discovers, protects and reseaches on marine wildlife in Singapore. Their passion for preserving and protecting the marine life in Singapore was obvious, as we were briefed on how as not to damage the reefs during our walk – try to walk only on sandy beds, avoid stepping on rocks (they may be corals), seagrasses and sea weeds as there are probably living creatures hiding there. Don’t pick anything, even seashells.
We were divided into groups of six. My guide, Ivan, was a young Geography teacher. We walked around Rasa Sentosa Shangrila, traspassed though the hotel backyard and was chased off by a gardener. He relented only when Ivan told him we had permission. Behind the hotel is a secluded natural beach. I say natural because the rest of the beaches in Sentosa are man-made, with sand imported from Indonesia.
The guides told us that we were visiting the original underwater world, au natural and with free entry. As we walked along the shore, Ivan described everything in sight with loving attachment. The cliffs and caves sculpted by thunderiing waves through the years, the stong roots from the forest above holding precariously onto it, the tide line marked by seaweeds, the dead corals etc. Nothing was left unturned.
We waded into the clear, shallow water, cautiously stepping onto the footprint left behind by those infront. It was difficult, as we were clad in sport shoes, and walking in wet shoes on uneven terrain, holding onto cameras and trying not to step on any rocks or seaweeds required certain balancing skill.
Ivan proudly pointed to us the different kind of seaweeds, as if showing off a prized possession. Then among the seagrass, he spotted a juvenile bat fish swaying alongside.
Further up, we saw the few precious hard and soft corals. If Ivan hadn’t pointed them out to us, we wouldn’t have spotted them.
In this little piece of habitat, currency snails, turban snails, toxic red egg crab, hairy carb, squid, and many others struggle to survive. Not far ahead, ships and boats roared passed, oblivious of this little paradise.
The looming dark clouds in the horizon terminated our walk prematurely, for the guides did not want to risk any lightning encounter. Although it was a short one-hour walk, i was grateful to be shown this side of Singapore. How long more can we preserve this, I wonder.