Sunday, 12 July 2009

Pulau Semakau Intertidal Walk

Yesterday - Saturday July 11 2009 - I went on the Pulau Semakau Intertidal Walk put on by the NUS (National University of Singapore) as one of their guided walks for students and the general public to be aware of what is around our Singapore Shores and the fragile sea shore environment.

NUS Workshops click here.

Project Semakau click here

Sylvia, Alvin and myself are part of the BuzzSingapore Photography Group and it was Sylvia that alerted us to the walk. Alvin brought along his daughter and so the four of us became part of the "Seahorse Group" within the main body of the group of Intertidal walkers.

We met at the Marina South Pier at 5.00am - which of course meant a 3.30am wake up call - as the boat was leaving at 5.30am sharp. It was still very dark and really no opportunity to take any photos until an hour later when we arrived at Pulau Semaka ... and you can see here on the map (grey part) where it is located and why it takes nearly an hour to reach there!It was on 16 Jul 2005, when Pulau Semakau was opened for nature-related recreational activities and members of the public that can visit the island for birdwatching, sports fishing and intertidal walks.

This is what we can see of Singapore from Pulau Semakau dock:
and then crossing the walkway and looking back at the Semakau Landfill Receiving Station:
here we see where the Landfill is gradually being covered by grass and tree's - the seeds being dropped by the birds:
Getting to the island itself requires a 45 minute long boat ride from Marina South pier.

Pulau Semakau is actually a landfill area to serve as a dumping ground of Singapore’s incinerated waste as well as construction wastes. It was formed by joining 2 islands together, Pulau Sakaeng and Pulau Semakau. To reach the intertidal walk area, we had walk about 15 mins and continue by foot past some vegetation - part of the jungle area - where there is an army of mosquito's waiting for the unsuspecting person not prepared with much repellent!!

What a view to see as we come out from the jungle area and onto the beach!!
The original Pulau Semakau which was not affected by the landfill construction has an enormous intertidal area which is rich in amazing wildlife. The natural mangroves there shelter a wide variety of plants and animals, many no longer seen on the mainland or other islands.

Looking back to the 'jungle area' where we walked thru to reach the beach..... and here you can also see the remnants of the old pier after the Kampong (village) Pulau Semakau was home to a small fishing village. Houses built on both islands were perched on stilts as most of the villagers were subsistence fishermen, making a living off the nearby coral reefs.

In 1987, the Singapore government, after having acquired the land on both islands from the islanders, set about relocating the islanders to the mainland where they were resettled in housing estate areas by the HDB. (Housing Development Board)

One of the oldest residents continued to live on the Pulau Sakeng despite his family having been resettled but he eventually moved out as well in 1991, as the island's jetty fell into a sorry state of disrepair. After which, the Singapore SPCA was tasked to round up the few cats that were left behind after his departure.

a storm is approaching as we walk quite a way out - we had to get back to shore quickly though as word came thru to the leaders of lightening - on the way, back down came the rain and we were thoroughly drenched to say the least.

After waiting for the rain to ease - we continued our walk about half an hour later.
There is a vast seagrass lagoon, possibly the largest in Singapore. The coral reefs that line the edge of the island also thrive with marine life. Here you can see where we created a 'pathway' thru the knee deep Sea Grass .....
Starfishes, sea cucumbers, corals, octopuses, seahorses... Do you know you don't need to dive to see all these exciting marine life in Singapore?

Will post more later as there is much to see and learn on Pulau Semakau!

Stay Tuned


Lumpy Golightly said...

Really interesting blog - I don't know how you find time to have all those adventures AND write about them!

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cajunsis said...

Sounds wonderful to me - I MUST do this! Wanna go again? ;-)

Leone Fabre said...

Sure do ..... but that one was the last for the year at Pulau Semakau!

Though there are others coming up elsewhere and also there maybe cancellations from school groups due to the "Swine Flu" ... we could swing a trip on one of them would be good. But lets see how you go at your end with all your housing issues first!