This was a fairly last minute trip.
First suggested barely a week before New Year’s Eve, this trip, at one time swelled to 6 participants before eventually falling down to 2, Nordin and I.
The main issue was transportation. Nordin and I were the only ones who had our own vehicles with roof racks.
Fishing was an option but due to time constraints, we mostly decided against it, with the final decision being made just before we set off for East Coast Park.
Despite our setting off late and getting caught in large traffic jams, we managed to make it to the carpark (and there were exactly 2 lots available) and unload everything in short order. Rod holders were not mounted, fishing rods were left in our vehicles (we both brought our gear, just in case; jigs and any artificial baits were the name of the game), and we managed to get everything ready in under 5 minutes before lugging our near bare Kayaks to the shore in double time.
The launch was unusually chaotic. There we were, trying to launch in the quickest but coolest fashion possible, but the ocean was having none of it. Waves were crashing every second and to make matters worse, barely a metre from the shoreline was a sudden drop in the sea floor. Crawling into the kayak with our asses high in the air was a no go, what with all the onlookers at the crowded beach.
It was during this melee that my ram mount holding up my fish finder broke. Short on time, I just picked up the fishfinder that was hanging by its wires and dumped it in the hull. It’s very uncool to whine about damaged gear in front of an audience, unless that audience consists solely of fellow kayakers.
After mounting our kayaks ala the SAF’s Low Wall, the peddle was pretty straight forward. The waves were only crazy where the drop off was.
The change in scenery was breath taking. When I looked back at the shoreline, all I saw was sand, lights, and tall buildings in the background. Then when I looked to the ocean, that was all I saw, no islands or structures were visible. Of course, there were still tons of ships with their lights but through the gaps, I could only see horizon and I was enchanted by the view.
The anticipation of watching the fireworks and the excitement of trying to make good time probably added to the ‘feels’.
We eventually made it to the viewing area with significant time to spare. Water currents in our favour and a slight tail wind made for a short trip.
We spent the remaining hour or so drifting back and forth. We didn’t anchor because we weren’t sure where the best view was, although we did know where the bad views were.
The whole thing felt extra Christmassy because it felt as if only a select few were gathering for something special and unique, and indeed we were.
I shone a torchlight directly into my face to make this shot work. It was a mistake.
We whiled the time away taking sporadic pictures and peddling back and forth, trying to imagine where the best angles would be (alas there weren’t many – The Marina Barrage and Marina Bay Sands blocked a lot of the action).
I discovered here that the camera on my Samsung Galaxy S5 did not perform up to expectations. Its low light capabilities were worse than my old Samsung Galaxy S3. (I’ve since tweaked a few settings so it’s a little better, but it’s still pretty #weaksauce).
When the fireworks finally started, it caught me slightly by surprise as I was still peddling to the spot that I had chosen, but I managed to keep the lens on the fireworks while moving… most of the time.
The choppy waters and poor low light performance of the camera phone did not help.
Apologies for the shaky and poor quality video but I thought I’d post it up anyway for posterity.
Throughout all this, boats were dashing in and out, and moving between and around others, to get the best views, boats were honking and boaters were shouting “Happy New Year” while others shouted back. There was one particular group of anglers who were on a very large and very bright boat who coordinated their “Happy New Years”. It all felt very festive and special.
When it was all said and done, we made a beeline back to our launch point. The wind and current were against us and we intended to head back home as quickly as possible.
Halfway back to the shore, we came across a large group of kayakers with hand paddles. Based on their speed relative to ours, I’m not certain that they made it to the Marina Barrage to see the fireworks. We hung around them to socialise and offer well wishes for the New Year. It was here that we discovered that they were on the same channel as us (our walkie talkies). The problem with analog channels and ‘privacy codes’ is collisions occur and no one really knows about it.
As we were nearing the shore, i leaned over the side of my kayak to retrieve something when my torchlight with a brand new battery fell out of a hole in the lifejacket pocket. I had been meaning to get it fixed. At least it wasn’t my phone.
Happy New Year! ….ish.
Shawn started fishing in 1994. He caught his first fish (an Ah Seng) on that very first trip to Changi Carpark 4 (before it was barricaded). He built up his fishing knowledge and gear over the years but still keeps his old gear, just like the memories.