Category Archives: 24 hrs

Camping & Fishing @ Mamam

Shawn/ August 15, 2015/ 24 hrs, Bottom Fishing, brackish water, Kayaking, Live Baiting (Floating), Live Baiting (Free Running), Luring, Pulau Ubin, saltwater, Wild Outdoors & Camping/ 1 comments

Almost everyone was late, some more than others. I myself was late by about 5 minutes.

Omar’s caddy couldn’t wait to launch.

Eventually, after some of the shared weight had been distributed somewhat evenly, we gathered for the pre-launch photograph.

Most of us at least.

In attendance were Hermann, Hendrik, Titi, Fendy, Omar, and obviously, your’s truly.

Along and (unconfirmed right up till the moment he reached Mamam) Mael would be joining us later.

Much to Omar’s and Fendy’s annoyance, there was effectively no wind during the launch.

With 2 unhoisted sails, we made our way to the prawn farm to get us some fresh bait and some ice.

The floating restaurant Christina is open again!

Curiously, all 6 of us managed to berth at the kelong. As per normal, I’m the last to get prawns so I took the opportunity to use their facilities.

The tide was high but none of us had bothered to check whether we could cut across Chek Jawa (we’ve been forgetting to check for quite some time now). Despite being the only one in a hand-paddled kayak, Titi decided to join us the long way around for personal safety reasons.

Below is a picture of me standing on my kayak at Chek Jawa. There really was no wind at all!

Around this time, I got a call from a client about an overseas job that was to happen tonight but I had already committed to this adventure so I politely declined.

Some of the guys who you would not expect to be slow were lagging behind so the guys in front slowed their pace. Unfortunately, just like at St John’s, slowing our pace meant the tides and currents caught up with us quickly and for some, they had trouble setting their mind on the goal once they saw the water rushing past them. Later, we found out that one guy who we expected to be miles ahead of us, had actually been on the verge of heat stroke. Fortunately, he set his mind straight and paddled to slower moving waters with the guys in the lead.

Hermann and Titi were doing very well, especially considering Hermann had been towing her for some distance. They were among the first to finish the chek jawa crossing.

Those who arrived first, anchored themselves, and began to fish.

In that brief period of about 10 minutes waiting for those behind to catch up, Titi and Fendy both managed to catch some fish. Titi, with a pretty decent Red Snapper and Fendy with an unfortunate Sembilang (eel tailed Catfish).

Just a little further up, the current changed direction to match the incoming tide and those of us who had peddled ahead found ourselves drifting comfortably towards Mamam.

Then the wind suddenly started. Off in the distance, to our East, we could see storm clouds gathering and lightning thundering across the previously flat waters.

Most of us made a beeline for Mamam Beach. Up till this point, we were undecided on whether to camp at Mamam Beach or Nordin Beach, despite reports of the latter being closed off. The whether made our decision for us as Mamam was closer and fortunately that decision was the right one because as we later found out, Nordin really was closed. It was also the right one because it had started to drizzle.

BOOOOSHcraft style.

Fendy was surprisingly quick to mark his spot and so I followed suit.

Early days.

We beached our kayaks (and later anchored them in the middle of the river) and began to set up the rest of the campsite.

We met a few kayakers who had rented their kayaks from a local guy. That local guy was very helpful in pointing out to us the least slippery way to get up and down the breakwater and pointed out to us a few good fishing spots.

Charging these China clone solar inflatable lanterns. The quality isn’t very good and there have been a number of DOA ones and a number of those that die for no reason. If you want quality, go for the original, Luci Solar Lights, by mpowerd. (Especially avoid the RGB clone ones; they are useless)

In the mean time, Omar and I began to play with our firesteels. He had just bought his but I had bought mine many many years ago. Aside from a single time that I had played with it while outdoors (it was a BBQ and it was from there that this trip was born), I had never really used it before.

We caught on quick but little did I know at the time that there was so much else to learn (and that we were doing it wrongly)!

With our living quarters all set up, we began to settle dinner.

Titi was our main chef today so she settled almost all meals. She steamed her Red Snapper in aluminium foil and threw it in the coals.

It was very tasty and the meat was very tender.

Then she set out to cook the Lamb Chops.

It was very tasty too.

Some of the guys then helped to set up the kettle so that we could have English Breakfast Tea. At night. Culture knows not of time. lmao

With the food mostly settled by now, some of the guys went into the nearby jungle to gather firewood for a campfire. Someone found some cotton wool which made starting the fire that much easier and though the strong wind blew it out once, we were able to get it from embers back to flames by, ironically, blowing air on it.

Fendy had gone to sleep in his hammock by now.

At around 10 to 11pm, and after a few overseas calls (you can’t get local reception here but you can get a Malaysian signal), Along and the unannounced and uncofirmed Mael showed up.

After more food (the 2 late comers had brought snacks and jelly!), the 2 of them and I relaunched to see if we could get anymore fish. We didn’t.

Fendy, having awoken from his slumber, promised to join us but as we later found out, he merely dozed off back to lala land.

So about an hour or two later, we headed back.

As our kayaks were near the middle of the river, I left everything on except the camera. The in hull lights and external lamp were left on their lowest setting.

Then we went to sleep. Or most of us at least. Along and Mael did not plan to sleep and so didn’t bring any gear other than that for fishing.

I lay my weary head to rest on my very comfortable hammock and I began to have one of the best nights of sleep I’ve had in a while. Except for the fact that it was cut short.

A few minutes shy of 7am, I felt rain drops falling on my face.

The rain grew very strong for about 5 minutes before calming down and alternating between a moderate strength rain and a strong drizzle.

I wasn’t exactly pleased as I value sleep very highly, and to lose out on very good sleep made it worse.

We made our way to the toilets, which happened to be the nearest shelter we could find.

When it became apparent that the rain wouldn’t let up, the guys began bringing their cooking gear over.

Most of us had brought our own food to cook for dinner/supper last night but as the dinner portions prepared by Titi were quite large, we found ourselves with an abundance of disposable, bulky and heavy items needing to be consumed. A certain special someone wearing a red jacket and going by the name of Omar had also brought a truly surprising amount of shareable snacks and light foods. While a nice surprise, it had also meant that there was a small but not insignificant number of redundancies.

And that is the story of how we ate breakfast next to the toilet.

As you can see, it was a complete protein breakfast though I personally skipped the beans.

The weather kept up for a bit then finally petered out.

More English Breakfast Tea.

With the tide coming up, we were able to pull our yaks (some of us at least) right next to the breakwater to load our stuff up.

When everyone had loaded up, we headed off.

Based on the currents, we decided to head left (West) to make it easier on us.

We passed by Nordin and not only was it fenced up from the inside (we already knew it was fenced up from the outside), the beach was practically gone.

If they had built it higher they could have sold it as a “Small villa over the water”

Everyone except Along, Fendy, and I, had made a beeline for the west edge of Pulau Ubin, eager to avoid the outgoing current which would be against them. They were rattled by the strong currents they had experienced at Chek Jawa yesterday.

They literally sped off with little to no word of caution.

For our determination, I was rewarded with a little catfish, Fendy got a Kaci, and Along got a Red Snapper.

By this time, as predicted, the current had started to shift against us.

Then the currents got a little stronger.

As we were nearing the west edge of Ubin, the wind began picking up and it blew strongly against the 3 of us. The waters became extremely choppy and the skies began to get gray.

The rest of them were still nowhere to be seen.

If we stopped peddling, within a few seconds, we would be drifting backwards at about a knot or 2.

Low on battery power for my phone, and without a spare battery or charger, I headed straight for watercross. Fendy and Along joined me shortly after and the rest soon appeared on the beach too, evidently returning from the Lorong Halus dam.

I forget what this is.

I learnt many lessons that day and I’ve since learnt many more. This trip is officially my first proper step into kayak camping and indeed camping in general.

The End.

PS: Oh… and a little video. Like and subscribe!


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.

Pulau Jong

Shawn/ May 2, 2015/ 24 hrs, Bottom Fishing, Kayaking, Pulau Jong, Southern Islands, Wild Outdoors & Camping/ 0 comments

First: a disclaimer. I haven’t actually been here though I did pass it a few times.

I was looking for islands that I didn’t know about while doing some research for places to camp, somewhere coastal (for the fishing) and somewhere relatively secluded (because setting up camp at East Coast Park kinda defeats the purpose of connecting with nature).

As usual, I hit up wikipedia and scrolled through a list of islands belonging to Singapore to see if anything new appeared.

I noticed that on the Pulau Jong page, someone had added information about a foreigner who had explored the island.

Here’s his video:

and thanks to the list of the related videos that appear on that youtube page, here is an aerial view of Pulau Jong made by someone else:

Unfortunately, it would appear that the island doesn’t fit my requirements so I guess that means it’s back to the research.

 


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.

A Flying Pig!!!… and the inflatable boating chapters.

Shawn/ February 28, 2013/ 24 hrs, Boating, Night, Singapore/ 2 comments

***Long overdue post

I was very young when I first got the opportunity to be given a private boat ride.

The salesman was keen to give us a “great time” and so instructed the skipper to ride the waves like a PRC in a Ferrari. I remember my hat nearly flying off and seeing my mom’s face turn gray as she held on tight to my brother and I.

Still, as a kid, any non-emotional terror rarely scared me. In fact, I was quite angry with the salesman and told him so in as many words, much to his surprise.

Perhaps my young subconscious mind, despite that experience, realised that this was the last remaining freedom in this world and so whispered to me in my dreams every night.

I’ve had a burning itch to own a boat ever since.

As a student, inflatables caught my attention as the cheapest option short of a styrofoam box but, as a student, these were still out of my price range, and within my mom’s “No” zone.

One day a friend and I were talking about getting small and cheap inflatable boats to open up more places to us. Although he still has not followed up on the plan, I have since owned a total of 4 cheap inflatables and 1 expensive inflatable.

I started out with the Intex Seahawk 2. From that first trip, I realised that inflatables were more than just cheap toys. They were valid alternatives.

I scoured the net and talked to friends and captains and discovered that inflatables were even used by the militaries of the world! Yet all I had was an inflatable with paddles.

I was determined to fully motorise it but alas the investment in a tiny 1.5HP motor for that small boat made no sense to me and so I searched further for a bigger boat which could take my family on boating trips.

The portabotes and instaboats were ruled out totally due to poor reviews, non-compact sized when folded and poor performance and weight limits.

I narrowed my choices to a seaeagle boat and a saturn boat.

Before I made the purchase though I wanted to be sure I knew what I was getting into and so called up a local manufacturer to check out his products. That same day, I bought his boat, which had some similarities with the Saturn boat (though not a model I was considering).

The boat was insanely long but incredibly stable. The floor was also drop stitched which means though inflatable, it is incredibly rigid.

The pontoons act to keep the boat lying flat on the water. This means that in perfectly calm waters, this boat would be nearly impossible to rock. The downside of course was that it rode the waves in a weird way. I later discovered that the best way to ride small waves was abeam.

Because this model lacks a keel, the boat is easily blown away by the wind and single handed paddling can be tricky, but not impossible.

On the left you can see a picture of me just before her maiden voyage. Nick kindly agreed to come along and assisted a lot.

Unfortunately it was really heavy so I ended up buying a Seahawk 4 for use when launching solo but it turned out to be too bulky to launch solo either.

Intent on at least trying it out, I again called up Nick to see if he was interested to test it out and naturally he was.

Having had some experience with it’s smaller cousin, the Seahawk 2, I opted to launch at and head to a very sheltered area.

Sadly, this place turned out to be a dumping ground for discarded nets, pipes and refuse.

The trip was not uneventful though.

There was mild confusion when my home made stone anchor randomly broke free and we ended up being blown in to the treeline.

The other highlight was when a fellow angler, who was fishing on the bridge we were paddling under, offered us his bait and lowered it down to us using his fishing rod and a snap swivel tied to a plastic bag!

Still, the scenery was beautiful and we got to see a number of planes on final approach which was cool.


The boat handled within expectations. Just like its smaller cousin, the boat glides effortlessly over the water. So effortlessly in fact, that you’ll find yourself spinning around when using the oarlocks.

Unlike its younger cousin, the boat is extra spacious. This is quite obvious when you think about it since this can carry double the capacity of the Seahawk 2.

It also has inflatable seat cushions which make it that much extra comfortable.

A small problem might be the non rigid hull.

No one expects a low pressure inflatable boat to be rigid but because this boat is relatively long, if you sit on the gunwale, you’ll find the boat crumpling in that area. The pressure is high enough to keep it from buckling completely or going underwater but still, it is a slight concern.

Again, the rod holders are merely there to hold your rod and keep it on/in/one with the boat. It will do absolutely nothing to keep your rod pointing in the right direction (to the girls!!! oh no he di’nt!!).

Two pairs of oarlocks also means you can take turns paddling without having to bend to awkward position.

And the soft floor with the addition of a really comforable inflatable seat means I did not experience any leg cramps.


Although, 3 people did take this boat out one night and complained of cramps. Though I suspect that it was because the third person was sleeping all over their legs!

I eventually sold off this boat to two nice young gentleman. I just couldn’t see the point of having two large inflatable boats. My home was already overcrowded.

Keen on finally going on an adventure, me and a few friends made plans to explore our waters in the bigger boat.

On our very first trip, Wei Yee managed to land this beautiful (and big!) Red Drum, also known as the Taiwan Ngor.

As excitable as we were, plans were made for this to become a weekly thing. And indeed it did!

Kiat, Nick, Nigel and Weiyee were some of the people who stepped on board my humble boat.

On one occasion, we went out in two boats, one group in the Seahawk 4, and the other in my white boat.

Empowered by that surprising catch on our very first trip, we always found the energy to paddle the 3km to the spot and the further 3km back.

Alas, despite all the theorising and anecdotal evidence, we never did catch another red drum.

Kiat did manage to catch 2 large Belukangs though.

Still, the itch never fully cured and after much back and forth (the paperwork is a massive pain), I eventually bought a motor and registered my boat. At about the same time, Kiat bought himself a Hobie i9s.

To be continued….


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.