Portaging & Pathfinding Expedition to Mamam Beach, Pulau Ubin | Part 1
Finally feeling I was ready to begin a proper expedition, and drunk with excitement on emulating the “wild outdoors camping trips” that I’d been watching on Youtube, I managed to con-vince Fendy to join me for a 3d2n trip to Mamam Beach.
It would entail 1 portage (though I expected 2) and would bring us through the mangrove river system of Ubin to the supposedly glorious fishing waters of northern Ubin. Blinded by the sense of adventure, neither of us pointed out that while we already knew the waters themselves were quite pretty, the fishing itself was about the same as the rest of Ubin.
Watch the video below for Part 1 or… read on…
The night before, Fendy told me that he could not make it due to urgent business. Being unkeen to settle for just an ordinary 2d1n trip, I decided to make the journey first by myself. As the whole idea was to explore the mangrove system together, I decided to spend the first night at Aiwa by myself.
After I assured him that we (Fendy and I) didn’t need so much, he gave about half of what was left to the guys who were fishing next to where I had set up camp.
Did I forget to mention those guys? Yea, they appeared out of nowhere in one big group and started setting up everywhere except for where I was at and the beach directly in front of it (which was nice of them).
I tried out my portable (lol) waterproof (lol) solar panel but with the dwindling sunlight and the lack of a fast charger on the panel output itself (just shorting 2 wires together would allow fast charging but I guess they were too cheap), the charging of my xiaomi powerbank was very slow.
Night eventually fell and I began to prepare dinner and it was lovely. DIY porridge for the win.
If you’ve watched the video then you might have noticed that I didn’t remove the sausage casing from the Chinese sausages that I put in my porridge but no harm done I guess?
Sometime around midnight that big group of anglers decided to move camp.
So I psyched myself up for this solo overnighter before forgetting all about it when those big group of anglers came by, and now I found myself having to psyche myself up again.
Except that I didn’t have time to do that because I had left quite a bit of stuff outside in anticipation that at least some of the anglers would have been awake to watch my stuff (from the wild animals) so now I had to rush to get everything stowed away because I was already feeling tired.
To make matters worse, they had left quite a bit of rubbish and debris around.
Just look at the state of it. I did my best to clean up what I could but a lot of it was left over.
I did eventually get to sleep on my hammock under a tarp that I angled to give me 3 walls but I was awoken in the middle of the night to hear grunting, sniffing, and scratching just outside my tarp. Being half asleep and mildly pissed off, I hit the side of my tarp and yelled for it to go away. I was quite certain that it was a wild boar as they often circle this area. It went away for a bit but then came back a few more times before disappearing for good. When I checked the perimeter the next morning I saw that it hadn’t touched anything important and everything stored away was still stored. Praise The Lord!
Just around dawn I awoke again to hear the familiar pitter patter of Ubin’s dogs coming from the bicycle path behind me. Worried that they would try to play foul and destroy my camp I sat up straight in my hammock and gave them a strong stare through the opening of my third wall while keeping my body as still as possible. They froze for about 2 to 3 seconds before running off back in the direction they came.
I chuckled to myself and fell back asleep.
Sometime around 7am or 8am I awoke to check up on Fendy. He informed me that he was going to be late and would only arrive at around noon so I went back to sleep again slightly annoyed but also slightly grateful that I could rest a little bit more.
I think I managed about 15 more minutes of sleep before the excitement of the day ahead woke me up again and that was the end of my sleep.
I made breakfast while 3 new anglers came to “my territory” to fish. I had barely finished my breakfast when it became clear to me that it was going to rain quite heavily. The sudden strong and cold wind is what made it clear to me.
The clouds should have been a more noticeable sign to me but whatever.
I sheltered under my tarp while the rain poured down and the winds howled away. It made my tent peg fly out at one point and I spent a few minutes looking for it. If you’ve watched the youtube videos then you’ll know that this was my first real camping trip so I still had lots to learn and lots to fix.
I folded 2 corners of my tarp inwards to make the third wall. I now know how to make the gap much smaller and how to make everything more taut. For this, I used various pieces of deadfall and I cut a number of overhanging branches (branches that park services or mountain bikers were eventually going to trim and discard) to fill up the gaps on all sides of my tarp except for the main opening.
Fendy eventually arrived after noon bearing some home made mee goreng. It was a big mistake to take it and eat it but it was a very tasty mistake.
We took our time as we were waiting for a friend of ours who was also on the island fishing though not on his kayak but as we were pressed for time (the tides were critical to our successful passage), we moved on shortly after, destined for Mamam.
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.