Back on the water after lockdown

Friday, June 19. After more than two months of lockdown, we were finally allowed back out on the water. I couldn’t wait, and so took the morning off to go kayaking with three other similarly anxious friends. (Good thing we did too, as it’s pouring buckets this Saturday morning!)

I walked through Pasir Ris Park to my parents’, where I store my kayaks. It’s rained overnight, so the ground was still wet, but the air cool and fresh. There were a few other early morning joggers about.

Whilst we were in lockdown, the park services had stopped most essential services, including the cutting of grass. As a result, we tromped through knee high bunches of wild mimosas and dewy bunches of morning glory to get to the beach. One upside of the enforced stay-at-home orders: beaches free of trash.

Wild morning glory by the beach

I pushed off quickly once I laid my kayak at the water edge, eager to float once again. I pulled on my buff to cover my mouth, though wondering at the government’s logic in this directive, given that I was more than at arm’s length from anything else.

We couldn’t stop grinning. It felt glorious, so glorious, to be twisting our core, feeling our boats glide forward underneath us and hearing the comforting swish of water as our blades sliced through the calm seas. The Malay fishermen were back on the jetties and along the beach fronts too, and we cheered one another on with merry waves.

Our merry crew of four

It was a short 5.5km paddle to Changi Village. Where normally the water there was rough due to heavy bum boat traffic, we had calm landings. The hawker center had also just reopened for sit down meals, so we enjoyed a breakfast of champions: nasi lemak (coconut rice with fried chicken), coffee, and a celebratory bottle of sweating beer.

Brunch at Changi Village. Nasi lemak, coffee and beer

What a beautiful morning! The paddle back was uneventful as well, and the threatening clouds that had looked overhead on our paddle over had blown past us to the northwestern side of Singapore. I got a bit sunburnt, but it was worth it.

[Photo credit: Shirley] Mussels clinging to the bottom of the bouys lining most of the Pasir Ris beachfront, a deterrent to would-be illegal immigrants attempting to swim across from Malaysia. Those bouys are an eyesore, and make crossing over to the island across, Pulau Ubin, a pain, since we couldn’t just cut straight across. But it was lovely to see those mussels. If the water was cleaner, we would have been tempted to pluck them for dinner, as we used to do years ago by the kelongs (houses built on bamboo in the ocean).

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