Five Rivers and Half Ubin Kayak

In the latter half of the pandemic, the inner mangroves of Pulau Ubin were crowded with different groups of brightly colored kayaks, many from various enterprising outfits that had sprung up to cater to people’s hungry need to get outdoors. Since borders have fully reopened though, the waters have vastly emptied. In our 5.5 hours around and in Pulua Ubin on Sunday, we spotted only a handful of other kayaks / paddle boards.

Indeed, this was only my second time paddling across to Pulau Ubin this year, plus a Southern Islands paddle in March.

Heron perched on the edge of a kelong, small floating house

Even as we pushed off at sunrise, the day promised to be super hot and humid. The air hung, heavy. Shan, our intrepid leader, had planned for a half island anticlockwise paddle past Chek Jawa to Mamam River, whereupon we’d meander our way through five different mangrove sheltered rivers before coming back out through Sungai Puaka on the southern side and back to Singapore. The plan was to coincide with the rising tide, which peaked at 1pm, that would allow us enough clearance through the mangroves. That also meant a paddle against the current. …

Crossing to Pulau Ubin on what already promised to be a sweltering day
Welcome quick pit stop to empty the water from our kayaks and to stretch our legs.

Aah, actually, we ended up going against the current more that half the time that day. I was in my single Oru, and struggled at times a little to keep up with the others in their trusty doubles. Huge thanks to Judy and Stanley who shared some of their water. I had just about enough, which is to say, I should have planned for more. Judy’s was ice cold, and lemon scented, and I was really grateful for that reviving hit.

Almost 21km paddle. One of my hottest and most humid paddles. Still, very thankful I got up for it! Most of the images were from friends on the trip. 😃

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