Friday, November 2, 2012

Bintan Sea Expedition

By Shahril Khairi, Diploma in Business Management, Year 1
Early Thursday morning on 4th October, when most of us I believe, are still in bed, a group of 30 of us from NYP Adventure Club (ADC), gathered at the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal.  Our group included Student Affairs Officers Mr Wilfred Toh and Mr Raymond Kwa, We were going on a long-awaited three-day sea Expedition to Bintan Island, which we had been training hard for.

The sea expedition consists of kayaking on a double open kayak. We completed this roughly in 6 hours during the day. You must be wondering why we chose Bintan for this expedition. Well, firstly the sea at Bintan is so clean and clear that you can see your legs even when the water level is at your waist. Secondly, there were beautiful corals and many sea creatures we wouldn’t have been able to see in Singapore. Lastly, we wanted to do night kayaking, and Bintan was perfect for doing just that. Here are the highlights of this sandy and beautiful sea expedition...
Since we were so free during the two-hour ferry ride to Bintan, we went to the upper deck to enjoy the fresh air.
Upon reaching Bintan, we took a bus to Loola Adventure Resort. The bus was not as big as we expected. It was also heavily decorated and not air-conditioned! However, don’t underestimate it. The bus had a superb stereo system playing popular songs from the past.


After settling down in the resort, the locals taught us how to build a small shelter, which we would be
using during our trip. It was easy to set this up, thanks to strong teamwork.

Basically on the first day, we spent time resting by playing games and also preparing logistics for the expedition. We enjoyed using facilities such as the soccer field, volleyball court and much more.

As per usual, we always have good food to satisfy our tummies because we believe we deserve good food during a physically challenging expedition. After all, it is a morale booster when our stomachs are happy. For example, we had burgers for breakfast. Awesome!
We set out on our kayaks in the morning. When we got tired, we rafted our kayaks together and took short break eating apples. It was a different experience eating when the kayaks are bobbing in the sea.
After few hours of kayaking, we had a lunch break at a nearby island, eating sausages with bread. For fun, some of us began challenging others to skip stones on the sea.
This is an underwater picture. As you can see, the water was clear and it was like an underwater forest. It was so beautiful to me, just like a whole new world.

We disembarked at Pulau Antu, built our shelter, and prepared to face the cold sea breeze.
At night, we went kayaking around this island, and saw fishes fly over our kayaks. The moon was red and casted a dim light over us. It was a unique experience kayaking where we used our listening abilities more than our sight.

At the Pulau Antu, we found so many sea creatures such as the octopus, live hermit crab, rock fish, crabs, starfish (I prefer calling them Patrick :D) and much more. Back in Singapore, we only found empty shells along the beach and seldom had a chance to see, feel and taste our own freshly caught seafood (well, just the shell fish in the picture).

So after a good night’s sleep at Pulau Antu, we kayaked back to Loola Adventure Resort the next day. Along the way, we had games like running over our kayaks, where we rafted our kayaks together and raced by running all over them

On the last day, we had a few hours of R&R (Rest and Relaxation), where we went for cheap massages and grocery shopping.

By the end of the expedition, we were glad to experience kayaking during the day and night. Not only that,we bonded too. Not just as friends but as a family going through tough and happy times, taking care and supporting one another. It was a great way to spend my holidays - with a bunch of awesome people at a fine white sandy beach.

This expedition also taught us an important lesson. We learnt that communication is very important especially when we are out of our comfort zone and having teamwork makes our lives a whole lot easier. I believe through activities like this, it strengthens not just physical, but also mental strength. If I could use a word to describe this expedition, it would be “awe-inspiring”.

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Shahril Khairi is a Year 1 student from Business Management who loves music, history, other cultures,writing and travelling. Some say “Active” is his middle name because he enjoys adventures and keeping fit. He loves eating and judging food and has a strong interest in The Art of War and strategy games even though he enjoys peace. He is a guy who enjoys the bright side of life.

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