Monday, June 29, 2009

I hate red tape

As usual, many permits and paperwork is required if you want to paddle to certain places in Singapore. Its almost as if the authorities are trying to discourage any paddling outside of the confined reservoirs.

The SIM Canoeing Club is trying to organise a trip up the Singapore River. I've done it in the past and gone all the way to Clarke Quay. At that time you only needed to ask permission from PUB and have a powerboat escort.
However, PUB is now asking for acknowledgment emails from SDBA, NCC, SCF, PA, Waterways Watch Society, Singapore River Cruise, Duck Tours, Singapore Explorer, MINDEF, URA, Singapore Tourism Board and an endorsement from SCF.
On top of that, they are limiting us to the UOB Plaza. So basically, all these permits are required just to go pass the Anderson Bridge and Cavenagh Bridge. Pathetic.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Culture of Fear

I've heard stories and have had first hand experiences. It seems to me that some of the staff and trainers at Water-Venture (Changi) are spreading a Culture of Fear amongst the paddling fraternity.

Here are some of the highlights.

There's an escort that brings you to the equipment when you do a rental. For fear that you might take a boat other than the fiberglass slaloms. For some reason, they dont like renting the plastic whitewater kayaks.

Here's an interesting story. A fellow paddler was told not to venture out of the demarcated area even though, he was allowed to do so, according to Water-Venture rules. He is at least 2 star certified. The staff on duty at that time told him not to go out because it was drizzling. Some weird safety precaution perhaps? Acid rain may burn into the paddlers skin and it would be good if they were near shore to seek shelter.
He ignored the instructions and ventured out. Soon after, he recieved a phone call and was told to come back immediately. The staff on duty was watching them!
Probably has some control issues.

On another occasion, one of the trainers was wearing a helmet to teach either a 2 or 3 star certification course. Maybe he was afraid of swimmers kicking his head when he tries to demonstrate the eskimo bow rescue or the eskimo roll?

I've also read comments left online and heard the Changi trainers exaggerating the conditions at Changi. If you didnt know better, you'd think you're up against 5foot high waves and unrelenting seas that will toss you around like a washing machine.
Currents and tides? Big deal. I think the biggest danger out there are the swimmers near the beach.

Kayaking/Canoeing is a safe sport, especially in Singapore. Perhaps they are trying to make the place less inviting so it becomes exclusive to them?
Or is it just one-upmanship? I paddle in Changi, therefore Im more experienced! You lower echoleon paddlers dont waste my time.

Most annoying is how they seemingly "worship" some of the old birds. Gushing like little school girls when talking about their idols. But only false gods give bad intel about their own playground.

Oh btw. I just did a trip through the Ubin mangroves without having to back track. No need to worship any false gods...

Monday, June 8, 2009

Round Ubin in my Feathercraft

Led the NJC Outdoor Adventure Club on a day trip around Pulau Ubin on Saturday. We started off from Ubin Chalet where the Asian Detours boats are stored.
While Kian Seng co-ordinated the students to move out the kayaks from the shed, I rushed to assemble the Feathercraft, this time, I remembered to put in the foot pedals! Took about 20min to assemble.
RX told me he once assembled one in 10mins! But that was with the help of another person.

The aim was to let the OAC leaders lead the trip on their own. I was attached to the expedition leaders and paddled in front with them. All I did was to provide the local knowledge and give them tips on leading the group.

Nice blue skies

Say "cheese"!

All in all, it was a good trip. Nice weather and following seas most of the way even though we took 5 hours to complete the entire trip...

My kayak managed to track fairly well and had no problems going straight. However, the boat would flex as it went over a wave making it quite hard to surf. Maybe next time I should try tensioning it to the maximum.