I was left speechless for 3 days, literally. A slight sorethroat before camp got worse during the 3 days, leaving me with a husky voice which neither sounded sexy or audible. In fact, quite a number of the camp committee suffered from various kinds of sickness and injuries during camp, but we are thankful that all went well and everyone managed to have a great time together! Just for records, I’ll start off with the pre-camp departure, followed by what we went through for the 3 days. This post will be rather long so do bear with me.
Our logistics was prepared by Shafri and his team of ventures. They are mostly the behind-the-scene guys, but we should be thankful for them for ensuring that the campers have enough burners, gas cannisters, water, and various equipment to keep the camp running smoothly. However, despite all the checks, there were still some hiccups here and there. Tents were insufficient, not because we didn’t do our pre-camp check, but the suppliers from beach rd didn’t fulfill their obligations in giving us the fixed tent uprights in time. Most of the camp committee didn’t have a proper place to sleep at night so be thankful that all of you campers have a place to sleep at night and not freeze in the cold winds!
We assembled in School by 7am and did our last minute preparations like filling up all the jerry cans. The bus came promptly and we were able to reach Changi Jetty by 9am. The amount of logistics we brought over was mind-boggling. Among the equipment, 20 jerry cans of water (about 400 litres), 90 gas cannisters, 1 huge basket of ropes for river crossing, food and other bulky items. It took 5 bumboats to bring campers and equipment over to P.Ubin. Upon reaching Ubin, we headed to our campsite, Noordin beach. It was actually a narrow strip of land with 2 huts, one at each end. We managed to secure the hut nearest to the toilets and beat a few groups of people who also wanted to make that area their campsite. Weather conditions weren’t too good so tents were erected quickly and everyone proceeded to cook their lunch in their respective patrols.
Orienteering started just after lunch. Before that, Scouts from both Dunearn and Unity were mixed up into 5 activity groups of about 7 members each. There were 5 checkpoints and each group were to head towards their respective checkpoints based on the bearings and pacings given. The rain came on and off, and it’s a good thing everyone had their ponchos on as they moved from point to point. 8 cub scouts from Unity Primary also joined us in the activity and were pretty much involved in each of the station games as well. They had to leave earlier by 4.30pm though. The rest of the participants carried on their activities till around 5pm before we ended the day with a mass water game conducted by Venture Patrick.
Dinner soon followed. The rain stopped by then so as usual, everyone laid out their groundsheets and took out their food to cook. Ubin gets dark earlier, partially due to the fact that there are no street lamps or light from buildings around to brighten the area. By 7.30pm, it was already dark. We started off with our night hike around 8pm. It was a new experience for most even though everyone walked the same path during the day’s orienteering. Walking in the night was different since we have to rely more on our other senses besides sight to ‘feel’ the way. Our destination was Lang hut, about 15 mins walk from base camp. Initially, our GSL, Kenny, wanted to conduct a night activity on identifying the various stars and constellations, but due to the heavy cloud cover that night, we weren’t able to carry the activity out. Instead, we conducted a Solo Walk where each Scout have to muster their courage and walk alone back to the base camp. The activity was concluded by 10.30pm and everyone were given time to wash up before lights out.
By 6.30am, most, if not all have woken up. I guess it is pretty difficult to sleep in a new environment, but still, hearing the waves crashing near your tent and the morning sea breeze is a refreshing experience to all. SL Albert conducted a short morning work-out for all the campers before breakfast. After breakfast, we commenced on our S.R.I.T. (Sef Reliance Initiative Training) stations conducted by our Ventures. There were 5 stations altogether scattered around the campsite. We have the Set-a-trap station, Coconut-opening station, Fire-lighting station, Casualty-first-aid station and the Survival-shelter station. Following that, we break for lunch where we have a inter-patrol lunch competition. Each patrol is to present a main dish for judging. I must say we had very interesting dishes, including sphagetti and sharksfin!
Our next activity after lunch was the highly anticipated River Crossing. After lunch, part of the camp committee set off for Mamam beach, about 25 mins walk from Noordin to set up the equipment. The rest of us left camp around 2pm and proceeded to our destination. The tide was coming in, which raised the water level sufficiently to make it conducive for us to conduct our activity (For those who want to know, we did check the tide level forecast a week beforehand). Each group took turns crossing the river to the other side of the bank, roughly 50m in distance and back again. Everyone managed to get across and back before the weather turned bad. We started walking back to camp by 4pm but halfway through, the heavens opened and the rain poured down in torrents. Fortunately, there was a hut nearby and all of us managed to seek shelter under it. Everyone was wet and cold due to the river crossing activity. It was then a pleasant surprise that some of our Ventures who were at base camp were dispatched and brought all of us disposable raincoats. It was still raining heavily but we decided to walk back instead of wasting time sitting in the hut shivering. On the way, GSL Kenny cycled out to meet us, bringing hot water and biscuits with him. It was a commendable gesture especially since everyone was cold and hungry, kudos to him!
The rain tapered off to a drizzle by the time we reached our campsite. The tents were mostly flooded, with some containing 1 inch of water. I guess this is inevitable, especially after a heavy downpour. Isn’t it a good thing now to pack everything in your ziplock bags? ^^ Anyway, after a quick washup, everyone proceeded to cook their dinner, this time near the toilets. It was the only place that offered limited shelter besides the hut, which was packed with equipment already. Despite the gloomy weather, everyone was upbeat and had a fun time cooking.
After dinner, we had a mini campfire, chaired by 2 emcees, Zhengrong and Darryl (from Dunearn. Do you know that there were 3 Darryls there during camp?) Each group had to present a group item in between song sessions. I must say the campfire was entertaining, thanks to the camp committee who managed to spice things up!
Lights off followed shortly after.
At 4am, everyone was woken up from their sleep and told to pack up and get ready to move off. There were a lot of confusion and some even thought that it was a joke! For those who wanted to know the reason for the move… no, we weren’t chased out by NParks or anything. The early pack-up and moving out was part of the training in observing whether how fast you can react when facing such a situation. Remember our camp theme, Be Prepared. Sad to say, most of you took things slowly and did not have a sense of urgency in packing up and moving off. We still managed to set off by 5.45am and headed towards Jelutong.
We managed to reach the only basketball court in Ubin near Jelutong campsite around 6.30am. By then, the sky was getting brighter and we stopped there for breakfast. We spent about an hour or so there before setting off to the jetty. By 8am, all of us were on our way back to mainland. Everyone had another round of breakfast at Changi Village before rounding off and waiting for the bus to take us back to school. 11.30am saw us back at school and within 2 hours, we managed to clean up all our equipment and cleared up our whole Scout Den (It is spick and span now, let’s keep it this way) before dismissal.
I’ve uploaded all the photos for viewing. Do click directly and see since some of them will appear small. Also, those who are interested in having the enlarged versions of our group photos can download them here:
Informal group photo: http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e385/b1azingsun/groupphoto-informal.jpg
Formal group photo: http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e385/b1azingsun/groupphoto-formal.jpg