Apr 7, 2007

Kekek Quarry, Pulau Ubin

Another early morning, this time with November, Khew and Pauline. We were off to explore Kekek Quarry at Pulau Ubin.

The entrance to a trail on the upper edge of this quarry is next to the Thai Temple, marked by a rather mouldy sign that warned of ominous consequences. It wasn't difficult to find the trail. We just followed the rubbish line...sigh.
A short climb and we were rewarded with a stunning view!
The steep rocky slopes were cloaked in all kinds of hardy vegetation.

Pitcher plants were everywhere!
Here's November looking slack already.

The pitcher plants were blooming! A little pollen-dusted mantis was perched on a bunch of flowers, patiently waiting for its breakfast. Inside the pitchers are all kinds of animals, mostly dead ants. But the Pitcher plant spider lurks INSIDE the pitcher to snatch unfortunate insects that slide down the slippery sides. I'm not sure how the spider clings onto this deadly surface.

I didn't have the gear to shoot the spider, so left it to those who had. Khew had an impressive set up for doing just this. It includes all kinds of lights at the front end of the lens, and a monopod with spokes on the end that could take out an eyeball or two.

We went on to have a view of the quarry from another entrance. Walking along country roads with puddles full of wriggly tadpoles.

November and Khew cajoled me onwards with promises of being on the shore (which they know I much prefer to rampaging about in all this resam). Alas, the shore was barred by the Ubin Fence...still standing and not very barnacle ridden or rubbish infested.

The quarry is surrounded by grasslands, and at one edge we came upon a mangrove stream running through an abandoned sluice gate. Throughout our trip, we were accompanied by the burbling calls of bulbuls, piercing whistles of hill mynas and chirps of little birds. We spotted two hornbills, and November chased down a family of jungle fowls. Surprisingly, she said it was her first encounter with them in the wild. There were herons in the quarry, and we saw a little sunbird's nest.

The other entrance to the quarry also had ominous signage.

But the view is worth the crawl through the large hole in the fence.
After the trip, while having our lunch at Ubin Town, we bumped into some friends and their families. They were looking for a place to picnic and after hearing about our morning there, they decided to go to the quarry.

Later in the evening I got this sms from them "Thanks for telling us about Kekek. We enjoyed it tremendously and even took a dip. We saw monitor lizards and two of our group think they saw an otter. We heard straw-headed bulbuls calling and it was a wonderful birthday celebration." I knew they weren't all prepared for getting wet so I'm sure there was some nakedness involved...hmm. These skinny-dipping naturists (who are also notorious naturalists) shall remain anonymous, but they know who they are :-)

November has also uploaded a clip of our trip on her ubin stories blog.

Do you have stories and photos to share about Kekek Quarry?
Post them on the focusubin forum!

update on 9 Apr 07: The news is out...

Singapore looking to reopen Ubin granite quarry
Channel NewsAsia 9 Apr 07


Monkey said...

WRT the jungle fowls, it's actually not very surprising not to have seen them. In fact those "skinny-dipping naturists" reported hearing junglefowls too but was not as lucky to have seen them ;)

I've heard them over the years at that very location but because we usually zip around in our bikes, we never get the chance to see them or catch them from behind unguarded! So thank you for making us walk ;) it's really exciting i finally met not 1 but 4!

haojie said...

Thanks, Ria. I was about to drop you a line to ask about how the 'expedition' went. The view is truly fantastic. Wish I had gone to see it for myself. From November's clip, it looks like there was room in the van for one more...

With attention focussed on the debate on ministers' salaries, I'm not sure if the news that granite mining will resume will get noticed.

We really must reflect on our fixation with non-stop building, demolition, and rebuilding, starting with the en bloc sale fever, and all the sacrifices that go with, eg buying sand from countries that are even more authoritarian and dictatorial and that have an even worse environmental track record than ours; and losing our nature areas etc.

And if the authorities (MND/BCA/NParks) are reading this, I hope an environmental study/EIA will be made available for public scrutiny and comment in before the preparation work for the quarrying commences. This is supposed to be a world class country with really out-of-this-world class ministerial and civil service salaries, for crying out loud, so it's time to start behaving like one. Going by the government's track record for 'internal' environmental studies in the recent past, I wouldn't be surprised if the quality of their environmental assessment is less than adequate.