25 April 2015

Day trip to Pulau Satamu and Raffles Lighthouse Tour

The Paradise island of Pulau Satamu 
With the kind courtesy of the Maritime port authority of Singapore and the Singapore shipping association, I had the opportunity to visit the pristine island of Pulau Satamu . Located just under an hour from the marina south pier, this tiny island is home to swaying coconut trees, crystal clear opaque waters ,vibrant corals and the iconic Raffles lighthouse. Restricted to public, Pulau Satamu only opens for MPA guided tours during the Singapore maritime week.
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Marina South Pier
On the day of the tour, we assembled at the Marina south pier bright and early to take the ferry over to the island. Unlike Tanah Merah  and Harbor front terminals, the marina south pier services the smaller southern islands of  Kusu and St John's. As we waited for our turn to board, many small boats dotted the horizon, overshadowed by the large shipping vessels.

Once on board the ferry, we received a quick briefing from our  captain who had a great sense of humour.

"In case of any emergency", he said, "the life jackets can be found under your seat. Wear it and just jump lah! If you cant find one, grab whichever one you can and jump lah! " As soon as he said that, the entire crowd erupted in a fit of laughter :)
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On the deck hoping to see dolphins
The infinite stretch of vivid blue ocean greeted us as we set sail .Since, I tend to easily get sea sick , I stood on the deck throughout the  journey and enjoyed it immensely! The cool ocean breeze along with the excitement of visiting a secluded island and possibly sighting dolphins made me stick to the deck like glue.
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Islands on the way
As we steered past Singapore's posh Sentosa cove, the seascape transformed and became more clear and vibrant. Tiny islands such as these occasionally popped up leading to a frenzy of photo enthusiasts clambering over to the deck to get the perfect shot (me included)! I had often seen small islands from the aircraft but seeing them up close was an incredible experience.
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Island Ahoy!
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Raffles Lighthouse at Pulau Satamu
Land Ahoy!

After sailing for about an hour, we soon approached our destination as the little island of Pulau Satamu (translates as 'one tree island' in malay)could be seen in the distance. The iconic Raffles Lighthouse stood out in all its opulence against the vivid blue sky. Built in 1855 and named after the founder of modern Singapore, the Raffles lighthouse is a shining beacon of Singapore's maritime history. Today, it stands at a height of 95 feet and consists of a main and standby beacon with a range of 20 nautical miles.
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The Raffles Lighthouse 
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Clear blue water and vibrant corals
As we disembarked at the jetty, we were asked to explore the island freely . Walking around,  I for one was awe struck at the sight of clear blue water abundant with beautiful hard corals! Due to the low tide, they were clearly visible in the shallow waters and were a sight to behold!

These coral reefs are protected and are part of a surveying program conducted by the national parks board in conjunction with various organisations. International techniques developed by Reef check have been adopted for this program. 
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Imagine waking up to this every single day
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The sea and me
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A tinge of color
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The infinite sea
 After exploring around for a bit, we headed up to see the lighthouse. The staircase was quite narrow and only a few people were allowed at a time. While walking up, I saw these large windows that overlooked the ocean. As i climbed higher, the view became more vibrant and beautiful. Once on top of the lighthouse, miles and miles of blue ocean greeted me  . I stood there quietly  and felt  thankful for this incredibly rare opportunity .
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The windows to paradise
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View from the lighthouse 
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This is heaven
 Lost in thoughts, I heard a voice repeatedly called my name from below. That's when i realised that the ferry was about to leave and I was the last person left. I sprinted down and quickly reached the base (i would later realise that i am not as agile as i thought and would cringe from painful leg cramps for the next few days) .

The ferry was ready to depart, signalling an end to an adventurous day blissfully spent on the lost island . Palau Satamu had been a gracious host. Soon, it would close its doors for visitors and disappear into oblivion to  resurface again next year. As another batch of adventure hungry visitors would throng its shores, it would remind everyone of how beautiful this place really is .

But, until then, we would reminisce our time spent on its palm fringed beaches and sandy shores.

Until next time :)

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Good Bye Pulau Satamu

18 April 2015

Photowalk at Joo Chiat - Discovering Peranakan Shophouses

Whenever time permits, I love trawling the streets of Singapore and discovering hidden pathways, quirky alleys and quaint shophouses . Today, was one such day and along with the lovely ladies of the photography club, we set out to explore the colorful streets of Joo Chiat

Home to narrow winding roads and peranakan style vintage shophouses, Joo Chiat is Singapore's heritage pocket conserved since the 1900's. A walk down these alleys is a photographer's dream come true as every nook and corner presents hundreds of photo opportunities. What may appear ordinary to the naked eye can sometimes look extraordinary through a camera lens and that's exactly what happened! Joo Chiat opened a world of possibilities and surrounded me with an explosion of colors. As i took in the beautiful sights around me, i felt fortunate to be living in a city that is not only modern but has a strong connection with its roots.  
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Shophouses of Joo Chiat
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Colorful shophouses Joo Chiat
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Color Galore!
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The iconic red and gold house in Joo Chiat
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I loved this striking blue post box!
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Colorful Shophouses in Joo Chiat
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The outing with fellow photographers was really fun as we explored this beautiful part of the city. After all, there's nothing like walking and discovering, right! :)
Thanks to the lovely Sandra for organizing this outing and taking my portrait! :)

15 April 2015

Sunrise walk at East Coast Park

Right after I took the pictures of the lunar eclipse, I made a startling discovery! My digital camera, the one that was hidden away in a dark corner of my closet for so long, had the capacity of taking photographs that could easily parallel a DSLR's quality! As someone who had been endlessly dreaming of buying a high performance DSLR, I soon realized that all I needed was to give my poor camera a chance to perform. And, perform it did! So, the dream of a DSLR slowly faded away as I  set out one morning with a newly found love for my camera to get some pictures of the sunrise.

After groggily waking up on a Saturday, I rushed to the east coast park and  reached just in time for the sunrise. I made my way up to the stone jetty and waited with baited breath for dawn to break. In my mind ( I day dream .. a lot!), I could see a flawless sunrise devoid of any clouds gently rising up from the horizon . But, as luck would have it, huge clouds hovered around the horizon and my day dream of a perfect sunrise soon dissolved in a fluffy cloud.Nevertheless, the sky turned into a glorious shade of amber which was no less breathtaking!
Sunrise at east coast park
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Standing on the jetty and watching the beginning of a new day unfold before your very eyes is an humbling experience. It signifies a fresh start to life, filled with experiences and moments that are worth living for.

After my moment in the sun (literally!) , I headed back home . Lugging my camera, I precariously made my way down and felt a sense of fulfillment. Waking up on a Saturday morning to watch a surreal sunrise was totally worth it! 

While walking home, i came across these vibrant yellow blooms that in some way reminded me of the sunrise i had just witnessed. The yellow popped against the trees and looked like tiny droplets of sunshine falling from the sky. 
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Vibrant yellow flowers blooming all over Singapore
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All in all, I had a very productive and fulfilling morning. Not only did i witness the sunrise that i have wanted to for so long, i also saw nature in its bounty.

As i cuddled back into the covers  and slowly went into a peaceful state of slumber, I smiled. I was , to put in the simplest of words, happy! :)
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