Dodging Giants: A sea kayaking microadventure to Pulau Jong

Singapore has around 60 Islands, most are natural, some are man-made  and some no longer exist.  (See the complete list here).

Today with my wife Stephanie, we decided to head out to explore a tiny little uninhabited island known as ‘Pulau Jong’.  This island is also referred to as ‘Junk Island’ or  ‘Hamburger Island’.   The name ‘Junk Island’ comes from a local legend whereby  a Chinese junk was attacked by Malay pirates one night where the island now is. Just as the pirates were about to board the junk, the captain (the Nakhodah) awoke. When the captain saw the pirates, he uttered such a frightful yell that the sea spirit turned the whole junk into an island (Source Wikipedia).  Because of its shape it is also referred to as ‘Hamburger Island’.

Pulau Jong is 6km off Singapore’s south coast. This part of Singapore has some of the strongest currents which always makes paddling interesting.  We intended to depart and return to Tanjung Beach in Sentosa.  However the real issue with getting to Pulau Jong is that you have to cross the ‘Jong Fairway’ and the ‘Sisters Fairway’.  A ‘fairway’ in this sense is a an area where vessel traffic is free to move.  In crossing these fairways you have to skip between the path of some ENORMOUS vessels.  Fortunately these move slowly up and down the channels and do not cause much stress or wake for a paddler to worry about.  More of an issue is the fast ferries which come steaming past from Batam.  These travel very quickly and one was heading directly towards us before I stood up and waved my paddle at which point they veered away.  I gave them a friendly wave with my middle finger and they gave me a friendly honk on their horn in return.

We did not have too many problems getting to Pulau Jong.  We arrived at the Island in around 1.5 hours paddling with a distance of 6.7km.  As the tide was low we had the good fortune to be able to land on the island (at high tide this would be impossible) and stretch our legs for a short break.  We then paddled back via a circuitous route, with another pit-stop on the beautiful Sisters Islands, then around the Southern Islands of St Johns, Kusu, Lazarus and Seringat. We arrived back at Tanjung beach on Sentosa, 5 hours and 21.5 km later.  A great days exploring, however the amount of vessel traffic makes it a place to paddle with care.

Enjoy the photos below.

Our route as mapped by GPS, 21.6 km in total.

Our route as mapped by GPS, 21.6 km in total.

All set-up in the Divorce Machine and ready to go from Tanjung Beach, a glorious morning for a paddle.

All set-up in the Divorce Machine and ready to go from Tanjung Beach, a glorious morning for a paddle.

Pulau Jong way out in the distance.

Pulau Jong way out in the distance.

The vessels at anchor are so impressive to paddle around, they are monsters!

The vessels at anchor are so impressive to paddle around, they are monsters!

We saw a friendly crew member on the back deck here who gave us a wave.

We saw a friendly crew member on the back deck here who gave us a wave.

We have a thing for anchor chains.

We have a thing for anchor chains.

The anchor chains are enourmous.

The anchor chains are enormous.

We gave way to this guy.

We gave way to this guy.

And we decided to give way to this baby also....

And we decided to give way to this baby also….

Pulau Jong in front of me is also referred to as the 'hamburger island' because of its shape.

Pulau Jong in front of me is also referred to as the ‘hamburger island’ because of its shape.

A close -up of Pulau Jong at low tide.

A close -up of Pulau Jong at low tide.

Because of the low tide we could land on Pulau Jong, its  a lovely peaceful little uninhabited island.

Because of the low tide we could land on Pulau Jong, it’s a lovely peaceful little uninhabited island.

A small beach on Pulau Jong.

A small beach on Pulau Jong.

Having a rest and swim on the beautiful Sisters Islands.

Having a rest and swim on the beautiful Sisters Islands.

The rocky foreshore around St Johns.

The rocky foreshore around St Johns.

This blog is listed under a section on my website called ‘Microadventure’.  Microadventures are cheap simple adventures close to home. A chap named Alistair Humphreys coined the phrase ‘microadventure’, you can read about him here.  I will continue to add more microadventures to my website to give people idea’s and inspiration to go on your own adventures.  If you do go on your own, I would love to hear about them and do drop me a line!

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Posted on August 25, 2013, in Microadventure, Sea Kayaking, Singapore Micro Adventure and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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