The captain of the Divorce Machine (my wife Stephanie) was unavailable to paddle yesterday so cabin boy Blair Spendelow was called in to fill the 2nd seat on the sleek inflatable dream machine. The plan was to paddle from Sembawang beach down to Changi beach, checking out the small islands of Pulau Seletar and Pulau Serangoon on the way. The tide was going out all morning which meant the current should he heading east. I was hoping this would push us along nicely and make for a relaxing paddle but it turned out to be quite hard work and the current seemed negligible most of the way and not of any noticeable assistance.
We arrived at Sembawang beach at 7:30am. It was my first visit to this spot and what a beautiful little beach this is. The weather was perfect and the sea surface was mirror smooth. There are great views of the Johor Straits and Johor Bahru across the water. We soon had the Divorce Machine setup and ready to go, complete with 2 litres of water each(I learnt my dehydration lesson from last trip around Changi about what happens when I don’t drink enough).
Cabin boy Blair Spendelow with the Divorce Machine checking the conditions from Sembawang beach.
The paddle started out well and we made good time following along the coastline for the first 10km. We then chose to cross the strait and paddle around the northern coast of Pulau Ubin. Coming around the eastern tip of Ubin to Chek Jawa marine reserve the tide was so low that we had to make a large detour to get around the shallow water. It’s a completely different experience paddling around here at low tide as compared to high tide.
The wind also picked up here and it was a slog to get across the strait to Changi beach. The Divorce Machine also started taking on water in the choppy sea state. The newly purchased water pump came in handy and Cabin Boy Spendelow did a fine job on the bilge. We pulled into Changi beach after 4 hours of paddling, a distance of 23km in total and the longest trip the little pleasure craft has made to date. We packed up the boat on the beach and took a taxi back to Sembawang beach to pickup the car.
This is a really nice paddle with interesting coastline, calm water and nice views across the strait to Malaysia. I will definitely plan to come back and explore the Islands more in the future. Enjoy the photos below.
Map of the route from Sembawang beach to Changi beach.
We met Robin – a kayak fisherman in his very cool inflatable kayak. It was pedal powered and he even had an electronic fish finder.
The conditions were smooth and perfect for paddling for the first 10km.
We stopped at Punggol jetty for a quick stretch.
Cabin boy Blair Spendelow took this shot with his GOPRO waterproof camera.
We watch them, they watch us. The Coast Guard came by to check us out. (Photo credit Blair Spendelow)
Crossing the Johor Strait to Pulau Ubin.
Love the bow wave of this vessel which steamed past it at a fair rate of knots in the Johor Strait.
Cabin Boy Spendelow working hard on the bilge pump.
We saw a number of these beautiful birds, they are very elegant and have long legs and for some reason remind of me Gwyneth Paltrow. If anyone knows the name of these birds please let me know.
I jumped out for a wee swim in the Johor Strait and took this photo of Blair.
The tide was so low we had to paddle a long way off Chek Jawa Marine Reserve on Pulau Ubin.
The end is in sight! Changi beach in the distance.
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!