Sunday, 29 May 2011

Kayaking Orientation

our kayaking orientation was held at Water Venture, Changi.

we assembled at 9.30am for a theory session on the difference between a ca
noe and kayak, parts of the kayak, how to handle a kayak properly, etc.

then we brought the kayaks and equiment to the beach, where we were taught how to properly wear a life vest, how to properly handle a paddle, and had a dry practice on using the paddle.

in the water, we learnt how to get on and off properly, and what to do when we capsize.

finally, we got into pairs and set off for a short-distance row before breaking for lunch.

after lunch, i swopped from a double kayak with my buddy, to a single kayak, as i wanted to experience handling direction, power, and orientation on my own.

as a group, we got into a diamond formation, and rowed across the sailing channel, took a brief break at the board walk, then rowed back.

before we knew it, it was already time to pack up, so we did the proper boat washing, kept all the equipment, and left at 5pm.

it was a rather enjoyable trip, getting to know how to properly handle a kayak, and i learnt quite a bit from the youth volunteer instructors.

i may consider getting my "stars" for kayaking in the future, if time permits.


Thursday, 26 May 2011

PT 7 (last)

it was the last PT session for 15th BOAT.

after training with a 12-15kg backpack for weeks, 40 stories x 4 sets is suddenly a piece of cake, with each set done within 10mins.

according to a YFF, if we have attended every single PT session till now, and completed every scheduled set with minimum load, we would have climbed a total of 1000 floors!

wow, i hope 1000 floors of training would suffice for the anticipated Gunung Tarpis overseas expedition.


Sunday, 22 May 2011

Hike 4 & Ropework 4

Hike 4:

Date: Sun, 22 May 2011

Meeting Time: 9am

Meeting Venue: MacRitchie Reservoir Park (near the Mushroom Cafe)
Target End Venue/ Time: MacRitchie Reservoir Park, 4pm

Area Going To Cover: MacRitchie Reservoir Park – Tree Top Walk

Attire: Long pants, covered shoes, long/short sleeves tee

Things which you must bring:
- Running lunch
- Minimum 3 litres of drinking water
- Motivational food
- Rain-gear (poncho)
- Whistle
- Cords (for practicing ropework)
- 15th BOAT Course Book- Writing material
- Backpack the one that you are going to bring for camp 3

Things which are good to have:
- 1 set of clean clothing
- Towel
- 1 pair of sandals/ slipper
- Insect repellent
- Personal 1st aid kit
- Sun-gear (cap, shades, etc..)

Please water-proof all your belonging and you must have minimum 12kg load before start of the hike.

Some pointers to note:- To be on time and we will wait 15mins for the late-comers.
- Warm-up before we start the hike
- To have buddy system
- Do head court before we set-off.
- Please inform the facilitator if you need to leave the group.
- Keep within sighting distance of each other. Pls shout 'a-o-nah' if you can't see the pp inform or behind you.
- Look out for one another.
- Trail courtesy at all times.
- Only leave nothing but our footprint

so for this hike 4, we all set off with a min 12kg backpack, and went by the 5km nature trail. after the lovely tree top walk, we went up the Jelutong tower to take group photos at the top.

We walked back to the MacRitchie visitors' centre via the usual jogging route past the golf course.

it was a rather peaceful hike, at an enjoyable pace. we ended early and started on ropework 4.

for ropework 4, we learnt the Alpine Butterfly, and Bow Line.

after this BOAT session, most of us went in 5 cars to commonwealth cresent for ice kachang and tzi char together.

i think i'd really miss BOAT after graduation.


Thursday, 19 May 2011

Graduation Night briefing & Camp 3 discussion

instead of the usual PT on thursday nights, we had a briefing from a "phantom" YFF about our graduation night.

as usual, we split into 5 groups;

Entertainment, for which i was the co-i/c

and Team OPSHH ( a special group going around sabotaging people, releasing all the gossip news about 15th BOAT from start till end)

we started 15th BOAT with a camp, and so we shall end it with a camp.

our graduation will be held overnight in TPYC CC, and shall be organised the same way as all other camps.

for camp 3 discussion, my food team and i settled most of the menu, what to bring, how much, who to make what.

this is the menu for our 3D3N camp, which i will be using as my qualifying venture;

3 June (Fri)
Running Lunch : Dumpling/handroll/riceball?
Dinner : Creamy soup with rice
4 June (Sat)
1st Breakfast in early morning : Cereal and Milo
2nd Breakfast at summit : Mashed potato and French loaf (need bring cooking tool up)
Running Lunch : Motivational food (while descending)
Lunch : Porridge
Dinner : Claypot rice and seaweed soup
Supper : Chengteng
5 June (Sun)
Breakfast : Mee Hoon Kway
Lunch : Mee Siam?

i was also appointed the 2nd i/c, taking charge of the food team if the first i/c too busy or not around to settle the issue on the spot... and help i/c to take down notes and details.

we will confirm the menu by hike 4, and buy the food the following saturday (28 may)


Sunday, 15 May 2011

Overseas Expedition Planning

today's session was on how to plan overseas expeditions.

we started with one of our YFFs teaching us the theory segment, and defining an expedition.

he also emphasized on the difference between an organiser, and a participant.
eg. organiser: safety, challenge, fun. participant: fun, challenge, safety.

after going through the important points (eg. what is insurance. not just buying insurance, being alert, but also about transport booking, contingency plans, campsite availability), we went through the second part of the session.

we were split into 4 different groups, and each group was assigned a place to plan an expedition for. after the end of this 15th BOAT program, we will use that expedition plan, and organise those expeditions.

the expeditions were as follows;
1.) Pelapah Waterfall (planned: 2D1N leisure trip, camp at summit)
2.) Gunung Datuk (planned: 2D2N leisure trip, campsite close to summit)
3.) Mt Ophir (planned: 3D2N exploration trip, camp at summit)
4.) Gunung Belumut (planned: 3D2N photography-leisure trip, camp at summit)

after seeing how each group planned the expeditions, i would like to go for all except the photography trip.


Thursday, 12 May 2011

PT 6

we were supposed to climb 4 sets of 40 stories with a 12 - 15 kg load.

as i came from school, i was late and did not have my loaded backpack with me.

instead, i climbed 2 sets of 40 stories with my slingbag.

fortunately, i have been taking the stairs up 11 floors to my place the whole week, so that makes up for the training.


Sunday, 8 May 2011

Abseiling Orientation/camp wash 2

we started the theory session about abseiling at 9am, and completed a 2m ground training by 12pm.

at 1pm, we started to abseil from both the staircase, and the rooftop.

i started at the staircase, and had to go twice, as i failed the first descend.

reason; i wore a glove on my breaking hand, and could not feel the rope. i clutched too tightly, so my hand got tired pretty fast. after the 3rd floor down, i stood on the railing to readjust my breaking hand. i let go of the rope. failed.

so i tried a second time.

on my second try, i went down without gloves.

the rope slipped even though i gripped as tightly as i could, so i decided to just complete the descend faster.

my both hands had rope burn after that.

the second abseiling point was from the rooftop.

i feel that this descend was easier, and at every point in time, there is a wall for me to place my legs on and steady myself.

to me, the descend was much easier than the staircase.

for campwash, my group kept the equipment/tents. due to the heat from the afternoon sun, the tar on the roof melted, and keeping the tents was a lot harder than normal.

at the debrief, we were informed of the various levels of abseiling courses we could undertake, and which would allow us to do what.

i am currently considering going for APC 2, which allows me to self-belay, which is necessary for abseiling waterfalls and caving.


Thursday, 5 May 2011


instead of the usual physical training, this week we had a yoga session instead.

our YFFs invited a yoga teacher, who happenes to be an ex-BOATer from 14th BOAT, to lead this session.

we practiced how to control our breathing, relax certain muscles, stretch individual necessary muscles needed to carry out our trek, and improve our posture while trekking.

among poses covered were the "mountain' pose, which improved our grip and balance needed to keep a strong foot-hold on rocks, the "warrior" poses, which strengthens the leg muscles to prevent joint/knee injuries while climbing, and "bow" poses, which strengthens the back, to prevent spinal injuries while carrying out heavy loaded backpacks.

the instructor also help us spot our individual "weak spots", and improve on it.

mine was the knees and upper thigh muscles, so she helped me modify the "warrior" pose 2, to focus more on the muscles directly above the knees, and improve flexibility of the inner groin muscles.

after the 2-hour yoga session, i could feel my stiff muscles relax, and my joints felt more flexible. i also became more aware of my posture while lifting a 16kg load to climb vertical cliff surfaces.


Monday, 2 May 2011

Camp 2: Gunung Panti & Pelapah Waterfall Hike [29/4/11-1/5/11]

this post contains planned information and my personal journal about;

15th BOAT CAMP 2

Gunung Panti & Pelapah Waterfall Hike
30 April 2011 ~ 02 May 2011


Teamwork amongst 15th BOATERS
Experience trekking in tropical rainforest terrain
Dealing with unexpected situations that may arise

Location Gunung Panti (513m) & Pelapah Waterfall, Kota Tinggi, Johor
Time to summit Approx. 5 – 6 hours (for novices/big groups)
Difficulty 2 – 3; Moderate fitness required
Water source None; expect water rationing
Trip Date 30 Apr 11, 0800 hours to 02 May 11, 2030 hours
Trip Briefing 14 April 11, 2000 hours
Distribution 28 April 11, 2000 hours
Safety Briefing 14 April 11, 2200 hours
Camp Washing 8 May 11

Group size 40

Other Information;
Gunung Panti
- Located in Kota Tinggi, Johor and is a good place for anyone looking
to start out in hiking.
- Expect to scramble on all fours on some parts of the terrain and
some help from the roots, ropes and your fellow boaters. Will need
to overcome an almost vertical rock face just before the summit.
- The summit can become quite chilly at night depending on weather
conditions. On a good day, one can get a good view of Gunung
Muntahak (634m asl) from the summit.
- Expect leeches along the way

Pelapah Waterfall
- The trek starts from plantation entrance next to Kota Tinggi
waterfall resort.
- Average difficulty with a bit of technical climbing and river crossing,
but trail is clear and obvious. Mostly rocky paths but expect muddy
and slipper terrain.

15th BOATERS Roles & Responsibilities;
Area cleaning & rubbish management
morning call
Sleeping & tent arrangements (tent ic)
Water rationing
Ensure all eat together as a group
Other instructions from trip leader.

Food plan:2BF, 3RL, 2D, 1S,
emergency ration
Work closely with the facilitators on camp 2
happy meals…
Buy, pack, label, and distribute food to main group.
Cooking & Washing roster
Ensure food gets cooked at the respective meal times
Ensure people help to finish any leftover food
Equipment check & log plan.

load distribution/redistribution
Account for equipment
know who is carrying what etc.
Ensure food log equipment is properly stored before sleeping
Camp washing

Lead warm up exercise
Keep us entertained
(keep the morale up)
_ Spare time on Sat
_ Bus journey on the
way home
_ Along the trek

30 April 2011 (Sat)
0700hrs Final Packing at TPC CC Check load
0800hrs Safety Briefing
0830hrs Leave CC Headcount
1130hrs Reach base camp Set up camp site
1230hrs Lunch Running Lunch
1300hrs Set off waterfall
1600hrs Trek back
1800hrs Reach Camp Cooking Dinner
2000hrs Dinner
2300hrs Zzzz….. Debrief
01 May 2011 (Sun)
0700hrs Rise & Shine
0730hrs Breakfast
0830hrs Break Camp Area clearing
0900 hrs Set off to Gn. Panti
1230hrs Lunch Running lunch along the way
1500hrs Reach Summit Set up camp site, R&R
1800hrs Dinner
1930hrs Debrief & Sharing
2100hrs Supper
2200hrs Zzzzz
02 May 2011 (Mon)
0700hrs Rise & Shine
0730hrs Breakfast
0830hrs Break Camp Area clearing
0900 hrs Set off to Lukut Village
1230hrs Lunch Running lunch along the way
1430hrs Reach pick up point Wash up change to clean clothing
1530hrs Reach Kota Tinggi town Early dinner
1830hrs Reach Johor Custom
2030hrs Dismiss from Woodlands Toa Payoh Adventure Club


Day 1;

we were at the Singapore Customs for around 4 hours total. the jam at the causeway was unlike any other i've ever seen before, and by the time we reached the campsite, we were 2 and a half hours behind schedule.

we set off for Pelapah waterfall at around 5.30pm. by the time we reached the base of the waterfall, it was already sunset. the terrain was extremely slippery and narrow. we were almost either balancing like blind ducks in the water on the rocks, or pressing ourselves to the side of the rock cliff surface.

due to various factors, we had to turn back at the gorge, after scaling a 3 story high rock cliff in the dark.

1.) our sense of sight was taken away, as there was absolutely no light streaming in from above. our headlights were barely sufficient to even see our feet, much less traverse the dangerous terrain.

2.) our sense of hearing was forfeited, as the sound of water was soo loud, it might as well be roaring in our ears.

3.) the water at the gorge was up to chest-high, and it was still raining, so the water level was expected to rise much higher.

after crossing the dangerous portions of the trail, an unexpected situation arose. at the last steep slope down, 2 of our male YFFs fell and injured themselves. one laying on the ground clutching his head, while the other seemed to have a broken foot.

we quickly and carefully as we could, we used a safety rope to create a makeshift stretcher, and lined it with the ground sheet to transport the immobolized guy. with 5 people on each side, we carefully lifted him and started moving out of the trail as quickly as we could.

after rounds of interchanging the stretcher bearers, re-doing the stretcher rope, and changing lifting tactics, we finally got him to safety in around 2 hours.

3 guys took turns supporting the YFF with the injured foot back to camp, while a team stayed behind with him, cheering him on and keeping the atmosphere positive.

finally when we reached the camp, the biggest surprise of all came to us. it was a planned exercise.

the 2 male YFFs were only pretending to be injured, to test our response to emergencies. glad and reliefed, none of us flared up openly, and we celebrated over dinner.

i think, if this drill took place any earlier, or with a different group of people, the response would have been very different. we stood by each other, shared each others' burdens and worries, without any blame or hard feelings, only because the past 2 months have really bonded us together as a team.

back at camp, we checked through our equipment in the designated 'kitchen', and found that the troupe of monkeys we spotted earlier on had clawed through many of our plastic bottles for water collection, tore a brand new 'Platypus' water bag, and even broke a belgian bottle.

Day 2;
we started our hike to Gunung Panti after breakfast.

we planned to reach the rock cliff surface just before the summit at 4pm, but all of us reached at 2+pm instead, well ahead of schedule.

the rock cliff was an almost vertical, 80m climb, with a safety rope tied around our waist, at only the first 3m.

the remaining 70m had to be climbed using our both hands and feet, and a dangling rope, or whatever roots and branches we could grip.

however, the climb was extremely steep and challenging, and some of us were not used to climbing up such heights, so we ( 40 BOATers + YFFs ) took a total of 3 hours for everyone to reach the top.

the tents were sent ahead of us, with the guys, to be pitched first in order to save time.

the climb was rather treacherous and challenging, but extremely fun and rewarding.

the view from the top was spectacular.

we met some Rover scouts from JB at the summit, and learnt how they travel light, create a controllable fire, modify the bottoms of soft drink cans to create a fuel canister, etc.

we also spotted a huge millipede the length of my forearm!

the thing was so strong i could not dislodge it from the trunk.

in the night of Day 2, it started to rain at the summit. there, a crisis occured.

as the guys went ahead to pitch the tent for us, it was not pegged down, so we could make adjustments if the ground was not comfortable. however, not a single one of my tent mates nor i realised it.

i woke up 3 times in the night because of the cold. then i realised, i was soaking wet.

this was what happened;

it rained.
when the wind blew, our fly sheet flew.
the rain soaked through the tent walls and flooded the sides.
at that instance, we noticed that our tent was tilting to one side, and was about to collapse.
there was a loud roaring sound, as though we camped in a cave behind a waterfall, and none of us dared to step out of the tent.

so we all just sat in the middle and started have a picnic.

in the morning, we heard from the Rover scouts that it only rained for a while, but the wind was so strong, it caused the massive roaring we heard.

Day 3;

the morning was really cold due to the wind and rain, and the seeing the early morning mist get blown away was utterly breath-taking.

after breakfast, we started hiking back to civilisation.

instead of the usual route of going down the way we came up Gunung Panti, our YFFs took us down an almost virgin path.

the vegetation was overgrown, and moss was everywhere.
some of the the pandan plants we saw had to be at least a thousand years old. the leaves were thicker than my head, at the middle! i could not even see the base of that thing!

a few of our team got stung by bees through their clothes, but no serious cases.

finally, after a sped-up trek of 6 hours cutting through vegetation and sliding our butts down a 120m rock cliff, all of us reached the base of Gunung Panti.

We started hiking pass a kampong village to a town, where our bus would pick us up and send us to the check point.

almost everyone were bitten by leeches, but did not realise it till we changed clothes and saw blood. i had 2 bites on my right leg, and a fellow female participant had a leech bite on her chest.

in the bus ride back, we had a very fun time singing our throats sore, and announcing the "angels" for the "Angel/Mortal" game we played. in our hearts, each and every one was an angel to each other.

Gunung Panti and Pelapah waterfall were very challenging, yet they awoke the adventurer in me. after this camp, i immediately made a decision to set a goal. i want to climb 100 mountains.

hopefully, most of the trips i make will be with some of my fellow 15th BOAT participants.

i am looking forward to camp 3!