Sunday, July 16

11-7-06 (Or, 7-11-06 for the Americans)

Day two. I woke up at around 6 that morning, feeling refreshed. My tentmates and I unpitched our tent, before eating a light breakfast of biscuits.
A small morning exercise later, the group headed uphill for the rock-climbing wall. We were going to scale it today. It was 4 stories high. Everybody attempted it at least once, though only a handful made it all the way to the top. I was belayer the whole morning, and by the time it was my turn to scale the wall, my arms were too tired from all that rope-pulling that I barely reached 4 metres before I gave up, exhausted.
It was mid-day when we were done with the rock wall. Lunch was a simple affair of cake and butter buns. When we had eaten our fill, we set off for the beach, where we began the kayaking preparations. There were 16 of us in the watch altogether, so that meant 8 tandem kayaks. We did a buoyancy test to ensure our lifevests were working properly, learnt how to maneuver the kayak (this I had already learnt before), and practised recovering the craft after a capsize.
As soon as we were prepared, and all our essential items have been packed onto the instructors' motor boat, our watch joined another group and paddled about 500 metres westwards to our next campsite. It was a bit of a mess, docking our kayaks on the concrete floor of the boatyard, as others groups were joining us there as well, and keeping their boats away too. With that done, our tents were pitched up once again at the new campsite, a forest clearing riddled with potholes (presumably dug up by the local wild boar population). It was completely windless there, and I was worried that it would be to hot and stuffy for me to sleep later on that night.
Nevertheless, I went to shower and change into fresh clean clothes, and joined my watch for a sumptuous warm dinner of rice, chicken, cabbage, and vegetable soup.
Following that, the four watches present at the campsite moved to an air-conditioned classroom, where we were briefed by our instructors of the upcoming kayaking expedition that was to happen tomorrow. We were supposed to paddle at least 11 kilometres to our next campsite the next day, then paddle 11 kilometres back the day after. Each watch had one member as the expedition leader; I was Ex Leader for my group. The four of us were tasked with ensuring that the whole pack stays together and keeps out of danger. The left marker ensures that nobody goes out too far left, likewise for the right marker, while the sweeper reminds behind the whole gathering to bring up the rear and help anybody who goes too slow. I, being the navigator, had to be in front at all times, and had to plot the safest and easiest route to our destination. It was pretty straightforward; all I had to do was keep close to the shoreline and not venture into the channels, where the huge tankers and cargo ships would be cruising. Still, I couldn't help but feel a little nervous, as this was my first time leading a group of mostly strangers to a place I don't even know.
Everybody filed out of the classroom after the briefing, leaving the expedition leaders behind to discuss tactics and plans. We planned to maintain a diamond formation and ensure that everybody stays within it, so everybody would be close together.
With that, I went straight back to the campsite to turn in for the night. Realizing I had forgotten to brig a pen along with me to record today's happenings (I recorded all this on Day 4), I disappointedly, anxiously, and umcomfortably, drifted off to sleep.

Saturday, July 15


As I promised, my camp log, from 10th of July, to the 14th.

It's about 10 o' clock now, on my first night of camp. he tentsite is silent; our guys had long since finished with the night activities before the rest of the groups. The full moon is beautiful to look at.
I had an awesome time today. I started the day with a bus ride to the jetty, where we waited a few minutes for the rain to clear before boarding the ferries that would take us to the camp. The ride there took about 10 minutes. Once there, everybody was seperated into the different watches (groups) (that reminds me, I regretted not bringing my watch along with me to the camp). I didn't mind it, since my best friend and two others from the same class as me were also in my group (called 'Nila Utama'). We had an instructor by the name is Poh Kiaw (she insists we call her 'PK'). She seems like a nice person.
Next, we settled the logistics for the camp, seeing that we had enough food rations to last us the nest 4 days and nights, and ensured that our store room had all the equipment needed for the camp activities.
With that done, we moved on to group activities. There was the 'Trust Fall' and the 'Human Entanglement' activites, the latter requiring us to try to unentangle ourselves from a complex knot we made with our arms, there was much to learn here about teamwork, and how one person's actions could affect the whole group.
Following that was a bit of rock-climbing practice. The watch was taught how to handle their helmets and harnesses, and how to play the roles of the two As, the B and the C. The Climber cimbs, the Belayer manages his lifeline and ensures the climber does not fall from the wall to te ground, the Anchorman ensures the Belayer does't fly off when the Climber falls and pulls the rope taut, and the Assistant sees that the loose rope does not get in the Belayer's way. There were a few rock-climbing commands we had to learn too, mostly stuff the Climber and the Belayer have to say to each other before the Climber embarks on the wall.
With that done, we moved on to pitch our tents in a small lowland grass patch known as Sunshine Valley. It was a little valley, alright, but I could tell I wouldn't be able to see the sunrise or sunset from there, consulting my compass.
Dinner was surprisingly delicious. We cooked some rice in a pot and added chicken curry to it, so everybody could have curry rice to eat. Poor Pearl An, she was vegetarian and had to settle for seomthing else (I think she went for the can of button mushrooms).
When we had eaten our fill, we met with our instructor, PK, at the pier, where we penned down our Hopes and Fears about the camp and enjoyed the comfortably cooling sea breeze, and discussed about our fears. My Hopes and Fears? Tell you next time. PK bade us goodnight when she had collected all our little slips of paper, but not before telling us a small bedtime story.
So far, so good. I will be sleeping well tonight. Outward Bound is very much what I had expectedof it, if not more. I remain anxious of the following days to come, when we would have more activities to enjoy, and more values to learn from them. Our instructor is like no other; she knows what to do, what we could achieve from these things, and her methods are nearly flawless whe it comes to teaching us moral values. I respect that a lot.
Oh yeah, I managed to remember a bit of that story PK told us. Here it is.

"It is Monday. I walk down a street. There is a hole in the floor. I do not see it. I fall in. It takes me forever to get out.
It is Tuesday. I walk down a street. There is a hole in the floor. I pretend not to see it. I still fall in. It takes me a few hours to get out.
It is Wednesday. I walk down a street. There is a hole in the floor. I see it. But I still fall in. It takes me a few minutes to get out.
It is Thursday. I walk down a street. There is a hole in the floor. I see it. I walk around it.
It is Friday. I walk down a different street."

Tuesday, July 4

Happy July 4th!

Yay! Hurray for America's Independence Day!

School this morning was pretty eventful. We had another timetable change, and, as it turns out, I haven't got al the books I needed for today's classes. There was phys Ed today but I didn't have my PE attire, so I had to sweat it all out during a basketball match, in my school uniform. Remotely pleasant.
During English period, the last lesson for today, our form teacher had asked us to think of ideas for a song parody. We had to modify an original song to highlight the theme 'Racial Harmony', and it was to be presented during the school's Racial Harmony Day (we celebrate this is Singapore once every year). I thought of doing something from Simple Plan's 'Crazy'. Meh, this is gonna be hard...
I skipped NCC Land today as I had to meet the guys at Club Rainbow with my group, concerning our YMCA Entrepreneurship project. The place was quite far from school. We discussed things about our initial business proposal, and made changes here and there, together with the Marketing Assistant for Club Rainbow.
And now, I have four A. Math asignments due. Gotta pass them up tomorrow. Gonna rush thru them as fast as I can. See ya.