Tuesday 13 May 2008

Misadventures on a Recce Trip to Rachado Lighthouse in Malacca

Last month, George and I went on a recce trip to Port Dickson/Malacca and the Rachado Lighthouse to scout and plan out the routes and puzzles for a "treasure hunt" for a group of colleagues and friends.

Recce Trip To Rachado Lighthouse in Malacca

A number of mishaps happened along the way. First off, George was supposed to keep his GPS tracking on so that we could refer to it later. Also, he was happily taking geo-tagged photos with his HTC P330 throughout the recce, only to later find out that his GPS position was not acquired and thus all his photos were geo-duds... LOL...

Luckily, I was there to save the day by relying on my Dopod D810 (Pre-HTC model) to capture those much needed geo-tagged photos.

Entrance to the Tanjung Tuan Forest Reserve.

On the way to the Rachado Lighthouse, we were saying that this could be the Wildgeeks' first hiking adventure and we were setting history. The hike started when we reached the Tanjung Tuan forest reserve. It only took us 10 minutes to reach the lighthouse. Not much of an adventure or hike for that matter... LOL

The steps leading up to the Rachado lighthouse.

Anyways, we took the necessary photos and clues for the hunt and decided to head back. Btw, the view from the lighthouse is just absolutely fantastico!!!! I could imagine how the sunset is going to look like... :)

It was about noon during that time. You can imagine the heat from the afternoon sun. Staying in the shades was the wise thing to do!

As we made our way back to the stairs next to the lighthouse leading back to the Tanjung Tuan entrance, George suggested that we take a shortcut back. (Earlier, we had noticed a map at the entrance indicating an alternative path to and fro the lighhouse.)

We saw a sign saying this way down to Pulau Intan. We had no idea where Pulau Intan was and had thought that the shortcut was along the same path. So we took the steep steps down. It was cooling in the shades and the smell of vegetation reminded me of my aunt's house in the remote part of Sibu in Sarawak.

Anyway, after about 10 minutes of descending the steps, I heard the sound of waves crashing on a beach, which got me thinking, "Wait a minute. I don't remember the entrance being near a beach." Sure enough, the steep steps lead us to a very nice beach below the lighthouse.

At that point, you could imagine the regrets going through George's mind... LOL.... and mine too... hahaha. In the end, we had no choice but to soak in the wonderful view, enjoy the cool and salty breeze on a hot Saturday afternoon.

Immediately after that, George (with an evil grin) was quick to point out that the treasure hunt would include coming down to the beach... LOL. I just had to agree with him... victims: KC and Julian... LOL.

The climb back up (yes, we had to, as there were no other way of getting back, short of swimming in the sea) was painful and slow. Since I am the one writing this blog, I have to say that the climb was no problem for me... Hahaha.... and that George was in bad shape from all those "makan" trips he had organised... LOL.

It took us a while, but we managed to make it up to the lighthouse in about 30 minutes or less. We went back down the steps to the "pondok" at the foot of the light house. From there, it was just 10 minutes walk to the entrance and some nice cold drinking water!!! We were dying of thirst... :-P

The trail entrance to the "real" shortcut.

About mid-way hike down the road, we came across a trail. There were signs saying that this was the alternative way back to the entrance. In a moment of weakness, I suggested that we take this "real" shortcut down and reprimanded George for his lack of directional sense... LOL.

We hiked down the gently descending path, listening to the calls of the birds, enjoying the serene forest landscape and learning the names of some of the trees from reading the name plate attached to the trunk of the trees.

After about 15-20 minutes, our not so brilliant minds managed to figure out that the trail was not a "shortcut" at all but a new trail leading to somewhere. It was confirmed when we heard the sound of sea waves crashing onto the beach for the second time that day!

By the beach, we saw a sign that says, "This way to the Footprint of Hang Tuah". Since we already made it that far, we thought that we might as well go see the legend's footprint.

We believed that this little depression in the rock was the "footprint" of Hang Tuah. All we know was that it was filled with mosquito larvaes.

Since this Well was found next to the rock with the footprint, we shall call this the Well next to the footprint of Hang Tuah... LOL.

George's good for nothing camera took this photo of me swinging on the Swing next to the footprint of Hang Tuah.

After our little adventure at the footprint of Hang Tuah, we contemplate whether to make our way back the way we came or to just walk along the coast and make it back somehow to the main road leading to the Tanjung Tuan entrance. After consulting George's GPS, we decided to follow the coastal path following some footprints also heading in the general directions.

Our trek lead us over rocky coastal terrains, streams and finally we ended up at a mangrove swamp that looked impossible to cross. There was a man with a sack and a stick beach combing the mangrove. I suspect he was looking for crabs. We tried to ask him for directions, but he just ignored us.

I spotted a uphill trail that could possibly be the way around the mangrove, but George was against any climbing and was quite adamant about it. So, with him leading the way, we climbed and ducked as we tried to crossed the mangrove. The mangrove was littered with rubbish washed up and caught in the web of the mangrove roots.

Noticed the mangrove roots! Solid as rocks!

Those mangrove roots were solid and hard as rock, as my 80kg did nothing to bend them as I climbed and stepped over them. I spotted a path along the edge of the mangrove and we headed towards it. We were so happy when we finally made it as we were really thirsty. The path took us to a field in the Ilham Resort. Quickly, we found a mini-mart in the resort and bought icy cold water to quench our thirst. Only then did we laughed and joked about our little mishaps.

We promised to ourselves that during the "treasure hunt", the hunters will not be spared! LOL.

By the time, we got back to the car and were on our way back, it was about 2:50pm. All in all, it was quite an adventure. We had fun and learned some valuable lessons with regards to taking shortcuts... LOL.

Tuesday 6 May 2008

The Wild Geeks Communities

In another month or so, The Wild Geeks Adventure Club will be a year old. Since that time, the geeks have been on many adventures, be it cycling, hiking, camping or even eating, 2008 promises more.

There have never been one time that all the geeks could get to go out adventuring together. Understandably due to different interest, work, available time or differing taste, it has been difficult to get all together to participate in an adventure at the same time. Should that be 2008's goal? Hahaha... I don't know, but if all are willing, maybe it is possible.


Some of you might have noticed that the Wild Geeks' logo is changed. This is in part due to the growth of Wild Geeks as a community. What started out as just The Wild Geeks Adventure Club, has now spawned new geek communities.

The other reasons for the change in the logo are that the original logo is too colorful and is expensive to reproduce for T-Shirts. Also, it is too complicated for embroidery work for caps or T-shirt. The new logo is designed to solve these problems and most importantly to reflect the geek spirit for adventures and their cheeky ideals... ahem!

1. The Third Eye - This is a community of geeks who are interested in photography and all the related tools of the trade. If you own a camera or phone camera, you should take a look at this community.

2. Makan Trip (http://makantrip.com) - This long time food blog has now grown into a community of geeks that are interested in going on food hunting trips anywhere and everywhere. Their proud slogan is "Makan (Eat) First, Think Later." In fact they are going on their second Peninsular Malaysia food trip next week to the East coast.

3. BikeTrial Malaysia (http://biketrial.ning.com) - This is a very niche and specialized community with interest in the very technical nature of biketrial cycling. Still very new to Malaysia, Biketrial Malaysia hope to make BikeTrials or Observed trials a mainstream cycling sport in Malaysia for all to enjoy.

These communities are open to all whom have interests and want to share and discuss their interests with other geeks.

So... Be Wild! Be Geeks!