How to loosen a loose knee

On Saturday, sprint to Changi on a bicycle, with a deadline at 0700h, before the ecology class leaves for Pulau Ubin. Break the deadline by 15 mins and then criss-cross Pulau Ubin for four hours.

Photo by Kenneth Pinto

On Tuesday, remove 200m of ghost net from Mandai mangrove, half of it buried and much of it the middle of shin-deep mud.

Photo by Trina Chua.

On Saturday, run across a stretch of Pandan mangrove laden with a bag your friends struggle to lift onto your shoulders.

20100911-kevin, bis and me

Photos by Ou Yang Xiuling

But in reality I was cautious and my actions were tempered. “Always look after the knee!” has been a mantra for me for more than two decades.

So during the bicycle ride to Changi, I paid attention and worked the lower gears, spinning up slopes. This took the strain away from my knees although it winded me. I had worked in a 15 mins buffer in the timing so that I’d be early enough to have breakfast and see the ecology students across to Pulau Ubin. The four hours in Ubin were relaxed and served as wind-down. And my bicycle and I got a ride home!

In Mandai, I sank into the mud for a break to watch the freed horseshoe crabs. After the break I decided to abandon one-half of the net – left it bundled around a stick; less likely to entangle fauna but still in the inter-tidal area and in need of removal. With all of us exhausted and net disposal up to me that evening, I opted to leave it behind and get us out of the mangrove before the sun set and while we were still coherent. I’ll retrieve the net next week when I have energy once again and some help.

Admiring freed horseshoe crabs in the Sungei Mandai Besar mangrove. Photo by Trina Chua.

Today, I collapsed the run in Pandan mangrove the moment I got stuck. Instead of ploughing through, I tossed it the last metre or so, amongst the roots where I later re-bagged it for another volunteer to bring up to the Trash Disposal Point.

Point of collapse across the mangrove patch and re-bagging. Photo by Ou Yang Xiuling

Tomorrow I ride to Changi again, slowly. There is no deadline, this time.


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