Saturday, April 25, 2015

Raffles Lighthouse (Singapore Maritime Week 2015) Part I

In conjunction with the 10th Singapore Maritime Week, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore organised a slew of activities that  reminds us of Singapore's role as major international maritime centre.  The one that i signed up for was a visit to the Raffles Lighthouse which is usually out of bounds to the general public except during this week. For 2 weeks (Thursday to Saturday and 2 session per day), special tours are conducted by the friendly staff of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore that will bring the lucky few who managed to sign up, to the Raffles Lighthouse for free. The waiting or gathering point is the Marina South Pier, now easily accessible via Marina South Pier MRT station. I signed up for the 8 am tour and soon after registration and safety briefing, we were on on our way via a charted boat.  The journey from the Marina South Pier is 1 hour and along the way our guide shared with us the interesting sites we see along the way.

Morning view from Marina South Pier

The berthing and disembarking jetty

Safety briefing by 2 of the guides
We left at 8:50 am and soon, the ever changing Singapore skyline is behind us and soon we are making our way to the Southern most Island in Singapore. During the briefing, we were told several things not to do when reaching or while on the Island. The most important one was not to take pictures of the other two towers that are located in the Raffles Lighthouse grounds. The two towers belong to the Republic of Singapore's Navy.  On a less serious note of things not to do was to take home the island's coconuts, swim there and walk among the corals !

Tanjong Pagar Docks and the Singapore Skyline from sea
The pictures below will give you an idea of where we started from and the location of Raffles Lighthouse. Our journey there took us pass Sentosa Cove and because it was low tide today, the Terumbu Buran, a submerged reef was visible from our boat. Because of the shallowness of the Buran Channel, this area the currents are more choppier causing the boat to rock more noticeably, but after clearing this channel, it becomes calmer.  
Location of Marina South Pier and Raffles Lighthouse pointed out 

Sentosa Cove and Terumbu Buran in front of it

Soon, the Sisters' Islands ( now a Marine Park ) come into sight and ahead are large ships, many carrying crude oil for berthing in Pulau Bukom. Some of the ships can be seen berthing on the many jetty of Pulau Bukom which pipes in the crude oil directly from the ship to the many white bunkers visible on the island.

However we were told that for large super tankers, this is not feasible. That's where this super large yellow buoy visible even before we approached Pulau Bukom was built by Shell for. Larger ships will deliver crude oil via this super buoy that has underground pipes that deliver oil back to the island. On closer inspection of the picture of it, i notice a Brahminy Kite (eagle) perched on it

Visible from Pulau Bukom is Pulau Semakau, Singapore land fill island. Open in 1999, it became Singapore's first offshore landfill and after the landfill in Lorong Halus closed in 1999, Semakau is the only one left. Rubbish generated that are not recyclable are incinerated and its ash are brought to Semakau.

Sisters' Islands

Sister's Island Buoy 

Pulau Bukom and its recognisable white tanks or oil bunkers 

Crude oil tankers

Specialised buoy for crude oil tankers 

Semakau Ash Collection Point

Raffles Lighthouse next comes within sight and i really can't wait to get on shore to explore, hear and experience the island and hear about its history. Look out for my next article where i learn a bit more about Raffles Lighthouse > Raffles Lighthouse (Singapore Maritime Week 2015) Part II.

Raffles Lighthouse within sight


Bravely to Buran.(website) Wild Singapore
Pulau Semakau, (website) Infopedia
Semakau Landfill.(website). National Environment Agency

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