On Sunday morning, a shuttle pulled up outside the ferry terminal at the very eastern tip of Singapore. Out spilled an expedition led by the World Wildlife Fund. Twenty minutes later, sea waves spraying on my dangling fingertips, salt and sunshine in each breath, we bobbed along the coastline on a ferry to Pulau Ubin. In that moment I felt like I was fifteen again.
When we disembarked, we went off each in our orange kayaks, life jackets buckled up, paddles under our arms.
Maybe it’s been too long. A life routine of the computer screen and the daily commute, of cubicles and calendars. The sea punctures that routine with its vast, relentless pull. As we rowed, two girls on a little orange island, we passed by fishermen and floating farms, camping families on the coast. And then we headed into the mangroves, thickets in swamps, tangled roots growing far above the waters — ensnaring plastic bottles, bags, cartons, snack packagings. The detritus of our civilization, casually dispensed somewhere, flushed down a chute, swept all the way here by the currents until KW and I stretched out our tongs to clip them in a moment of triumph.
I like the sea and the sun — for all my obsession with sunscreens and shadows, with lying around indoors, and my track record of hermitic lifestyles, kayaking and trash-picking was an injection of gorgeous ebullient tropical summer. I felt alive and hungry, unbelievably wet and dirty, every cell unfurling, the paddle my sword, the kayak my mission, every single piece of trash to be vanquished through the power of our metal tongs.
I remember on a phone call with a friend many nights ago, we asked each other, how easy was it to be happy in life? My friend said it was as easy for him as being a surfer on a beach in LA. And I thought he was joking.
Now I get it.
PS any recs for things to do in Singapore?
2 thoughts on “Sunday island adventure: trash-picking on a kayak 🏝”
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thats so much fun Selina