Going on a
Beachfleas trip

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Ria's serious ground rules and advice to first timers

These are all based on TRUE-LIFE incidents. For which people have paid in blood, sweat, tears and sheer misery. So unless you want to pay the price, go through the page carefully. For your safety and comfort, my sanity and everybody else's good humour.

Beachfleas trips are WORKING trips. We are there to get a job done.
Stay away from working crew. Inexperienced people make the water murky and scare away the animals. Shining your torch onto the animal will also ruin the video take.

It is NOT a guided walk. Don't expect working crew to show or explain things to you.

You want photos, you bring your own camera and take them yourself. Don't expect working crew to take photos for you. We are not wedding photographers. The tide is short, we usually have a list of things to take, and we have been/will be shooting for several days back-to-back. Thus photographers are tired, sleep-deprived and usually VERY GRUMPY on the shore. Stay away from them (especially me).

We usually got no time/good humour to look after people who can't look after themselves.

There will be almost zero effort to make sure you have a comfortable or good time. When we are working, we don't like people near us. And as soon as we don't have to take care of logistics or carry equipment, we all fall asleep in a smelly bunch of Zzzz's and ignore everyone.

No children please. We cannot abort the trip in case of difficulties or problems by participants.

Do NOT bring additional people without first informing Ria
Do NOT advertise the trips to others without first informing Ria

We leave PUNCTUALLY whether you are there or not. Time and tide waits for no man.

Time stated for trips is the time we LEAVE.
It is the time the side of the boat separates from the side of the jetty.

It is NOT the time you arrive at the jetty and look for us.
It is NOT the time you arrive and then look for the toilet.
It is NOT the time we load up the boat. We load up 5-10 minutes before departure time.

Think of the boat departure time as if it was an airline departure time. Do you arrive at the airport at the departure time? No, you arrive 2 hours earlier for check-in etc.

So aim to arrive at least 15mins before departure time.

And be ready to leave at the departure time. If at departure time, you suddenly decide you need to go to toilet, buy food or something you forgot, we will ALSO leave you behind.

Find out locations of departure points WELL BEFOREHAND. Don't call me near departure time to tell me you are nearby and are lost and can't find your way. I assume everyone who comes for these trips is literate and mature enough to be able to plan ahead. The Street Directory is available online and in dead tree copies. All details of departure points as I know it are listed here.

Trip goes on regardless of weather. Don't annoy me by calling me to tell me it's raining and asking me whether the trip is on or not. To the question that I often get: "What happens if it rains?", my reply is always a grumpy "You get wet"....duh!

If you are not feeling well, DO NOT come. We cannot shorten or abort the trip for sick people and don't have have extra hands or time to look after sick people.

If you sign up and then cancel without replacement or simply don't turn up, the impact are:
(a) Some people might have been turned away because the boat was full. They would have been needlessly deprived of a chance to go on the trip.
(b) Someone has to pay your share of the boat fare. That will usually be me.
Obviously, such behaviour will not endear you to the rest of us.

Check your emails close to the trip in case of any updates and changes. It is polite to reply to let me know that you have received the information.

On-Site Rules

Strictly NO COLLECTION OF ANYTHING unless you have an NParks permit to do so. Your permit and laminated pass with your photo should be with you on our trip.

Obey all safety instructions issued on-site. Other more experienced Beachfleas will often give you advice and instructions. Pay attention to them. Especially where it refers to venomous creatures, bad weather and avoiding injury. Bad things can, and do happen. But most can be avoided by having common sense and LISTENING TO GOOD ADVICE.

For first-timers to the shore: DO NOT TOUCH ANYTHING. Watch where you are stepping to avoid damaging corals and other features. Don't climb rocks and sea walls. In case of lightning (which can happen without rain) immediately evacuate to base camp. Pay attention to tide levels. DO NOT go into deep water, especially those with strong currents (especially on the Southern Shores).

ABSOLUTELY NO LITTERING. Take out all trash with you, especially on remote sites.

Some of our sites do not have toilets. So be ready to answer the call of nature as it is naturally answered, or go well before the trip. Be courteous when "doin' it" and don't mess up the place or do it where other people will walk past, sit down etc.

We leave punctually as well. Do not wander off, losing track of time. For some sites, we cannot leave safely if we miss the tide. You will be endangering yourself if you are late at the departure point.

What to prepare
Be properly prepared and bring everything you need. It is not fair to expect other people to lend you their gear or give you their food or water. And frankly, the regular team won't as they are overburdened as it is.

So unless you want to be hungry, thirsty, wet and sit the dark without a working torch, put aside time before the trip to CAREFULLY test and pack all your gear and supplies.

Have a good meal and be well rested and well hydrated before you come.

Most locations, especially remote ones have ZERO facilities; no toilets, no street lights, no ice-cream stand.

What to pack

Bring a torch THAT WORKS for trips starting before sunrise and ending near sunset. Test it at home. Bring extra batteries. In fact, bring an extra torch. The vast majority of our trips are in the dark. Without a torch, you would have wasted your trip. You don't need a huge torch that lights up everything within 100m. A small one is better as it doesn't scare off the animals. But not too tiny. Something that works on four AA batteries is ideal.

Wear appropriate footwear: You need footwear that will protect your feet from sharp corals and won't come off from your foot in the soft mud.
Appropriate: diving booties.
Appropriate: Closed shoes (old sports shoes with laces is fine)
Not ideal: Pua Chu Kang boots/waders--they come off in the mud.
Not ideal: Shoes fastened with velcro--they too come off in the mud.
Absolutely prohibited: NO sandals, NO Japanese slippers, NO wearing plastic bags over shoes
People with inappropriate footwear will not be allowed onto the shore.

IC or other identification. In case of checks by Marine Police and other authorities.

Change of footwear to go home in.
Change of clothes in case you get wet.
Insect repellent (sandflies sometimes present). But no spraying of repellents near the shore as these are toxic to marine animals. Don't spray in enclosed areas with other people around either, as it is annoying to others.

1 litre drinking water is ideal, even on cool night trips
A snack to energise yourself in the field. There might be delays in transport and other unforseen circumstances, so meals might be delayed. If you are bringing food to share, don't bring too much.

Raingear (poncho, raincoat), umbrellas are useless as winds are strong on the flats.
Hat for sun

Basic medical kit to take care of your own medical needs.

Exact change for your boat fare to pay me. I do not carry lots of change.

Waterproof all electronic gear in ziplock bags. This includes handphones, cameras, torch, batteries.
Spare plastic bags for wet gear so they don't mess up your dry ones.

The water will at most be 20cm deep. You can wear longs or shorts as you prefer. But keep clothing light. Longs are good for places with stinging hydroids and sand flies (Changi, Chek Jawa (seasonally), Tuas, all Southern Shores, Beting Bronok).

Keep your pack light. In some sites, you will not be able to leave it on shore and will have to carry it with you throughout the trip.

More about how to get to various piers and parking etc there

for more details: contact ria tan
website©ria tan 2003

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