Weekends are usually for me to do something that I’ve never done before and last Saturday wasn’t all that different. I’ve been meaning to try prawning and Saturday, I got that chance.
As I had school in the morning, the Adventure Crew had to wait for me to finish before we went for our adventure. The day started wet and early for me, having to reach school by 10am since I had a lab and lecture session by a guest lecturer. We covered the toxicity biomarkers for shore crabs and then did some feeding rate of mussels.
It had been raining the whole morning and fortunately, by the time I arrived at Khatib MRT station, the rain had let up to only a slight drizzle. Sarah and Raven Silvers were there waiting for me and a few minutes later, Avariel turned up. Once all of us were there, we set off to Bottle Tree, the destination of our prawning expedition.
It was just a 10-minute walk from the train station. With most of the path directly under the train tracks, we were sheltered and didn’t need to break out the umbrellas. Of course, seeing that the track that we were on was a cycling track, we had to get out of the bath of oncoming bicycles a few times but we managed to reach the place unscathed.
The prawning pond was some where towards the back of the compound and there were quite a number of people there with their rods in the water and their nets hanging off the side of the platform. We scoped for an empty spot around the pond and found a newly vacated spot. While Raven protected our spot from poachers, the rest of us paid ($14.50/hr) for our prawning slot and collected our rods. Avariel, having gone prawning before, brought her own rod.
We took some of the bait that was provided and settled down to set up our rods. Avariel taught us how to hook the bait (I still have no idea what it was that we used) and how to cast the line into the water. The only experience that I had regarding fishing was in my early teens, when I helped my cousin dig up earthworms for his fishing trip.
I was mildly disgusted by the bait because it was bloody but the whole point of going for adventures was to try new things, so I sucked it up and picked a piece of what ever it was and carefully put it onto the hook before casting it into the small prawn pond. Then the waiting started.
The waiting started to get old, ten minutes in. We watched as the other people around the pond caught a prawn within minutes of casting their line. I was starting to think that the prawns on our side of the pond was really smart because they stole my bait off the hook four times without getting caught. Those on the other side were stupid enough to get caught; those lucky people.
Video courtesy of Seriously Sarah
About twenty minutes in, Sarah got a tug on a line and after a few seconds of struggling, she pulled up her line and there was a prawn attached to the hook. We caught our first prawn! It was then, that I realised why people loved fishing so much. Even though the waiting was deathly boring, the adrenaline pump when you have something tugging at your line and the fight to pull it up, was addictive and you want to feel that again after your catch.
Avariel caught a prawn about five to ten minutes after Sarah and I caught a prawn not long after. I would have caught another one, a bigger one, but the thing wasn’t even biting on the bait. It had just wrapped its pincers around the line and when I brought it up, it just let go and plopped back into the water.
At the end of the hour, our total catch was just three prawns. Noone wanted to take home just three prawns, we barbecued it on the spot and had the freshest prawns that I’ve ever had. Even the prawn brains were good, and I don’t usually eat prawn brains.
Since Raven didn’t manage to catch any prawns, we decided to go to The Manhattan Fishmarket at the nearest mall to make up for it. However, we’ve got to see what else was there at the Bottle Tree Park, since we were there anyway.
The park was named after, well, the Bottle tree. It was big but I’m not an arborist so I don’t really know if the bottle tree that they have is as large as it would go. It was interesting though.
We walked around the park and saw other interesting things, like fake dragon bones and fake bulls pulling a stationary, somewhat derelict cart. They had a sign on the fake bulls saying, climb at your own risk. From the state of the worn down wood, I think only crazy people would climb it. My crew and I are nuts but we’re not crazy enough to do that.
So we left and went to check out Red Dynasty Paintball arena that was within the same park. We didn’t have enough members to try the real paintball team game as they needed a minimum of 6 people and there were only 4 of us. So we ended up doing the shooting gallery instead, $10 for 30 paintballs to shoot at targets.
It was satisfying to hear the ping of the bullets hitting the metal plate hang from the beam. It was so fun that before we knew it, we ran out of balls (hur hur hur). The guns used at here were different from the ones I used when I tried it out at the Singapore Discovery Centre. The ones at SDC were a little more high tech and easier to aim.
Anyway, having promised to actually eat prawns to make up for the lack of catching them, we headed down to The Manhattan Fishmarket at Northpoint for flaming prawns and other seafood dishes.
We totally had our revenge on the prawns by eating a lot of them.
So what did I learn from this adventure? We sucked at prawning but it’s still fun. Prawns can be smart, tricking you into thinking that you have them but all that they were doing was to steal your bait. Bastards. Would I do it again? HELL YEAH!