W1702 – Rising to the challenge

In my last two posts, W1702 – Bali high and W1702 – Crossing the Line 3, I described my stay on the island of Bali in Indonesia, and then the Crossing the Line ceremony held to mark crossing the Equator back into the Northern Hemisphere.

Late morning the day after the Line ceremony we approached Singapore – the Captain had told us that there would be much more shipping around, but I hadn’t realised just how much – at times it felt like you could almost walk to the shore!

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Our approach took us past the centre of Singapore, past some small islands, before turning in towards the older Singapore Cruise Terminal located at the Harbourfront. Our ship is small enough to tuck in there, where there are two large shopping malls within walking distance of the ship, whereas the huge ‘block of flats’ style cruise ships have to use a more recent cruise terminal with nothing nearby.

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Our approach took us past a dramatic collection of tower blocks, some interlinked by walkways, and with trees growing on the walkways and on the roofs of the towers:

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We also sailed under a cable-car system that went through a tower block on the mainland side of the water, rose high into the air before descending to Sentosa Island. Looking up at the cable cars dangling high above the ship, Carol told me that with her fear of heights that no way would I get her up in one of them.

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As we reversed slowly against the quayside, on the other side to a naval vessel, we could see a large sailing ship moored against the island:

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I had originally booked a general look around Singapore shore tour in the afternoon, but on learning that Carol once lived in Singapore, and had more recently holidayed there, I decided to cancel the tour in favour of exploring the city with my own personal tour guide! After lunch on board ship, once clearance had been given, Carol and I set off to explore. By getting off the ship early before the shore tours started we managed to get through immigration quite quickly, and after changing some money set about finding the metro station in order to head for central Singapore. However the metro station is concealed within the maze of the two adjacent shopping malls, and after walking around for some time we still hadn’t found it!

Between the two shopping malls was this dramatic artwork:

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What we kept seeing though was directions for the cable car, so I suggested to Carol that this was a sign, and that maybe we should go on that first!

Regular readers might remember that in my previous post W1702 – Unexpected Auckland, I challenged Carol to go up to the top of the Sky Tower in Auckland, and after some initial nerves she found that she enjoyed the experience and felt good for meeting the challenge. This time she rose to the challenge once again, but when we entered the lift to go up to the 15th floor where the cable car station was located and she found it was a glass external lift her face dropped and she looked very concerned. Likewise while we were waiting to board the cable car, as she looked out of the void at either side of the building at the way the ground disappeared below her heart sank:

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The cable car first set out across the water and over our ship, and I found it fascinating looking down onto it far below. Carol however was very tense, and held onto my arm and hand very firmly. After a while though she did start to calm down, especially once we were lower and over land.

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We had bought a combined ticket for both the cable car routes, one that takes you over the water to Sentosa Island, and a second one that runs across the island. It was a short walk from one to the other, and for most of the second one we were lucky enough to have the car to ourselves. From there we could look down on some lovely looking beaches, and across to the first cable car snaking it’s way across the water:

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Having completed the second route we walked back to the station for the first cable car, to make the return journey across the water. This time I managed to get some really good views of the ship, including one of the almost deserted upper decks:

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To complete the circuit we stayed on the cable car as it went through the building, then across to the hillside beyond and back. During this return journey we were chatting to two young couples sharing our cable car, from Australia and New Zealand – they were very interested to hear we were from the ship below, and could not believe the length of our cruise.

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Once back on terra firma, Carol did say how much she had enjoyed the experience once she had got over her initial fears, and once again she was pleased she had faced up to and overcome the challenge before her.

It was then my turn for a challenge – find the metro station! I tried a different technique – walking around the outside of the nearest shopping mall, and thankfully we found it OK. The metro proved very quick and efficient and easy to use, and soon we were at our destination, Clarke Quay, just three stops down the line.

Emerging from the depths of the metro station we found ourselves by the river, with these characters for company:

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We began to walk the banks of the river, and as we crossed over on a bridge we had a good view of the astonishing Marina Bay Sands hotel with it’s boat-shaped gardens and infinity pool stretched across the top:

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Heading downstream there was an interesting mix of the colonial old and tall new buildings to be seen:

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These large silver balls made for interesting reflections, and a very subtle ‘selfie’:

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The Cavenagh Bridge, the oldest bridge across the Singapore River still surviving in it’s original form, caught my eye, not least because of the sign directly in front of it – named after Governor Sir William Orfeur Cavenagh the bridge was completed in 1869:

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Having used the bridge to cross to the southern bank, we found a number of interesting sculptures, my favourite was the one of the boys jumping into the river:

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Looking back towards the Cavenagh Bridge, I thought there was an interesting mix of patterns and textures made by the bridge and the buildings behind:

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Looking upstream the sky was looking very stormy, and we could hear claps of thunder in the distance, and we wondered if we would have to dash for shelter soon, as the tropical rain can be very heavy:

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We walked back along Boat Quay past loads of bars, cafés and restaurants, and a couple of signs caught my eye:

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We then walked through a couple of underpasses on our way back to the Clarke Quay metro station, and the artwork in one was very striking:

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We took the metro back to the Harbourfront station, and from there walked back to our waiting ship. Thankfully the rain had held off, but we were still glad to return to the cool of our cabins for a much needed shower before dinner.

Postscript: The show that evening was performed by a local Folklore Ensemble. While perhaps not as dramatic as the performers in Bali, it was still a very elegant and enjoyable show:

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Later I went up on deck to take some photographs of the scenes around the ship at night:

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The ship remained in port overnight (as it would the next night too), and my adventures on our second day in Singapore will be the topic of my next post.

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