Thursday, June 14, 2007


Recently the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean” was released, for those who have watched the series this was another fun movie and features what is supposed to be medieval Singapore. That was fiction but Singapore celebrated the pirate theme by organizing a River Raft Race on the Singapore River at Clarke Quay with some of the participants dressed up like pirates and flying the “skull flag”.

The event is basically to race free-style hand made rafts that are all not sea (or river) worthy and they are built by various groups of people supported and sponsored by the Singapore Polytechnic. The rafts were made from bamboo, recycled water cans, tires, drums and pretty much whatever material that can stay afloat-although a lot of them that were designed to float actually didn’t and ended up soaking the participants. The race was only on a 100 meter stretch of water. The idea was to have fun, raise funds for charity and spread awareness (more on that later) and that’s what everyone did, the participants and the onlookers.

Organizers and saftey canoes before the race

The river raft event has been going on for the last 19 years and it was originally conceived as an awareness campaign for keeping the Singapore River clean and navigable. The atmosphere was that of a carnival, accompanied by music and DJ’s from local radio stations providing interesting tit bits of information and live commentary of the race.

A "poor" pirates' raft for sure

People had gathered in large numbers to either participate or to encourage those who were participating and it was great fun to hear remarks from by-standers who were desperately cheering on some of the teams that were half submerged and trying desperately to find movement, other than going around in circles. There was no shortage of imagination when it came to raft building and the participant’s sense of humor. To cap it all, the day turned out to be beautiful, nice, clear, sunny, after days of rainfall and cloudy weather.

Will this float? Will this win? asking questions...

Rafts lined up

These Viking pirates needed to be towed..

A painting competition was organized for kids of various age groups and many of the budding artists sat by the riverside drawing and painting the raft race as they saw it. There was rock climbing events on a simulated rock wall of course, netball competitions and food and heritage tours as part of the event.

Kids at the river side 'drawing' the race

Rafts at the starting grid

I thought you'd find hippos in rivers, here's a rhino though!

Ferrari's got more competition than from just Lewis Hamilton!

Jaws-this one went in circles and almost sank!

I’d like to add that As fund-raising is very much a part of Raft Race, a sum of $83,724 was collected for this year's beneficiaries - Autism Children's Centre, The Salvation Army Haven Children's Home, Clementi Student Service Centre and Singapore Polytechnic's Overseas Community Service Program.


Quodlibet said...

I've just caught up reading your blog! Looks like some incredible times in Singapore. I love festivals - especially those of other countries - always so intersting and people are happy and having fun! Great pictures of the boat races!

Athul said...

intresting article , was just imagining how much fun those participants might have had .

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Thanks Quodlibet. The boat race was so much fun for even landlubbers like us watching and cheering. We cheered the loudest for the shark because they were half submerged and going around in circles! I guess that's because they were all sitting on one side and rowing on the same side! Although the race was only 100 meters down the river, it still took some effort to keep them afloat and more effort to get them moving forward! We must appreciate that some very good causes were able to raise funds for their activities. We indeed had a blast.

Athul: Thanks, yes, the participants were indeed having a lot of fun. in these events, there's no real serious racing, it's all for fun and raising awareness. I'd imagine that even preparing for this event, making plans for and building the rafts must have been pretty good fun as well. As far as I know, none of the rafts had been tested before on water and it added to the fun. Rafts that we thought looked sound on the ground prior to the race actually did not do too well in the water! That added to the fun!

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

FYI guys, the Singapore Dragon Boat festival, on similar lines as the ones in China is going to be held at a local reservoir called Bedok Reservoir and that's between 30th Jun and 1st jul. I'm going to be back from Macao at that time and hopefully attend the festival and post the story and pictures on my blog.

Pranab said...


I like your blog. I think you have an awasome job ferrying planes around the world. I'm just working on my IR, I'm ready for it. I'd like to command the 787s some day :P If you don't mind could you please give me a brief summary of your impressive resume?
forgive me, I know it's out of topic.


Swaram said...

Wow! These pics and the ones in the previous posts are simply awesome.

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Thanks again for visiting Swaram.