Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A Day of Urban Exploration

Part of an abandoned military outpost that was part of a British defence line that had been established well before WWII along the southern ridges of Singapore
It's been a long time since my last urban exploration except the recent short one at Fort Berlayar. Over the last weekend, I had the opportunity to explore 2 decommissioned military bases namely Point 270 @ Kent Ridge Park and Fort Serapong in Sentosa. With kind guidance, courtesy of a kind friend whom I shall not mention his name, for without him I wouldn't be able to visit or find these places.

Make the jump to see more photos and videos I made during the exploration. 

As usual, my urban exploration serves as location recce for potential subjects for my nocturne photography. Well of course it's a thrill and adventurous experience "urbexing". It was my first visit at Point 270 which is well camouflaged and obscured from public view. I was overwhelmed by the thick vegetation as I made my way through on the slippery steep hill. It rained in the early morning hence the forest ground was littered with wilted wet leaves.

Point 270 is located on the highest point on the west of Pasir Panjang ridge (a.k.a. The Gap), which is occupied by National University of Singapore (NUS). Close to these buildings was one of the two Battery Observation Posts for the Buona Vista 15-inch Gun Battery and the other Post was on Mount Faber. It is believed that these buildings provided accommodation and catering facilities for the men working in the Observation Post.

The buildings were built on two terraces and have had remained abandoned following the Japanese invasion in WWII. The buildings have had survived to this day that could only serve as a physical reminder of a past we all have forgotten.

After an hour's exploration, we continued to head towards the second abandoned military base in Sentosa - Fort Serapong.

Entrance to the No. 1 Gun Emplacement
Fort Serapong was one of the three British military encampments on the small southern isle of Singapore, along with Fort Siloso and Fort Connaught. Based on the map shown above, the fort is located on the north-east part of Pulau Belakang Mati (Sentosa), a few minutes hike via the Sentosa Boardwalk linking VivoCity Mall to Sentosa.

Fort Serapong has a great military history and if you are interested to know more, click here and here. For a detailed thesis on Fort Serapong, click here.

Below are the photographs I made during the 2-hour exploration. All were captured with my iPhone 6+ on Ztylus lenses.
The words on the emplacement wall (right) indicates
the type of gun that was mounted here.
The No. 1 Gun Emplacement
Flat roof top collapsed due to weather conditions
and structures deterioration over the years
Badly damaged stairs leading to officers' and
other ranks shelters underground, as well as
store rooms for ammunition

Gun No. 1 duty personnel rooms and gunners' shelter
Bathrooms/toilets for the Army School of Religious
and Moral Instruction
Kitchen for the Army School of Religious
and Moral Instruction
Dormitory for the Army School of Religious
and Moral Instruction

Next to the kitchen block is the barracks/dining hall/stores.
Today it is the only structure on Mount Serapong that is still in use,
serving as stores for the Sentosa Development Corporation
Another bathroom block
Take a look at this vintage rusty water tank in which
water was stored for bathing
Part of a row of casemates on Serapong hill
Left: One of the casemate interiors
Right: Looks like a safe but not too sure
what was its purpose
Another part of a row of casemates

Left: Stairs leading to an annex above the casemates
Right: One of the rooms in an annex above the casemates
Interior of a PF Cell - one of the four cells remained
today on Mount Serapong
Work of Nature on the exterior of
the same PF Cell above
A large room or bigger cell in an annex
above the casemates
The ventilation stacks for Pulau Belakang Mati command center
9.2 inch Gun No. 2 Emplacement - the accumulator
pits and mounting bolts are still clearly visible
A panorama view of Gun No. 2 Emplacement
There are more areas that we have not explored on Mount Serapong due to weather condition as storm clouds were approaching with thunder roars. Nonetheless it was a fruitful experience. Will explore again and then decide from there if I want to go back for night photography. Yes it would be pitch dark in that place, no street lights at all. Well, with good proper planning and preparations, I believe it can be done. Moreover, there is another decommissioned base in Sentosa yet to be explored and it's ideal for night photography i.e. Mount Imbiah Battery. For that, I'll leave more details for future blog post.

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