THE Royal Port Dickson Yacht Club was a hive of activity over the weekend when a group of campers descended on the venue for the UFL-Metro Adventure Club Go Outdoors campout by the beach.
When the campers finally got their bearings, they were met by Universal Fitness & Leisure (UFL) marketing manager Vikram C. Mogan who greeted them on behalf of UFL managing director Datuk V. Radhakrishnan.
The track up to the lighthouse is steep and offers a good workout for visitors.
“We are here to have a great time and I hope you will all have a blast while learning something new,” he said as he handed out goodie bags worth more than RM500 each to the participants.
“After three years of running this event in Janda Baik, we decided it was time for a change.
“Based on feedback from previous participants, there was demand for a beach event, and Port Dickson was the ideal choice due to its short distance from Kuala Lumpur,” Radhakrishnan said.
Radhakrishnan also thanked StarMetro for the collaboration and said there would be more of such events planned in the future.
The first order of the day was setting up the tents with the UFL team lending a hand to those who found this a challenge.
Once the tents were set up, and everyone had a breather, it was time to get into the activities planned for the day.
Aaron from 2Escape explaining how to use the brakes on a mountain bike.
As the camp aimed to give participants some insights into the great outdoors, the first activity, a compass navigation course, was one that helped them find their bearings, literally so.
They were shown the ropes on how to navigate the grounds with their new compasses and, for most of the participants, it was something new they had fun with.
The compass navigation course was followed by a quick basic outdoor survival skills course with trainer Geoff Kronenburg before breaking for a well-deserved lunch.
After lunch, the campers made their way to the beach for a lesson in water confidence, also conducted by Kronenburg.
They were issued life jackets before making their way into the waves until they were about chest-deep in the water.
Kronenburg was in his element as he shared his knowledge with the campers, getting them out of their shells and helping some of them who were not comfortable in the water gain confidence, making them try their hand at rowing the kayaks.
Campers paying close attention as Derrick and Aaron from 2Escape explain some of the basics of mountain biking.
“He was very good. I was a little scared to begin with because of a previous incident in the water, but Geoff managed to reassure us and gave me the confidence to try it out,” said NorCigi Ismail, who is no stranger to the outdoors and hiking herself.
After taking some time to dry out and change, the campers were then introduced to Derrick, Aaron, Shevyn and Turtle from bike company 2Escape.
The four were there to give the campers a taste of riding off-road with their Kona mountain bikes.
Before hitting the trails, the first trick they showed the campers was the right and wrong ways to get on and off the bike.
“Come to a standstill and with your feet on the pedals at the 3 and 9 o’clock positions, step down with your back foot first,” Aaron told his group before getting all of them to try it several times until it was ingrained into their minds.
Once they had the dismounts sorted out, it was time for a more hands-on experience and once again, the campers were taken to the beach where they each were given the opportunity to get on their bikes and put theory into practice.
One quick lesson does not a mountain biker make, but it was clear that many of the participants had their eyes opened to the possibilities, and it would not be surprising to find some visiting 2Escape sooner rather than later to pick up a bike and hit the trails.
The mountain bike crash course had to be cut short a little due to a sudden downpour, but that did not dampen spirits as the group made their way to shelter and took a break to clean up for dinner.
Once the rain had petered out, the campers once again assembled, this time for a barbecue spread that did not disappoint.
During the dinner, a lucky draw was organised with Vikram on hand to hand out the prizes that were merchandise stocked by UFL.
It was a packed day, and most of the campers were more than happy to retire to their tents after dinner for some much needed rest and recuperation.
In the morning came the final activity – a hike up to Tanjung Tuan, also known as Cape Rachado, lighthouse, which was a highlight of the weekend for many of the campers.
Located on the border of Negri Sembilan and Melaka, the lighthouse, believed to be one of the oldest in the country, has a rich history dating back to 1528 when the Portuguese first built a structure to guide their ships to port in Melaka, which was then under their control.
The current structure of the lighthouse was built in 1863 by the British, and in 1990, a second tower was built at the site to house a Measat radar to monitor ships using the Strait of Malacca.
While there were several trails leading up to the lighthouse, Geoff and Vikram chose to stick to the road, as it was the most gentle of the options available.
Still, it was not a walk in the park for the campers as the steep road was a challenge for most, except for the regular hikers in
After huffing and puffing our way to the top, we were rewarded by an amazing view of the Strait of Malacca that made all that effort seem worthwhile.
It may have only been an 800m trek up, but to me, and to several others I am sure, it felt a lot longer, a nice work-out to start the day.
Once everyone had made their way back to the entrance, it was time to head back to the Royal Port Dickson Yacht Club for lunch and a wrap-up session.
During the wrap-up, Vikram invited Metro Adventure Club representative Niklas Albakri to help give out the certificates of participation to the campers.
From the happy faces all around, it was clear that everyone had a blast and some even managed to pick up a few tips during their short but eventful stay.
Nurain Azhar was thrilled by the whole experience and said she had learnt a lot during her stay.
“I had a really great time here and would gladly do it again. I enjoyed the compass navigation course and it was an eye-opening experience,” she said.
For others like S. Annapurni, it was the hike that was the highlight.
“It was a great learning experience and I loved the hike up to the lighthouse. The view was so beautiful and made it all worthwhile,” she said.
Vikram took the opportunity to thank the campers for their participation and urged them to keep an eye out for the next adventure UFL had in store for them.
“Based on the responses we have received, we might also be organising one-day events in future, with talks and hands-on opportunities to learn more about the great outdoors,” he said before bidding farewell to the participants.