Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Finally had a dip in the beautiful crescent beach in Mui Wo. Yes, after all our visits there, I haven't even dipped so much as a toe in the water until now.
Mui Wo was always the end point of our Discovery Bay-Mui Wo walks so we'd always reach the beach all sweaty and shaky-kneed and just dying to get home -- not an optimum condition for admiring the soft sand and clear water.
And our later trips have been house-hunting/contractor-interviewing ones so we'd usually be either jumping from flat to flat or stuck in ours waiting for contractors to arrive.
But we finally took advantage of the good summer weather and a long weekend to hit the sands. The necessities were cheap and easy to find. I bought a HK$16 mat from one of the beach-themed stalls by the seafood centre and, from the Ah Por next to the public library, a HK$38 swimsuit and HK$16 beach towel. Hubby, always a wimp when it comes to cold and water, bought a book from The Bookshop to keep him occupied while I went for my inaugural swim.
I know people make fun of Hong Kong waters. After all, when they were filming Batman here, the rumour was that Batman was supposed to dive into Victoria Harbour but the presence of raw sewage made the idea unfeasible (not true, of course, said director Chris Nolan).
The Environmental ProtectionDepartment website, www.epd.gov.hk, is not encouraging. It warns: "Although about 80 percent of the population of Mui Wo and the surrounding villages are connected to sewerage, some houses still use septic tank and soakaway pit systems for sewage treatment and disposal. Many of these are at close proximity to streams. If treatment systems are not properly maintained, sewage may overflow to the nearby streams and rivers leading to the beach.
"Similarly, sullage from village houses would also be discharged via surface channels to watercourses in the vicinity. Hence the water quality of Silvermine Bay is particularly susceptible to the effect of heavy rain, which may flush pollutants from the hinterland into the beach water."
The sea pleasantly surprised me, though. The water quality, according to the signboard at the lifeguard's post, was good. I could see my feet in the water. The only piece of rubbish I saw floating was a plastic bag some idiot had left behind after turning it into a makeshift bucket.
And the sand was clean. Cleaner even than in Singapore, where you'd think the law-abiding Singaporeans wouldn't dare to litter. I think it was because the beachgoers really appreciated the clean beach. A whole afternoon of public holiday crowds and there was hardly any litter to be seen anywhere at sunset. When a badly-placed styrofoam cup blew over, a stranger actually picked it up and put it in the bin.
We'd planned to stay there an hour. In the end, we stayed four, reading our books, slurping ice-cream and munching Pringles. Hubby said he hadn't felt this relaxed in ages. And to think we can do this every weekend when we finally move in.
But I think we're still staying out of the water after rainy days, though.