Hong Kong Eco-X Evan O'Connor

"The bold adventurer succeeds the best" - Ovid

This interim brought out the adventurer in all of us, presenting us with countless experiences. These experiences, without a doubt, helped each of us grow. While we faced physical rigor, we also had to adapt to changing conditions and quickly adopt skill sets. Day by day we learned new lessons and skills, accumulating until we put them all together into a race across Hong Kong: The Adventure Race.

Day 1:

Arriving on board a flight whose seats would easily be the most comfortable thing we would lay on all week, we were able to take in (most of us for the first time) the beauty of Hong Kong. Even shrouded in mist, the city's skyscrapers were daring enough to challenge Singapore's.

We wasted no time getting settled, hopping onto a bus, from which we hopped onto a ferry, until arriving at Lamma Island. Here, we unpacked into our first hostel of our trip, featuring comfy bunk beds, and showers that we would soon come to miss.

Day 2:

If you were on the good team, this day would be spent mountain biking. "Zero to hero" was the term our instructors Ryan, a professional mountain biker, and Tess, a gold medalist, used to describe how much we would improve; and they delivered. Speaking as someone with previously little experience, I was able to confidently take on hills, sharp turns, sharp turns on hills, and almost conquer the switchbacks by the end of the day.

The riders with previous experience were taken onto the Project X trail, one of the most advanced mountain biking trails in Hong Kong.

Day 3:

The kayaking trip was when we put the Eco in Eco-Adventure. After playing a few water games we paddled out to a beach to pick up some trash.

We were only planning to pick up a small amount, however, and brought just a few trash bags. This is why when we found a discarded fridge, we were totally caught off guard. In complete impromptu fashion, we tied the fridge to a pole with some rope (both of which we found on the beach), attached the pole to a kayak, and tasked Noah and Gautam with hauling the fridge (which miraculously floated) all the way back.

Day 4:

This day would mainly be used for logistics. This included packing up from Lamma Island, taking a scenic boat ride through Hong Kong, rigging our tents at Tung Lung Island, and a brief navigation course.

Day 5:

After a short hike, we climbed down a steep slope via fixed lines until arriving at the tyrollean traverse, a rope attached at both ends of opposite cliff sides over the ocean. After sliding down about 3/4 of the way, we pulled ourselves to the other side, all while taking in the beautiful sight of the waves crashing into the rocks below.

After going back to camp and eating lunch, we then took another short hike to a rock wall, and earned an even more spectacular view once reaching the top.

Day 6:

After taking a brief refresher course on ropes to ensure safety, we set out abseiling. Surprisingly, though, abseiling wasn't going to be the most dangerous part of that journey. The fixed line trail we went down to reach the abseiling spot was just as, if not more, treacherous then the abseiling itself; which is why is was also just as fun.

Upon arrival, we were greeted with yet another amazing view of the cliffside waves. Upon descent, we realized our landing spot was in the splash zone of those waves, and were scrambling to find dry spots where the ocean spray wouldn't drench us.

That afternoon, we packed up our tents and took a ferry to the Hong Kong mainland, getting situated in perhaps the most comfortable hostel in China. After getting settled, we were briefed on the Adventure Race, and reviewed the rules and guidelines of the big event.

Day 7:

This was the day we would finally combine all of the skills we had accumulated over the past week to race across Hong Kong and traverse various challenges.

The challenge began mainly with hiking and navigating around, up, and down Hong Kong's various mountains, including Mount Victoria and Mount Davis. Eventually, we ended up at the peak of one those mountains, and abseiled down the cliff face.

After reaching the bottom, we raced to the beach, where a set of kayaks were waiting. We paddled out to a few buoys and back, and traded out the kayak to another team member until every team member had completed it. We then jumped off a dock and swam to shore before crossing the finish line.

Day 8:

The adventure coming to a close, this last day was one for relaxation and reflection. After a brief shopping spree around Hong Kong, we boarded our plane back to Singapore, concluding an amazing trip we would never forget.

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