Unmindful of the scorching heat of the noonday sun, our guide patiently helped all of us into the mangrove forest here.
It was a long way into the area, past lush green plants and giant age-old trees. Insects and aquatic life forms greeted us. We breathed nothing but crisp air.
Welcome to the mangrove of Kuala Selangor here in the Kuala Selangor Nature Park, situated 60 kilometers north of Kuala Lumpur.
After some fifteen or twenty minutes of walking past the dry earth and forested areas where roaming monkeys and other animals and insects roam freely, we finally reach the actual mangrove site.
We put on our boots and gloves and were all invited to dip into the thick covered swamp.
With my left foot injured, I struggled towards the middle part of the forest. It was difficult finding my way there, even though I had to make just a few steps. Most of my fellow bloggers have made their way to the site without much difficulty.
I struggled to help myself, armed with nothing but a wobbly bamboo stick and sheer determination to be part of the planting activity.
When I finally struggled past the universe of mud, I then dipped a green pea shaped propagule into the wetland. With it, I planted hopes for a better environment.
Mangrove wetlands, our guide said, provide breeding, nursing and feeding areas for different species. More importantly, it serves as a buffer against storms and hurricanes.
According to the guidebook provided us by the management of the Kuala Selangor Nature Park, although mangroves cover less than one third of the park, it is the most important ecosystem here.
"The Kuala Selangor Nature Park mangroves form a biologically rich and diverse environment and play important functions both physically and ecologically. They form part of a complex coastal wetland ecosystem and represent and intermediate phase between land and aquatic environments. Mangroves are usually found growing along the coastal and muddy banks of large river mouths. The vegetation consists of trees and shrubs, which are able to thrive in tidal water. It provides protection against coastal erosion and is also the breeding ground of many marine species," it said.
For most of us, dipping into the mud-covered swamp is not a daily fare. It’s something new, especially for me.
It felt good planting that one seedling. I may never see what will happen with it after several years but I left the mangrove area with high hopes.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the little steps we made here in Kuala Selangor and those of others that would come and visit the area would go a long way. I'm keeping my faith, too.