Bee Protection

Jul 26, 2021

Originally posted at:

During my last expedition to try and find my way from sea level to the Battery, I discovered a half-buried set of steps leading up the hill. After reaching a small clearing, the steps stopped, until I found that they continued up further - they were just completely buried. They go up a bit further ... to the abandoned apiary.

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While going up the modern access stairs built for drainage maintenance, I thought I saw something artificial off to my left. Since the area was supposedly used as a Defence Electric Light during the Battle of Hong Kong, there's always a chance that some structure survives, lost in the jungle. After hacking my way through the damn stranglevine (why, WHY is there so much stranglevine on this hill) turns out it was just a pipe. I tried climbing up a bit further but couldn't get through the vegetation - the sun was beating down and I didn't feel like hacking my way through the growth on the off-chance that what I was following was anything more than a boar path.

I pushed the pipe at some point and I could hear something (dirt, I guess) falling down on the inside, so if it was ever meant to carry water, it sure doesn't do that now. Maybe on a future expedition I can find out where it terminates. I made my way back to the drainage stairs, which after a few perilous steps along a concrete channel, will lead you to the WWII-era staircase. It was time to get to the apiary, and this time, I'd be prepared.

During the previous expedition, I had succeeded in uncovering the buried steps, and after hacking away at the brush and excavating the top step, it appears that the hives are resting on a concrete platform. I needed to get past them and try to find where the steps continued to. As protected as possible, I crept past the hives. Luckily, it wasn't their swarming time and they were completely disinterested in me. In fact, they seemed to spend most of the time buzzing their wings in unison at the entrance to their hives to keep it cool.

After slowly moving past the hives, keeping my breathing calm in a Cold War surplus gas mask that allowed for little airflow, and accidentally whacking a hive when I moved a branch out of my way, I continued up what I thought was the path. A small snag - the path led through a broken terrace wall, and I couldn't find any further trace of any steps made by the British Army Corps of Engineers. The terraces are most likely postwar squatter subsistence farming plots. However, I had completed one of my goals - find a way up to the Lower Battery. That broken concrete slab is part of the Battery's drainage system, all silted up because no-one has cleaned it since 1941. I dug around for a bit to see if the access steps were buried near the junction of the drainage and the blast wall, but all I found was the concrete glacis. There was also a growth of spikevine, the really nasty stuff - I made sure to clear it away.

Just below the Battery wall, though, is the pipe I had seen earlier! It angled up the hill slope, then turned horizontal to run along the terrace. I tried to follow it for a bit, but I was quite tired and could hardly swing my machete. That's when I noticed that off to the left, there appeared to be a path under a clump of stranglevine, And at the start of that path, I could just make out the white styrofoam of the abandoned apiary! That's when it hit me - perhaps the platform the apiary rests on was made to provide access to the north side of the Battery instead of a direct line to the south! This meant attackers trying to storm the Battery would be forced to run along the outside of the blast wall, allowing defenders to pick them off. For the next expedition, I'll try and clear more of the concrete platform and find the edges.

All right, last picture. Since it was still light out and I hadn't hit my calorie target yet, I decided to follow the pipe eastward, since I knew there were paths that way that would lead me up to the service reservoir and an easy walk home. I found someone's abandoned garden, complete with a flower pot hanging from an overgrown stranglevine trunk and what's left of a metal shelf. The plastic containers were used to collect rainwater for the plants; the old man who had a garden near the Upper Battery used this method (and attracted billions of mosquitoes). I tipped out some of the stagnant water and stacked a few of them up to prevent insect breeding and also clean up the place a bit before finding a way up to a small path and out of the jungle.

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