Sunday, July 1, 2007

My many firsts at Ghost Island

Again the wildfilms and beachfleas gang met early in the wee mornings, we were going through the customs check of West Coast Pier. The officer that scanned our IC kept asking me why we are going to a GHOST island, as if we are ghosts going at a ghostly hour. Haha. Pulau Hantu is termed as ghost island by some myth of ancient Malay warriors whom once dueled to the death and their ghosts are said to wander the isle. Anyway, this island was either further south from Singapore than I imagined or the boat was slower. Pulau Hantu is actually made up of two islets: Pulau Hantu Besar (Big Ghost Island) and Pulau Hantu Kechil (Little Ghost Island).

As the boat passed by the industrial installations, the night lights on them look quite spectacular in one way. The presence of these installations are not nature friendly though.

Soon after we reach hantu, Ron, Helen and I found this false clownfish aka nemo on this sea anemone. This one is the female which is much bigger. The smaller male was sighted at the same anemone but we couldn't find it after that.

And I wonder why the anemones in Hantu come in different species, colour, sizes etc. Wow.

Other than the nemos, one can also find beautiful anemone shrimps on the sea anemone.

This is another anemone called the magnificent sea anemone (Heteractis magnifica). It also houses another nemo but it was too shy! Instead, we saw a copper banded butterflyfish beside this anemone (shown below).

Here are the fishy business. The first one on top left I dont know what it is! Haha. The top right is the copperbanded butterflyfish I mentioned above

Update from Marcus: the butterfly fish should be the kite butterflyfish (Parachaetodon occelatus) which lacks the copper-banded's long beak. Thanks!

Bottom left is a razor first time seeing it. Another first time is this batfish at bottom right which Ria and Alvin saw while we were leaving the island at the jetty. Too bad the boat was going off and this is the only shot I have, sidewards...sorry for it. For those who haven't seen before, you might refer to this semakau teamseagrass post here .

Another first I guess must be this Acropora coral where you can even find clams living in between.

Yet another first is this crinoid or featherstar found by Marcus!

I have also never seen zoathids this big. Can you see my chopsticks are a scale?

A nice sight of moon above the waters.

If I did not recall wrongly, it's also my first time seeing this flowery soft coral. Very nice indeed.

There are many mushroom corals and later on there's another photo on them. Here is one that is really beautiful with shades of green and pink etc and also its tentacles coming out.

This anemone coral has long polyps thats sway along with the currents of the shore.

And what made many of us gather at the unsteady reef edge?

Yes, the bulb-tentacle anemone was found and Ron said tomato clownfish might be inside. Indeed yes! And following is a long long wait for a good good shot. Everyone were clustered together and waited patiently. Haha. This is probably my best shot. And both the anemone and the tomato clownfish is also my first time of sighting!

Talking again about first time, I have yet to see such a big sea urchin than this one here!

Can you see there are many mushroom corals? Helen was commenting this is a mushroom city... while someone else (I forgot) said Mushroom Siti. Hahahaha! Siti has turned into a mushroom.

More firsts, yes again, is this Pesudoceros flatworm, stonefish sea cucumber and weird gastropod Siti was holding. The Glossodoris atromarginata nudibranch is not a first time for me but it's always enlightening to see them together.

Though the industries are only a stone throw away, the northern reef still thrives. That's pretty heartening, though it used to be even better in the past.

While heading back to jetty, Siti found the patch of sand where MANY common seastars can be found. Yes, many! Wow.

And judging from this photo, I no need to elaborate which jetty we alighted and departed...haha. At low tide it is possible to wade across the shallow lagoon between the two islands between the big one and the small one.

Bukom is not all about chemical installations... here's the recreation part where the swimming pool can be found. A shot taken on the way back West Coast pier. The day ended bit sad when we realized that Cyrene will be gone soon by 2015 for reclamation.

Though many say that Hantu is quieter today, but I have really seen a lot today. More corals and life that I can't possibly post all here because I am too tired now. Hahaaa.. Which means perhaps years ago, this place might be even richer in diversity. Thanks Ria for arranging the trip. Thanks Evelyn for your kindness for fetching me back home knowing I have to rush to church. :)


budak said...

the butterfly fish should be the kite butterflyfish (Parachaetodon occelatus) which lacks the copper-banded's long beak :)

Unknown said...

oh! Thanks Marcus! :)

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