Saturday, June 21, 2008

My first solo guiding experience at Semakau

It's quite hard to imagine actually I have little guiding experience though I'm a shore volunteer. Today is in fact my first solo guiding experience in my one and half year of doing intertidal stuffs.

This could be explained by the fact that I was mainly doing my Chek Jawa project (now my sea star project) or did more Team Seagrass monitoring than guiding. Somehow the other guiding opportunities always like to clash with my schedule. :P

To recall, my first guiding was with July at Sentosa last year with Naked Hermit Crabs and the other couple more guiding experiences were as an OJT (on the job training) trainee at Semakau. Finally I got to try solo guiding for the first time (only) today --> quite ashamed to say this compared to the other shore volunteers. Haha.

This morning, at 4.30am we met at Marina South Pier, boy it was early and I had really minimum sleep. But it was all worth it. I had a wonderful group (named Puffer fish) of eight with two families.

There were Mingying and Tim with their three sons and also Nancy with her son and daughter. Wonderful to have family bonding in such nature trips. They are crossing the "death zone" of the seagrass lagoon in the intertidal area.

Oh, we saw plenty of wonderful creatures!

Some selected animals to be featured here includes this noble volute (Cymbiola nobilis). The Noble volute can seek out buried bivalves with its siphon and encloses the prey in its huge foot.

You can see that the noble volute here is laying translucent egg capsules. The eggs will later hatch and undergo metamorphosis within the egg capsules, emerging as tiny crawling snails.

By accident, I spotted this knobbly sea star which I thought were placed there by hunker seekers.

This charismatic red sea star is the centre of attraction for the visitors to our shores and we all love to have a photograph with this wonderful star. Hopefully they will also show these photos to their friends and share the richness of our living shores around.

Here is Nancy and family with the star of the day.

July also found a nemo in one of the anemones, which he gently placed into the container for the visitors to take a look without stressing the nemo and anemone too much.

I guess those who have watched Finding Nemo has finally found one in the wild. That proves to show that you need not dive or swim to get close with these marine creatures.

Personally, the find of the day is when I spotted this tiny yet stunning blue dragon nudibranch (Pteraeolidia ianthina) near the rich reef edge area. It is also the first time for me seeing it in the intertidal area.

There were many other types of nudibranch that we saw as well including the very cute polka dot nudibranch (Jorunna funebris)...

the phyllid nudibranch...

and the chromodoris nudibranch (Chromodoris lineolata).

This particular nudibranch found was much rarer. It is Platydoris scabra which I have seen before at Kusu Island last year. This sea slug has a stiff and rigid mantle and grows to at least 10cm long. It is quite big compared to the other tiny weeny nudibranchs.

Every trip to Semakau, looking at the same fluted giant clam (Tridacna squamosa) never fail to impress me.

Tiong Chin found a comb jelly which belong to the phylum Ctenophora, a different phylum from other jellyfish which is Cnidaria. These comb jellies have eight rows of cilia which are often fused into "combs" called ctenidia for movement.

Soon, the hunter seeker found another knobbly sea star, great job.

And the participants were quite excited to see this very large diadema sea urchin.

Soon, tide was coming in and we left for the landfill tour. Since only my group was in the van, I had to give the landfill tour as well, wow another first time. :P

Nevertheless, it was a wonderful morning out with my lovely participants of Puffer fish group. Hope to see you at some nature areas sometime soon. :-)


Ah Wok said...

Hi Kok Sheng!! I'm elyssia, from the Semakau Walk on 21 June.Very nice pics! better than the ones we have :) By the way my blog is you can visit if u like!! ;)

Mingying LEE said...

Hi Kok Sheng,
Your photos are excellent! Thank you for being such an enthusiastic & knowledgeable guide yesterday. We had a delightful time and learnt so many new things.

alicesg said...

Looks like another fun adventure for you. Thanks for sharing these photos. You did a great job showing the other side of Singapore. Wonderful nature photos.

Unknown said...

Thank you Elyssia and Mingying. It's a pleasure guiding both of your families. :-)

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