Saturday, August 2, 2008

Coral garden at Raffles Lighthouse

Finally I get to visit the southernmost island of Singapore, Pulau Satumu or also known as Raffles Lighthouse. One needs to get a permit from MPA to access Pulau Satumu and I'm thankful Luan Keng invited the Semakau guides to explore the reef during today's super low tide.

The reef at Satumu overlooks yet another two restricted islands, Pulau Senang (left) and Pulau Biola (right) which we all believe have fantastic untouched reefs.

The coral reef at Raffles Lighthouse is simply breathtaking! The corals are so dense and we have really a hard time trying to avoid stepping on them. There is a good mix of hard and soft corals.

Soft corals encountered include the leathery soft corals,

and also the flowery soft corals. I only noticed the beautiful snail on the soft coral when I returned home to process the photos!

This is another colony of the flowery soft coral, this one has a hermit crab clinging to the coral. As well, I only noticed this when at home, guess too sleepy in the predawn hours.

As the wildfilms blog entitled the post as Acropora overdose in their trip last year, I've got my chance to experience that overdose today.

The Acropora corals at Satumu really look like table tops and can be huge, like the ones we can see when diving in Malaysia.

The Acropora coral is also commonly known as the table top or staghorn coral and they can come in different colours.

A closer look at the branching coral polyps reveal its inner beauty.

I've also came across this pinkish Acropora coral that is attractive looking.

The Acropora species is characterised by an enlarged terminal polyp at the tip of each branch.

I've also came across a variety of other hard corals. In fact I am not good at identifying corals so if there's any assistance, please feel free to leave a comment at the end of the post.

A closer look at the coral shown at the previous photo shows the individual polyps. I think this is a Montipora sp. Interestingly, it has two shrimps on it.

Pocillopora sp. corals are pretty to look at during the night especially with their tentacles out in the water.

Galaxy coral (Galaxea sp.) is thus named because they have starry polyps in the water. According to Coral Reefs of Singapore, Galaxea polyps have sweeper tentacles which reach out to sting any adjacent competitor hard coral or reef organism.

This is another coral of the Montipora sp. that is plate-like.

In Raffles lighthouse, the growth of the corals are extensive and we can find large patches of the leaf coral (Pavona sp.).

A closer look at the leaf coral.

There is also the disk coral (Turbinaria sp.) that have widely spaced polyps. Like the Montipora coral, it is plate-like.

Underneath the jetty, I've found this coral that looks quite new to me.

Actually I've seen this coral before at the now-reclaimed-for-IR northern Sentosa shore. Thanks to Ria for the id, this rather rare coral with U-shaped tipped tentacles is Euphyllia ancora. The colony is solid with the corallites forming meandering valleys with separate walls.

Talking about mushroom corals, of course they can be found at Raffles Lighthouse.

This solitary (not colonial) mushroom coral is a Fungia sp. that is free-living, unlike most of the hard corals that usually are attached on the reef. At night, their tentacles extend out and its a pretty sight to catch.

I'm not sure about the id for this coral, could it be a Faviid coral?

More corals to come! This coral is quite rare on intertidal shores of Singapore and is probably a Hydnophora sp.

A closer look at the Hydnophora sp.

This bluish looking coral is also suspected to be a Hydnophora sp. My first time seeing it blue in colour.

A closer look at the bluish Hydnophora sp.

Also a first time will be this carnation coral (Pectinia sp.).

A closer look at the stunning Pectinia coral.

More plate-like corals cover the reefs extensively at Raffles Lighthouse.

A closer look at the coral can help identify the coral. Could this also be a Montipora sp. ?

This orange coral is the cave coral (Tubastrea sp.) Though brightly coloured, they do not have symbiotic algae and therefore can flourish in deeper and darker areas.

In addition to the long list of corals at Raffles Lighthouse reef has, there are also the brain corals (Family Mussidae).

This is a brain coral lookalike but I think this coral belongs to another genus or family. Any idea?

It's overwhelming to see so many corals thriving healthily at this furthest edge of southern Singapore. Something we should strive for to support better marine life with less sedimentation.

Last but definitely not the least, I've spotted this coral that I've no idea what is it.

Zooming in on the above unknown coral reveal intrinsic patterns.

Enjoy the rest of the photos that show the diversity of corals on this colourful and densely rich coral reef.

No need to swim, no need to dive! How wonderful.


r said...

hi there! seen your blog and it's really cool.

I myself would really like to get to the raffles lighthouse and i am just wondering if it's possible in anyway to get there by chartered boat?
Just wondering if you know roughly the pricing for such a trip or any boat charter companies i can contact?

You need a permit to get there, how do you actually apply for one??

thank you!!!!!

Unknown said...

Hi, you won't be able to get there unless you have research or special permit to do so. If you do, please write to MPA. :)

r said...

Does that means that, it's a no-no for recreation purposes like, just for the purpose of exploring the islet ?

Unknown said...

Hi, yup. I'm afraid the island is out of bounds to public access.

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