Thursday, January 8, 2009

St John's southern shore

The northern shore of St John's Island, also as known as Tanjong Hakim, is a regular spot for shore explorers to visit. However, little is known about the southern part of St John's shore.

Today marks the beginning of another one-week long field trips during low spring tides. Though today's tide wasn't so low, Pamela and I couldn't resist checking out this place this afternoon.

This part of the island is much less visited but it is very scenic with natural coastal landforms.

Just opposite is our favourite Sisters Island. However, the current in between is very strong with crashing waves.

With waves crashing on headlands, erosion takes place and thus creating rocky shores.

Amongst many rocks, there were several long black sea cucumber (Holothuria leucospilota). Unfortunately, this is the only echinoderm seen today.

The impression I get from this shore is that it is less impressive compared to Tanjong Hakim, probably due to the several freshwater outputs in the vicinity. The strong currents could also be a factor as well. Perhaps there are more stuffs to be revealed only during a very low spring tide?

Nevertheless, life is resilient and if there is substrate, you will most probably see living creatures. Even at the high shores.

Like this pretty looking Lightning dove snails (Pictocolumbella ocellata) that can be often seen in small groups on many of our Southern rocky shores.

There are also many turban snails (Turbo bruneus) with their operculum for defense and preventing dessication. Their operculum are also known as the cats eye.

There are some corals sighted towards the mid water level of the shore.

This is the other coral I've found on this shore, perhaps there are more at the low water level mark.

There are also coral lookalikes.... zoanthids. Don't belittle these creatures! This is because the most toxic marine poison, palytoxin, was discovered in a zoanthid. Minute quantities of palytoxin can paralyse and even kill.

On tidal pools are several small gobies (Family Gobiidae) that are about 2-3cm long. These gobies have black dashy lines on its body and some orange stripes on its forehead. Beautiful if you take effort to observe it closer, plain-looking if you just observe them quickly and from far.

Both of us also saw a pair of small squids that look most similar to pygmy squid but I don't think they are. The squids we saw were much more colourful and they are fascinating! Realizing it was too difficult to photograph them at the waves, I tried doing a video. Unfortunately, a huge wave created by a ferry came and we lost sight of the pretty squids.

Tomorrow I will take some time to explore Tanjong Hakim, till then!

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