Thursday, February 19, 2009

A closer look at some mysterious submerged reefs

So I was not alone! My previous post on the mysterious patch reefs of Singapore proved to be well received and that shows that many others are also very interested in these hardly or never visited before reefs.

This post serves as a follow-up to give a slightly closer look at these mysterious reefs.


First let us focus on three of the reefs off the waters surrounding Sentosa, St John's Island and Sister's Island. They are namely Terumbu Buran, Pulau Palawan and Terumbu Selegi.


Just in front of the reclaimed Seringat and Kias is a patch reef that is rather conspicious if you do take ferry rides around that area. It is also visible from the Sentosa Cove.


I took the opportunity during a ferry ride to take a photograph of this reef and it shows to have some rocky and perhaps sandy bottom. Nobody knows what surprises it holds until we set our feet on this reef.


You must be wondering why Pulau Palawan is also counted. Strictly speaking, it should not be counted as a submerged reef because it is now an island. But since the Geo Names website listed it as one of the Terumbus, I thought I should feature it and its history.

Indeed, Pulau Palawan used to be a submerged reef that is now reclaimed to be an island off Palawan Beach, Sentosa. According to InfopediaTalk by National Library Singapore, Pulau Palawan is originally called Serembu Palawan where the word 'serembu' is perhaps derived from the Malay word 'terumbu', which means a reef, rock or stump that is visible only at low tide.

'Palawan' is likely a variant of the Malay word 'pahlawan', which means warrior, leader in war or hero, and alludes to an earlier era of warfare and piracy in the islands.

Pulau Palwan is usually mistaken as the 'Southernmost Point of Continental Asia'. It is in fact not physically connected to Sentosa, and should not to be mistaken for the artificial sandy islet which is annexed to Palawan Beach on Sentosa. Talking about the 'Southernmost Point of Continental Asia', it is probably also as controversial. A look at Google Earth clearly shows the southermost point of Continental Asia is now at the tip of Tuas where reclamation is still ongoing. Is it time for Sentosa to take away the signboard?


Just almost at the middle of nowhere off Sister's Island is this submerged reef called Terumbu Selegi. It has sandy and rocky bottoms and is probably more elusive that the other submerged reefs.


I would also like to take this opportunity to share a closer look of some submerged reefs around Semakau. They are Terumbu Semakau, Terumbu Raya, Terumbu Pemalang Besar and Terumbu Bukom.


This is Terumbu Semakau viewed from the jetty of Semakau landfill. Yet again, it might look lifeless as you think it's another piece of land with only soil and rocks from the brown coloration.


You are wrong because an intrepid team just made a maiden trip to Terumbu Raya which also looks lifeless from far. The place proved to have plenty of life! Here is a colourful and stunning post by Ria on the coral reef there.


November shared on her blog on her virgin experiences and this photograph taken by her shows the diversity and abundance of corals.


A strange anemone was spotted by Stephen and Andy and Stephen took this photograph. A later check with Dr Daphne Fautin reveals that this is a new record for Singapore! Wow.

This first trip to take a look at these mysterious reefs is indeed exciting.

Before I end the post, I would like to share with you all two more reefs.


This is the Terumbu Pemalang Besar that unfortunately is now bound in the phase two lagoon by the Semakau Landfill.


Last but not the least for now, here is a reef that emerged off Pulau Bukom during low spring tide.


A quick check reveals that this reef is Terumbu Bukom that I have never taken time to notice or sight before.


Though this is not a submerged reef, I was pleasantly surprised to see wild mangroves at Pulau Bukom where the oil refineries stand.

3 comments:

Hen said...

Oh my!! Exciting!! Like you, I really wonder what flora and fauna can be found at those reefs... It'd be great to be able to explore them!

Jeffrey said...

Most of the terumbus you mention are not easily visited, because of strong currents and because they are in the middle of heavy shipping traffic.

Some of them I've listed here http://cat64fish.wordpress.com/singapore-island-names/. I'll update it (at some point) with the patch reefs you've listed.

Cheers :)

koksheng said...

Great, thanks Jeff.

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