Thursday, June 11, 2009

Semakau Public Walk on 11 June

5.30am and off we went to Semakau landfill departing from Marina South Pier! I bet most of you were still sleeping while the public walk kicked off.


And tada! We successfully landed at Semakau landfill and as you can see in this photo, it was still dark! But the participants in my group Great Billed Heron were all awake and excited to visit Semakau. Here we have Priscilla, Magdalene and their brothers taking a group photo.


We took a stroll along the rock bund road towards the seashore for the intertidal walk. But how come there were so many of us stopping to take photographs?


Oh! There was a glorious sunrise just behind us! A sunrise for the first time for quite a few of them in fact.


We carried on walking towards the secondary forest trail which we will walk through to reach the natural part of Semakau landfill.

For your information, Semakau landfill is where the incerated ashes of your thrash ends up. But thanks to the careful considerations to the environment, part of the original Pulau Semakau was kept wild for us to still have recreational activities such as today's trip.


Hitting onto the vast shore, finally, after talking about creeper snails, mangroves and rock oysters, the group stopped over to see what July's group was talking about.


And to our surprise, it is a juvenile Mangrove horseshoe crab (Carcinoscopius rotundicauda). The horseshoe crab is a living fossil! They have been around since before the dinosaurs. The tail of the horseshoe crab is not venomous and is not used as a weapon. It is merely used as a lever to right itself if it is overturned.

Horseshoe crab blood has a substance that is so sensitive to bacteria that purified extracts of the blood are used to test for the presence of bacteria in human medication and in medical tests.

Unfortunately, the Coastal horseshoe crab is listed as 'Endangered' on the Red List of threatened animals of Singapore. It is mainly threatened by habitat loss.



Just next to the seagrass lagoon, the hunter seekers found a Dragonfish sea cucumber (Stichopus horrens) and a juvenile cushion star (Culcita novaeguinea)!


The cushion star of course is the most special find for me since I love stars! They have been reported to be able to eat some species of hard corals.


The underside of the star looks different but yet still so stunning!


Next, we crossed the death zone of the seagrass lagoon that is designated for human traffic in order to minimize impacts and trampling on other parts of the lagoon. Many of them in fact love the feeling of their legs running through the seawater! And here's definitely a great place to take a memorable group photo.

We saw many interesting animals along the way and I'll just focus on a few interesting ones because I didn't have the luxury to take so many photos during guiding.


Another special find will be this juvenile Fluted giant clam (Tridacna squamosa) beside a sponge. The scutes by the sides help fend off predators and the giant clam has a mantle that is not visible when the shells are fully closed when out of water.

Thankfully, we also saw the huge adult of the Fluted giant clam at the reef edge in water with its pretty mantle all opened for us to behold.


There were many different nudibranchs found by the hunter seekers and one of the more interesting ones is this rather large Bohol nudibranch (Discodoris boholiensis) that I've not seen for a while already.


A couple of flatworm species were also found including this pretty Blue-lined flatworm (Pseudoceros sp.). It was swimming upside down here in the container. We do release all animals back to where they were found, so no worries!


The star attraction for the visitors is definitely this pinkish red star! This is the Knobbly sea star (Protoreaster nodosus). Knobbly sea stars are not venomous, although they are often brightly coloured and covered with dangerous-looking knobs, nodules and spines. They are also called the Chocolate Chip sea star as introduced by my assistant guide, Wen Qing.


And of course, the star is another great opportunity of our second group photo of the day. :-)


Last but not least, I love the way one of the participants said about the Chocolate sponge as cities or castles in the intertidal flat!

This smooth lumpy sponge is particularly common on Pulau Semakau where a broad zone of these sponges exist just before the seagrass area. Often mistaken for plants, sponges are actually animals very simple animals.

Soon, it was time to head back! Time past very fast while we were having fun.


And next up was the landfill tour before we took the ferry back mainland after a long day.


I thought I should also feature homosapiens. Haha... On the left is my assistant guide Wen Qing. Thanks for taking care of the group together with me. And on the right is a monstrous-looking July who looks weird because now is still June.

OK, tomorrow another Semakau guided walk to look forward to again!

4 comments:

jing said...

Hi, I am Jing Tsong from NUS Life Science Society (LSS). We are organising a field trip to Pulau Semakau, and I am the director of this event. I have read this blog,it's great!! (thumb up) By the way, I am looking for some photos of scenery and creatures that could be found Semakau. We need it in designing a poster to publicize the field trip to NUS students. Can you send me some photos that you took during your visit to there last time? My email address is nus.jingtsongteh@gmail.com .Thank you. Have a nice day.

Regards,
JingTsong, LSS
82654249

koksheng said...

Hi JingTsong,

You can access my Semakau photos here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/koksheng/sets/72157607751329669/

Pls acknowledge my name "Loh Kok Sheng" with the use of my photos. Thanks!

Janice said...

Hi Kok Sheng,

can I find out if you organize guided walks to Pulau Semakau? How can we sign up with you if you do conduct them and is there a fee required?

thanks and regards,
Janice Ng

koksheng said...

Hi Janice, I do not organize trips to semakau myself. Pls refer to this NEA brochure for more details.

http://www.nea.gov.sg/cms/wmd/SL%20Brochure.pdf

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