Thursday, July 23, 2009

East Coast is packed with sea fans!

Finally I'm out at the shores again! This time back to East Coast Park. I explored several sites just last month. But since it's the longest reclaimed shore, there are still lots of stretches that are unexplored. I'm glad to have Agnes to join me for this 4am trip. Henrietta and friends, who are camping at East Coast, also joined for a while.

My focus today is to look at the sea fans at the outer edge of the breakwaters or seawalls.

And indeed, I was totally overwhelmed by the large number of
skinny sea fans found attached onto the seawall!

Look at this, it is just so amazing that a reclaimed shore is home to sea fans that jam packs the rocks and seawalls.

Documenting the sea fans today was tough because they tend to be only found at the lowest water level mark. While squatting to take photos, huge waves had splashed all over my face and hair. Hahaha.

But it is all worth is since these sea fans are just so gorgeous and pretty.They come in a variety of colours and different shades.

That includes those in bright yellow colour.

This sea fan is white and is probably a juvenile of the Tree sea fan. I think the water droplets from the crashing waves look really artistic in this shot. Don't you agree too?

This pink sea fan looks different from the more commonly found skinny sea fan. I think this is rather cute.

Another branching sea fan in red that looks different from the long branches of the skinny sea fans.

This orange coloured sea fan is how a skinny sea fan looks like. In some colonies, the long branches are neatly and evenly spaced along the central stem on one plane so the whole colony looks like the veins of a leaf. They generally do not have much side branching.

This brown sea fan also looks different from the skinny sea fans and I think it's my first time seeing such a kind of sea fan in our shores.

But the most exciting colour of the sea fans seen today must be this electrifying purple coloured one. It's my first time seeing such a purple sea fan. It will definitely be stunning when it grows and branches to be a larger sea fan.

This sea fan also reminded me of the blue coloured one seen at Changi!

Of course, there are also skinny sea fans that are white in colour. Together with those in yellow, orange and red, the whole place seems to be brightened up with these pretty sea fans.

The most puzzling colour combination of the sea fans encountered today must be this pinkish long stemed sea fan with blue polyps. The polyps must be even more beautiful when submerged in water since they are now all shrunk in when exposed to air.

Sea fan gardens that thickly cover the rocks and seawalls are also home to several marine creatures.

Found beside sea fans will be this Grapsid crab that I don't know of its species name.

Sea fans itself also host several exciting critters like the Segal's spindle cowrie (Cymbovula segaliana).

Wong Hoong Wei recently wrote a paper regarding these spindle cowries being new records in Singapore. It's quite exciting to know that even now there are new records found in our marine environment. That just goes to show that there is still so much that we don't know.

I'm suprised to find many of the supposedly rare Winged oysters (Family Pteriidae) in the sea fans at East Coast.

These bivalves are known to live among sea fans. The two-part shell has an asymmetrical winged-shape, like a sail boat.

Last but not least, there were several snails and hermit crabs clinging tightly on the sea fans while the sea fans themselves attach strongly onto the rocks. The hard crashing waves did not cause the sea fans or other organisms to be dislodged.

Agnes and I later covered quite a number of seawalls over a long stretch of the shore. And to our delight, every seawall that extends down to the sea is home to sea fans!

By the time I arrive to this seawall, the tide has risen and most of the sea fans are starting to be covered back into the sea. That's all for the short exposure of the sea fans during the super low spring tide.

This last stretch of seawall is just again full of sea fans and the sea fans at this portion seems of bigger growth! I hope I have another super low to properly explore this again including the other stretches that we do not have time to cover.


Ria Tan said...

WOW, that's stupendous Kok Sheng!

I'm so glad you made time to check this out or we would be oblivious to the beautiful sea fan gardens right on the East Coast!

Thanks for sharing that!

Kok Sheng said...

Yup it's amazing to see all the densely packed sea fans at East Coast. Makes me hope for more super lows to explore the whole stretch properly. Who know what lies out there.

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