Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas eve with the Big Sister

What a great way to celebrate Christmas eve, none other exploring the rich marine life of Big Sister's Island! I have not been to Big Sister's for more than a year!

The stretch that is jam-packed with corals and other associates is doing well despite the coral bleaching earlier this year. I'm so glad to know that!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Punggol shore surprises

After the recce trip to Punggol last week on a low neap tide, I finally set foot on the intertidal shore of Punggol shore on a low spring tide. Though the tide is not exactly that low, there were much to be seen, with several surpises!

The first surprise when I reached the foot of the jetty was the very clear waters! I could see end of the jetty with such good visibility. This is something that we don't really expect on our murkier northern shores.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Changi's rocky and seagrass shore

We had a cool evening trip yesterday at Changi's rocky and seagrass shore!

I haven't been to this stretch for more than a year! How has it been?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Punggol shore during low neap tide

Always wanted to visit Punggol end and I finally succumbed this afternoon. I cannot remembered when I last visited this place. It could be during OBS 9 years ago!

I chose the lowest possible level of the neap tide to visit and recce this shore. In this photo shows the jetty that stretches off the road end of Punggol Road. Right at the start of the jetty are construction works for Punggol Promenade.

Plans include turning the jetty and beach at Punggol Point into a park with cycling tracks and eateries, and developing the stretch along Coney Channel into nature trails and fishing spots.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Tanah Merah 6 months after oil spill

Six months ago, an oil spill occured off the coast of eastern Singapore on the Singapore Straits. The aftermath of this accident has unavoidably affected the marine life of the nearby coasts and shores.

Till now, the crude oil still exists on the shore, creating a top layer of sheen on the water surface. On the sand are many brown patches of slime.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Back at Ubin's other shores

Exactly one year after my first visit, we are back at this Ubin shore. No, we were not at Chek Jawa. There is more to Ubin's marine life than Chek Jawa. :)

The rocks of Ubin are very special, they have vertical furrows or also known as pseudo-karren that were etched by rain over many decades or so. It is not easy to find such a rural and beautiful environment in mainland Singapore anymore.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cyrene reef with Teamseagrass

It's time to be back at Cyrene Reef, one of my most favourite reefs to monitor the seagrasses.

Despite the dark clouds in the near distance, we continued to land on Cyrene. And along the way, we passed by the North Pandan buoy (Cyrene is actually called Terumbu Pandan).

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

First visit to Berlayar shore

On a hot Sunday afternoon, I decided to have a first look at Berlayar shore beside Labrador Park.

This shore lies at the mouth of a river where many mangrove species lie upstream. Quite a fair bit has been exposed in this moderate low tide. At the other side of the bank is Keppel Club and a white colonial house.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

First look at Bidadari Cemetery

After hearing and seeing so many photos from Marcus Chua, Ron and Siyang, I decided I should also have a look at Bidadari Cemetery. In fact, the place is quite near to my house! Thus, I cycled there yesterday morning.

The graves of the cemetery have already been exhumed as the land will be used in the future. What remains as of now are green patches of grass and some trees with path roads across.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Back to Pasir Ris shore

On thursday late afternoon and evening, the monsoon rain poured over the whole of Singapore but that did not stop Geraldine and myself from having a look at the shore of Pasir Ris. I have not visited this shore for a year!

Drizzling and raining while I first arrived, I saw a long line of blue floating buoys stretching across the whole of the Pasir Ris coast.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Recce at Sentosa shore

I was back at Sentosa's Tanjong Rimau last Wednesday with my colleagues recceing the shore for student visit in the future. And it was also their first time there! :)

As tide was a bit high and the rain was drizzling, we spent most of our time at the high shore and rocky area. Tanjong Rimau is home to magnificent coastal cliffs and landforms. A great place for both living biology and geography lessons to take place.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Chek Jawa boardwalk during Hari Raya

Woke up early to go Ubin with Pamela and her cell group on Hari Raya holiday last Wednesday. Yes, if you want to go Ubin and do not want to be stuck in long queues, it is best to go early and leave early!

While waiting for the rest to arrive at Changi, we had a look at the shrubs nearby and there were many butterflies! Thanks to Soon Chye for identifying, this large butterfly is the Great Mormon.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Beautiful mangroves of Seletar

Yesterday morning, I had a good look (from far) at the mangroves off Seletar in the north of Singapore.

The bridge linking Seletar to Pulau Punggol Barat allows me be at a higher position to have a good bird's eye view. I could see many large shore birds wading among the mudflat hunting for fishes and other snacks!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

No galloping but still lively at Sentosa

After Chay Hoon's first sighting of the charming Galloping sea star (Stellaster equestris) and the subsequent finding of yet another one by Ron at Sentosa, my every trip now to Sentosa is strongly driven towards the mission to find this elusive star. Furthermore, I have never seen this sea star before. :(

Thus, here I am back at Sentosa! It was nice to be blessed with clear weather as it was raining the whole day. Thank God for that. We were treated to a nice evening sunset in the form of pinkish glows in the sky.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

First visit to Terumbu Bukom

Remember my post on the submerged reefs of Singapore? It's amazing to know that we have already visited many of them without losing our lives.. haha! And the last new submerged reef that we visited this year for the first time will be Terumbu Bukom!

Like Terumbu Buran, Terumbu Bukom lies among strong currents of water which makes landing very tricky but made possible with Jumari and his team.

In the background is Pulau Jong, while the beacon shows the submerged reef (darker portions of the photo) that was about to be surfaced.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Changi shore- "Heavily utilised"

Today was one of the rare times when I visited Changi shore during a weekend evening. As expected there were lots of people on the shores. They consist of fishermen, people picking up creatures for seafood, children playing on the shores and even students doing research.

Indeed this tiny stretch of living shore is "heavily utilised"! At least today's kids were more sensible- they were nice to talk to, listened to my advices and knew not to disturb a sea cucumber when I told them it was stressed and slightly injured.

It was nice to get to know Peirong and another of her labmate (sorry forgot her name). They were working on sea cucumbers and sea stars on Changi, which explains the long lines of transect throughout the shore.

An adventurous landing on Terumbu Buran

Throughout this year, we have been visiting various submerged reefs of Singapore and we are almost hitting our target of getting to most, if not, all of them! The last two on our list are the most difficult ones to land- one of which is Terumbu Buran.

Here is a beacon for Buran, just off Sentosa. The currents here are just turbulent! Just at the back is Terumbu Buran, our destination of the day.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Seahorses suprise at Changi

On Monday evening, I had the honor to introduce our spectacular Changi shores to Jillian and Benjamin. It was their first time visiting Singapore's shores during low tide! Awaiting us were seahorses surprise later on during the trip!

We first had a look at a rocky shore. From far, most people would deem such rocky areas to be smelly and void of life. But that is wrong! In fact, the rocky habitat rocks big time. Haha!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Virgin trip to South Cyrene Reef

On Sunday afternoon, we visited another submerged reef for the first time! It is called South Cyrene. Aye, isn't Cyrene Reef the reef that we have been visiting regularly? Cyrene Reefs are actually composed of three reefs: Terumbu Pandan (the Cyrene Reef we have been visiting all along), South Cyrene and Pandan Beacon.

We arrived when the tide was still a bit high and the bright orange beacon of South Cyrene made navigation easier for us to locate this emerging reef.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Back to eastern Semakau

Yesterday evening, I was back on the eastern shore of Semakau assisting Yikang in doing GIS mapping for Project Semakau. The last time I visited this shore was during clam hunting with Mei Lin exactly one year ago. I had a good look at the shore while walking around with Yikang to map out the different zonations.

How are the reefs doing after the recent period of coral bleaching? Most of the corals I came across were at the verge of total recovery or are already fully recovered. I hardly came across any corals that are bleaching badly.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Kusu Island: Anemone City

Last Sunday, I was back on evening tide trips this year and visited Kusu Island or also known as the Turtle Island.

Before Kusu was reclaimed, some people say it looked like a turtle. Made up of two ridges on a reef, one ridge the head, and the other the back of the turtle. Unfortunately, the shape of the turtle is not evident now.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Last morning trip at Sentosa

It's the last morning tide trip before the lower low spring tide switches to evening. Which means no need to wake up at unearthly hours until March next year! :-)

Together with Allen, Shuyi and Joo Yong, we had a good look at Sentosa's natural shore and reef. There are 3 objectives in this trip. First is to recce the shore for future field trips with students, second is to check out the bleaching event and third is the mission to find the elusive Galloping sea star which has been sighted twice by Chay Hoon and Ron!

I would say there are about 70-80% of the corals that are unbleached. Most of the bleached corals are only partially bleached like this hard coral above. It is possible that this hard coral is recovering through zooxanthallae restoration back to the coral.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Back to Changi's lively rocky shore

After more than a year of absence, I'm glad to be back on the rocky shores of Changi!

Other than echinoderms, sea slugs and flatworms, sea fans are also one of my most favourite marine organism. It's amazing to see how a mainland shore at Changi can be home to many pretty sea fans.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Semakau guiding with NUS High

Finally I get a chance to escape from work and stress this morning as I hit back on our lovely shores! This time to guide students at Semakau.

I woke up at 3am due to the noisy gusty winds outside and I thought, that's it! It will be yet another wet trip. Nevertheless, nothing stopped us from gathering at Marina South Pier at 5am to depart for Semakau. There were many participants today, from three schools!

Upon arrival at Semakau landfill begins our 2km walk along the road to the intertidal area. The gusty wind died down to a cool breeze and overlooking us is a glowy and warming sunrise. How sweet was the weather, thank God! In this photo is Wen Qing and her group of students.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Videos from Pulau Hantu


It's been a long while since since I've last blogged! Work has kept me away from most trips but I'm glad to still be able to share two video taken from the Hantu trip last year. :)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Having a hell of a time at Hantu

We are back at Hantu to take a look at the current situation of the bleaching that has been around for the past couple of months.

Across Pulau Hantu is an island, Pulau Bukom where there are lots of petrochemical installations that are well lit at night.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

"Hunter seeking" at Semakau

Today was supposedly guiding day at Semakau but since some participants did not turn up, I went to help out with hunter seeking instead. It's my first time doing it!

Hunter seeking simply means to help find animals for the participants so that they need not trample all over the place to look at them instead. Of course, we will release the animals back to where they were previously found after the walk.

The day started off with rain but that did not dampen our spirit!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Cyrene in the dark

Yesterday was our second trip to Cyrene Reef in the DARK! Yes, complete darkness. But our reefs are usually more alive at night because there is no scorching sun. Talk about the night is still young, these creatures love to party all night long.

This photo was taken when the sun was near the horizon towards the end of the trip. I like this scenic postcard shot of the knobbly sea stars against the dawn with the giant cranes of Pasir Panjang at the background.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Article on Coral conservation in Singapore

I came across this article on Lianhe Zaobao this morning and it is about our corals in the southern waters.

With lots of pretty photos, the article is titled as allowing our corals to thrive in our southern waters. Despite Singapore being such a small country, or also known as a red dot on the world map, we have 256 out of the total 800 coral species in the world. That makes up about 32%!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Some videos of our shore life

Here are some videos that I took during the last month's worth of field trips to share with you here in my blog. Enjoy!

Basket star (Family Euryalidae) from Loh Kok Sheng on Vimeo.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Bleaching at Hantu

This morning, a small team of us checked out Pulau Hantu to see how the reef is responding to the widespread coral bleaching in the region. We first checked the lagoon.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A starry night trip to Cyrene!

I'm not talking about the unreachable stars high up in the sky but the sea stars (aka starfish) that can be found at our reefs. This morning was our first ever night (predawn) trip to Cyrene and it was also considered to be my extended birthday party with the marine life at one of my most favourite reefs in Singapore!

Of course, landscape shots can only be taken after sunrise. How many sea stars can you find in this photograph?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Pink spotted sea cucumber identified!

Finally, the sea cucumber paper for the Pink spotted sea cucumber is published in Nature in Singapore.

This is the pink spotted sea cucumber that was not previously recorded in Singapore before until some of us shore explorers started seeing this unknown sea cucumber.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Tomato clownfish with bleached anemone

The two videos below show a bleached Bulb-tentacled sea anemone (Entacmaea quadricolor) that is still home to the poor little Tomato anemonefish (Amphiprion frenatus). No one knows if the fish will lose its home in the near future.

Tomato clownfish with bleached anemone from Loh Kok Sheng on Vimeo.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

More bleaching at Terumbu Semakau

Just like other reefs of Singapore, coral bleaching is also observed at Terumbu Semakau, a submerged reef just off the Semakau Landfill. This is the second half of the two trips reef-hopping that we made on the same morning!

At the reef edge, facing Semakau, there are quite a number of corals that are bleaching. We estimated it to be around 60% of the corals.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Terumbu Bemban: Reef of fish trap

It's my last day of this long week of low spring tide series. And we had a long low tide today, so much that we visited two separate submerged reefs within the morning.

With a breathtaking sunrise, we were all geared up for our first stop: Terumbu Bemban, a reef that we have not visited before.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Soft coral bleaching at Cyrene Reef

It's been half a year since my last visit to one of my most favourite reefs.... Cyrene Reef!

This morning, there were more people than usual as we have with us personnels from URA and NParks to explore this lovely shore with us.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Checkup on Tanah Merah coral garden

The hearts of many nature lovers broke when Tanah Merah got badly hit by the recent oil spill. To make matters worse, coral bleaching is also going on during this period of time.

Will our coral garden at Tanah Merah survive the double impact? Will we lose what probably could be the best mainland coral site of Singapore? James and I decided to have a look ourselves this morning during a rare super low tide.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The annual Beting Bronok checkup

After a year's wait, we are back to Beting Bronok (BB) to have a look at how it is doing. BB is a submerged reef off Pulau Tekong that will only be exposed at a good low spring tide.

The variety and abundance of marine life here beats many of our northern shores despite being hit by the mass flooding of freshwater in 2007.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Changi- Still as charming as ever

It was worrying when we saw the news report that the oil spill hit Changi and Chek Jawa on 29th May 2010. Will our living northern shores be badly affected? During that period of low tides while I was at the southern shores, there were some concerned shore explorers who went to check these shores.

Finally today there was a chance to see how Changi shore is doing. And I'm happy to say that most of the marine life there looks normal as usual!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Exciting Tioman intertidal shore

Another marine-related activity that one can do at Tioman other than snorkeling will be to explore the intertidal shore.

During a good low tide, the coral reefs will be exposed for a short period of time, which is why checking the tide timings are important. For once, I get to explore the shores during midnight. This is not really that possible in Singapore as our tides are usually during evening or morning.

Snorkeling at Tioman

During end May, my friends and I had a short getaway to Tioman for a nice deserved break!

And one of the activities we did was to snorkel around the coral reefs of Tioman. It was generally a relaxing and fun experience.

Monday, June 7, 2010

NIE field trip to MacRitchie

MacRitchie Reservoir is Singapore's first impounding reservoir and it was built in 1867. It is part of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR), which is the biggest nature reserve in Singapore. The other reservoirs of CCNR include Lower Peirce Reservoir, Upper Peirce Reservoir and Upper Seletar Reservoir.

Serving as water catchment areas, forests surrounding these reservoirs are protected from agriculture activities so as to ensure the quality of water. The reservoir also has a park for recreational purposes and has facilities such as the pavilion and the zig zag bridge as shown here.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

NIE field trip to Sungei Buloh

On 20th May, a bunch of Biology trainee teachers had a field trip visit to Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve. I went about an hour earlier in hope to catch the recent hype of otters and crocodiles that have been regularly sighted.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Tanah Merah cleanup on World Environment Day

Today is World Environment Day! And the best way to commemorate this day is to do our bit for the environment. Especially so after the gruesome oil spill that occured recently.

19 of us were at Tanah Merah shore this morning for a beach cleanup organized by Andy.

As you can see from this photo, the high shore water level mark is strewn with lots of litter. And our focus today was to remove plastic bottles and other light debris which may be coated with crude oil from the shore.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Spectacular coral reef of Kusu

Yes, we have spectacular coral reefs just 15 minutes away from our city centre!

Kusu Island is home to a dense fringing reef outside its seawall made up of anemones, hard corals and soft corals. The cityline is just not very far away.

Friday, May 28, 2010

My first trip to Pulau Tekukor

It's my first time visiting the island of spectacular natural coastline which I was previously exclaiming about! I'm able to set foot on Tekukor with the permit for Mei Lin's giant clam project. Otherwise, this island is actually closed to the public.

One of the interesting things of the day's trip will be the numerous number of fishes in the tide pools. Probably my first time seeing so many of them!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Virgin trip to Terumbu Semakau

The last trip of the low spring tide season is a first time visit to Terumbu Semakau!

In the midst of the light rain, we arrived a bit too early with only one miserable rock sticking out of the sea. So the gang decided to wait on the spot until the tide recedes further. This will help prevent any stonefish accidents since visibility is poor with rain. As usual, we have Mei Lin with her cute gu-niang umbrella with frills.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tomato clownfish at Terumbu Semakau

Today was our virgin trip to Terumbu Semakau, a submerged reef off Semakau landfill. The highlight of the trip for me was the ultra cute Tomato anemonefish.

Here is the

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

NIE fieldtrip to Labrador rocky shore

It has been a rainy week and I was worried if the rain will persist. Thankfully, the drizzle ended when we reached Labrador Park.

Yes, today some of the future Biology teachers were at Labrador Park for a field trip to a rocky shore. This will help us get an idea on how we can bring our students there in the future. We were fortunate to have Dr Beverly Goh, who is a marine biologist to share with us about the last mainland natural rocky reef of Singapore.

Monday, May 17, 2010

New star find at Pulau Jong

A new star was found at Pulau Jong today! Chay Hoon found it among the seaweeds!

This tiny sea star has 7 legs! And it was a mottled coloration consisting of speckles of purple and red on its upper surface. The edge of the star is orange-fringed.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The froggy Sekudu 2010

Why date the post 2010? As explained in last year's post on Sekudu, I seemed to only get to visit this island annually. My first trip was in 2007 followed by the one in 2008.

The legend of the Frog Island, also known as Pulau Sekudu, goes where a pig, elephant and frog wanted to swim to Johor. They did not made it eventually and all turned into Ketam, Ubin and Sekudu respectively. The rock formation at the island is spectacular and one of which looks like the fossilized frog of the legend.

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