Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy 2010 and stonefish accident at BBB

Happy 2010 new year to all of you! Our first destination for the year is Beting Bemban Besar, a patch reef off Semakau that is only exposed at low spring tides. It's my first time there too and I was all excited to get there.

We started it off with a tide that did not recede as much as usual but finally found a nice dry patch to celebrate and take a group photo to toast for a great year to come.

But just straight after our group photo, the heavy rain poured like nobody's business! We all got into our rain gear and braved the strong wind and rain. Most of us kept our cameras except those who have underwater camera like me!

Mei Lin (on the left) was quite happy because she found a shell of the Burrowing Giant Clam (Tridacna crocea). Whereas Annabelle, whom it was nice seeing her again after some time, was still cheery despite the bad weather. Chay Hoon however was more shy towards my paparazzi photography.

Still, all is not that bad as we came across a Knobbly sea star (Protoreaster nodosus)! Mei Lin said she saw a few more later during the trip.

Here's Geraldine whom requested me to take a photo of her with the charming star. They are usually the star of attraction during guided walks elsewhere.

The team also found a nudibranch and this is the Bohol nudibranch (Discodoris boholiensis). This poor slug seems to have a bit of its body broken off.

Later on, I also saw a small Polka-dot nudibranch (Jorunna funebris) under a rock.

Well, during the heavy rain, everything is so blurry and the water gets murky. Most of the mobile animals go into hiding as they do not want to get into contact with the freshwater from the rain. So we had to contend ourselves with the immobile creatures like corals and sponges.

Some of the hard corals we saw include this Montipora coral (Montipora sp.).

As it was difficult to take photograph from the top during a heavy rain, I submerged my camera to take some nice shots of the extended polyps of the Anemone coral (Goniopora sp.) and the Galaxy coral (Galaxea sp.).

The Blue corals (Heliopora coerulea) are not considered as hard corals. Interestingly, this colony seems to have some zoanthids on top of them and also what looks like a Hammer oyster (Malleus sp.).

There were quite a number of Pinwheel leathery corals.

As well as some of these Asparagus flowery soft coral.

Mei Lim spotted this Brown feathery soft coral that I hardly notice on our shores.

Now over to the sponges, I managed to take some photos of different types during the short trip.

This purplish pink sponge is the Thick pink branching sponge (Callyspongia diffusa).

The green and massive branching sponge, according to Swee Cheng's A guide to sponges in Singapore, is identified as Halichondria cartilaginea. Their green colour is due to the alga living within them.

A common sponge sighted on our shores, the Yellow many-coned sponge (Spheciospongia sp.) are quite pretty in bright yellow.

This ball-looking sponge is the Barrel Sponge (Rhabdastrella globostellata) that sometimes gets mixed up with the Neptune's cup sponge. It is shaped somewhat like a pot.

Last but not the least of the sponges, this stunning orange coloured sponge is the Orange blob sponge (Mycale sp.). Sometimes, brittlestars can be found sticking out of the little holes but not for today.

For some reasons, there were quite a number of these bivalves that look like the Hammer oysters (Malleus sp.) on this reef.

I tried flipping rocks to look at the animals hiding beneath and I spotted this cowrie.

I caught an action of the Carpet eel-blenny (Congrogadus subducens) snacking on a fish! It was moving quite quickly.

Here's a closer look of the eel blenny holding its prey with its mouth. Sorry for the blurry photos as everywhere was almost quite murky today.

It was nice to also come across a lone Common sea star (Archaster typicus). I hope the rest saw more of them!

Ria was telling us that during her previous trip, she found the reef edge to be spectacular. However, there were blooms of sargassum and bryopsis and the tide was not too low. So we couldn't get to have a good look. The algal bloom also made walking difficulty as we don't know if there is a stonefish beneath.

Unfortunately, Ivan stepped on a stonefish and we had to immediate evacuate everyone out of the reef and into the boat.

As we are trying to get hot water for Ivan to soak his injured leg into, Ivan was more concerned about telling his loved one about the accident.

In overall, he reacted quite calmly, especially the beginning though towards the end of the boatride, it became worse and was immensely painful for him. Let's hope and pray that he will get well soon.

More about the whole situation in Ria's Wildshores blog and Ivan's twitter updates.


Ivan said...

Haha I feel much better. Still hurts and foot is really swollen. I want to go home!

Unknown said...

Good to hear you are better! :) From your twitter updates, it seems your recovery is going well. Hope you can go back tonight or tomorrow.

Ivan said...

Yes I hope so too! I was actually very freaked out and forced myself not to panic, because it might have made things worse. Just take regular deep breaths to calm down and slow my heartbeat, while walking over to tell you guys.

Joe Lai said...

Wishing you speedy recovery, Ivan, and a happy new year to you and your mates.

Joe Lai said...

What a prickly start to a new year! Wishing you speedy recovery, Ivan.

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