Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Great Reef lives up to its name

After more than a year's wait, I was excited to be able to revisit The Great Reef.

Think I've gone diving from this photo? Nah! I was doing "half snorkelling". Haha. It is actually an intertidal trip where I was at the reef edge for most of the time because it is just so stunning. The waters are relatively clear and there are lots of corals.

Terumbu Raya means The Great Reef! And of course, it was great! Indeed, Terumbu Raya lives up to its name.

Many of the uncommon corals can be found here at large colonies such as this Ringed plate coral (Pachyseris sp.) in an underwater shot.

Among this Crinkled sandpaper coral (Psammocora sp.) are some beautiful Banded fan worms.

How does the reef edge look like from above water? It is colourful and rich in life! There's sponges, anemones, hard corals and other living marine life.

Walking by the reef edge is a careful activity because it is really the edge that is similar to the cliff where the next step will be all the way down. Of course, it was tricky to try and avoid Mr Stonefish in this area that is thick in life!

Literally, I half-snorkelled with my waist down wet! But it was really exciting to come close and near with these colourful and some of which special and rare corals. More about the corals you can find at this reef at my previous two posts here and here.

Mei Lin is a happy girl because there were a couple of living giant clams sighted! I found this pretty Burrowing Giant Clam (Tridacna crocea) with it's mantle exposed! This is also my first time seeing this species of clam showing its mantle. All of my previous sightings were out of water and closed up. Do you adore the blue pigments in this clams like me? Haha.

This is how the same clam looks like much later when the tide came in.

Just around the same time where I found the previous clam, James had already found this adult sized Fluted giant clam (Tridacna squamosa) that has white stripes on its mantle! Very handsome.

I had a closer look at the exhalant siphon and noticed the feathery projections for the first time.

Waiting for the tide to come in a bit later, here's how the clam will look like underwater! I like the angle of this shot, don't you too? :)

That's not all man! James found this dead shell of two halves belonging to the rare and probably extinct in Singapore Bear Paw Giant Clam (Hippopus hippopus).

Based on the inside, we deduced this clam did not die too long ago. At least within a year! Which means these clams might still be around somewhere? Wow.

Nevertheless, thanks to James, the guy who always finds the Hippopus hippopus shells in different places!

Enough of clams and corals, here's something more cute! A very tiny False clown anemonefish (Amphiprion ocellaris) near a Giant carpet anemone (Stichodactyla gigantea).

Though commonly sighted, I cant resist not stopping to look at these family of three Pimply phyllid nudibranch (Phyllidiella pustulosa).

Another nudibranch found will be this brightly coloured Gymnodoris nudibranch (Gymmodoris rublopabulosa).

This Purple Sea Cucumber is often found at our northern shores and this is my first time seeing it in the south.

An interesting sight halfway through the trip will be this pair of Pygmy squids (Idiosepius sp.) fighting over a shrimp for food.

This beautiful large snail is the Noble volute (Cymbiola nobilis) that is also commonly sighted at Semakau (just a stone throw's away from T. Raya) and our northern shores. We also saw a special cowrie today too!

Last but not least, I would like to end the post with this really big Barrel Sponge (Rhabdastrella globostellata). Compare it to the big concrete pillar at the back.

So much from the great reef. I'm just convinced that rich marine life still thrives in Singapore.

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