Saturday, May 15, 2010

Half-snorkelling at a new stretch of St John's reef

After spending the bulk of the good low tide period at the usual reefy Tanjong Hakim of St John's Island, I wanted to take a bit more time to look at the sandy lagoon. Just as James and Geraldine were looking at a scorpionfish beyond the lagoon closer to the sea, I was surprised that there is a "hidden" stretch of reef beyond the lagoon that extends outwards.

The waters were relatively clear for an incoming tide so I was excited in having a quick look at this new stretch. But that means I will be doing half-snorkelling: wading with water up to waist height! Who cares when the reef is more interesting than whether I'm wet or not. Haha.

It was great to find this large colony of the uncommon Ringed plate coral (Pachyseris sp.). It must be the largest that I've ever came across in the intertidal.

The upper surface of this coral has ridges that are parallel to the growing edge forming concentric rings.The ridges may sometimes form maze like patterns.

There was a spot of many anemone corals (Goniopora sp.) with their long tentacles fully extended out. According to Chay Hoon, these corals can sting and I experienced it first hand today. Thank God that the itchiness and redness has gone away.

More corals spotted include the Brain coral (Family Mussidae).

There were a number of different types of mushroom corals. This gigantic Tongue mushroom hard coral (Herpolitha sp.) must be quite an old one.

Other surprises will be uncommon corals like this Pebble coral (Astreopora sp.).

And this Moon coral (Diploastrea heliopora).

There were many of the large Barrel Sponges (Rhabdastrella globostellata) like this pinkish one.

Here's an orange-red Barrel sponge sitting at the reef edge.

A mysterious creature found will be this circular/disk shaped animal. At first I thought it is an anemone or corallimorph until I realize that it is hard in touch. So it should be a coral with its polyps extended outwards. An interesting sighting will be the spitting of white threads from the centre mouth.

Wow, this reef looks promising. Will definitely look here more if I come back. Actually I wanted to explore more but a boat that was approaching the island created huge waves that stirred the sediments to lower visibility in the water.

At the higher shore, there were a number of the Tape seagrass (Enhalus acoroides) patches.

Overall, today was a great trip! Good that the rain at the beginning of the trip stopped in time for us to continue with our trip.

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