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.

Where exactly is this new submerged reef? It is the reef that is very near our Semakau Landfill (circled in red).

A previous photo from Semakau Landfill's rock bund road shows the proximity of this submerged reef from the landfill (circled in black).

Soon, with the sunrise, the huge submerged reef of Terumbu Semakau is exposed. At the background is Pulau Bukom, where shell oil refinery is situated.

As Ria puts it, Terumbu Semakau has the next best seagrass meadow among the Terumbus we visited in Singapore so far. The best is of course Cyrene Reef.

Among the seagrasses, there are lots of life like these colonies of Asparagus flowery soft corals.

On the left is another type of soft corals, the Leathery soft coral (Family Alcyoniidae). Other than soft corals, there are also many hard corals like the rare Acropora coral (Acropora sp.). There is a good patch of them near the middle of the reef.

Here is a galore of the many other types of hard corals that I came across at Terumbu Semakau. Isn't the reef amazing? :)

I like taking photos of marine creatures with background and this is a nice shot of the Columnar hexagonal favid corals with the NEA building of Semakau landfill and Pulau Jong at a distance.

An interesting hard coral sighting will be this pair of Tongue mushroom corals (Herpolitha sp.) lying side by side. The natural form of this species of hard coral is a boomerang shape, but specimens in T-, Y- or X- shapes are also seen like the ones here. This is generally due to regeneration following damage.

Other than the corals, other reef associates found include this Barrel Sponge (Rhabdastrella globostellata) with many Corallimorphs (Order Corallimorpharia).

In addition, Terumbu Semakau is also home to many rare anemones like this Snaky sea anemone (Macrodactyla doreensis). I didn't notice that this anemone has so many shrimps until I process the photos at home.

Mei Lin found another uncommon anemone, the
Leathery anemone (Heteractis crispa)! Read more about her find in her blog post on the day's trip.

The other anemones sighted will be many of these purplish Magnificent sea anemones (Heteractis magnifica).

James found this Pizza anemone (Cryptodendrum adhaesivum) that really looks like a pizza with an outer thicker crust.

Mei Lin's clam hunt these days seem to be really fruitful in every of her hunting trips. The mama found her two clams of the Burrowing Giant Clams (Tridacna crocea). This one is out of water.

While the second one she found is submerged in water, thus its pretty mantle is well exposed. What was interesting is that these two clams are only about 1 metre spaced apart. Read Mei Lin's blog post to find out why.

The only flatworm species I came across were a number of these Blue-lined flatworms (Pseudoceros sp.). Stephen and Alicia found more species!

Near the middle of the big reef, I found this Bohol nudibranch (Discodoris boholiensis) that seems to be dancing in disco with the raindrops. Ok... I'm bit lame here!

Chay Hoon also saw this Black phyllid nudibranch (Phyllidiella nigra) with purplish bumps.

The best nudibranch find will be this Ceratosoma nudibranch (Ceratosoma sp.) that I came across! It is very pretty coloured in green and yellow dots. If stressed, this slug can actually eject white fluids as a defensive response.

The only starry find will be this Cushion star (Culcita novaeguinea) that Chay Hoon found! No knobblies though. Hope they are actually hiding at one corner of the reef just like that of Beting Bemban Besar's.

All too soon, it's time to leave the submerged reef before we get "engulfed" by the incoming tides.

That's all for the season's low spring tides. Another series is coming soon!!!

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