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.

Terumbu Bukom lies in the channel between Semakau landfill and Pulau Bukom. Here is Chay Hoon immediately after we landed. She waded very slowly to avoid Mr Stonefish. Behind her is Pulau Bukom!

The tide was a little higher than expected, so we checked out the higher part that were first exposed.

At first glance, there were many zoanthids around the shore. The substrate is sand with coral rubble.

Here is a close up of the zoanthids or colonial anemones (Family Zoanthidae).

Here are more zoanthids with pinkish colours.

This shore is similar to Pulau Jong in terms of the abundance of soft corals, especially the leathery soft corals (Family Alcyoniidae).

They look very pretty in water! Sometimes also looking like omelette...hehe!

I like this tiny colony of the leathery soft coral. It is roundish and cutish looking.

More soft corals sighted on this submerged reef include several colonies of the Asparagus flowery soft coral (Family Nephtheidae).

Hard corals on this shore is not as common as the soft corals. Most of those I found are boulder Favid hard corals (Family Faviidae). They can come in different colours.

Otherwise, I also saw one colony of the branching Montipora corals (Montipora sp.).

As well as also one colony of the uncommon Acropora coral (Acropora sp.)!

There were two of these Giant carpet anemones (Stichodactyla gigantea) situated side by side.

On this shore, I spotted quite a number of these tiny and beautiful Wriggly star anemone.

As usual, I was flipping rocks to see what lies beneath. And I managed to find two types of worms under this rock. The black one on the left is actually a scale worm while the green one looks like a Reef bristleworm (Eurythoe complanata).

Also found under a rock will be this cute pair of Scintilla clams (Family Galeommatidae). The mantle sometimes covers the entire valves. When submerged, little finger-like structures appear from the mantle. You can also see its foot sticking out in this photo!

Originally wedged in between rocks is this Giant top shell snail (Trochus niloticus). This shell is usually covered with encrusting weeds and other stuffs which helps to camouflage the snail.

The most common crab on this reef will be the Red-eyed reef crab (Eriphia ferox). I just love to see its bright red eyes.

Here is a Marine spider (Desis martensi). If you were sharp, another marine spider was actually found on the shell of the top shell snail in the photo above. Hehe!

The marine spider can 'walk' on water! Its furry feet repels water. But it doesn't really move very well over water, preferring to forage on dry ground.

I only saw one slug today and boy, it was tiny! I found this Gymnodoris nudibranch (Gymnodoris sp.) among the bryopsis seaweed.

Before leaving the shore, I was glad to have a special find of the charismatic Spider conch (Lambis lambis).

The tide only turned quite low during departure time, as the low tide was slightly later compared to previous days.

And once again, we were rewarded with a stunning sunset!

It was nice to visit and "conquer" another new shore without putting our lives in danger amidst strong currents and unfamilar terrain. A turtle came up to breath for split seconds but too bad I missed it!

More photos of this trip here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/koksheng/archives/date-taken/2010/11/08/

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