Saturday, April 23, 2011

Corals galore at Terumbu Bemban

It's our second time back at Terumbu Bemban! We were here last June for only a short while during a reef hopping trip. As such, we did not have a proper look at this submerged reef.

Terumbu Bemban's literal translation is Reef of Fish Trap. How apt it is that this shore has a huge triangular fish trap structure with some remains of fish nets that have now been encrusted. The reefy areas near this fish trap is very good!

I spent quite a number of time admiring the high density of hard corals! It's truly heartening and therapeutic to still see lots of marine life surviving in our very own waters.

As you can see on the photo above, there are quite a lot of mushroom corals (Family Fungiidae)! We saw the Tongue mushroom coral (Herpolitha sp.), Mole mushroom coral (Polyphyllia sp.) Long mushroom coral, Circular mushroom coral, Smooth mushroom coral and Bracket mushroom coral during the whole trip. This place is indeed full of mushrooms.

The waters off the reef edge is relatively calm and clear. This is probably because this side of the reef faces the sheltered narrow channel between Beting Bemban Besar and Terumbu Bemban.

The weather was kind to us on a Good Friday morning and thus allowing us to take quite a number of landscape photos together with the corals.

Here's a last look at how dense the corals are at this reef through this wide shot.

There were too many hard corals to describe individually, as such, please enjoy looking at the collage of hard corals with photos taken from my giant camera (from above water). To find out more about our coral findings, do visit Ria's blog for more details on them.

Of course, my swimming camera finally could go for a nice swim and take pretty photos of corals underwater.

One of the nicer underwater shots will be this colony of Cave corals (Tubastrea sp.). Cave corals tend to be either found at deeper ends of the water or places that are dark. The ones I found were relatively deep, thus I had to go "half-snorkelling" again, stretching my arms into deeper ends. It was a worthwhile "risk"!

More underwater photos of corals at the reef edge before plunging into the reef slope will be this huge colony of Lettuce coral (Pavona sp.) with the scary hydroids. Thank God I didn't got stung by them.

If I did not tell you this photo was taken during this trip, you would have thought I have went diving right? Haha. Here's a photo of the gorgeous pink Sea fan (Order Gorgonacea) found at a relative dark and deep corner.

Here's a red sea fan at a slightly shallower side as compared to the pink sea fan. I'm a fan of sea fans (pun intended). Thus I was really excited to sight them during the trip.

Getting too involved in the waters is probably not advisable due to the presence of MANY jellyfishes such as this Ribbon jellyfishes (Chrysaora sp.) which can give a bad sting. Thankfully I survived the trip without injuries.

While getting real excited about the sea fans, I also escaped yet another potential injury because there were two huge Long-spined black sea urchin (Diadema sp.) just right beside me! I did not notice them but James did and warned me after which. Can't imagine what will happen if I were to bend my knees to get better angles of the shots.

Not only is Terumbu Bemban full of corals, there are also many types of uncommon sea anemones such as this Pizza anemone (Cryptodendrum adhaesivum). It looks slightly bleached.

There were quite a number of these Bulb-tentacled anemones (Entacmea quadricolor). In fact side by side, you can see two different forms of them. The left side shows one with the shorter tentacles and the right side has longer tentacles. Are they truly belonging to the same species?

I stumbled across this carpet anemone and wondered if this is Merten's anemone (Stichodactyla mertensii)? It has much shorter tenacles as compared to the Giant carpet anemone (Stichodactyla gigantea) and has brightly coloured bumps (verrucae) on a pale body column.

Towards the end of the trip, we were treated to finds of THREE Cushion stars (Culcita novaeguinea). Two found by James and one by myself. This one has a colour combination of blue and orange.

The one I found is more orange.

While the last one found was quite blue. :)

Before we left, a great find of a stunning red Red feather star bidded me goodbye.

Though the trip was hot, I enjoyed it a lot and am glad to see Terumbu Bemban being so lively. This was a huge difference as compared to our previous trip when coral bleaching was taking place. May the reef stay this way and till we explore it again the next time!

More photos with more critters found at my Flickr page:

1 comment:

Ria Tan said...

Thank you for the great sightings! I've included them in the wild fact sheets!

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