Sunday, June 19, 2011

Virgin trip to Terumbu Selegi

Terumbu Selegi is the last submerged reef in Singapore waters that we have never visited. This is excluding the rest within the live firing area and restricted zones. It is apparently in the middle of nowhere. Unaware of the currents and other elements around this reef, we decided to leave the most challenging to the end.

We were early and arrived slightly before sunrise. The red beacon did helped us locate this mysterious submerged reef. We were greeted with nice cloud patterns at the background. You can also see Pulau Tekukor on the left and St John's Island on the right.

We could have a better look when the sun was up. There are some areas where the Leathery soft corals (Family Alcyoniidae) were plentiful.

Though there are not many corals here, we could still see some good growths of soft and hard corals and sponges at certain spots.

An uncommon hard coral that I encountered would be the Horn coral (Hydnophora sp.).

One thing unique about this reef would be the huge abundance of Long black sea cucumbers (Holothuria leucospilota).

Similar to other rocky shores, there are many Frilly sea anemones (Phymanthus sp.) and they come in various patterns and colours!

The team saw a number of common sea slugs and nudibranchs. As for me, I found the Black phyllid nudibranch (Phyllidiella nigra).

My other friends later showed me their find of this Black-margined nudibranch (Glossodoris atromarginata).

This is the usual Giant carpet anemone (Stichodactyla gigantea) that we often see on our shores. What is so special in this case? Ria found a special fish swimming around this sea anemone!

Yes, this is the special fish. This black fish with white spots is called the Threespot Dascyllus anemonefish (Dascyllus trimaculatus). It is only my second time seeing it on our reefs.

It is called the threespot fish for a reason. It has one white spot near its head and two more on each side. This is a great find indeed!

Here is a video of this damselfish!

Though the shore looks barren from above, there are lots of critters hiding underneath rocks. While checking the underside of rocks, I saw many of these blobs that I do not know what it is. James suggested these may be ascidians.

Another interesting find will be this tiny and cute Sponge crab (Family Dromiidae). It was spotted because a sponge was seemingly able to move!

Ivan made my day when he found this tiny orange sea star underneath a rock! Though Ron has sighted it thrice before, this is my first time seeing this sea star! It is probably an Asterinid.

Later on, the tiny seven-armed sea star was also found! We have so far only seen this from Cyrene Reef and Pulau Jong.

Putting these two star together, you can see they are about the same size! As both of these stars are really small, it took me a hard time to photograph them properly.

Ivan made another exciting echinoderm find under a rock again! This is an Oval maretia heart urchin (Maretia ovata). And it is quite large!

Here is the underside of the heart urchin. I think I have never seen it before, or only once. Heart urchin usually burrow deep into the ground and therefore they are not often seen.

Just before we left the shore when the tide turned, a weird-looking cowrie with red mantle was spotted.

The underside shows that this snail has an orange foot.

When the mantle retracts into the shell, you can see that the shell has many black spots on the underside. It definitely is a first sighting for me.

It was great to finally set foot on this submerged reef. Though the corals here are not rich, there still are quite a number of interesting sightings spotted today!

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