Saturday, January 28, 2012

Reliving CNY moments at Big Sisters Island

It was exactly five years ago in 2007 when I first got to visit our offshore reef at Big Sisters Island during day 2 of Chinese New Year. It was such a great trip with lots of exciting finds that I named that day as the Best CNY ever!

Here I am five years later, still actively exploring our splendid shores at the same reef of Big Sisters Island. Our shores are alive and God's creations never fail to amaze. :-)

The hard corals seem to be doing well with no signs of bleaching. You can see from this photo that the boulder corals are huge and healthy.

I explored a stretch where there are many other species of hard corals such as the Ridged plate coral (Merulina sp.) on the left and Carnation coral (Pectinia sp.) on the right of the photo.

There were also colonies of uncommon corals such as this Lettuce coral (Pavona sp.).

However, some sediments have landed on top of this colony of Encrusting disk coral (Turbinaria sp.) and could cause the living coral polyps to be smothered.

Ria shared with me this huge colony of Brain anchor coral (Euphyllia ancora) which is also not commonly found on our intertidal reefs. It is very pretty in bright green colours!

The Circular mushroom corals (Family Fungiidae) are still around on the reef and I came across quite a few of different sizes. You can actually see the tentacles sticking out from the hard coral in the photo!

There were a couple of Acropora corals (Acropora sp.) on the reef and I couldn't resist taking a closer look to see if there's any commensal organisms within the branches of the coral.

Indeed, I spotted a tiny crab hiding among the coral branches!

There were quite a number of these Frilly sea anemones (Phymanthus sp.) which look like flowers among the reefs.

Also looking like flowers are these Tiny sand fan worms. Yes they are worms! They are very sensitive to disturbances and will disappear at the slightest sign of danger.

Found underwater is this black octopus that has its head sticking out from the crevice.

This well camouflaged snail is the Spider conch (Lambis lambis) with distinctive spines from its large shell. When turned over, it is actually quite good-looking.

I feel like a parent seeing how what was once a small Fluted giant clam (Tridacna squamosa) now has become much bigger! Happy to see good growth of this clammy!

Worms can be elegant and pretty, such as this Orange-edged black flatworm (Pseudobiceros uniarborensis). I have not seen this flatworm for more than a year already! The flatworm is able to swim in a graceful manner by flapping its body in water.

Chay Hoon found two of these Starry mouthed nudibranch (Bornella stellifer). Having both a red and white body matches quite well to the CNY festive mood.

There were quite a number of special finds on this trip. The first one will be this sea cucumber that I have never seen before! Ron has seen it before at Semakau and Tanah Merah. This sea cucumber slid quickly into the hole of the seawall when I tried to have a closer look.

Ria found this special-looking crab that is probably a Swimming crab (Family Portunidae). It has a pretty underside. Read more about this crab in her blog.

The best find of the day must be this orange Basket star (Family Euryalidae) that I've found among the seaweed!

The basket star is an echinoderm that is closely related to brittle stars. They are rarely sighted on our shores.

The tips of their branched out arms seem to have some interesting-looking conical structures.

And the underside of this special star is almost completely white. It is definitely thrilling to see this creature on this trip! 

With me on this trip is Shi Hua who is excited to have a look at marine life on our local shores. She is particularly mesmerized by the way how flatworms swim in the water! Glad that she enjoyed the trip.

We also had some other company during the trip when the long-tailed macaques came down to check out our cooler box. They gave up after finding out we have no food or drinks inside. These monkeys are quite aggressive on the island so please do not leave your belongings unattended.

More photos of the trip here:

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...