Sunday, October 20, 2013

Fun with friends with good visibility at Big Sister's Island

After several requests from friends who have seen my photos of marine life or blog posts of my island adventures, I decided to plan for an afternooon out to Big Sister's Island on the now-evening tides since the timing would be more earthly as compared to predawn low tides.

The weather was superb and we arrived the island with fishermen already out in action! Apparently, they were staying overnight at the jetty.

We had a look at this signboard near the jetty which depicted the legend of the Sisters' Islands.

And there we go... Here's a group photo of us with wacky poses. Haha! We were enjoying ourselves with food that we brought to the island.

Despite warning them of the monkeys around and that we were prepared to guard our food, the monkeys still outwitted us!

We were all standing around the table where our foods were placed and the monkeys were staring at us from a short distance away. Somehow, a particular monkey was daring enough to brush past a tiny gap between two of us (because we were standing very closely in a circle around the food), grabbed the styrofoam box and climbed up the tree.

And that happened to be one of the most "precious" food that we brought- durians from Malaysia. That also began our helpless glares at the monkey savouring expensive durians on the tree. It's interesting how my friend gave an anecdotal description that the monkey felt like a broom when it brushed past him. Haha!! :P

After feasting on the food, we packed them and went ahead with our leisure activities after some games. Some of them went to the seawall to fly a kite!

Here's a photo of the kite that they flew- a panda with long legs.

After a while, the tide receded and those who were keen to explore the shore went down to have a look with me at the big lagoon.

I had a look at the corals that have recolonized the lagoon after it was built many years ago.

Most of them looked good and did not show signs of coral bleaching. It was heartening to find hard corals such as the Acropora coral (Acropora sp.), Ridged plate coral (Merulina sp.), Circular mushroom corals (Family Fungiidae), Turbinaria Coral (Turbinaria sp.), Brain anchor coral (Euphyllia ancora) and various types of soft corals.

Ronson found the Long spined black sea urchins (Diadema sp.)! We don't always spot this in the lagoon, so it was a great find by a first timer.

The only flatworm that I came across in the lagoon would be this Orange-edged black flatworm (Pseudobiceros uniarborensis).

The Giant carpet anemones (Stichodactyla gigantea) are still doing well as I came across many of them in the lagoon.

There is this Fan worm (Family Sabellidae) that was found right beside a carpet anemone and somehow, the Anemone shrimps (Periclimenes brevicarpalis) seem to like crawling around the tube of the fan worm.

We quickly went to also check out the Common sea stars (Archaster typicus) as many of my friends were excited to see wild sea stars for the first time.

The highlight of the intertidal exploration would be the spectacular and breath-taking view of the underwater realms due to the fantastic visibility that day!

Yes, this photo was taken in Singapore and I was not even diving or snorkeling on that day!

The waters are clear and we could enjoy looking at the many Feather stars (Order Comatulida) at the deeper ends of the reef.

The reefs of Big Sister's Island are indeed rich with lots of sponges and corals jam packed with each other. There are also other organisms in this photo such as a feather star hiding beneath the coral, a fan worm and swimming around are many fish.

This is another of my favourite shot taken underwater with the branching sponges and corals with many fish.

Here's another view with a closer look at the two Eight-banded butterflyfish (Chaetodon octofasciatus) swimming near the hard corals.

More corals and sponges of the reef edge!

Just right beside this white and brown feather star that was perched onto the hard coral is a Bubble tip sea anemone (Entacmea quadricolor).

Upon closer look at the anemone, I realized that there's a resident Tomato anemonefish (Amphiprion frenatus) living with it!

Enjoy the video that I took of the charismatic nemo swimming around the anemone!

Also found at the deep deep ends of the reef would be this small pink Sea fans (Order Gorgonacea).

The top find of the day would be this commensal Brittle star (Ophiomaza cacaotica) that lives together with feather stars. Both of them were originally found beneath a rock!

This is my first sighting of this brittle star where its body is white with black lines. Earlier on at East Coast during June this year, I have only seen the ones that are black with white spots instead.

Big Sister's Island is indeed a great getaway with friends for a picnic (less the monkey attack) or just to chill and explore the marine habitats that we can still enjoy in Singapore.

More photos of the trip here:

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