Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Tuas shore with stars surprise!

We are back at the amazing shores of Tuas near Merawang Beacon! It has been more than two years since I have set foot on this colourful shore and we wonder how it is doing with the start of reclamation across at the Malaysia side.

Unfortunately, the tide was non-compliant and did not went down as low as we expected. Thus, we were mainly surveying the tiny crops of land that were exposed. Nevertheless, there were still much to see!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Seagrasses and coral reef of BBB

On 8 Nov 2014, We revisited Beting Bemban Besar, a submerged reef off Pulau Semakau. It was the blooming season for sargassum seaweed so this made landing and departure as well as exploring reef edge difficult. I had a closer look at the seagrasses and found several types of marine life. The corals near the edge and the resident knobbly sea stars are still doing fine!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Beautiful giant clam at Eastern Semakau

On 7 Nov 2014, we visited Semakau East to have a look at this stretch which we seldom do. Though the weather didn't look good, we managed to spend quite a fair bit of time exploring the reef. I came across a beautiful giant clam submerged at the reef edge.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Splendid reefs of Hantu

On 11 Oct 2014, we visited Pulau Hantu to look at the beautiful reefs, of which at certain stretches are very thick and full of life! We saw several giant clams, slugs of different types, flatworms, uncommon fish etc. It's amazing to witness the diversity of marine life just right opposite the petrochemical plants of Bukom. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

How is Labrador shore doing?

On 10 Oct 2014, I visited Labrador shore to see how it was doing. Labrador is our last natural rocky shore in Southern Singapore and it used to be much better before the surrounding reclamation began. Glad to see that the seagrasses are still thriving and that marine life is slowly coming back. Let's hope with time it will recover.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Rich coral reef of Northern Semakau

On 9 Oct 2014, we did an intertidal survey of Northern Semakau where there are lots of corals at the reef edge. I had a great time exploring the colourful reefs using my underwater camera. I also spent some time looking at the higher shores and noticed that the seagrasses are cropped. The Cryptic sea stars at the rocks are still there.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Full of crabs at Punggol shore

There's lots of crap crabs at Punggol where James and I visited this shore on a wee hour of 0430. This also marked the end of the morning low spring tide field trips for 2014!

One of the most interesting crabs we encountered would be this tiny unidentified porcelain crab with a face band in between its eyes. This crab that was found on an ascidian is indeed very cute!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Boat graveyard at Terumbu Pempang Tengah

It's our last season of morning lows for the year before we usher in the evening low spring tides from October onwards.  For our last submerged morning trip with a super early 0300 departure, we surveyed Terumbu Pempang Tengah.

One of the interesting features of this reef is the sunken boat found off the reef in the direction facing Pulau Hantu and Bukom. In fact, this location is marked on the navigation chart as a place where dead boats are dumped and thus also can be called as the boat graveyard.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Coral health check at Terumbu Raya

I'm back at Terumbu Raya, a submerged reef off northern part of Pulau Semakau after 3 years! My previous trip was in Jul 2011. Terumbu Raya, also named as The Great Reef in Malay is home to thick growths of hard corals and its associates by the reef edge.

How is the coral bleaching situation at Terumbu Raya? We are glad to see that most of the hard corals are fine except for some partial bleached ones like the coral on the top left hand corner of this photo.

Simple Serenity at Southern Semakau

Following my last blog post on Southern Semakau entitled "Sunny Sunday out at Southern Semakau", I will continue to use the 4 "S"s for the title for this blog post- Simple Serenity at Southern Semakau. :)

The dawn over Southern Semakau yesterday morning was a warm sight that greeted us as we ended the trip at first light.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Lionfish on Lion City's birthday at Pulau Hantu!

It's Singapore's 49th birthday and the intrepid team celebrated National Day way earlier than many others as we crawled out of our bed for a 3.30am departure to Pulau Hantu!

All the sleep deprivation is worthwhile as the Lionfish made a special appearance on our survey! It is my first time seeing it in Singapore and is likely also the first local sighting on the intertidal shores!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Our first Marine Park on Sisters' Island

With the news release of Singapore's first Marine Park at the Sisters' Island, the two islands have received a lot of limelight. According to National Parks Board, the Sisters’ Islands Marine Park will be a platform for outreach, educational, conservation and research activities related to our native marine biodiversity. The location was chosen due to its variety of habitats including coral reefs, sandy shores and seagrass areas.

For regular trippers who have been surveying the Sisters' Island, visiting the Big Sisters' Island today was more like meeting an old friend despite its new status. :)

One of the iconic features of the Sisters' Island would be the frequent sightings of the seahorses. In fact this is a pregnant papa! For seahorses, the male broods the young in their pouch.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Colourful shores of East Coast Park

On 14 July 2014, a small team visited East Coast Park at a very low spring tide to check out the colourful sea fans and other encrusted organisms. A sea slug was found! We also popped by another location to take a look at the seagrasses.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Predawn survey of Cyrene Reef

On 12 July 2014, we visited Cyrene Reef during predawn hours, starting the trip at 4am. Several marine critters that shy away from sunlight appear at these hours. Let the photos below do the talking for what we saw on this trip.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Any sponge at Changi rocky shore?

On the last of our six-day consecutive field trip series, Ria and I visited a natural rocky shore of Changi to check if the recent sponge-less situation at Chek Jawa and Pulau Sekudu has also affected the mainland shores. 

We were glad to have escaped the Sumatra squall that passed Singapore earlier in the morning and thus was able to continue with our survey on the rocky shore.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Coral bleaching check at Terumbu Bemban

This morning we were out for our first and only southern trip for the series to check out the coral bleaching situation. How are the corals in our waters doing?

Terumbu Bemban was chosen as today's field trip site because it has a stunning reef edge crowded with lots of corals. And from this photo, most of the corals seem to be alright!

Monday, June 16, 2014

How is Beting Bronok doing?

Beting Bronok (BB) is a remote and special reef located in the north. It has been about 3 years since my last visit and I have been hearing updates from recent trips that it is slowly doing not as well as compared to the past. How is this shore now? And did the recent sponge-less situations at Chek Jawa and Pulau Sekudu affect this reef as well?

Today's super low spring tide crosses over into the dawn and we could have a bright daylight view of the reef with a picturesque view of Johor in the background.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Coral rubble survey at Pulau Sekudu

With permissions from National Parks Board, we were back at Pulau Sekudu to survey the coral rubble on a lower spring tide. I ended this trip with mixed feelings with both exciting and not-so-happy finds.

What's exciting would be my first time seeing the boxfish! Many thanks to Marcus for spotting it! Don't you think it is very cute? :)

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The 'S' encounters at Chek Jawa

Here we go again! Another 2am wake up call this morning and off we were to Chek Jawa for an intertidal survey which we encountered many 'S's! What are these 'S's?

The first 'S' is a pleasant one and that would be the sunrise that accompanied the end of our survey. The lovely glow of the sun from the horizon over Johor and Tekong and the lush spread of seaweed with tidal pools make Chek Jawa like the Garden of Eden.

Sekudu survey with interesting sightings

The long awaited June Holidays is here where I will be able to do our morning intertidal surveys for 6 days back to back! The first trip is always the hardest as we have to wake up the earliest (at 2am) for our survey at Pulau Sekudu.

Despite visiting our shores for several times, I'm excited to still see creatures for the first time such as this beautiful nudibranch found by Ria. Chay Hoon has kindly identified this slug as Unidentia angelvaldesi.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Exploring a new stretch of Serapong at Sentosa

After a two-years hiatus, we are finally back at the special reefs of Serapong which is located at Northern Sentosa.

This time, I decided to trek westwards to explore a stretch that I have not visited before. Thank God that the thunderstorm died down as I was eager to see what lies out there on this inaccessible shore!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Coral overdose at Tanah Merah

We are back at the reefs of Tanah Merah! I'm constantly amazed at the diversity and abundance of hard corals that grow on a reclaimed shore!

As today's tide was lowest at daybreak, we could enjoy a better view of the coral-scape with the cityscape at the far background.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Living reefs of Big Sister's Island

One of the better accessible reefs that we can visit in Singapore would be at Big Sister's Island. It is only about 20 minutes boat ride away from the city centre!

A group of us led by Ron visited the island on Saturday morning and we were in time to catch the sunrise and its glow over the horizon. Most of them were first time visitors to the island!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Turtles, fishies and more at Kusu Island

Kusu Island is also known as Turtle Island because of the legend where a magical giant turtle turning itself into an island to save two shipwrecked sailors. Today the island houses Malay shrines and a chinese temple and is also a destination for rest and relax.

Beside the temple, there is a lagoon where turtle live in and as the waters were shallow due to the low spring tide, we were able to catch a glimpse of these majestic creatures!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

First morning trip of 2014 at Changi

It's been a while I have checked out our shores since Chinese New Year earlier in February. The morning low tides are back and on this Good Saturday (after Good Friday), Ron and I decided to drop by Changi on a not-so-low spring tide.

The feeling of starting the trip when it is pitch dark, seeing the magnificent sunrise and ending on a bright early morning definitely beats that of an evening tide where the sequence is the opposite. Of course, less the waking up part!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Not-so-solo at Tanah Merah sandy shore

On Lunar New Year Day 3, I decided to check out the idyllic sand flat at Tanah Merah / East Coast since the tide is still moderately low enough for a shore trip.

My previous trip here was last August in 2013 though I only spent a short moment exploring a huge stretch of shores along the East. The last trip that I properly surveyed this shore was as long as nearly 4 years ago in 2010 (before the oil spill event)!

It was a lovely evening out on the shore and this is a small shore to document so it was easy to cover grounds with no rush at all.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Oil spill check at Northern Semakau

There was a collision on 29 Jan evening between a chemical tanker and a containership which happened "about 2.7 km, south of Jurong Island". This has caused a spillage of bunker fuel in the surrounding waters. On a Lunar New Year holiday, we decided to swing by the Semakau and Terumbu Raya area to have a look at the impact of this oil spill.

We had a large team and thus could afford to split into two, one that landed on Terumbu Raya and I was part of the Pulau Semakau team. We landed at northern Semakau which is the part that is closest to Pulau Hantu and Jurong Island.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Stress and more stress on Kusu Island

Just one day before our scheduled trip to Kusu Island, we received news of two marine collisions that resulted in an oil spill. Having experienced the devastating and long drawn effects of oil spill at Tanah Merah and East Coast, we were worried that marine life in the South would be affected.

Upon landing on the island, we went straight to the nearest lagoon facing northeast and we were greeted with lots of signs of the oil that hit Kusu Island. The arrows show the oil stains on the high shore, intertidal area and also created a thick dark band on the seawall facing inwards.

Any Impact on Chek Jawa from Dec flood at Johor?

Every year towards December and January, it is likely to come across news on floods in Johor and other parts of Malaysia. It was the flood of Dec 2006 and Jan 2007 that lead to a mass mortality of marine invertebrates in Chek Jawa. To find out more on what happened back then, you may read my blog post on What caused the mass death here.

On Dec 2013, we read news of yet more flood in Johor and therefore it is imperative for us to do a check on whether the outflow of freshwater into the Johor Straits have any impact on Chek Jawa.

With special permission from National Parks Board, a small team of us were able to survey the intertidal shore of Chek Jawa on an evening. And we were relieved to not experience any sight of mass mortality on the shore.

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