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!

In fact, this was the shore that I was trying to recce (from the bridge) and thereafter a bicycle accident happened where I rammed into a lamp post two years ago. Sigh...

Nevertheless, it was worthwhile to stand on this shore. Though most parts of this stretch are sandy, there were patches growing thick with hard corals.

Here are some colonies of Carnation corals (Pectinia sp.) which are not commonly found on the Tanjong Rimau shore at Sentosa.

At this patch are many Anemone corals (Goniopora sp.) growing extensively at the edge of the reef. At the background is the Sentosa gateway bridge and the giant cranes of Pulau Brani.

I was astonished to find a huge minefield of Montipora coral (Montipora sp.). We have seen such huge patches on our southern islands and submerged reefs. There used to be a smaller patch in front of Underwater World at Sentosa but the corals there are dwindling over the years.

Memories of the reef that has been buried to build the Integrated Resort resurfaced when I saw these large colonies of the uncommon Branching anchor coral (Euphyllia paraancora).

Though not as reefy as the stretch closer to the Berhala beacon, there was still a good representation of hard coral species along this new area that was surveyed today.

A special find on this shore would be the orange version of a rare and pretty Alicia sea anemone (Alicia sp.). Though its name sounds pleasant and feminine, this sea anemone gives a super nasty sting if you touch it!

As the tide receded, the anemone decided to retract its tentacles and extended its body column a little more to show more of their clusters of bumps. This is a first record for Sentosa.

Another unexpected surprise would be yet another anemone that stings very badly. That is why this anemone is named as the Fire anemone (Actinodendron sp.). As it was drizzling, the tentacles are all tucked in. Another first record for the island! :)

As it was drizzling, therefore most of the sandy shore burrowers were nowhere to be seen. But I do believe that there's more that lies out there.

Closer back to the old jetty at the minimum tide, the waters were very clear when the rained stop. There was this really huge Barrel sponge (Xestospongia testudinaria) that was wide and tilting.

These two Barrel sponges are less red and more pinkish-purple.

I think the Long spined black sea urchin (Diadema sp.) is yet another first record for Sentosa! Do correct me if I'm wrong. Only saw one today.

Underneath the old jetty is actually an underwater garden with lots of colourful marine life growing beneath the waters. In this photo, you can find the branching orange sponge with a maroon Barrel sponge on the left. There's even a Sea fan (Order Gorgonacea) at the back!

Perched on the branching orange sponge are these two bright Red feather stars (Class Crinoidea)!

Here's three more of the bright Red feather stars found by the sides of another huge Barrel sponge.

Talking about red, even this nudibranch egg ribbon is of the same colour. Haha! I wonder which type of nudibranch laid this ribbon.

Here are some underwater shots of the underwater garden beneath the jetty when the tide was lowest. This photo shows even more feather stars! These echinoderms are indeed doing very well on the shores of Serapong.

I'm glad to see more of the Sea fans on this trip and they do come in various colours. Here's an orange Candelabra sea fan (Euplexaura sp.).

I'm not too sure the identity of this sea fan but it does resemble the Tree sea fan (Family Melithaeidae).

There was even a purple gorgonian that we do not know of its identity. But it looks really cool!

Very quickly, we went over eastwards to check how the shore is doing after two years. We are relieved that the Magnificent anemones (Heteractis magnifica) are still there. This is the closest shore to mainland Singapore where one can find these anemones.

This is yet another Magnificent anemone with its tentacles swaying gracefully in the waters. They are usually only found on better reefs which usually are much further away from the mainland.

The stretch that resembles the shores of Tuas is still growing thick with zoanthids, soft corals, sponges and ascidians.

Here's another view of the assortment of colourful marine life that makes up a beautiful marine garden of its own.

What's different and better than Tuas would be hard corals that grow abundantly at the lower end of the shore. In this photo, you can spot the uncommon Acropora coral (Acropora sp.) and also a Ridged montipora coral (Montipora sp.) with yet another red feather star.

Here's another wide shot of the substrate with Galaxy coral (Galaxea sp.) and Pore corals (Porites sp.).

On top of encrusting sponges, there were also some branching sponges such as this Lumpy pink sponge (Haliclona cf. baeri). Though they are food for the slugs, we did not encounter any.

I don't know why but the red feather stars are very "fond" of perching themselves on the hard corals such as this large Ridged montipora coral (Montipora sp.).

Here's another colony of the Montipora coral though some of the its branches have been "chopped" off. We also have seen some other corals that have been affected the same way and are baffled by this phenomenon.

I managed to take a look at at these two small feather stars with nice bands of black, brown and white! Indeed they are very cute! :)

The Dawn flatworm (Pseudobiceros uniarborensis) is quite commonly sighted on our southern shores and I managed to find just one.

Ria was very happy to find our yet another first living record for Sentosa... a giant clam! This Burrowing Giant Clam (Tridacna crocea) is also sometimes known as the Boring Giant Clam as it bores itself into rocks. It was about 5cm in length and found rather high up on the shore.

My last stop would be to check out the large patches of the Acropora corals (Acropora sp.) that we have been visiting since 2011. I'm relieved that they are still there.

This is the larger colony that is found at the edge of the reef flat. Is it just me, but I think it is slightly bleached. Let's hope that the regional coral bleaching will not hit Singapore.

Here's how the Acropora coral look like from underwater and there was even a soft coral growing with it!

Unfortunately, I saw this long plastic wrapper that was found stuck with the coral branches which I later removed.

This trip was made possible from arrangements made by Sheila and Josephine working in Sentosa. Thank you for taking time out to explore the beauty of their backyard behind the golf course. And also many thanks to Ria for coordinating the trip! It's time to take a break before the next lows. :)

More photos of the trip found here:

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...