Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Back at Sekudu for coral rubble survey

We are back at Pulau Sekudu, off Pulau Ubin for our annual check of how the shore is doing. I focused mainly on the coral rubble which is only revealed at super low tide. Pulau Sekudu is currently out of bounds to the public and we are thankful to Nparks for giving us the permission to document the shore. 

One of the most delightful finds of all times would be the Knobbly sea stars that still exist at Pulau Sekudu. These stars are always so captivating.

I was glad to find about ten of these Knobbly sea stars (Protoreaster nodosus) which is about the usual number that we find on previous years. Good to know they are doing alright.

We started our trip before sunrise and this time we had an easier amphibious landing with very little of getting wet. Amphibious arrivals and departures are always quite an adventure, especially in the dark. 

Some of us checked out the state of the coral rubble and noticed that the sponges are not doing very well. The most abundant sponges are the Yellow horn sponges and Yellow bumpy sponges.

Here's a collage of the different types of sponges that were sighted on the trip. It's puzzling that many of the usual northern locations where one can find lots of sponges are affected by the low count these days. I wonder what causes this decrease in number.

Despite the explosion of Biscuit stars (Goniodiscaster scaber) on the day before at Chek Jawa, there are a lot fewer at Sekudu. Chek Jawa is almost just a stone's throw away from Sekudu.

Jianlin found a pretty Feather stars (Order Comatulida) that is banded with blue and black arms. Kind of like getting blue-black if you get what I mean. 

Another blackish find would be this sea cucumber that looks like the Garlic bread sea cucumber (Holothuria scabra). The latter usually looks more grey than black. This could be the black coloured variation of the same species.

A special fish find by Jianlin would be this Large-tooth flounder (Family Paralichthyidae). Large-tooth flounders hunt animals and fishes living on the bottom of the sea. They can swim quickly and are active during the day. It is quite well camouflaged with its surroundings!

Though I feel that the number of Sea fans or Gorgonians (Order Gorgonacea) have dropped, I still managed to find one large and pretty red one at the side facing Chek Jawa.

I saw several of these Purple-spotted yellow flatworm (Pseudoceros laingensis) around the same area. They could be mating!

Jianlin found this pair of Blue dragon nudibranch (Pteraeolidia cf. semperi) and was very excited as it is his first time seeing it! Some of us also saw it the day before at Chek Jawa. It seems like they are in season.

Rene found the Yellow foot nudibranch (Thordisa villosa) at one of the big rocks. They look well camouflaged against rocky surface.

This nudibranch with purple dots and a yellow and purple fringe is affectionately known as the Cow nudibranch (Goniobranchus tumulifera). No prize for guessing why it's name as such.

I was thrilled to find these Synaptid sea cucumbers (Family Synaptidae) in an assortment of colours at the same spot!

We enjoyed a spectacular sunrise with Chek Jawa, Tekong and the hills of Pengarang at the background, not forgetting the frequent passing of planes. You can even spot people on the coral rubble of Chek Jawa (with the beacon shown in the photo) as they were doing guides training for Chek Jawa guided walk.

For the first time, I dipped my underwater camera into the edge of the shore at Sekudu as I realised that the waters separating Chek Jawa and Sekudu are very calm at that point. And here I have some pretty photos with Fan worms (Family Sabellidae).

And here's an attempt to create a colourful collage of sponges, soft coral, sea fan, hydroids and a feather star.

While I was photographing this sea fan, I didn't know there was a Kite butterflyfish (Parachaetodon ocellatus) swimming around it. The fish is in the photo but it's not easy to spot as it is kind of slanted.

As the sun comes up, we had a great view of the magnificent rock formation that is unique to Pulau Sekudu and certain parts of Ubin coastline. This photo doesn't make me feel like I'm in Singapore!

Pulau Sekudu is also known as the Frog Island and coincidentally, there is a rock formation that really looks like a frog! Somebody even drew an eye on it. At the background is Changi Beach.

More photos of the trip can be found on my facebook album:

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...