Monday, 24 July 2006

Done with travelling... for now that is!

Just got back from Tioman last night. The week we spend there for 4263 was rather fruitful. Learnt quite a bit of stuff about data sampling in various habitats, and managed to get 2 dives on Saturday as well!! ^^ Just a quick run down of my week while waiting for me to sort out EVEN more photos (have yet to settle the ones from Japan and Dayang... *groans* No idea when this would be done since there's still our presentation and 2 reports for 4263 and honors stuff to do while doing our usual CORS bidding...)

Monday (17 July)
Reached Tioman in the afternoon, settled into our rooms (roomed with Jaime, Peiya, and Huiwen), everybody did a cursory "swim/snorkel test" to see if anyone was hydrophobic. The visibility could have been better but it's great to be back in the water!!!

Tuesday (18 July)
We started our set of fieldwork at the mangroves with Jeremy W at 0730h. Started off by trying to take mud/sand core samples, but that only yielded like half a crab which we probably killed during the hammering process, so the experiment was changed to Uca counting in quadrats along both sides of the stream. Basically this first day of data collection was very trial-and-error for all the 8 groups.... Still, we managed to finish mid-afternoon, giving us time to snorkel!! heehee... Our group was probably the only group that had the chance to snorkel (and actually did so) everyday! Did help that my roomies and NUS groupmates are mostly waterbabies ^^ Had our nightwalk in the mangroves that had Gwynne catching Cerberus sp. for us to see, spooky (apparently) abandoned boats in the mangrove area, as well as octopus porn in the intertidal area....

Wednesday (19 July)
Did our next sampling at Sungei Paya under JC's watchful care for our freshwater habitat. This consisted of catching fish and crustaceans after agitating them into our nets via the rain dance/rock-and-rolling. All the crazy names and stuff, it WAS rather fun to splash about in the cool stream and wondering what we would get as the nets came up. Though Gen and I weren't very amused after one net produced 175 Caridina brachydactyla, a handful of crabs and some other random stuff.... JC didn't let us off with "TNTC" either.... At least we are semi-experts at ID-ing freshwater shrimps.... Ended our sampling at a same COLD pool near some rockfalls. Had the ENTIRE group from Lat, Ngan Kee, Tohru, JC, Bryan, Genevra, Jeremy, Huiwen and me dunking ourselves into the cold cold cold water. Some of us even tried the natural cold shower slightly further up. And this was ALL before lunch.... It was onto calculations of the bidiversity indices in the comfort of an air-conditioned room ^^ Helped Kathy drown (and preserve) a red-eyed reef crab in the middle of it all, and with the analysis done, it was off to snorkelling we went!!! Started off with Bryan, Jeremy, Huiwen and I, but some how our bunch got mixed in with some of the snorkelling TAs (Jeremy W., Eunice, and JC). The good thing about snorkelling with TAs is that they not only point out stuff to you, they also ID some of it ^^ Also found out that JC took his OW with Absolute a couple of weeks before mine... haha, such a small world.... The nightwalk yielded one caught dogfaced watersnake (my pet for the day ^^), as well as a couple of Giant Malayan Frogs, sighting of a few fireflies, and not forgetting the catfish that decided to get a taste of Dr Yeo's finger ^^

Thursday (20 July)
Went up the hill in search of reptiles and amphibians with Ming, Heok and Lat, didn't see many, though we sure got our share of a workout. Nothing much can be said of the day, except for the climb up and the interesting "shrine" under Mother Willow that had mineral water and cigarettes as offerings. Gecko eggs were also rather abundant near Mother Willow. Had the afternoon free for snorkelling again, and I managed to spot a black tip reef shark!!! Too bad none of the others did. The nightwalk we had has GOT to be the craziest we have had through the week! Went boulder climbing/scampering around the small isle just off Paya beach. AT NIGHT. WITH SLIPPERY ROCK OYSTER encrusted rocks at the base. All in search of seasnake(s) that were laying eggs at the higher areas... Was freaking out at quite a few of the more challenging areas. Managed to get through them thanks to help from Gen and Ming, as well as only thinking of moving ahead one boulder at a time.... SCARY!!! Couldn't avoid the rock oysters at the end, and JUST had to go slip on a rock and ram my left leg into some.... nice long cuts all over as my battle wounds (soon to be battle scars) And after this, we all agree that Ming is one heck of a crazy, half-mountain goat TA!!

Friday (21 July)
Last day of actual data collection and work, and our group had fish surveying with Jeff, meaning SNORKELLING!!! One FULL day!!! Which also meant sticking wounded left leg into salt water.... Stung a bit but it was still good to be in the water, half drifting and counting and ID-ing fishies (sorta) all day long. At least I got to practise recognising fishies ^^ So bad at ID-ing fishies... Forgot sunblock for the entire day, so now my back is a full shade darker that my arms, as well as slightly burnt... [Bring on the aloe!!] Best part, NO nightwalk!!!

Saturday (22 July)
Finally a day all to ourselves and our gimmicks!!! Spent the morning snorkelling at the Marine Park near Tekek and at Renggis. Spotted another black tip at Renggis and this time Huiwen and Peiya saw it too!!! So I was NOT hallucinating! Somehow the 3 of us were part of the crazy group that decided to fight the current a whole bunch at Renggis, resulting in tired little us that set out to dive after lunch.... "Jie Lo Mi" and Jeremy joined us for 2 dives at (no) Lobster Bay and 1-3 Bay... Loads of gorgonians, whip corals, gobies, nudibranchs... Saw a large angelfish and moral eel too. And my buoyancy doesn't seem to suck as much as I thought it did. Then again, we were diving at nearly double the depth that I did for most of my OW dives.... Had to add another 2 lbs to get down some how, but at least I was able to control how close I was to the corals ^^ *jumps for joy* Though I did feel like screaming at half of the other divers who had stuff dragging THROUGH the soft corals, or were happily LANDING ON corals!!! Peiya also took a real funny photo of the 2 of us... haha... Reached back real late, just in time for the group performances, and Ling Han's group had a real interesting "Tioman the Musical" for us ^^ Had a bonfire on the beach, and stayed up late teaching (and playing) bridge to (with) Jie Lo Mi (along with Jaime and Peiya)

Sunday (23 July)
Had a slow lazy morning. Breakfast, stamping of divelog, last minute souvenir shopping... The ferry came early at 1100h instead of 1200h but somehow it went to Tekek, then Berjaya, Tekek again, and then to Paya again. While it was going to-and-fro, caught most of "Shinobi" on the overhead TVs, and was giving the gist of the story to JC since the subtitles were in Malay.... Reached NUS near to 2100h (slight jam at Woodlands checkpoint, Malaysian side that is), and lugged some stuff back to lab.

Thus ends the one week of fun and excitement in Tioman. Hopefully would include some photos soon....Need to get back to reports and presentation....

7 comments:

Gaurav said...

Aloe is that *bestest*! What's Cerberus? The larger freshwater shrimp?

Gaurav said...

Oh, wait, found it! Remembered seeing it in our 'results' last year, so I thought it might be the shrimp, then figured Cerebus = hellhound = dog, and suddenly remembered that the rest of the guys (I'd been sickish, so stayed in) had seen one on *our* night trip.

boonleong said...

*jealous*

juanhui said...

boon,
who ask you NOT to be a bio major in NUS ^^

boonleong said...

I take bio will die one...

juanhui said...

LOL....rite now in the midst of getting gear... still dunno if want powered mask or not...

boonleong said...

if your eyesight's as bad as mine, yes, you -do- want a powered mask.

me, i'm debating whether i should get my gear before or after NS...