Sunday, 17 June 2007

wild, wet weekend @ Semakau and Kusu

ReefWALK @ Kusu with BWV
Just got back from our rather rainy and early walk at Kusu. Nearly overslept (despite being the coordinator), just like the last time, but some how managing to wake up like 5min just before transport came. *oops* It started raining from the time we were on the boat all the way till we left the island, making it really difficult to spot animals lurking in the tide pools since the silt was pretty much stirred up before we actually trooped down. Despite being Fathers' Day, there were hardly any family groups with us today. All four groups managed to maintain their good spirits even though a number of them had no ponchos and were sportingly getting wet. Didn't really have any "special guests" this walk but the usual residents of anemones, soft corals, crabs, etc. were out. Real pity about the rain since the timing of the low tide was perfect for a sunrise walk~~~

Very tempted to *cheat* by putting up photos and blogging about last month's walk due to the lack of photos (except for this one lone flower crab shot that I took). Silly me forgot to video the pretty little moon crab we found when it was burying itself in the sand... Just like the last time. The thing is when I'm the main guide, I concentrate so much on finding things and talking about them that I forget to take photos....

Intertidal Semakau RMBR/NEA
The weather yesterday was not much better when we at Semakau. Woke up just as early to take a early morning walk West Coast jetty, and it was my 1st OJT walk!! Can't wait to go for more!! Got assigned to Turtles, and we were with some SNGS girls out exploring life at our last landfill. Since it was nice early morning walk, the NEA bus was not there to drive us to our entry point, thus a morning walk for all of us.

And if you think Turtles are slow on land, think again!!! There's another group behind us!! Won't you look at the sky? Such lovely colors!

And on to the tour proper... Our lead Turtle, TC telling the group about the intertidal area...

With the weather threatening to turn at any moment, we head out across the seagrass meadow to get right out there~~

And look what our hunter-seeker found for us!!! Spider conch!!! This is my very first time seeing one alive!!! *jumps in excitment*

The topside doesn't look like anything special, camouflages rather well in the intertidal area of grainy brown and algae. However, when it's turn upside down, this marine shell DOES look really pretty indeed!

But that's NOT all!! It is even able to right itself when place upside (either by us or by wave action), just like how this little video shows. Neat, eh? As my camera was in it's UW casing, the "running commentary" wasn't picked up very well but if you up the volume to the max....

[More videos from juanicths]

At the same spot, there was also a moon snail. Also a first for me. Have only seen the collar of eggs before but not the actually snail per se. It's mantle (the fleshy bit) can actually spread out quite a bit in a thin, flat sheet. Rather scary in a way, compared to most other snails (marine or otherwise) that just have enough sticking out to form a foot.

Elsewhere on the flats, TC's occasional turning over of rocks/rubble yielded this. Cowrie~~~ Yet another kinda snail (Gastropod) This funky little critter actually has it's mantle our, covering and "polishing" the outer portion of it's shell, so unlike the other snails, the top/other side of it's shell is actually smooth, rather shiny, and generally have rather nice patterns on them. (Note: patterns do NOT result from the mantle covering the shell... Just that they are visible due to the lack of fouling)

One of the last few things we saw before the storm front actually hit us was this spider crab that TC's holding. (No, he's not trying to have sashimi despite the chopsticks. Those are part of our little "tool pack" to manage animals that we show our groups) The last time I saw these fellas in Singapore was during the night dive we did during the mass spawning in April this year. Pretty surprised that it was found intertidally...

And when the rain hit, boy, did it POUR!!! Too busy trying to get myself (and people) off the flats and into the ONLY shelter that was situated next to the road just before the forest area. So here's everybody squished into the shelter, except for most of the guides/OJTs who had ponchos or were just already so dreanched it really didn't matter...

But it seems that our guides and OJTs don't really mind the rain so much? At least not with friends, chitchatting and smiles all a round while we waited for Mr Poi to drive the bus over ^^

Our very own 3 *drenched* musketeers?

And of course, this being a nature walk, ANY organism that we can talk about would be shown-and-not-quite-toad...

With the rain stopped, and everybody relatively drier, it was back to the bus for a quick landfill tour. Sending us around was the very nice and friendly Mr Poi.

Our very own July giving us the running commentary on the landfill. Our LAST and ONLY landfill... So we all need to reduce the amount of refuse we produce so that this can last a long long long long long time!

Here's interesting proof that the area that we are using as a landfill used to be our sea (think of all those poor corals and organisms that were sacrificed underneath all this!!) A warning beacon to ships!!! Probably the only landlocked one that I'll ever see!

And here's the "standby" area that has yet to be converted into cells for the ash. They spotted black tip reef sharks here before!! In this very lagoon!!

And of course, to commemorate our trip, a group shot at the southern most point in Singapore that is publicly accessible! The southernmost limit is actually Pulau Satumu but it's a restricted area, and a number of other nearby islands (P.Sudong, P.Pawai, P.Senang) are live firing places that most people won't be able to go to...

Links to other accounts of our wet adventures at Semakau:
Tidechaser blog
Urban Forest blog
Mountain and Sea blog
Manta blog
July's discovery blog

p/s Found an alternative to hosting my videos on Youtube. Trying out the Imageshack hosting, so ALL my nature videos are up there now! (Click on the linkie under "multimedia")


~ Mantamola ~ said...

The rain at Semakau this morning is even heavier. ...sigh :-(

Siyang said...

O... so thats Mr Poi ar. Paisei.. =S

~ Mantamola ~ said...

Saw this entry from one of the participants: