Monday, 31 March 2008

Coming soon to HBO....

But before that, there would be screenings at the National Library and the Singapore Botanic Gardens. What am I talking about? Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth.
Insights and all about climate change and global warming. Given the current hype and all about global warming and all, it does seem quite apt that there are at least 3 public screenings prior to premiering on HBO on Earth Day 2008. 3 public screenings for those without cable ^^ Especially since the show was still largely unknown when it made it's first appearance in Singapore cinemas 2 years ago. There was also a couple of screenings at NUS in Feb last year, and am glad to see posters up around SBG today publicising the screening at our Botanic Gardens. Think this should be part of the the Earth Day 2008 activities, so be sure to catch it! I know this certainly left a huge impression on me!

19th April 2008 (Sat)
Time: 3-5pm
Venue: National Reference Library - Level 5 - Imagination Room
Details on the Wild Happenings blog

20th April 2008 (Sun)
Time: 11am-1pm, 2-4pm
Venue: Function Hall, Botany Centre (Tanglin core), Singapore Botanic Gardens
(advance screening invitation by HBO and Singapore Botanic Gardens, NParks)

22nd April 2008 (Tue) EARTH DAY!!
Time: 9-11pm
Premieres on HBO (StarHub Digital Cable Ch 60)

And for those who are still contemplating on whether to go or not, Monkey did a nice synopsis/summary thing prior to last year's screening at NUS on here Midnight Monkey Monitor blog here:

Click for the rambling...

Friday, 28 March 2008

Seems like the clear waters are here to stay!

Well, at least for a while. ^^ With the invigorating leisure dive on sunday under my belt, we were back at Hantu on Wednesday for work. Namely, "rescuing" loose fragments of coral that would otherwise be smothered or damaged by all the wave action....
IMG_4149 Rory n Ming getting ready to dive in
The visibility was still stunningly good (even today at the coral nursery where it tends to crappiness but that would be a story for another day since my UW camera casing is still drip-drying....), and there was new things to see as usual! We weren't as deep this time round, so the surge made things a little tricky at some points....

Just as I was reaching for one loose fragment, this young-ish reef cuttlefish was just minding its own little cephalopod business when a hand reached in its direction....
IMG_4158 cuttlefish
Like any sensible little cephalopod, it starts to act defensively by rearing up and flaring its tentacles, reminding me of an elephant trumpeting away.... And if I remember correctly, this one's probably a female since the "skirt" around the main body lacks a distinct margin right at the edge.
IMG_4155 cuttlefish IMG_4161 cuttlefish
And when some other diver goes too close for comfort, it starts to change color while easing itself away from us.....

Nearby, there were a couple of small but brightly colored flatworms as well. First time I'm seeing this particular pattern and coloration. The one of the right also looked like it was burrowing into the blue sponge that I spotted them on! Maybe they're some spongivore version of the coral acoel worms?
IMG_4170 flatworms burrowing into sponge

Am starting to think that this Tambja sp. has been assigned to be the hospitality i/c for Hantu. Just keep spotting it! Don't remember coming across it elsewhere yet....
IMG_4184 Tambja sp.

Most unusual of all was this half-flatworm that was just gliding about. Looked like it got torn/eaten rather recently, with white guts(?!) dangling out as it went around its way... *yikes* Don't know about its chances of survival....
IMG_4190 half-eaten flatworm

Click for the rambling...

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Power packed Easter at Hantu Blog anniversary!

4 days after the anniversary, am still elated and energized from the series of dives we did on that day. Debby has already put up both a video log and photo blog entry of that day, and so has my bionic eyed buddy, CH. Now's my turn for my take of the day! *(^-^)*

The day started off seemingly like a regular day, with some of the guys reading the newspaper on our way to Hantu. Except that 7 guys and 5 girls were celebrating their Easter Sunday by going for a series of Hantu Blog anniversary dives!
IMG_3965 the start of the morning
Debby's blog entry shows photos of just how clear the water was on Sunday. That really was a HUGE and pleasant surprise for the 12 of us, with the storm the previous day and the overcast skies...

In we went, and how apt it was that the first critter sighting was this little Tambja sp.
IMG_3967 Tambja amakusana
The one we saw on Sunday

And guess what? I first saw this species during last year's Hantu anniversary dive!!! And with the same dive buddy too~~ Cool, eh?
Tambja tentaculata juv (jeff kwik ID)
Last year's one

Both CH and Debby have covered most of the things that we came across over the 4 dives done (plus this year was my turn to have my camera run outta juice), shan't talk too much about the stuff seen. Will just highlight what IXUS managed to capture before it died-ed....

First 2 dives yielded many many nudibranchs since our buddy pair plus guide made up the sexy seaslug seekers! Shall leave it to you to decide if the slugs or the trio of humans are the sexy ones ^^ Here's some of the other adorable sluggies we saw:
IMG_3978 Chromodoris sinensis perhaps IMG_3991 tiny nudi_Chromodoris sp. IMG_4005 prob Hypselodoris infucata IMG_4014 juv  Pteraeolidia ianthina IMG_4145 Phyllidia sp. IMG_4021 tiny Dorid nudi IMG_4100 Pteraeolidia ianthina IMG_4106 faded Phyllidia sp. IMG_4068 Hypselodoris bullockii
One of the more unusual was this small Janolus sp. that was really very well camouflaged in with the sand, as you can tell from these 2 shots. Debby managed to snap a shot of it on a barrel sponge here, and you can see the features more clearly.
IMG_4048 probably Janolus sp.
Facing the camera
IMG_4042 prob Janolus sp.
And now fleeing from the onslaught of cameras

Other interesting nudibranch happenings included this Gymnodoris rubropapulosa being caught in the act of laying down its precious little ribbon of orange eggs.
IMG_4060 Gymnodoris rubropapulosa laying eggs
and another individual of the same species making a meal of a Chromodoris lineolata...
IMG_4063 Gymnodoris rubropapulosa feeding on Chromodoris lineolata
The blue dragons (Pteraeolidia ianthina) were out in force as usual and this one was caught having a little "breeze" on a hydroid.
IMG_4109 Pteraeolidia ianthina on hydroid
Despite seeing a number of Hypselodoris emmas, this particular one really showed its mantle to us gigantic divers by giving me a quizzical look!
IMG_4105 Hypselodoris emma

Testimony to the brilliant visibility (even at 14m!!) were these shots of gobies.
IMG_3985 yellow goby IMG_3969 goby
Those of you who have encountered these bottom-dwelling fish would know how skittery they can get towards movement. But with the good visibility, I could stay a comfortable (for them) distance away yet manage to snap a few shots.

But the real star of the dives was this frogfish. First ever frogfish I've ever seen in fish-ness person, and it's while diving in our very own waters! No need for exotic overseas places! *w00t* Poor bloke was probably a tad bit traumatised byt all the excited divers taking turns to peer and oogle it~~ Do hope it continues to stay around!
IMG_4082 frogfish

We stopped on Hantu for a longer surface interval for lunch while Debby and a couple of strong men went back to get tanks for the 2 dives. This meant a much needed snooze time for a couple of tired young men while the rest of us went wild set out to do a mid/high tide intertidal walk.
IMG_4122 intertidal wading IMG_4123 intertidal wading
No, no suicidal thoughts were entertained during this time. We're just divers who just can't get enough of marine life or the sea!

Here's also when Mr Sun started to peek out of the clouds. IXUS died-ed like 15 minutes into the 3rd dive, so I'll just end here with a shot of the gorgeous sunset we saw before doing the night dive. What a way to spend Easter Sunday!
(Photo by JeeMee Goh)

Wanna see what I missed snapping? Here are the photos taken by:
(1) Hantu Blogger
(2) JeeMee (above water shots)
(3) CH
Click for the rambling...

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Once Upon a Tree: Tides and Coastlines Episode 06 - Hopes & the Future

Oh no~~ We have reached the end of the series. Definitely a fast 6 weeks it has been! This very last episode starts off with Dr Nigel Goh talking about the role of NParks in the conservation of our wild places, such as to minimise the impact of development. All said in an orange and black wetsuit aboard a diveboat. Why? Because in this last episode, the audience is actually brought underwater into Singapore's wonderful murk! Times are changing such that there is a more proactive approach to conservation, as compared to the traditional method of protecting. The coral nursery project is one such example where we as humans are taking a more active role in (hopefully) reversing the damage done to our environment.
coral table with Turbinaria sp.
Nigel takes on a really optimistic attitude that the coral nursery is setting the stage in preparation for the day when our waters regain some of its clarity that has been lost over the years of development. I certainly hope that this would actually happen!

Then comes a short mishmash interview of sorts of a group of children, all less than 10 years of age! How good it is to hear from the mouths of the babes on what they like about the sea and ocean, about what they think of sharks, crabs, octopus, killer whales and such.

Following which, BOTH hosts head over to Pulau Hantu where Debby shows them around. At the intertidals for Shawn, and getting wet by diving right into the action for Sue-Lyn! This is an extra thrill for me since I am still high from the brilliant series of dives we had at the Hantu anniversary on Sunday. ^^

(Photo taken by JeeMee Goh)

Not much surprise here since the filming of both portions were blogged about, but I do like the portion where Debby highlights the ecosystem services rendered by coral reefs, such as serving as a nursery ground for many marine animals, and acting as a natural coastal protection.

The ecofootprint reducing section did a quick sum up of all the previous 5 episodes, from reducing trash to taking the initiative to volunteering... And what's the message for this very last episode? "The future is tofu" (What the?!) Basically quickly highlights TofuTech that you can wear your tofu and eat it. Alternative resources for us to use, and the re-thinking of how we use natural products I guess. Shawn ends with a positive, forward looking note on how there's a legion of youth that's ready to go out there and share with others about the marine aspect of our natural heritage, and it's not just the earlier generations just reminiscing about times long gone of pristine waters etc. It does seem that Singapore has started on the road to becoming island people from the people that live on an island that we were. Do hope there really is a cascade effect and even if not everybody finds going out to wild places and sharing their piece of cake, even just reading up and being more environmentally conscious of your actions goes a long way!

Here's the pre-show blurb as usual on the WildFilms blog. And a special treat from me.... A sneak peek on some of the people behind the scenes camera and action. Kudos to these folks for putting in the many months of work to get this informative short series out!
Once Upon a Tree - Tides and Coastlines filmcrew
Alvin and Yean filming from the back of the boat
Once Upon a Tree - Tides and Coastlines filmcrew (2)
And even from the top of the boat!
diver filming for Once Upon a Tree - Tides and Coastlines (1)
Am sure that anyone who has dived in Singapore before would agree with me in saying that it's no easy feat to film underwater with all the sediments floating around! Cheers to Alvin for the nice underwater footage!

Setting things up and all for the "easel scenes"... (Photos by Khoo Minsheng)

Discussing things over with the director (Photo by Khoo Minsheng)

Director, sound personnel, video guy all need to go down to the intertidal. With the equipment and all! (Photo by Khoo Minsheng)

And this was only a part of the outdoors filming. Goodness knows how many more hours were spent looking (and re-looking) at the footage, editing, and deciding on the final cut. And with this, it's a wrap!
Click for the rambling...

Monday, 24 March 2008

Does this mean it's time to change my hp number?

What is this?! Just got a call from a current student of ACJC, asking if I'm interested in buying Fun-O-Rama tickets. Is my alma mater SOOooooo desperate to sell tickets that it needs to lower itself to the tactics of telemarketing? I did not leave my number with the online OBA database thing so that some unknown junior can use it to get ticket sales. Yes, I am an ex-student and the money from the ticket sales is all for a good cause but wouldn't an email from the school admin be more official? No, I am NOT impressed by this. In fact, am tempted not to turn up for Fun-O-Rama.... Am pretty sure all the other former students would rather hear from friends/ex-teachers/school admin with regards to ticket sales.... Do hope that this is a one off thing. Am sorely disappointed, and this does not befit the cries of "The Best is Yet to Be"!! Anybody else get a random call from a junior?
Click for the rambling...

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Morning ramble at Pasir Ris

This is gonna be more or less a photoblog entry of this morning's ramble. Why? Because I got up at 0500h this morning, and I NEED my rest before diving with the Hantubloggers for their 4th anniversary dive tomorrow. Thus begins the photos taken during yet another of my sporadic forays on land....

Some of the birds we saw...
P1040019 P1040024 pond heron? P1040027 P1040035 P1040068 little grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) P1040101 grey heron

Dragonflies and a damselfly...
P1040015 dragonfly P1040046 dragonfly P1040049 dragonfly P1040053 dragonfly P1040063 damselfly

Spider and bug...
P1040009 big jaw spider P1040021


P1040061 butterfly on a spiderweb P1040082 tawny coaster P1040079 tawny coaster P1040103

P1040043 P1040052 P1040065 yellow mimosa P1040056 chinese gooseberries

Scenery that was all around us...
P1040038 P1040057 P1040067 serenity P1040096 LRT nearby

And of course, other fellow Singaporeans out enjoying themselves... Albeit in another fashion... Wakeboarding...
P1040078 wakeboarders

Click for the rambling...