Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Bon voyage~~

So I should have posted this yesterday when you left, but I had a mini-crisis with my contact list/address book syncing between Google-MBP-iPhone.... Kinda miss our chitchat sessions in cabs ;p But am sure you'll have tonnes of stories and (hopefully) wisdom to share when you get back.

Here's wishing my friend, fellow nature adventurer, and neighbor tonnes of fun during the two months onboard Fujimaru!

Wondering why SJ's in ethnic costume? The SSEAYP participants hafta put up a performance/play whilst onboard. A few of us were fortunate enough to get invited to their pre-departure concert, and it sure was entertaining enough. ^_^
Click for the rambling...

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Starting the work day with a smile! :D

Sometimes friends/acquaintances ask me why I can tahan working on an island (no, they are NOT referring to Singapore) and despite the extra travel time (and the occasional risk of being stranded), I can say that my work place is pretty special. Whilst literally living the island life (living in an island city state, working on a small island off the "mainland" ;p) I sometimes do lose track of the uniqueness of our workspace, and today we were pleasantly surprised as the boat berthed at St John's Island......

As usual, most of us were catching our 40 winks on the boat, and as the boat was coming alongside the jetty, someone exclaimed "Dolphins!" "Huh? Where?" The few of us who were awake quickly looked out the window to try and spot theses charismatic marine mammals, and sure enough, we saw a sleek grey body breaching the surface of the tranquil waters. And then it was gone again. And then it appeared, further away. Not much surface activity but at least we saw one or two of these strong swimmers as we arrived at work ^_^ Who else can boast of seeing WILD DOLPHINS greeting them near their workplace every once in a while? Unfortunately, they were a bit far for my C905 to be of any use so no photos from me. Will update if I come across any colleagues who managed to take any.
Have marked out on this Google Map the rough location of this sighting.

Click on my "dolphins" tag on the left to read about some of my previous sightings (or just click here)
Click for the rambling...

Monday, 13 September 2010


After last Thursday's PCG, I've felt the conviction of reviving my journal. (No, journal most definitely ≠ blog) It's PRIVATE, though if there are relevant bits that I feel are OK to be aired publicly here, I will put them here too. I've been keeping a journal/diary regularly since primary school until 2005 or so when it started getting sporadic before I stopped entirely in May 2007. There have been some overlaps with this blog, and even entries here have been few and far between since 2009. Guess I'm posting this here as a resolve and reminder to myself to keep on writing...
Click for the rambling...

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

8... 4... 2... 1? XD

So what do the numbers in the title mean? 8 of us went for this.... And then there were 4..... Fast forward to 3 years later, and as of last weekend, I finally took the plunge and went for my rescue course ^_^

And if it wasn't clear enough, the title's referring to the number of people in the dive courses that I have taken ;p Too bad I forgot to take a group photo with our instructor. Must have been too long since my last course XD

First time on a LOB, and first time ever visiting SAF Yacht Club @ Changi.

Boy was it a nice comfy trip to Pulau Aur. Yummy Thai food, great fun company... Not to mention the kayaking Hello Panda!

Course aside, it did feel good to be diving in Malaysia, after approximately a year. ^_^ The usual suspects were up and around, but as with every divetrip, there would be some pleasant surprises... Like this HUGE hermit crab we saw during the night dive. It was in a volute(?) shell that was as large as a rugby ball!

Even the most commonly seen nudibranch, Pteraeolidia ianthina, can still surprise me. Despite seeing them on just about every reef that I've been to, this is the first time I'm seeing it's egg ribbon ^_^

Unfortunately, not all is well with the Malaysian reefs. Most of the corals have recovered from the bleaching earlier in the year but quite a few of the anemones we came across were either fully bleached or partially bleached. Only time will tell if the reefs will fully recover from this bout of bleaching.

And with this, I bid you goodnight, and until the next adventure that awaits aboard MV DiveRACE~~


This sign on the door of the saloon says it best, doesn't it? ^_^
Click for the rambling...

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Baybeats 2010

August has been a relatively interesting month for me. We wrapped up the mass natural shores guides training; YOG has come and gone along with the torch that went past my house, alma mater(s) AND workplace; went for kayaking certification; tried my hand out in greening; and went for Baybeats ^_^ Many thanks to the many friends who were with me (or in the case of the YOG related stuff, jio-ed me) during these events. Definitely made August 2010 rather interesting and special! Oh, especially you guys who were roped into coming along to Esplanade to catch David Choi ;p (You know who you are! And no, you haven't seen me in proper fangirl mode yet. Would like to think that I have already outgrown that phase, and am now a supporter instead of a fangirl. Heh!)

So to celebrate the last day of the eight month of this year, I break away from my series of photo-filled nature related posts and present to you a short video of some of the action I managed to capture on film during the 2nd Day of Baybeats 2010.

Wonder if I should start doing more videos. The editing can be quite fun! ;p
Click for the rambling...

Monday, 16 August 2010

Terumbu Pempang Tengah - TPT

P7150397 marine charts

Yes, I am uber behind on my posts.... But since I did promise that my next entry would be on the visit to TPT, here goes nothing....
15 July 2010 - Was lucky enough to join a smallish team of 6 to explore one of our submerged patch reef. It has been a while since I last visited any of the patch reefs (while on a walk or whilst diving), and it was nice heading out with my cab-pool kaki since we also had a chance to do some catching up ;p
P7150398 Bukom in the darkwtmk

It was still dark when we arrived, but soon the skies brightened and we off we went! It was certainly quite an expanse of shore to cover but with all of us heading out in different directions, I think between the six of us, we managed to cover most of it ^_^ Here's some close-up of critters I came across. Can you figure out what they are? (p/s. click on the pics for the larger image and what it is)
P7150429 Phymanthus anemonewtmk P7150471 Tridacna squamosawtmk P7150560 giant carpet anemone (Stichodactyla gigantea)wtmk P7150511 zooanthidswtmk P7150558 giant carpet anemone (Stichodactyla gigantea)wtmk P7150495 Phymanthus sp. anemonewtmk


For more photos, feel free to check out my Flickr album.
Read more from Ria's posts on Darat and Tengah.
Click for the rambling...

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

GSS02 - No, 'tis not the Great Singapore Sale

15 July 2010 - Since my camera didn't have any battery during the 1st training, no pics for that one >.< But it was all charged up and ready for the second session mass training workshop for our shores ^_^ All this after an early morning spent at Terumbu Pempang Tengah! This is gonna be a photo-centric entry as it sure was a long day.....
P7150586 rapt audience from the left

Unlike earlier LeafMonkey Workshops, the aim's to reach out to more people in a session. So the usual menagerie suspects turned up early at the Singapore's Scouts Association HQ to set up registration desk, info desk, chairs, projector etc.
P7150569 reg table P7150572 getting the ppt up

Ria kindly brought down coffee table books for the early comers to browse, as well as extra Southern Shores guidesheets to give away.
P7150575 reference table P7150574 Southern Shores Guidesheet P7150580 lovely facilitators

For this second training session, we were lucky enough to have papaJeff introduce coral reefs to our would-be guides. But alas, there was way too much ground for him to cover in such a short session that he wasn't able to cover coral rubble as well! Glad to see that there were lots of related questions for him but we had to break into groups for the role-playing portion of the workshop.
P7150573 the talk begins

Based on feedback from the session, we decided to do something different this time round and sent one group down to the Programmes Room, and see if it really helped with noise control. Guess who's group was the lucky one? ;p
P7150591 breakout group 2

For this part of the session, participants are split into discussion groups tasked with different combinations of visitors and shorelife to talk about.
P7150597 breakout group 2 - HC

Armed with little factsheets and iPhone(s), as well as "free access" to facilitators, the groups pieced together their little mini-skits. It is good practice for preparing scripts when guiding at any shore. Know the facts about the wildlife that you'll be talking about, angling it....
P7150594 breakout group 2 - SP P7150593 breakout group 2 - HC

And once that was done, it was time to share with the others their little skits! We had some rather creative representations of our "die-die-sure-can-see" reef critters... Click on the photos to see what organisms were represented ^_^
P7150603 breakout group 2 presentations - SC
P7150599 breakout group 2 presentations - SP P7150609 breakout group 2 presentations - HC

Too bad I was already zoning out after the breakout session to take anymore photos.... Will try and remember for this week's session! ;p

And we also welcome SJ back from Trengganu ^_^ Our resident naturescouter has been busy running all over the globe, so it was good to have him back in SG. At least until October....

p/s. Next post to come up *should* be the TPT one!
Click for the rambling...

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Ghostly encounters and a little fisher

First off....

Am starting to feel that I'm getting too old to be doing intertidals for a stretch of 5 consecutive days and heading to work immediately after.... And it sure doesn't help that the sun has been utterly relentless for most of the mornings this week! So here's a couple of highlights from my week of mornings spent in the sun~
[20100602] IMG_7695 St John's Island

(1) Horned-eyed ghost crabs (Ocypode ceratophthalmus)
Generally more often seen at night/dusk/dawn but the ones at St John's Island were rather active during the day! The first few ones that we came across were half buried and very well camouflage, and we literally stumbled upon them as we were walking around. Here's one "winking" at/for the camera even!
IMG_7732 Horned-eyed ghost crab (Ocypode ceratophthalmus) IMG_7738Horned-eyed ghost crab (Ocypode ceratophthalmus)IMG_7744 Horned-eyed ghost crab (Ocypode ceratophthalmus)

The ones higher up on the shore were busy digging out their little burrows, popping out every once in a while to throw out a messy pile of sand. The little black dots scattered around the burrows are actually little Casuarina fruits.
IMG_7770 Horned-eyed ghost crab (Ocypode ceratophthalmus)
IMG_7772 Horned-eyed ghost crab (Ocypode ceratophthalmus)
IMG_7773 Horned-eyed ghost crab (Ocypode ceratophthalmus)

And a closer view of these little ghostly critters. Guess it's a good thing that we saw quite a few adult individuals scurrying around, as well as a number of smaller holes with the same messy "thrown sand", even though there's regular beach cleaning around the area?
IMG_7775 Horned-eyed ghost crab (Ocypode ceratophthalmus) IMG_7776 Horned-eyed ghost crab (Ocypode ceratophthalmus)

For more information about these crabs:

(2) Collared kingfisher (Halcyon chloris)
There were also at least 2 collared kingfishers out and about with us on almost all the days. Feel so lucky that I managed a quick shot of one of them perched on the pipe, and the next shot on the right even shows a small fish that it caught! Usually only manage to catch them while they're perched up on one of the trees on the island.
IMG_7800cropped_CollaredKingfisher(Halcyon chloris) IMG_7801cropped_CollaredKingfisher(Halcyon chloris)

For more on this commonly seen kingfisher:

Do click on the photos if you would like a look at the larger sized images.
Click for the rambling...

Thursday, 20 May 2010


My kayaking trip at Ubin has stirred up a series of personal reflections for me... No, the photo below has no relation to the topic XD It's just that I'm more trigger-happy than a camera whore and I don't really have candid shots of me.

Have never really been a sporty person but it seems that ever since undergraduate days, I have been becoming more and more of an outdoorsy person. It is through books that I slowly grew to learn about nature, and some of the biodiversity around us. And it is with that that I develop an interest in some outdoors activities. First there were the intertidal guiding, then came diving, then treeclimbing, cycling (yar, I didn't learn how to cycle until a year or two ago), powerboating and Sunday's kayaking. It really does seem serendipitous how things have been working out in my life so far, yet I can't help but feel that it was all planned out.

It's not only the wonder of how I've come to the role in which I have with regards to nature and biodiversity but also the actual miraculousness of nature that has gotten me thinking. And it seems that now I am starting to see and open doors to new areas and perspectives of experiencing and connecting with nature. How so?

I only went to take my OW and AOW diving certification so that I could have another angle on my FYP. One thing led to another, with me learning LIT methodology, and even helping to conduct ReefCheck training for others! I know that quite a few of my diver friends picked diving up as something unusual to do, caught the bug and have been scratching the itch to get underwater every once in a while. And depending on their instructors/diving kakis, they would gradually start appreciate the marine wildlife and its environment. Yet for me it's the opposite. So from day one I was more in awe of the different kind of milieu that I found whilst diving rather than the actual diving itself.

The same thing happened with tree climbing. This time, taking the course with a bunch of fellow intertidal enthusiasts, and again, it was the chance to be up close and personal with the trees that actually got me interested in the course. Still can't tell if I'm much of a convert to tree climbing though, but this is largely due to my sporadic fear of heights. ;p

And this brings me to kayaking. Decided to give it a try as one of those "Why not?" things to do. But the trip down the mangroves did show me yet another way for me to explore the great outdoors. Not in the adventure sense, but getting close to some of the trees without the usual sloshing walk, and with the chance to just drift and listen to all those different bird calls.

And it strikes me that all one has to do is to slow down for a moment, take a deep breath and just take it all in. Especially for those of us who are blessed to be in Singapore. Just look at the amount of urbanisation and development we have had here in land scarce Singapore. Yet we have managed to keep enough of our nature spots (i.e. Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve, Central Nature Reserve, etc.), as well as have park connectors (that act as green bridges between out fragmented forests on mainland). There is still much nature around us. Maybe more in the form of urban biodiversity than actual wildlife in forests. Every once in a while I lose sight of this fact, and yet I am reminded of it time and again. What better time to have this readjusting of perspective but in the middle of the International Year of Biodiversity, eh? So, the next time you find yourself outdoors, don't be so caught up in the activity you're doing but also take time to look around, take a deep breath, and spot critters in the vicinity.

Totally off topic but seems like next year is to be the International Year of Forests! Hmmm.... So what does a divejunkie do then? XD
Click for the rambling...