Saturday, December 26, 2015

Slugs explosion at Cyrene Reef

Happy Boxing Day! We are back at one of our most favourite shores, Cyrene Reef.

Thank God for the lovely and windy weather with no threat of rain. Cyrene Reef remains beautiful as usual with lots of sea stars and other critters.

Christmas with full moon at Terumbu Semakau

Merry Christmas from the reefs of Terumbu Semakau! There are not many good low tides towards the end of the year. It's nice that Christmas coincides with full moon in December, which naturally means low tide to go out and explore on this special day.

It's been a while since I last set foot on Terumbu Semakau, a submerged reef off Semakau landfill.

Friday, November 27, 2015

How to survive your first visit to Coney Island?

For those who have done their research or heard from others' experience before visiting Coney Island would know that this island is notorious for its sand flies. Sand fly bites are not to be undermined because they are extremely itchy and long lasting. So what should you do before your visit to Coney Island?

A small team decided to visit the intertidal shores of Coney Island since it is now made accessible to the public. What lies on this shore during low tide? And how did we protect ourselves from getting bitten by sand flies?

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Marina East shore is alive!

Just off the city centre and Marina Barrage is an area that has been reclaimed twice. Once was due to land reclamation of Marina East and the other was due to the construction of Marina Coastal Expressway.

So what exactly is left after all these construction? Can marine life be found when the tide goes out?

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Special ghost crab at Sentosa

On 29 Oct, 2015, we visited Tanjong Rimau, Sentosa. It's been two years since I last explored this shore. The waters off Rimau has always been surprisingly clear despite its proximity to mainland. This allowed me to take several lovely underwater shots. We ended the trip with a sighting of the rare Smooth-eyed ghost crab (Ocypode cordimanus). My first time seeing it!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Surprises from Berlayar Creek

My first visit to the shores of Berlayar Creek was in 2010 and it was just a so-so trip. Not very diverse and is rather bare.

What brought me back here after 5 years would be Ria's recent find of the Galloping sea star on this shore. I was keen to see if I can also spot this elusive sea star on this hazy evening.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Pasir Ris shore on a hazy evening

On 30 Sep 2015, we had a look at Pasir Ris shore despite the haze condition. The seagrasses were doing well and there was an explosion of swimming anemones. Two special finds for the trip include a tiny tripod fish and also a new flatworm that looks like the silt flatworm.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Seringat-Kias over 2 years with star surprise

This is a long overdue post of our trip to Seringat-Kias last month (Aug 2015) and also last year (Nov 2014) with lovely surprise of Knobbly sea stars (Protoreaster nodosus).

The seagrasses are doing well on the reclaimed shores of Seringat-Kias when we visited last month. To top it up, there were several Knobbly sea stars! :D

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Seagrass critters of Cyrene Reef

We are back at Cyrene Reef, one of our most favourite shores in Singapore!

Cyrene Reef is ringed by petrochemical plants on Jurong Island and Pulau Bukom. It is also right next to the container terminals on  Pasir Panjang. Cyrene Reef has one of the best seagrass meadows in Singapore and its seagrasses are home to lots of marine life!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Baby shark at Big Sister's Island

What a lovely surprise to stumble upon a baby Bamboo Shark (Chiloscyllium sp.), possibly the White-spotted Bamboo Shark (Chiloscyllium plagiosum) on our predawn survey at Big Sister's Island this morning! Yes we do have sharks in Singapore!

Here's a close-up underwater shot of the cute shark with white blotches on its black body. These sharks are nocturnal and will hunt for fish at night. Generally, sharks will not harm humans if they are left alone. As top predators, they play an important role in the health and balance of the marine ecosystem.

Friday, August 7, 2015

How's Beting Bronok over two years?

Beting Bronok (BB) is one of the few remaining Singapore's northern reefs. Unfortunately, with each year that we visit, the diversity and abundance of marine life seem to drop. Nevertheless, what still remains on this special shore is still very much better than most of the other northern shores.

This post consists of what we saw over a span of 2 years from my previous trip in July 2014 (which I didn't blog) and our latest survey in Aug 2015- which gives us a rough comparison of the health of the shore over the span of 1 year.

BB is a submerged reef off the north of Pulau Tekong that is only exposed at a good low spring tide. Just right across the channel (Eastern Johor Straits) would be Pengarang, Johor. The view from BB is simply picturesque as you don't feel you are in Singapore at all.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Eastern and Northern reefs of Pulau Semakau

This is an overdue post of our survey at the natural reefs of Semakau during the last low tide season. In fact, the team covered three different areas of Pulau Semakau though I only went for the eastern and northern shore (missing out the southern shore).

We do not often visit the Eastern reefs of Semakau until recently. This huge stretch of reefs facing Terumbu Semakau and close to Pulau Bukom is rich in hard corals, soft corals, anemones and other amazing marine life.

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.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Annual survey at Chek Jawa's coral rubble

Chek Jawa is a special place in many Singaporean's heart. We almost lost this shore to development more than 10 years ago and are heartened to know that it is still around today for many to enjoy and appreciate. For me, it is my first field site as I did my UROPs project in 2007 studying the mass mortality and recruitment of organisms.

Today, the shores of Chek Jawa are out of bounds to the public to prevent trampling and one needs to follow a guided walk to go down and see the richness of the marine habitat. Thanks to permission from Nparks, a group of us were able to do an annual survey of the coral rubble at Chek Jawa this morning.

Back at sea fan garden of Changi

I'm back at the sea fan garden of Changi after more than 2 years! How are the sea fans and the other marine critters doing on this shore?

I'm glad to revisit these colourful creatures that are only exposed at a super low spring tide. Some of them look really stunning amidst the murky waters of Changi.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Back to Terumbu Bemban: Reef of fish trap

We are back on the reefs of Terumbu Bemban! It's one of the submerged reefs in our southern waters that is home to lots of corals. 

What a relief to start the trip slightly later by enjoying the sunrise instead of ending the survey with the sunrise. In any case, who can resist taking photos of the the lovely glows from dawn?

Friday, June 19, 2015

Tuas: Our last mainland western reefs

This morning, we journeyed from the east (where most of our mainland shores are) to west to our last remaining mainland western reef at Tuas.

Here's a look at the last stretch of natural reefs in the west that escaped reclamation. The Merawang Beacon is a prominent feature of this inaccessible shore. Many thanks to Sheryl from MSD for giving us the permission to do our survey.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Fabulous reef and seagrasses of Tanah Merah

We are back on yet another reclaimed mainland shore on a predawn trip.  It's our once-a-year survey of the hard corals at Tanah Merah.

The slippery and wobbly rocks below the seawall made this shore among the most difficult shores to document. I spent more time trying to get a proper footing than looking at the shore. But it is all worthwhile!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Rich reefs and seagrasses of East Coast shore

We are back at this newly discovered shore of East Coast Park! Despite the fact that the shoreline of East Coast Park is reclaimed, we are always amazed at how life creeps back over time if we do not disturb them.

This time, I decided to explore the other stretch of rock wall which is a lot longer! This part also is home to many huge and healthy hard corals.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Life at the edge at Terumbu Raya

We are back at Terumbu Raya after about one year! Terumbu Raya is translated into The Great Reef from Malay. The reef edge of Terumbu Raya, especially the side facing Pulay Semakau, is known to be breathtaking!

As today's tide was long and low, I walked further to survey the stretch facing Beting Bemban Besar and was surprised to find lots of mushroom corals! This unexplored stretch is a gem.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Kusu Island: Marine garden in the city

Our second trip of this series of low tide was dedicated to Kusu Island, which is only 15-20 mins boat ride away from Marina South Pier.

It's amazing that we have spectacular natural reefs situated very close to the city centre as shown in this photo of hard corals and the skyscrapers in the background. Indeed, the shores of Kusu Island is like a marine garden in the city.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Delightful echinoderms at Changi

It's always a delight to find lots of echinoderms ranging from sea stars, sea cucumbers, sea urchins, brittle stars etc on the shores of Changi.

The seagrass meadows of Changi shore are excellent nursery ground for marine life to thrive!

Predawn at Changi shore

It's my first predawn trip at Changi shore this year! We were back in May to check out an old friend of ours, a shore that I have been visiting since 2007. Was sharing with Jianlin that though life has moved on over the years, the shore still basically remains as it is, a constant that doesn't really change.

As it was an early trip, we ended the shore exploration during sunrise! It was a spectacular one with rays of hope overwhelming the dark navy sky during dawn.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Coral garden on the reclaimed East Coast Park

This morning we decided to visit a new shore, something that we have not done for a long time! Thanks to Arjun and Ria, I found out about a potential spot with lots of corals and did a recce before today's survey.

Along the seawall, I was amazed to see thick growths of hard corals growing on a reclaimed shore! Such abundance is not even found in many of our natural reefs.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Underwater fantasy at Tuas

On our last evening low tide, we revisited Tuas shore with hope to cross over to Merawang Beacon. We were not able to do so during our previous trip in December as the tide was higher than expected.

There was a bloom of Sea lettuce green seaweed (Ulva sp.) at several parts of the shore before the water channel separating the beacon and the main shore. At the background is Pulau Merambong belonging to Malaysia.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

CNY Day 3: St John's Island

Day 3 of our Chinese New Year field trip series was at St John's Island! It has been 2 years since my last visit and that was also during the CNY period.

St John's Island is one of the remaining few public-accessible shores that lies beneath a majestic coastal forest and cliff. This stretch of shore at Tanjong Hakim has been spared from reclamation or coastal development.

Friday, February 20, 2015

CNY Day 2: Little Sister's Island

On the second day of Chinese New Year, we visited Little Sister's Island! It has been close to 3 years since we set foot on the shores of Little Sister's though we have been visiting the Big Sister's a lot more.

Once again, we were blessed with good and cooling weather and there was even a lovely sunset which I missed. Here's a look at the shores and jetty Little Sister's Island with Big Sister's Island on the right.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

CNY Day 1: Cyrene Reef

On the first day of Chinese New Year, we were off to Cyrene Reef! It's been a while since we visited this favourite shore that is situated around Pulau Bukom, Pasir Panjang and Jurong Island. Our previous trip was in July 2014 where we had the "near-death" experience.

The stretches facing the oil refinery at Bukom and also Jurong Island is home to several hard and soft corals. Some of which can be relatively huge, like the one in this photo.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Back to long lost shore at Marina East

We discovered the reclaimed shores of Marina East at 2008 and it was a haven for soft sediment organisms such as carpet anemones, special sand dollars, huge eight-armed sea stars, variety of sea cucumbers and intriguing snails. Unfortunately, it was "reclaimed" again for the next few years and we thought it was gone for good.

I finally found a time to check out this shore again during low tide this afternoon to see if there's anything left. And I'm surprised to still find a portion of the shore that survived the coastal works that took place over the past few years.

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