Thursday, January 24, 2008

The wilder side of Sentosa, without the alcohol (24 Jan, 2008)

:: Bumped into a friend at VivoCity Foodcourt, whilst having dinner with Kenerf after our evening explorations down Sentosa's shore. He was surprised to hear that we were out taking pictures at Sentosa on a weekday evening (Wah no need to work one! So shiok!). Anyway, we showed him the photos and first thing he said was," Eh, you all go Underwater World ah?" Ha! Well, to enjoy Singapore's natural native heritage one doesn't really need to fork out dosh for exorbitant admission fees or require air-conditioned and simulated environs. Just get a pair of booties and head out to the nearest shores at the next low tide and you can really see some of the spectacular marine life up close and personal, and not from behind a 10 inch perplex glass. ::


:: Today, Team Sea Grass had a monitoring session. I rushed down from work and arrived at 6.30pm to see familiar bodies crouching over grassy lush meadows. ::


:: Just as people think that there is nothing to see on Sentosa, when people see these rocky shores, they are even more convinced that there are no corals like these found there. And even if pointed out that these large masses are corals that are alive...they will probably be skeptical. Well, ignorance is a good thing I guess. Then the inhabitants of this shore can be left alone. ::


:: The hard corals seems to be doing well though some of the bigger boulder shaped ones seemed to have eroded at places and seaweed growing amongst the crevices and tops. Anyway, the reason why some of them are in this fluorescent neon green has got something to do with the algae, the energy from the sun and how our eyes view things. Also the reason why people want these corals in their tanks..cause they are SOOOOOOOOO PRETTY *cringe* ::


:: Corals are not plants. Well not entirely. They are animals but algae lives in the tissue of the hard coral in a symbiotic relationship which benefits both organisms. ::


:: The leathery soft corals seems to be doing well.::


:: Dead corals are usually white and dry and looks like dessicated dung. Corals that are alive are usually...well, brown or green or looking like rocks. However, they are very much alive, as you can see above. The coral polyp or the animal part of the coral usually comes out at night and wave their tentacles through the water gingerly, to capture tiny plankton foolish enough to swim by.::


:: More coral species found on Sentosa ::


:: Mushroom coral.This coral actually moves. Here, you can see the polyps.::


:: Rose coloured cliffs...like Petra, Jordan...but much tinier. ::

::The Tanjung Rima beacon.Eerie!.::


:: This is probably a colony of zoanthids. Actually they remind me of alien barf or skin. ::


:: Black sea cucumber (Holothuria leucospilota). Sea cucumbers, when threatened, spit out their digestive track, which is this slimy sticky mess of goop that confuses the predator or thing that was messing around with it. The digestive system then grows back. That I find most convenient. Imagine us humans needing to excuse ourselves from a less than desirable suitor. All we need to do is puke our guts out on said (sexual?) predator and then run away to grow a new stomach another day. Also a very good way to loose weight and look like Kate Moss ::


:: The highly venomous red egg crab...so pretty but so deadly. ::


:: I personally find sponges intriguing. Such simple creatures yet they come in a myriad of shapes and sizes. This is probably a barrel sponge. We subsequently found another one which had tiny brittle stars living in it. Sponges are animals, not vegetable or mineral (some people I know should be classified as such instead) ::



:: Have always wanted to see this nudribranch and today, we saw three of 'em! The Polka-dotted nudibranch (Jorunna funebris).It breathes through them flowery gills above its head (or body)::




:: Whilst figuring out how to capture two polka-dotted nudibranchs in a frame (obviously i failed miserably), another creature that I always wanted to meet, the marine spider, scuttled across my bootie and stood indiginantly above the water surface a few centimeters away, as if taunting me to dare take it's photo. Quickly, I snapped several shots of this beautiful arachnid specimen before it decided that it had enough. It lives in air pockets amongst the rocks, coming out during low tide to hunt for prey. ::


:: Found this flat worm which I thought was a nudibranch. ::


::Then nearby, found this tiny hairy slug (no bigger than a fingernail) which was feeding on the green hairy sea weed.
::


::I dont know what worm this is. Ribbon? Flaccid? Orange? ::



::Weiling and Siti found this two gorgeous Copperbanded butterfly fishes
(Chelmon rostratus). Siti termed them the Bragalina of the reef for we were snapping shots like paparazzis as they fleeted from one side of the pool to the other, swimming side by side and sticking their beaky mouths to the surface of the water, blowing tiny bubbles. Such camera whores actually. ::


::A juvenile swimming crab. Was catching beach fleas to eat ::




::Found this odd looking crab amongst the hairy sea weed. It has one pincer bigger then the other and a diamond-shaped thorny carapace. ::


:: Just as I was lamenting "Why no octopus tonight?!", Kenerf found one. Someone said before that they were relatively common on Sentosa ::


:: Sentosa was the first shore where I did my first sea grass transect last October. It was also the first time meeting the NParks team and the Naked Hermit Crabs. Such fond memories. With the construction of the IR nearby, I do hope that this shore will be here for a little while longer. Such a pity that an entire stretch of the shore had to make way for the IR and before more people can discover its marine splendours. Ah, such is progress! ::

2 comments:

ria said...

WOW! You DID see an octopus. Aren't they the most amazing creatures?!

Thanks for sharing!

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