Sunday, February 10, 2008

CNY 3 on Kusu Island (9 Feb 2008)

:: Out and about on the Southern Islands again, and today its Kusu. Many are familiar with the island as during the 9th Lunar month, Taoists descend upon this tiny isle to visit the Tua Pek Kong temple to pray. There is also a Malay shrine on the island, up a hill. However, not many know that there is a lovely reef found here and a group of volunteers called the Blue Water Volunteers ( BWV) conducts guided shore walks here as well. ::

:: And it was a beautiful day to be out. The sky was clear, wind was invigorates the soul tormented by too many pineapple tarts and kueh bangkut. Charmaine and Kenerf came along, and it was also Charmaine's first time out on the intertidal for walkies. ::

:: Top: The cheery trio. Bottom: Singapore skyline from Kusu and what Ria calls the blight on our city scape, the Singapore Eye. Ha! ::

:: Water wasn't as low we expected. It was silty and wherever we walked we tend to muck up the water. The tide also came in rather quickly as well but we did manage to check out two lagoons and see interesting things ::

:: Plenty of carpet anemones can be found. They are the same species (Stichodactyla haddoni) as the ones found on Chek Jawa, which we help Kok Sheng monitor for his project ::

:: Marcus found a snapping shrimp or pistol shrimp. They are the ones that cause the popping sound one would hear during low tides. The shrimp has one pincher bigger than the other and has a mechanism that causes the pincher to create a short, powerful sound wave. Using this, it is able to stun small prey and even break open hard shells. ::

:: We found a pair of common sea stars making out ::

:: Underside of the sand star and those tube like things are the feet. The mouth of the animal is in the centre ::

::There are lots of hard corals growing in the lagoon. Branching corals and boulder shaped ones. ::

:: Above is a group of colonial anemones in a crevice. ::

:: Marcus, ever informative, found this pretty little nudibranch near some corals. It feeds on sponges, as I was told. ::

:: And he found a juvenile grunt as well::

:: A pretty little frilly anemone found amongst some branching coral ::

:: As it got darker and realising that the tide isnt really receding much, we went to check out the shore on the other side of the island, where the jetty is. And we found zoanthids everywhere, in myraid colours. ::

:: What are zoanthids? Well, they are related to anemones and corals (Phylum: cnidarians). The colours are determined by the algae which lives inside the zoanthids, somewhat like the giant clam. Whatever it is, it sure is mighty pretty!::

:: Actually we found a fish trap and inside there was a copperbanded butterfly fish. It belonged to people who worked in the temple but anyway, we just released it for it did look very sad inside the cage. ::

:: We went over to the other lagoon and saw more carpet anemones (but no shrimp) We saw a lone peacock anemone in the murky water. ::

:: Gobies camouflaged against the sand. They are related to mud-skippers and are common around our shores. I don't think anyone has specifically researched on the number of species that can be found here. Granted, they are rather dull looking to begin with. ::

:: This is a black lipped conch. You can actually see its eyes, which reminds me of the eyes of a Muppet. Charmaine saw a few gong gongs and their eyes and has vowed never to eat anything with such expressive eyes, again. ::

:: A prawn. Wild. Not intended for the dinning table. Well, not yet ::

:: A surprising find was this rather stoic looking ghost crab (Ocypode ceratophthamla). I thought it was dead until it decided it had enough of attention from the rest of us and started to dig itself into the silt. But of course not before a few choice photos ::

:: Thank you Ria for organising these trips! It truly has been an amazing and memorable Chinese New Year for me. I can't wait the next trip out already. ::

1 comment:

budak said...

Hi Sam,

could you let Charmaine know the pic of the conch with eyes is in this flickr set?