Thursday, February 21, 2008

Go wild on a landfill: Pulau Semakau: 20 Feb 2008

:: It was a great day to be away from the insanity of concrete hive. Clear blue skies, gusty breezes beckon on Singapore's only landfill, Pulau Semakau. So while poor Charmaine has chewed her fingers to stumps due to the Singapore Fashion Festival 2008 press conference at Victoria Theatre, I made my obligatory appearance there, left, and met up with Kenerf to head to Marina Pier to get on the boat to Semakau with the other TeamSeagrassers. ::
::From afar, the concrete jungle. ::
:: My 2nd time on the island. My first can be found here and here. This time round, I teamed up with Ria (again) and we were given the ardous task of monitoring with a "botak", whistling quadrant (above) at Site 3. Under Ria's stewardship, I learn how to ID more species of sea grasses, namely the Sickle seagrass (thalassia), Needle seagrass (halodule uninervis) and Ribbon seagrass (cymodocea rotundata). Read more of our ordeal here. ::

:: The tides was still relatively high as we arrived rather early so we decided to head of to explore other bits of Semakau like the mangrove area. ::

:: Left: A lone mangrove sapling on the mudflat. Right: Telescope creeper snail (Telescopium telescopium). ::

:: Decided to stalk the sandbar and found these fiddler crabs. Right: The male fiddler owns a bigger and brighter claw to attract the attention of a female crab (left) by waving it around in the air. And the bigger and brighter the crab's appendage, the higher the chance he gets to fertilise her eggs. So really, you can say that female fiddler crabs are size queens. ::

:: After monitoring, we went to explore the coral rubble area. We stubbled upon this giant anemone (stichodactyla gigantea), and there was bivalve of sorts growing besides it. ::

:: Up close look of the anemone's tentacles and mouth/anus. ::

:: A noble volute (cymbiola nobilis) laying eggs. This pretty snail has fascinating markings on its shell, as if a drunk, in a moment of inspiration, decided to paint mountains with a chinese paint brush on the shell. The volute has a striking vermillion & black foot. ::

:: Loads of fan worms in the shimmering rock pools.::

:: Found this flatworm. It does look like a nudibranch at first. Many flat worms mimic nudibranch as most species of nudibranchs are poisonous, flat worms benefit from this mistaken identity and gets to live another day ::

:: The polka-dotted nudibranch (Jorunna funebris) Ria spotted a pair mating!.::

:: A spider conch (lambi lambis)! Have always wanted to see one. Its comical beady eyes looks like something out of an alien movie. Its rather rare in Singapore waters as it used to be eaten and probably is still consumed in other countries. ::

:: Colonial anemones or zoanthids. After Kusu Island, I grew rather fond of them cause they are so pretty and unassuming. The one on the right looks like a bouquet of daisies as its tentacles come out to feed. ::

:: Flowery soft coral, hard corals, dead men's fingers, many of them on Semakau...would you believe this is a landfill. In fact, there are still areas of Semakau waiting to be explored. ::

:: A shocking pink sponge. Seems to be like the one I photographed the last time I was there. Hmmm. ::

:: Frilly Anemones, its tentacles like antiquated Victorian lace ::

:: Honestly, I would be just happy to sit and watch the sky turn to dusk, as the clouds float by amongst the crazy clolurs of the sky. (Okay, fine I didn't get to see the knobbly sand stars, thats why I was looking at the sky...And Chay Hoon told me subsequently that there was one along the path i was walking. Damn!) ::

:: Lucky for us, we didnt get the swarms of mosquitoes which usually descends upon us as we leave the beach. We even had a bus come pick us up, saving us the long walk back (though the walk back was really nice in the evening the last time I was there). Doesn't seem like we are in Singapore eh? ::

::  When we arrived back at the visitor centre, the garbage barge was just coming in, carrying the burnt remains of our concrete jungle's filth. Its HUGE! ::

:: Once again, I had a lovely time on Semakau and can't wait to be back. If you wish to volunteer for team seagrass, click here. We need all the help we can get! And chances are, you may get to meet NParks celebrity scientist extraordinaire and Polar chicken pie model, Siti (above)! She is SUPER FRIENDLY (she's the first who showed me the ropes to sea grass monitoring when I first joined TeamSeagrass last Oct on Sentosa) and if you want to get into her good books, just get her muffins from Shunfu Mart or make her a batch of piping hot strawberry waffles, topped with nuttella ice-cream. And because of that, she might even give you Site 3 when you monitor on Semakau...right Siti?? ::


mitis said...

OMG! We should get that pic to Polar Cafe and they might just sponsor snacks for ALL our future trips! :) I'm grabbing that photo and putting it on FB if you don't mind!

Charmaine said...

You are sooooo MEAN!!

Not only did you leave me to the wolves at the press con, but you rub it in even more by blogging about it and making it even more salient!!

~ typed using my elbows. Don't have fingers anymore.