Apr 14, 2013

Cyrene Reef with Seagrass-Watch (14 Apr 2013)

A wet and windy start to our first Cyrene Reef trip for 2013!
But this didn't deter the rather large team that headed out early in the morning.

The windy storm is probably a Sumatra, violent pre-dawn storms that occur only in our part of the world. We watch the incoming swathe of angry yellow and red on the radar map of the NEA website on Pei Yan's phone.
Fortunately, it wasn't as violent and soon after sunrise, we made a brave landing in the light rain.
Today is a special trip because Len McKenzie and Rudi Yoshida of international Seagrass-Watch HQ in Australia are visiting us. So we had two boats for the trip!
I'm with the team at Site 2 to set up for the monitoring. It was really good to have extra hands so the work got done quickly and efficiently.
Len stops by to audit how the Team is doing the monitoring. Cyrene is an amazing submerged reef in the middle of the industrial triangle, here you can see the orange Cyrene Reef beacon with the petrochemical plants on Pulau Bukom on the horizon.
Seems like the volunteers at Site 2 are doing OK.
Siti and Nor Aishah are intimidated by Len's audit and try to whisper their discussions. All in good fun! As usual, Len gives us great feedback to improve our monitoring.
Len asks, "Have you seen Spoon seagrasses (Halophila ovalis) flowering?". After we say no, he promptly takes a look at the clumps at this feet and produces a flower! We are most impressed!
Here's a closer look at the delicate flower made up of three filaments!
Len also found some fertilised flowers that eventually will form flask-like fruits. Which Pei Yan and I saw during TeamSeagrass monitoring at Labrador last year.
I also took the opportunity to photograph the pretty veins of this true plant that lives in the sea.
Rudi also showed us photos of dugong feeding trails he saw on Cyrene, which we all missed spotting! Wow! Siti saw dugong feeding trails here in Apr 2012.

We also took the opportunity to consult Len and Rudi on why the Tape seagrass (Enhalus acoroides) on Cyrene are all still cropped short. More about what Len shared on this and other issues on the wild shores of singapore blog.

As usual, we saw interesting animals at Cyrene. I was too distracted to document many, but I'm sure the rest of the team will soon share what they saw.
Fortunately Siti reminded me that we haven't taken a group photo. So we took one just before we left Cyrene. Wow, we are sure a big group today!
It was like a busy bus interchange, with so many people getting into the two dinghies to leave Cyrene!
Len is a tough auditor, checking through our datasheets over lunch!
It was great to have with us on this trip: Sean, Pei Yan, Gladys, Jonathan, Jerome, Johnson Ong, Jia Ling, Yifeng, Boon Seng, Grace and Sunis.

And of course Len and Rudi of Seagrass-Watch. Thanks also to Siti, Wei Ling and Nor Aishah for taking care of the team, and special thanks to Rachel Lim for making all the arrangements to make this special trip possible.

Posts by others on this trip
  • Ria on what Len and Rudi shared about seagrass health, signs of mass spawning? and other issues.
  • Jerome on facebook with lots of fabulous photos and video clips of our adventurous trip today.
  • Johnson on facebook with delightful photos of volunteers enjoying the trip despite the wet weather!
  • Jonathan on facebook with fierce wet weather and cool critter sightings.
  • Sean on facebook with volunteers at work and play, and lots of sea stars.

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