Jul 15, 2007

Chek Jawa (15 Jul 07)

The Team was out again early this morning for our first monitoring of Chek Jawa after the boardwalk was completed and launched.
It was a very short low tide, we were a little late, and I had a few things to check out away from the Team so I didn't get photos of them in action. Fortunately, Dickson did a detailed 'Day in the Life of a Seagrasser' in his blue heaven blog.

Chek Jawa seems to be recovering. Colourful peacock anemones and carpet anemones were plentiful on the southern area near the beacon. Although there was a thick growth of seaweed in the area. I was so glad to see many young Gong-gong snails (Strombus canarium). Many of these snails died out during the mass deaths early this year. You can tell these snails are young ones because their shells are thin and the typical conch flared portions are not yet well developed.I also spotted a baby Biscuit sea star (Goniodiscaster scabra)!

Kok Sheng, however, discovered for me, the find of the day.The magnificent eight-armed Luidia maculata is often mistaken for a Common sea star (Archaster typicus). The Luidia sea star eats other animals, while the Common sea star grubs on gunk on the ground. Luidia has pointed tube feet and can move quite fast. The Common sea star has suckers at the tips of its tube feet.

Before I could take photos of the Team at work, I met them coming back. All done! Apparently Siti kept up the pace by poking them with a sharp pointed orange stick aka tape anchor aka tent peg.

The Team decides to check out the washing facilities at the brand new Chek Jawa visitor centre. The washing area right infront has very poor water pressure. But Andy says this helps us save water!

The area at the back has much better water pressure.Shortly after washing up all that tape and equipment, we treat ourselves to a picnic brunch at the House No. 1 patio with a gorgeous view of Pulau Sekudu and Changi.We also looked at photos of creatures seen during the monitoring. Among them, bubble snails (Cheng Puay) and a strange nudibranch, possibly Cerberilla (Sijie). Dickson and Marcus will probably share their encounters shortly on their blogs.

Siti and I check out the Research Room at House No. 1 where Siti's poster about TeamSeagrass takes centre stage! Here's a closer look at this poster.
From the room is a lovely view of the House No. 1 jetty, and the Team still resting up from their monitoring.All rested and well fed, the Team heads off to check out the all new boardwalk. And take the traditional Team photo there.Cheng Puay is arrowed to do the plants and tells us how to distinguish the different common mangrove trees.We also managed to see some fiddler crabs just before the tide rushed in. And a young water monitor lizard as well as a large but dead eel. At the pontoon, there were hordes of little fishes, which Marcus remarks will probably be good for the seagrasses as they 'fertilise' the area.

The tall Nipah palms in the back mangrove portion of the boardwalk always fascinates.Some of the younger and more energetic Team members tackled the Tower, while the rest crawled back to wait at the Information Kiosk.

We were rejuvenated only when we heard some enterprising Ubin villagers were selling cold drinks at Punai Hut where the van would pick us up. Indeed, there was a pick up full of drinks and coconuts, with a bench to sit at, and even a little radio to provide some ambience. The crowd was starting to build up, but we still managed to catch sight of a flying lizard (Draco sp.) doing a great job enticing a female by sticking out his impressive flap under his chin.

Thank you everyone who came! Annabelle, Andy, Jingkai, Dickson, Gaytri, Hannah, Cheng Puay, Kok Sheng, Sijie, Dionne, Marcus. And thank you Wilson for being there to bail us out as usual.

Team trips will pick up soon as tides occur at a less ungodly hour. So sign up quickly! Places to some locations are limited.

More blog entries about our day on Chek Jawa:
blue heaven blog more about a day in the life of a seagrasser: Part 1 and Part 2
above and under sea forest blog what we saw during the walk along the boardwalk: baby monitor lizard, termites and more
cj project blog despite the huge amount of work he had to do, Kok Sheng caught up with some interesting stuff on Chek Jawa.

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