Feb 20, 2008

Pulau Semakau (20 Feb 08)

Our first weekday monitoring for the year and still we had a great turnout from the Team! Wow!
We arrived very early for a change as everyone was on time, and all went smoothly. So we had a bit of time to look around while waiting for the tide to go down.

Thanks to Andy, I corrected my very 'senget' (crooked) line. It was a bit tough to monitor with the strong wind ruffling the water and the water murking up as we stepped nearby. But we found that if we stayed still for a while, we could get the job done. Sam and I had lots of fun figuring out grassy species. We got the totally naked quadrat (the square thing) which only had naked holes, no strings attached (our proper quadrat got borrowed by Siti...see below). The holes whistled in the wind making a really strange sound!

All too soon, it was over. Err...sorry no photos of actual seagrassing from me as I left my camera on the high shore this time (getting too old to lug the cam while monitoring). Here's more photos of the team by the kindly duck and Sam on his peculiar blog and Sijie's nature scouter blog. Sorry for just linking to blog posts by other team members (I'm so slack).

Seagrassing over, we headed off to explore the shores. The tide wasn't very low, and the wind was blowing mighty strong so it was hard to take photos.

There were some interesting hard corals like this Heliofungia actiniformis which is actually a mushroom hard coral. It has long tentacles so it's sometimes mistaken for an anemone.
Those seen are usually brown, so this green was a special find for me.

In this pretty Pocillopora coral all fluffed up with polyp tentacles extended
I saw some movement! It turned out to be a tiny fluffy crab.Here you can see just one of its eyes in the middle of the photo, while the rest of its beige fluffy body blended right in with the coral. I couldn't really make out whether it was a hairy crab.

For some reason, I spotted many different kinds of fan worms today.Here's a pair next to one another, not a very common sight.

And another pair of animals that was REALLY close to one another...
Was this pair of mating Jorunna funebris nudibranchs. Nudibranchs are hermaphrodites and exchange sperm when two individuals of the same species meet one another. They do it sideways, facing in opposite directions. The front end of this nudibranch has a pair of black edged structures that look like bunny ears (these are called rhinophores). The back end of the nudibranch has a circle of fluffy feathery structures which are its breathing gills.

There was also one Gymnodoris nudibranch, a cartoon-like nudi that never fails to amuse.
And a mama Noble volute (Cymbiola nobilis) who was busy creating egg capsules.She has made egg capsules that are bigger in total size than she is...wow!

And just before we headed home, I got startled by this startled octopus!Poor Siti couldn't be with us today even though she was also on Semakau. She was busy being filmed for the Once Upon A Tree series about our shores. Her segment will come up in episode 5! Isn't that fabulous, we must look out for it. Shawn Lum and the film crew were on Semakau all day from 9am. Shawn looked like he got burnt! That's real dedication.

We had a super day today. A great team, a fabulous ferry (we got the VIP ferry literally with red carpet inside and outside deck seating, which was marvelous for the trip back under the full moon...it was amazing! Thanks Shufen!), and NO MOSQUITOS!

A special thanks to all who came for today's weekday session: Robin, Jion Chun, Wilson, Paula, Marcus, Leon, Sijie, Nicholas, Mingyi, Meera, Rachel, Andy, Gaytri, Chay Hoon, Joseph Lai, Sam, Kenerf, Swee Cheng.

Other posts about this trip
A fabulous photo montage by Marcus on his budak blog
Sam's fabulous photos and lyrical thoughts on his ramblings of a peculiar nature blog
Sijie has lots of photos of seagrasses, also heron and other amazing finds on his nature scouters blog

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