Aug 3, 2008

Semakau (3 Aug 08)

4am and intrepid TeamSeagrass members were gathered to monitor at Pulau Semakau. The team was rather lean but eager to see this vast seagrass meadows in the wee hours of the morning. We started work at first light. Here is Chay Hoon and Shin Yin at their transect.And Andy and Marcus Tay with Robin at theirs. I was with Shin Yee. We were doing the furthest site which is a very looooong hike through bug infested mangroves. As usual, Robin and Andy help me make sure the line is laid out straight. And today, for the first time, I got it right at first try! Yay!
Shin Yee spots a very long synaptid sea cucumber right next to the line!Today, many of the sites Shin Yee and I did was chock full of algae. But we got to see four species anyway: Enhalus acoroides, Halodule sp., Thalassia hemprichii and Cymodocea serrulata. Towards the end of our line, it got very sparse.And there was even one transect with only ONE bunch of seagrass. We're not sure why this is so. Could be the seagrass patch is 'moving' as there are vast areas of Semakau without any seagrasses. This is why it's important to monitor our seagrasses. So we can keep track of what's happening to these wonderful meadows.

Collin our seahorse specialist, was also with us to look for seahorses in the seagrass meadows, but alas, the seine net didn't work too well as the meadows were full of hard corals that snagged the net.
All too soon, we were done with monitoring. And the sun was just rising!
We spent the rest of the dawn low tide having a quick look at this marvellous reef. Here is Chay Hoon showing Semakau to Shin Yee and Shin Yin. We had a really fantastic day out today and saw lots of amazing marine life. For me, the highlight was this lively Tomato clown anemonefish in its Bulb-tentacle anemone home! Here's more about some of the stuff I saw today.
As the tide came in, we washed up ourselves and the gear. Andy is bringing back the beacon on a yellow stick that was found on the shore. The beacon is solar powered and lights up in the dark and shuts off automatically when it gets light. We think it came off from a boat.

We get into the brand new NEA bus driven by the very kind Mr Yew. He not only drove us to the site this morning, thus saving us a 2km hike there, but also offered to bring us on a land tour to see the rest of the Semakau landfill after our monitoring. We had a brief introduction to how the landfill was built and operated, and the importance of reducing our waste so as to conserve landfill space and thus our beautiful reefs and shores.
Here's the very energetic team at the Southernmost point of Singapore (that ordinary people can visit), with Raffles Lighthouse (the real Southernmost point of Singapore) in the background.

That was a really great day out!

Thanks to Michelle and Suizlyn who did a fantastic job of making sure we got there and back without loss of life or limb. The ladies also did this really awesome sign up sheet with the TeamSeagrass logo and all. We have decided that this shall be our Official Sign up Sheet from now on! Thanks Michelle and Suizlyn!

Thanks also to the rest of the team for making the trip possible. We had lots of new team members today and with the help of the veterans, everyone picked up the processes quickly and we had a smooth and fun trip!

Thank you to all of you: Andy, Anuj, Ayesha, Chay Hoon, Hannah, Leon, Marcus Tay, Nor Aishah, Chin Yee, Shin Yee, Shin Yin, Siti Nurbaya, Vyna, Yi Xin and of course our field coordinators for the trip: Michelle and Suizlyn and the NParks folks who tirelessly take care of all us and battle for boats: Shufen, Wei Ling, Siti and Robin.

TeamSeagrass is now gearing up for a fantastic Reef Celebration on 9 Aug at the Botanic Gardens. We're going to share about our adventures in the exciting talk about our "Green, Mean, Photosynthesizing Machines" and have exhibits of live seagrasses as well as posters of our seagrass meadows. Everyone is invited! Please come, bring your friends and family. There's lots of other reefy things going as well. More details.

See you then!

More shared about this Semakau trip:

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