Dec 13, 2008

Pulau Semakau (13 Dec 08)

It's our last monitoring session for 2008! And a large team of 31 is off to do the job at Pulau Semakau.Because of the huge turnout, several regular volunteers kindly agreed to be team leaders for each of the three sites. Thank you to Kok Sheng and Michell for leading Team 1; Nor Aishah and Kevin for leading Team 2; and Leon and Hannah for leading Team 3.On the boat ride out to Semakau, the team leaders are busy briefing the team. And doing a really great job at it! This attracts the paparazzi. Eric, Dimas, Yvonne from the Semakau Book team are along for the trip. Marcus and Jac also take lots of team photos. Also with us today are some special people from NEC: Ms Hirano, Ian, Cheng Mo and Desiree.While the rest are quickly sorting out the equipment at the Semakau Jetty...
The newly weds Mr and Mrs Lam are setting up the GPS. While Eric takes more snazzy shots with his evil fish eye lens.

Then we're off to the shores, thanks to a ride from the friendly NEA staff. Semakau monitoring involves a lot of walking. Kilometres of it to match the kilometres of seagrass meadows and shores!
Here's the team doing the furthest site, Site 1 which is almost at the end of Pulau Semakau near Pulau Bukom.
Here's the team at Site 2 facing the broad seagrass meadows, with the huge oil rig in the background. The area off Pulau Semakau is the designated zone for parking oil rigs which are in Singapore for repairs or maintenance. There are currently two rigs and at least one humungous LNG tanker at this zone.
Each group quickly finds the start points and get to monitoring!
Desiree and Leon are doing the furthest transect! Some parts of their transect had no seagrass at all!Other parts had seagrasses but also a very thick growth of fat chunky green seaweeds.Elsewhere, this was interspersed with pink crunchy red seaweed. Closer to the reefs, the seagrasses mingled with hard and soft corals.Yvonne drops by to take wacky photos of the team at work.After the monitoring is done, the team spends the last hour before sunset exploring the vast shores of Pulau Semakau.

The team saw all kinds of stuff including a sea cucumber as long as Robin's forearm. Yvonne has a photo of it! We believe it is Stichopus herrmanni.
Here's the photo of this enormous sea cucumber, kindly shared by Eric. Thanks Eric!
There's so much to see and discover that everyone is still at the reef edge even as the sun sets!

Nevertheless we got back safely before dark, and didn't donate too much blood to the ferocious mosquitos in the forest trail. Some of us even managed to get a lift back to the jetty from the friendly Starfish people who were on the island for an event. Just before that, a bunch of us saw fireflies!

We almost forgot to take the final group photo of the year. Thanks to Shufen for reminding us, we gathered for the traditional happy group photo at the Pier on the mainland.
Here's the much better photo Eric has taken with his fantastic fish eye!

Thanks to everyone for coming for this trip: Alex, Edwin, Hannah, Jerome, Joe, Kok Sheng, Leon, Lilyana, Michelle, Nor Aishah, Steve, Suryati, Kah Ming, Wei Wei, Zhichun, Kevin, Ms Hirano, Ian, Cheng Mo, Desiree, Robin, Jac, Jion Chun, Wei Ling, Shufen. The Semakau Book Team also made for a fun and exciting trip: Eric, Dimas, Yvonne and Marcus. We sure did miss Siti on this trip :-(

Well, that's it for 2008. Looking forward to another successful and meaningful year of monitoring in 2009. Happy Grassy New Year everyone!

More about Pulau Semakau on the wildsingapore website.

More blog posts about this trip

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