Apr 1, 2009

Sentosa on April Fool's Day

Dawn breaks beautifully over Sentosa's last natural reefs, which are still rich with seagrasses and other marine life despite the large numbers of ships and industrial installations nearby.
Siti, Wei Ling, Collin and I are on the shore to do the usual monitoring for there.

Things didn't go quite as usual, hmm ... perhaps because it was April Fool's Day?

First, no one else had signed up for the trip. I kept expecting some of the Team to suddenly turn up and yell "April Fools!"

Then, the tide seemed non-compliant again. We waited and waited and it didn't seem to go down much. We did, however, have a nice time catching up while we waited. We had a kind of breakfast picnic on the soft clean sandy beach there. The day turned into a glorious sunny one, but cool for us as the huge natural cliffs shaded the shore.
The shores were also thick with Hairy green seaweed (Bryopsis sp.). It formed a thick soup at the edges of the water. But fortunately, it was relatively clear of these seaweeds in deeper water.

And alas, the water remained deep and rather murky as waves splashed in with the boats zooming by.We went ahead to try to monitor anyway.After a while, the water cleared up, even though it remained deep.

For the first time, I did monitoring on my own. Which is alright, except there's no one to compare and talk with about the numbers. And it's tough trying to measure long tape seagrasses alone while trying to write down the numbers.

So we really did miss you guys on this trip, Team!

Sentosa is easy to monitor because it has just two species of seagrasses which are VERY different.The humungously long Tape seagrasses (Enhalus acoroides) and the tiny oval-shaped Spoon seagrasses (Halophila ovalis).
I noticed for the first time on Sentosa, some growths of the green seaweed Caulerpa mexicana. This seaweed is quite common on our Northern shores and can sometimes carpet vast areas there. But I have not seen it often or in large numbers on our Southern shores. Hmmm ... there's still so much more to learn about our shores.

I've always admired the underwater photos by Seagrass-Watch. Today, I made the little camera go for a swim. After many blurry shots, I finally figured out the settings, sort of, and here's what our lovely seagrasses look like when they are happily submerged!Spoon seagrasses in sand.
Spoon seagrasses among bigger gravelly bits.
And wonderful thickets of Tape seagrases!
In swirly bunches in the waves.
With seaweeds among the grasses.
I kind of went crazy once I figured out how to take the photos.And I even captured (accidentally) a photo of some Cardinalfishes swimming among the seagrasses! Wow!

I had to stop taking photos when the poor little camera's battery went flat.

But the fun didn't stop there. Siti, Wei Ling and I went to have a look at the special mangrove trees on Sentosa. This and more on the wild shores of singapore blog.

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