Jul 17, 2010

Pulau Semakau (17 Jul 10)

Today, the Team has a new motto: "We may die, but we will try!".
We all woke up to a pre-dawn deluge of biblical proportions, sheets of rain falling to the thunderous accompaniment of constant lightning.

Did this stop us?

Of course not! It was heartening to see most of the Team turn up despite the storm! Charmaine came even though her car stalled in the flood. Despite the dearth of taxis, everyone slogged through the rain to get there. By the time we left the pier, the rain had let up a bit, though dark clouds continued to loom.
At first I thought the storm was just a severe Sumatras. But when I later read the media reports, it seems to be caused by "unstable weather conditions in the region, partly brought on by Typhoon Conson" with more rain falling during the two hours than the average for July. Among the effects: knee-high flash flooding which led to stalled cars, public buses going offline, trees falling, power going out. So it's awesome that the Team made it for the trip! Bravo!

To those who wonder whether we ever cancel a monitoring trip for bad weather: No, we go when it's low. While we may not eventually monitor if the weather is still bad when we arrive, we never cancel a trip and will make our way to the shore regardless. As long as the seagrass is out there. So perhaps only a tsunami will lead us to cancel a monitoring trip!

Although we arrived late, it meant that the kindly NEA staff were already on site to drive us to the shore. Thank you! The skies were still dark, and in a mizzle (miserable drizzle) we walk out to our various sites.
Joo Yong, Yen Ling and I head out to the furthest site. Each of us are doing a line alone as we are short handed.
There's still some bleaching on the shore.
But not all the corals are bleached. And the seagrasses are still doing fine.
After we finished monitoring, we had look around the shore on the long walk back. We spot a bleaching Giant carpet anemone!
Underneath the anemone was a little anemone shrimp!
We also saw an upside down jellyfish, which is quite commonly seen on this shore.
As we reached Site 2, we saw that Cheng Puay and his team there were dealing with a huge driftnet that had been laid over the shore. Sadly, driftnets are very commonly seen on this shore. Unless removed, these nets continuously trap and kill marine life.
Since we had so many hands, we decided to remove as much of the net as we could. While some Team members released the trapped animals. Others hauled out the net.
Cheng Puay led a small team to pull out the net that was further way and only stopped when the tide turned and the water got too deep. The driftnet is really long!
Meanwhile, the rest of us put the transect squares (properly called quadrats) to good use!
We pile the nets on the quadrats so that we could more easily carry them out! In no time at all, we hauled the nets to the road when NEA staff have kindly offered to dispose of them properly.
With many team members hauling net, Yunfeng has worked out a good use for his long umbrella to help carry our gear back.
The Team sure did a lot of good work today!

The fabulous team today included: Yen Ling, Hui Peng, Joo Yong, Gao Xiao, Yunfeng, Sean, Jason, Cornie, Jocelyne, Cheng Puay, Charmaine, Shufen and the interns from NParks.

We also had the Singapore Poly water quality team with us: Nelson, Zhi Sheng, Catherine who pitched in with the net removal.

Bravo to everyone!

Other posts about this trip:

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