Dec 6, 2010

Pulau Semakau (5 Dec 10)

Hurray, a bright sunny afternoon as a small team gathers to monitor the seagrasses at Pulau Semakau!
What a great way to celebrate International Volunteer Day!

Thanks to Shufen, we made a safe trip in our usual orange ferry. Also thanks to Wei Ling for sorting out the permissions and arranging the GPS. Siti is away for an international seagrass conference. We miss the ladies!
We arrive at the Landfill to a brilliant blue sky day!
Wow, Rita has awesome wellingtons!
How lucky we to get a bus ride from the ever kindly NEA staff at the Landfill! Saving us a long walk in the hot sun! The tide is already falling and we can see the submerged reef, Terumbu Semakau starting to peek out of the water as we have comfortable ride to our start point.
When we arrive, it's time to brave the Mozzie Alley. A short 5-minute sprint through the forest trail to get to the sea shore.
The recent rainy weather has turned the path through the forest into a squishy quagmire of sloshy mud and tricky fallen trees.
Chay Hoon leads the team to do Site 3 while the rest of us head out much much further to do Site 1.
A glorious sunny afternoon as we leave the Site 2 team to start their work.
On our way in, we come across several Soldier crabs scurrying about on the sand flats.
Finally we arrive at Site 1! While Yen-Ling and Amy set up for their line, the tireless Water Quality team starts on their work. They have to go to all the three sites on Semakau!
Site 1 is easy to do because it mainly has only Tape seagrass (Enhalus acoroides). There was also a lot of Codium seaweed in our line. But elsewhere on Pulau Semakau there are many other kinds of seagrasses.
During our trip, everywhere, the water was dotted with tiny white male flowers of the Tape seagrass!
Lin takes a closeup photo of the male flowers. These flowers 'stand up' on a wet hand because one end of the tiny flower is attracted to water, while the other end repels water. This also often causes the flowers to stick together to form little 'rafts'.
Strangely, we only saw a few of the long-stemmed female flowers.
Lin and I finish quite early so we could bother the others. Here's Yen-ling and Amy hard at work on transect 3.
As we head back after finishing our site, we notice large areas of the shore were full of a fuzzy hairy slimey growth. It smothered seagrasses, corals and other life on the shore. Oh dear.
A closer look at the icky fuzzy growths.
Nevertheless, there is still much marine life on the shore. And I was glad to notice that there were very few bleaching corals on the shore.
Charmaine finds a lovely stripey prawn! Earlier on, she also saw a cuttlefish!
We were truly blessed with a rain-free evening and a lovely sunset, here with Pulau Hantu and Pulau Bukom in the background. There was also the tail end of rainbow in the sky! So perhaps it was raining somewhere else.
Here's another view of sunset over the Life Firing islands.
Alas, all too soon it was time to head back. Through the Mozzie Alley again!
Sean shows us the best way to beat the nasty mozzies! It was much worse going back, with clouds of mosquitoes surrounding us all the way back up into the bus!
But we all ended clean, safe and sound on the ferry back to the mainland. While enjoying the well-deserved, and much appreciated curry puffs kindly provided by Andy and Ivan!

The team on this trip included: Sean, Gladys, Jocyelyne, Nadine, Amy, Andy, Ivan, Kah Ming, Jonathan, Nhung Nguyen, Yunfeng, Chay Hoon, Charmaine, Gao Xiao and Yen-Ling.

It was also wonderful that Lin Yang from Sunday Times and Rita Chang from EarthWatch Hongkong could join us for the trip.

Other posts about this trip

No comments: