Nov 27, 2011

Pulau Semakau (26 Nov 2011)

 It's our last monitoring session for 2011!
The weather was changeable, with sunshine and sprinkles, then wetter still. But this didn't stop this team of volunteers from checking up on the marvellous seagrass meadows of Pulau Semakau.

Before we took the group photo, some of us were a little distracted by a sea eagle flying over the shore. There's lots of amazing wildlife that depend on seagrass meadows, not just marine life!
Earlier, during the ferry ride, I tried to give a briefing on monitoring as we had a large group of first timers with us. Hopefully, this was helpful to them. I'm not really as good at explaining things as Siti is.
Photo by Jocelyne
We started the day under wonderful blue skies. The tide was still a little high, so we had a bit of problems finding the stakes. The seagrass meadows at Pulau Semakau are kilometres long! So we had quite a lot of walking to do.
Here's the team for Site 1, at the high shore as Collin and I tried to find the stakes in high water.
Finally, we found the stakes! And everyone got started monitoring. With the refineries of Pulau Bukom in the background.
As the tide fell, monitoring got easier. The water wasn't so deep or murky anymore.
Henry and Man Nga did a great job as first timers, picking up the methods by the time we finished the transect! Hurray!
There's lots of Tape seagrass here, although the coverage is not very high, the blades are nice and long.
As I was measuring seagrass lengths, I actually tried to measure this pipefish! It's the Alligator pipefish and it looks exactly like Tape seagrass!
Here's a less bad photo of the fish! Collin is our expert on these fishes and he shared more about it with the rest of the team. After we finished monitoring, on the way back, we also saw a seahorse and other marine life. More about what we saw in the links below.
We also saw this humungous Garlic bread' sea cucumber (Holothuria scabra) - my foot is next to it for scale. That's good to see as these sea cucumbers are believed to play an important role in the health of seagrasses.
It started to rain heavily as we headed home. Yen-ling and Chun Fong are still working! Fortunately, on their last reading.
Well, we had to leave the shore anyway as it was also approaching sunset.
Fortunately, there was no lightning, and we all managed to leave the shore safely.
Clean and dry, back on the ferry, we had fun looking through at some of the marine life we saw. Among them a Noble volute laying eggs. We also enjoyed the much needed and appreciated snacks that Andy so kindly bought for us!
While the trip may be over for most, for me, it's another massive round of gear wash up the following day. There sure is a lot to clean! Nearly half a kilometre of tape, and lots of bits and pieces. The cats at least, seem to have fun 'helping' me with the wash up!
It was great to have on the last monitoring session of 2011: Jerome, Chun Fong, Chin Ching, Yuan Chun, Yi Shyuan, Yen-ling, Gaytri, Jia Lin, Regina, Jacyln, Jose, Man Nga, Henry, Andy, Jocelyne, Sean and Chay Hoon on our trip today.

Thanks to Collin from NParks for accompanying us and taking care of some of the new ones. Also to Rachel for arranging all the logistics which went smoothly. My special thanks to the veteran volunteers who turned up to help with a particularly large batch of first timers, and keeping count, and keeping track of the equipment, and all the myriad little things that needed to get done. And special thanks from all of us to Andy for treating us to much appreciated snacks!

The Team is taking a break in December, but monitoring resumes in January. There's already lots of sign up for the first trip in 2012! So do sign up before the places are all taken up!

Posts by others on this trip
  • Jocelyne with sea stars, cuttlefish, flatworms, jellyfish and more. 
  • Chun Fong with more monitoring and a strange crab. 
  • Jose with baby horseshoe crab, and crab.
  • Ria with pipefish, seahorse, magnificent sea anemone and more cats 'helping' at the washing up.

No comments: