REEF FRIENDS: Semakau 27th Feb '05
ANOTHER REEF FRIENDS SURVEY DIVE!!!! This time, it's PULAU SEMAKAU!
with a comfortable 4m vis!!!! (and some say 5m)
The VISIBILITY! Look at the tape! Cool eh!
This time, we managed to survey TWO SITES! With 23 volunteers in total, consisting of past SIF YEP
marine conservation expedition participants (all trained in Reef Check
and/or LIT (see past log on REEF FRIENDS: Dive survey at Hantu
The volunteers were split into two boats. Logistics was smooth, arranged by Jacki (Gill Divers)
who's recently joined Reef Friends as a coordinator! For ONCE, I didn't have to worry about logistics...and boats...and payments...VERY NICE!
Our boat...was the salvage engineers' barge. All our barangs! Not bad for a barge eh...
Anyway, we surveyed two sites at Semakau. The Semakau fringing reef, and the Semakau patch reef (Tanjung Raya).
Some people will be thinking..."WHAT?!?!!? SEMAKAUUU?!?!?!?!?! Isn't that where all our rubbish go to?? Isn't that...like...REALLY GROSS?!?!"
And some others will go..."HAR?! Semakau? Where HAR? Is it part of Singapore?"
And SOME, like the informed volunteers and divers we get go..."WOOHOOO SEMAKAU!!!"
Semakau used to be one of the RICHEST and NICEST reefs in Singapore. With an extensive reef flat extending far into the sea during low low tides, Semakau not only owns a coral reef ecosystem, but also a rich seagrass AND mangrove habitats! Not bad for a landfill huh?
Here's what we found at the FRINGING REEF!!!!
Results of survey done at reef crest of fringing reef of Semakau (shallow).
PLEASE HOLD ON FOR DEEP TRANSECT RESULTS. COMPLETE DATA NOT IN YET.
Semakau's fringing reef live coral cover used to be 50+% in 1988...A big difference huh. Sigh. We really got to protect what we have left man!!!!
Semakau's fringing reef is very nice although the coral cover is not that great. There is a lot of algae (seaweed) growing all over the place. The network of Sargassum
(seasonal seaweed. NO, not edible) skeletons has become a base for other algae to grow on.
But still, it holds a charm of its own. The network of algae becomes a haven for fishes, especially filefishes such as these:
The radial filefish (Acreichthys radiatus) and... Razor fishes! And...urm...other odd looking creatures...for instance THIS ONE...ehehehe...
Anyway, joking aside, we also saw...LOTSA LOTSA NUDIBRANCHS!!!!! SO PRETTY!!!! Like THESE ONES!!!
Flabellina sp. (photo by Tse-Lynn) Phyllidea sp. (photo by Tse-Lynn) Chromodoris lineolata.
AND POLYCLAD FLATWORMS TOOOOOOOO!!!!!
Pseudoceros sp. Pseudoceros bimarginatus
Although there weren't as much corals as it used to... we could still see BABY CORALS all over the place!
Cute Pectinia baby coral....awwwww And a cute baby Anchor coral (Euphyllia). And STAGHORN CORALS!
We also encountered THREE BIGGGG HUUUGGEEE GROUPERS!!!!! HALF A METER LONG!!!!! But it was in a....
Bubuh...which obviously have not been checked recently...we brought this one up. After the survey! Notice the bubuh on the bottom right...
Jeffrey Low (NPARKS), also found another bubuh at the PATCH REEF. This one was WORSE... there were SOOOOOO many butterflyfishes in the bubuh...
Butterflyfishes and seabass too! And a six banded angelfish!!!!!!
But, just to get into perspective of things. There's probably quite a number of fishermen using bubuhs in Singapore, but the amount of damage done by the bubuhs collectively cannot compare to the damage done by just a SINGLE dredging unit, or reclamation work.
Not that I am endorsing bubuhs, just that I have been featuring bubuhs quite a bit lately, and don't want to make the wrong impression that this is the main factor that causes the degradation of our reefs. I mean, compared to decades back, there is probably much fewer fishermen using bubuhs nowadays. Get my drift get my drift???
Anyway, back to the Reef Friends survey now...
The Semakau PATCH REEF seems to be in better condition than the FRINGING REEF:
Results of survey for Semakau patch reef at reef crest (shallow) Results of survey for Semakau patch reef at reef slopw (deep)...A lot of sponges huh...
There were really nice large coral colonies at the shallow transect of the patch reef...
Colony of Pachyseris sp. MASSIVE Astreopora coral colony!!!! SO BIIGG!!!
Jeffrey also saw this REALLY cool sight... Cardinal fishes are mouth brooders. What does that mean? It means that they keep their EGGS in their MOUTHS. Specifically the MALE cardinalfishes...
LOOK AT THE ENLARGED POUCH! There's EGGS INSIDE!!!!!! HAHAHA! SO COOL!!!
AND WHAT IS EVEN MORE AMAZING... IS THAT JEFF'S TEAM... SAW A BARRAMUNDI COD!!!!! HUGE ONE!!! HANGING AROUND A 2m SEAFAN!!!!!!!! OOH MMYYY GAAWWDDD... I was HYPERVENTILATING when I heard that... AND OH SO JEALOUS!!! You can imagine.... it was so exciting! Barramundi cods are REALLY shy creatures and even ELSEWHERE IN THE WORLD THEY ARE REALLY HARD TO COME BY! And here is one... BY TRANSECT NO. 3... SEMAKAU PATCH REEF!!!
And if you think I am kidding you... I KID YOU NOT... HERE IS THE PRRROOOOOFFFF!!!!!!
WAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH....... SO EXCITING!!!!!!!
After all that, it was time to go back, and we still had to REEL BACK all the darn tapes! There was a bit of a current, but it was finally over!
Zee reeling back the tape... THAT'S ALL FOLKS! See you next time!!!
OH BY THE WAY, SEMAKAU IS REOPENED FOR RECREATION!!!! See news HERE
DIVING WITH THE HANTU BLOGGERS!
Well, this blog is LOONNGGG overdue...but it's better late than never right? Ehehee....
On the 6th of Feb, Sunday, I had a sudden ITCHINESS to go diving. So I went along with the HANTU BLOGGERS
an email and after some trouble 'cos I lost my phone and was uncontactable, we finally managed to confirm this and that!
And I was on my way...to MY FIRST EVER OFFICIAL LEISURE DIVE IN SINGAPORE!!!!!!!! WOOOHOOOO!!!!!
There's a LOT of FIRSTS in these two dives that I made at Pulau Hantu with the Debster and the Seahounds!
time going so deep in Singapore waters: 21m.
gorgonian shrimp EVER:
And then my SECOND and THIRD one later in the day. In total, we saw FOUR gorgonian shrimps!
allied cowry EVER:
NICE! HEART STOPPING!! It was SOOOO TINY!
When I saw this fish, I thought it was a MORAY EEL. Turns out, it was even BETTER! It's a COMET! According to my videographer friend, if you see one of these fellows, you're really lucky! Amazing stuff at Hantu! And he can't wait to video it!
I also saw my FIRST
Dead...feather star (commatulid crinoid)...
Sigh... sad huh...
Well, I also saw this REALLY nice nudibranch! PRETTYYYYYYY AIN'T ITT.....
All in all it was a MAGNIFICENT DIVE! And what's better, 'cos the bloggers are so familiar with the area, it's like having EXTREMELY great guides with you who, for one, not only KNOW the reef, but also what and where the reef flora and fauna are.
It's not just the diving, but also the insight that the Hantu Bloggers can give you about Singapore's reefs (in particular Hantu's reefs) and about being an environmentally and ecologically aware diver (as all divers should be).
CHEERS, MAN! CHEERS TO GREAT DIVING! CHEERS TO PULAU HANTU! AND CHEERS TO THE HANTU BLOGGERS!