The Blue Tempeh
Friday, September 30, 2005
  Saint John's ROCKS!: Nudibranch dive
And so the day started as it never ended. Suffering from serious lack of sleep, we were off to Saint John's for some diving. DIVING. Though I very rarely say no to a dive, today was one of those days where I just wish I could spend the rest of the morning and afternoon in bed. Stay home. And skip all these...just like Tse-Lynn...

Periclimenes psamathe. Identified by the red spot on the hump in the abdomen.

A whole seafan of them!

Glossodoris atromarginata, (Chromodorididae).

Tiny tiny phyllid! As small as the fingernail on my pinky. (Phyllidiella pustulosa)

I have no idea what nudibranch this is. My guess is it's some Phestilla sp. But what species?! Anyone anyone? Help help?

Found under an overturned Porites colony, these nudibranchs were laying their eggs. Species of Phestilla are generally associated with hard corals, found under colonies.


A cute couple of Phyllidiella pustulosa.

Pseudobiceros hancockanus.

AND MY FAVOURITE!!!! Flabellina sp. Species anyone? Rhinophores seem smooth, not papillate. Hmm...

And and and...IT WAS TOGETHER WITH ANOTHER NUDIBRANCH! Which...I am ashamed to admit, I didn't notice at first. It was so well blended! TWO TWO TWO!! SO NICE!!

The other nudibranch that was there. SO NICE! I have never seen this one before! I think it's a Bornella. Species anyone?

Thuridilla bayeri. This sea slug belong to the group Actenoidea. It is not a nudibranch, but a close relative. They normally feed on algae...

Pseudoceros sp. Polyclad flatworm found in an REU (reef enhancement unit). SO CUTE! It was trying to get from one point to another by stretching itself!

OK OK, it WASN'T JUST a nudibranch dive. We DID see some fishes. Well, those that managed to be made seen by me anyway. This filefish was nicely camouflaged, merging nicely with its background.

ALERT! Warning colours on! Flaring up to make it look bigger.

And among the delicate branches of my favourite Pocillopora damicornis coral, was a little feeding crab... Ain't it cute?

A funky ascidian (sea squirt)!

A Pocillopora coral growing in a Porites colony. It probably settled on a dead part of the Porites coral and fought its way to its current size. Amazing stuff! Like enlarging a wound...Coral competition in action!


Haha! I wouldn't miss this for anything else!!! I think the photos speak for themselves. We DID manage to finish the work we set out to do though, if that is what you are thinking about. But I guess we DETOURED quite a lot... haha... But with such pretty little things around, who wouldn't?

Thanks to my dive buddies Daniel and Marco for being excellent spotters! Well, maybe not Marco... he disappeared and lost him so many times only to find him again staying still looking at FISH. ARGH! Well... I DID ask him to try and compile a fish list... It's only right...


Oh... if you want to see more photos from these excellent dives, please please...HERE HERE. All smiles, all day after those dives! Made my day and more!
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
  Diving diving diving!
Heh! This is also another long overdue blog. Have done quite a few dives over the month and lots of exciting stuff happened and seen! The visibility has improved slightly over the past month and although it's been mainly work dives, there's always time to explore bits here and there. Right. I'll just go right down to the stuff that's happened. In chronological order. Hopefully my memory won't fail me now... Hehehe.

2nd Sept '05: Diving Lazarus!

Another work dive to Lazarus to clean the nubbins (small coral fragments farmed for reef restoration research) again. The visibility was an OK 1.5 - 2m. A great improvement from the previous dives. And guess what we found this time round!
Among the nubbin trays and rack too!

Carpet eel blenny (Congrogadus subducen). Carnivorous. More! HERE!

A Porites "nubbin". Oooh... see it growing!

Another Acropora nubbin. This branching coral has become rather rare in Singapore waters. Needs somewhat clear waters and good conditions to grow. But his "nubbin" seem to be doing pretty well. Let's see whether it holds out!

And I was inspired to look for sea spiders after Debby's blog about them. So was scouring the hydroids for them. But to my surprise! I found this! I have no idea what it is! So if you know anything about it! LET ME KNOW! ARGH!

Tiny tiny small slim nudibranch on a hydroid...Excellent stuff!

Most importantly, we've found out the miracle of having a dive nazi on board! EXCELLENT STUFF! See this and know what I mean!

You can see more photos HERE if you want. If you want. Not forcing you. =)




An overall organised neat boat! Mr Loh's boat never looked this neat before on ANY of our dives! IMPRESSIVE.

And payment for a neat and clear boat? Milo dinosaurs and plastic bottles! What could be better?

But at the end of the dive, we saw this! Smoke billowing from a ship. Hey, shouldn't there be regulations for SMOKEY SHIPS?

4th Sept '05: Reef Friends survey at Raffles Lighthouse!

Reef Friends! Reef survey! At Raffles Lighthouse! Don't know where it is? Check it out HERE!

Raffles Lighthouse (Pulau Satumu) is a fantastic fantastic place. Located at the southern-most tip of Singapore waters (it's REALLY close to Indonesian waters), it has, in my opinion, one of the most amazing reefs in Singapore! You can see photos of the previous dives I blogged about HERE, HERE, and HERE.

I am just going to be go right into the results of the survey which should be quite obvious on its own. If not, refer to my previous blog HERE. (You can see I am really going to just go right to the point here)

Results for shallow transect.

The hard live coral cover for the shallow transect is really encouraging. It is classified as GOOD under the criteria developed by the ASEAN-Australia Living Coastal Resources Project. The corals are just fantastic there... I mean, when it is coupled with better visibility, it's equivalent to diving in places like Tioman or Aur Dayang, in my opinion.

Results for deep transect.

But just barely 4-5m deeper from the reef crest (where the shallow transect was layed), the coral life dropped significantly to just barely 26%, which just barely qualifies for the FAIR category for the abovementioned criteria. SEVEN METRES! Our reefs used to extend to tens of metres... and now the reduced light penitration caused by sedimentation in our waters has greatly restricted the growth of corals to mainly the shallower depths.

See past results of surveys done around Raffles Lighthouse HERE.

I didn't really have much time to take photos this dive. But here's what I managed to squeeze in:

Ain't it pretty! I love the translucense of these bubble coral (Euphyllia Pleurogyra (Thanks Jeff! Don't know why I thought it was Euphyllia) polyps!

A phyllid! So cute! Also saw a Bornella sp. nudibranch but didn't have time to take the photos!

A cushion star!

The survey, despite the weather, done in the rain (no lightning/thunder) and urm..rather...choppy waters, was overall a fun experience!

9th Sept '05: Diving Raffles Lighthouse & Saint John's reefs!

Woohoo! 2 work dives! One at Raffles Lighthouse and the other at Saint John's!

Raffles was a comfortable 2.5 - 3m and I managed to track down the resident allied cowry again. Was busy finding my experimental racks! So didn't really have time to take lotsa shots. =(

And and and! GUESS WHAT WE SAW AT SAINT JOHN'S?! We were cleaning the nubbins again... (yes, again...sigh) and and and! WE SAW THIS!

The tiger-tailed seahorse!

EXCELLENT STUFF! The previous week, the week we saw DOLPHINS while cleaning the nubbins... (yes. dolphins. see it HERE if you don't believe me), Daniel (the dive nazi, scroll up) saw one too hanging around the nubbins. It might be the same individual, but you can never tell with these sorta things.

More photos of Saint John's reef HERE.

19th Sept '05: Diving Raffles Lighthouse...for work

OK, no photos. ALL WORK that day. Visibility was OK, about 1.5m. Aim was to bring up my experimental recruitment tiles that I have deployed on the reefs of Raffles Lighthouse. Saw lots of crinoids! =) And urgh damselfishes...
Second dive was HORRIBLE. CURRENTS! One of my buddies got swept off into the Raffles Lighthouse-Biola channel. I was DYING...don't know why I did it...probably I just wanted to get it over and done with. Boat rides aren't cheap. And to get so many good buddies out to help me does not happen very often. So... there you go.

Something I should REALLY commend though. IMPRESSIVE STUFF. Daniel managed to TOW ME... AGAINST CURRENT... CARRYING A BASKET AND A LIFT BAG. It was thoroughly impressive. Towing me alone would be quite a challenge... but AGAINST CURRENT AND WITH THE BASKET (a lot of resistance, like a parachute)!!! IMPRESSIVE. I was about to give up... and surface... abort dive. I was grapling onto rubble pieces and rocks on the reef without a glove and they just kept giving way! Then he took hold of my tank and PULLED ME FORWARD. Took the basket from me, leaving me more hands and less resistance to fin against. Highly impressive shite... it's now on par with Jacki's lift-a-motorbike-onto-a-pickup-one-man-show deal. Actually, I might give the towing a one up cos it was just damn cool stuff.

20th Sept '05: Diving Hantu

MY EXPERIMENTALTILES ARE UP! From HANTU! All completed in ONE DAY! EXCELLENT STUFF!!!! It was highly efficient that day. I was VERY VERY pleased. =)

OK, I am really losing steam by now... SO, I am going to be damn lazy and just give you the flickr bookmarks for you to see. Anyway, I think you'd be more interested in the PHOTOS than my ramblings... so here you GO.

21st Sept '05: Diving Raffles Lighthouse

Final work dive at Raffles Lighthouse, bringing up the rest of the tiles. Second dive was a "leisure-thank-you-for-helping-me-do-work-dive" for my dive buddies... and of course myself. Haha. Well... I think it was well deserved! And it was good to recce and monitor the reef at the same time too!

Photos of stuff at Raffles Lighthouse, HERE.

Alright, really losing steam here. So just deal with it.

27th Sept '05

Work dive work dive. Normal stuff. Vis has become crappy again, down to about 0.7-1m...sigh. I wonder why. =(
SAW BABY SEAHORSE THOUGH! At Saint John's! And Kusu Island still has those WONDERFUL WONDERFUL HUGE PRETTY SEAFANS AND WHIPS! Man oh man would I love to do a leisure dive there... Hmm... Maybe I would... one weekend...=)

The END.
Of the tour de force.
Will let you know what other stuff we see on Singapore's reefs in October. But now that my tiles are up, there might be less diving, and more laboratory work. Sigh. Sad.

Thursday, September 15, 2005
  ICCS '05: Mangrove pit viper (Story 2)
Fine, I was going to have some other corny title. But thanks to a certain someone who asked why I always have to have smart-pants corny titles for my blog's now just a normal title...Oh wells...let's try this for a change. Nyyeehh....

So anyway, to continue from the last Styro-miro story, here is another...

....on the MANGROVE...PIT...VIPER...OoooOOOOoooooo.....

We were "recce-ing" the Lim Chu Kang mangrove area while waiting for the ICCS participants to arrive, taking photos of interesting mangrove critters, I stumbled upon this nice tree. Yes, A TREE.

As I stepped closer to examine it, there was something black coiled in a crevice between the branches of the tree.

What the......

OOOOHH MYYY GAAWWDD!!!! IT'S...A...SNAKE!!! And Cheng Kee and Danwei came hopping over...

"What snake is it ah?"

"I don't know..."


What I did next was probably not the smartest thing to do... especially when fronted with a snake.

Closer shot...

I went for a closer shot....MAYBE CAN ASK SOMEONE TO ID (identify) IT LATER, I thought....PLUS! It's the FIRST mangrove snake I've ever seen! SO CLOSE! So ready for the (photo) taking! AND THEN...

And even closer shot...(Trimeresurus purpureomaculatus)

ARGHHH...... NOT SMART NOT SMART! But luckily... nothing happened! So everyone, please do NOT do this. I stood there taking MACRO shots of the pit viper... and Danwei had to pry me away from it...

Later on... I showed the photos to Ria and she said... YES it's a MANGROVE PIT VIPER... VENOMOUS... LONG FANGS... BUT USUALLY VERY SMALL ABOUT *brings up her index finger* THAT THICK ONLY.

I said... Oh, it was about *brings up TWO of my fingers* THAT THICK.

Anyway, I've learnt some interesting things from Ria about this mangrove pit viper. It's has pitted heat sensors alongside it's head (hence the name PIT VIPER) and it acutally has a prehensile tail which it uses to coil itself around branches. It also uses its tail to anchor itself to some place so that it will be able to RECOIL itself after striking its prey or opponent. Besides that, the distinctive feature of this particular snake is that it has a large (compared to its body size) triangular head (with pits along side its nostrils). Also, like most snakes, it can dislodge its jaws and swallow preys several times its size! AMAZING!

This is what the Guide to Mangroves in Singapore book says about the mangrove or shore pit viper:

Trimeresurus purpureomaculatus
Family Crotalidae
Size: up to about 100 cm

The venomous Shore pit-viper lives in trees and shrubs.
It has a nasty temperament, but tends to be secretive. It is nocturnal and feeds largely on birds and lizards.

I told her that I saw it actually move backwards a bit and she said... OOH MEANS THAT IT WAS ABOUT TO STRIKE... I thought to myself, "Not smart...not smart... Noooottt smaarttt at allllll!!!!"
Saturday, September 10, 2005
  ICCS '05: Styro-miro! (Story 1)
Yes yes yes, I know. It's been a while since I last blogged. Arrghh the pressure the pressure...I'll promise to blog more often, and write less "essays". Anyway, the back-log hill of this blog is getting quite high so I have decided to just blog the most current stuff, and slowly work my way back. So bear with me OK. Thank you.

Morning scene at the Lim Chu Kang fishing jetty....

Anyway, it's ICCS season again! Yes! International Coastal Cleanup Singapore! (see my blog on last year's ICCS).

Lim Chu Kang mangrove. One of this year's ICCS sites.

This year was Lim Chu Kang mangrove, helping Angeline be a site buddy. This year, I REALLY woke up late. We were suppose to meet at 7.00am...and I woke up at 6.30am! I SWEAR! My alarm didn't ring! I rushed down to NUS from my place in the east and managed to only be 10min late! HAH! Even managed to BATH, MAKE BREAKFAST aannddd PACK SOME LUNCH! HAH! Tell you how I did that some other time...heh...

But back to the story at hand. The story of a fisherman. Of a STYRO-MIRO fisherman (title courtesy of Ria and her endless well of corny jokes, names and comments...believe me...). Why is he called so? Here's why.

In the morning of the cleanup, we surveyed the area and found it to be littered with almost everything imaginable. Tires, straws, bags, diapers, syringes, cans, trousers, shirts, helmets, police tape, fridge, stools, glass...EVERYTHING! Including... STYROFOAM.

So you can imagine what I was thinking when I saw THIS:

Some uncle was walking towards the jetty with a rather laarrggee piece of styrofoam. I didn't know WHAT he was going to do with it. For all I cared, that piece of styrofoam was bound to be ripped to tiny pieces and end up back into the mangrove, or choking turtles, or polluting in general. So I took that photo to show the world the menacing styrofoam that will one day haunt future ICCS participants, while they bend down picking up the shredded foam by one.

Here's another shot:

Happy with my shots, I turned my attention to the incoming hordes of ICCS participants. When I turned back around...

The uncle was gone! No longer on the jetty. Where could he have gone? I scanned the area and OOOOHHH MYYYYY GAAWWDDD......

Rowing rowing rowing to...


Where was he going? WHERE? On a STYROFOAM RAFT?! HOW CAN A STYROFOAM PIECE SUPPORT A MAN?!??!?!?!?! LAWS OF PHYSICS HELP ME OUT HERE! IS IT POSSIBLE? AND HE MAKES IT LOOK SO EASY!!!!! Believe you me, if it had been ME up on that raft, I'd be IN the water within 2 seconds. Sitting on it would've been hard on its own... BUT PADDLING AT THE SAME TIME?!?!?!?!?!?! With such ACCURACY?!?!?!

...HIS BOAT!!!! Parked some distance from the jetty!

Bailing out water from his boat. I just looked back for a moment and...

...he was gone! What was left behind...was just THIS!

I COULDN'T BELIEVE MY EYES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!! !!! HE PARKED HIS STYROFOAM BOARD!!! HE... PARKED IT... P. A. R. K. E. D. IT!!!!

Talk about RE-USING stuff... OK, it's STILL styrofoam. It's still not good. But you gotta admit. This uncle's got STYLE man.
We saw this other uncle carrying a dis-used windsurfing board...

But he is STILL not as COOL as our STYRO-MIRO fisherman. HE... PARKED HIS STYROFOAM BOARD... PAARRKKEEEDDDD ITTTT..... let's see it one last time...


See results of the Lim Chu Kang mangrove cleanup on the 10th Sept, Saturday, HERE.

Results of other sites HERE.

And, photos photos photos, HERE.
A Marine Conservation Journal of Events and Sentiments.

Blue Water Volunteers

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