Sunday, December 30, 2007

Last Dive For Year 2007 @ Pulau Semakau

This morning, I went for my last dive trip of this year at Pulau Semakau. Part of the trip was to do CoralWatch.

What I need to do is randomly pick a coral that I come across and match the colour of the coral with the colours in a coral health monitoring chart provided. Then I have to record the type of coral lifeforms and the colour code that matched. So basically, it was part work and part leisure dive.

We started off diving at one of the patch reefs on the North-Eastern side of Semakau. We hit the seabed and what I saw was a THICK layer of silt(Now I finally know what Ivy meant that if you put one arm into the silt, it basically disappear)!

It took my buddy and I sometimes to find the patch reef. Before that, we came across a wooden ship wreck on the seabed. Here's a part of the wreck;

When we finally found the patch reef, the coral coverage was poor on the reef slope and there's lots of, you guess it, SILT! And very THICK! :o(

Here's some of the corals that I came across which were not cover with sediments;

For my first dive, I was doing my CoralWatch and thus, not many pics taken. And this is my last pic for my first dive;

An Ocellated Sea Cucumber (Stichopus ocellatus). A distinctive feature for this Sea Cucumber is the 'eyespots' on its body wall. The 'eyespots' are actually dark papillae surrounded by a white ring.

After the surface interval, we proceed to the fringing reef on the West side of Semakau. So here's the stuffs that I saw for my second dive;

The backside of a Filefish! :op

A Cushion Seastar!

Beautiful Flatworms!

The common nudibranch like Blue Dragon Nudibranch(Pteraeolidia ianthina) and Phyllidia sp.

The Gymnodoris nudibranch seen to be in season. There's lots of them!

While trying to take one of the Gymnodoris nudibranch, I found this guy on the rubble next to the one that the Gymnodoris nudibranch was on!

It is Phyllodesmium briareum! A nudibranch that feeds on soft corals and can stores one-celled plants(zooxanthellae) in it's digestive gland. The stored zooxanthellae can grow and photosynthesise and in the process, provide foods for this nudibranch. If you look carefully at the pics, you can see brown specks on the nudibranch's body wall and cerata, and that's the stored zooxanthellae.

And this was my 3rd sighting of this slug in our water. The last two being at Pulau Hantu and Pulau Salu. And it was found on Sentosa's intertidal too!

And lastly, I saw NOT one but FOUR Gorgonian/Sawtooth Shrimps on one Black coral(I think it's a Black coral lah or anyone can help with the ID?)!!!

Here they are. One big and three slightly smaller and thinner ones(pardon the blur pic);

A close-up of the head;

They look more colourful than the one I saw in Pulau Hantu.

Delighted to end my dives for Year 2007 in high note! Looking forwards for another good year of local water diving in Year 2008!

And Happy New Year to ALL!!! :o)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

聖誕快樂(Merry Christmas)!!!.....

Wishing You A.....

And A Happy New Year !!!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Bright And Shine At Sungei Buloh.....

In contrast to my last trip to Sungei Buloh, today's trip was bright & shine!

Joining me are some of my fellow volunteer guides from Semakau & NHC. As usual, we tracked from the Kranji Nature Trail to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.

And these are the stuffs that we managed to see today:

Insects! In variety of colours and sizes!

Snails! Big & Small! All very CUTE with little eyes looking at you.

There's also some snail egg masses. In PINK!

The wonderful Flora!

Last but not least, one of my favorite macros, the Spiders! There's even one big Mama with egg sac!

A Great day spent with the wonderful company of my fellow guides! Thank You! :o)

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Underwater "Rock Climbing" Horizontally.....

I joined the dive trip organised by Local Divers this morning. The initial dive site was Pulau Hantu but we were told by the boatman that it was impossible to dive there because of strong currents. We were given other possible dive sites and we choose Pulau Salu which we were more familiar.

So off we go to Pulau Salu for our diving. The surface currents were strong and we have to hold on to a rope to prevent us from drifting away. Once descended, we were met with strong currents too. Basically, we have to hold on to rubbles to prevent being swept away while trying to move on. Thus, we were like doing rock climbing horizontally instead of vertically lor.

Here's a video (with a Tomato Clownfish) to show you how fast and strong were the currents. You can see that the sediments were moving very fast and the Anemone was swaying in all direction.

Despite the currents, my buddy(Ivy) and me still managed to see some stuffs.

It looks like the Polka-dotted Nudibranch(Jorunna funebris) are in season now at Salu. We kept seeing them. And this pair looked like they were mating because there seen to be a "joint" between them.

There were also a Black-margined Nudibranch(Glossodoris atromarginata),

a Sap-sucking Sea Slug(Elysia ornata) and

a Flatworm

When we surfaced, the currents were still going strong and there's no way we are doing our second dive here. So we asked the boatman to bring us back to our initial dive site, Pulau Hantu, to check out the condition there.

We settled at the North Jetty as the surface was calmer than the western reefs. Indeed, there was no strong current for our second dive. However, it started to rain just when we all jumped into the water. Sigh...and this time round, I really have lightnings flashing above me while I am underwater. And after reading this, we realised that we were lucky. So it's a no-no next time when there's a lightning storm.

Anyway, same as Salu, we saw a couple of Nudibranch:

They are(top-down) Ceratosoma gracillimum, Cuthona sibogae and Gymnodoris sp.

Two Flatworms:

I saw a Seastar.

And it was a twinkle twinkle little "star" lor. See how tiny it was compared to my gloved index finger(the black thingy in the pic). Probably about the size of two rice grains.

And towards the end of the dive, I came across a Genie in a bottle! Opps! Should be a Blenny in a bottle lah (This one no need to rub the bottle for it to come out. You just need to be still and wait). :op

and view from another angle:

So, there you have it, another dive adventure in our reefs! :o)