Sunday, August 30, 2009

Cold And Wet @ Pulau Hantu.....

When I left the house in the East this morning for The Hantu Bloggers monthly dive at Pulau Hantu, it was bright and SUNNY! I was looking forward for clear BLUE sky and hopefully good vis.

But just as the cab turns into AYE, all I saw were DARK clouds and it was pouring when I reached the Marina. And I thought to myself "Great! Okay lah, at least it rain now and not when we are out at Hantu". wrong am I! The rain never stop and today's dives were done in cold (cos I was only in my rashguard and boardshort) and wet wet wet (rain never stop until we finished our second dive) conditions.

And with the rain, the vis was about 1.5m today. Nonetheless, there are still a few sightings (with a group sighting of a Hawksbill Turtle and my lost buddy, sighted a Yellow-lipped Sea Krait!) of creature.

So here's some of my sightings;

Couple of Flatworms. They hardly move about today.

Some Hard Corals with their polyps out. The top one could be a Horn coral (Hydnophora sp.) and the bottom one is a Anemone coral (Goniopora sp.)

While this one looks like it is not doing well.....with some parts dead.

Came across two kind of Pipefish. But only managed to take a pic of this one.

Once in a while, you will come across this Sap-sucking Sea Slug (Thuridilla gracilis).

Lastly, the other kind of Sea Slug, the Nudibranch!

It has been quite some times that I sighted this nudibranch. A few were sighted at other shores recently, so I guess they are in season. Looks like a Gymnodoris sp.

A juicy looking Orange-patterned Bornella (Bornella sp).

And of course, the abundance Blue Dragon nudibranch (Pteraeolidia ianthina). Hmmm.....wonder if this pair were mating?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

At Least No One Will Be Counting Stars.....

in their dream tonight. Hmmm.....what am I talking about? see, BlueWaterVolunteers' ReefFriends has a reef survey at Kusu island today. And because we are short of volunteers today, have to skip the fish and invertebrate surveys and only concentrate on the benthic survey. And at Kusu, on the Sea Fans, are full of FeatherSTARS clung onto them.

So for volunteer who is doing the invertebrate survey, will have plenty of FeatherSTARS to count. So much so, one will start to count stars in their dream after the survey. :op

Anyway, today we only did the Line-Intercept-Transect (LIT) benthic survey. The visibility in the water was only about 1m but not much currents. The huge pinkish Sea Fan that I have seen last year is still there, haha so are other Sea Fans and Whips and of course, the FeatherSTARS!

So here are other stuffs that I managed to take a pic of while doing the LIT;

Besides the FeatherSTARS, one can find these on the Sea Fans and Sea Whips too.

Looks like some Ascidians on this white Sea Whip.

I only saw Brittle Stars on the Sea Fans.....while Jeff found a small Basket Star on a Sea Fan at the shallow transect!

These, I think could be solitary Tubularian Hydroids (Ralpharia sp.) And they are said to be the preferred foods for adult Blue Dragon nudibranch (Pteraeolidia ianthina).

But I didn't see any Blue Dragon nudibranch today. In fact, this is the only kind of nudibranch that I came across today.

A Phyllidiella nudibranch (Phyllidiella sp.).

But I did saw quite a number of Flatworms.

From finger size to palm size (top-down)!

Did you notice anything special in this photo? Oh by the way, the Flatworm here is the same one in the previous pic.

Nothing special besides some white Sea whips and a Flatworm? Really?

Hehe.....Did you notice that one of the whips looks abit different? No?

Here's a closer look at the "whip" on the right hand side of the pic.

So have you figure it out? No?

Here's a closer look somemore.

Yes, it's a Pipefish!. This is the second time I have seen this kind of white Sea Whip mimic kind of Pipefish in our water. The first time was at Pulau Hantu. And I also noticed that it also mimic the way Sea Whips sway in the currents.

And of course last but not least,

Hard corals! the way, also saw a Turtle when I was swimming back to transect 4. Suddenly, I was caught by a movement of something taken off below me. It happened very fast but still managed to catch a look of the flippers before it zoom into the deeper end of the reef. Haha.....thus no pic!:op

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Damn! I Am Almost Struck Off From.....

her checklist of "Things that stung me"!

Haha.....I wonder if this was what the Stonefish been thinking when I have a close shave with it this morning at Tanah Merah. :p

You see, I have been stung by Hydroids, Jellyfish and Stingray. Thus, I joked that I hoped that the next one on my checklist to be struck off will NOT be a Stonefish. I want to keep it on my list ALWAYS! And given that Robin, who got stung before, said it was very very painful!

Phew! And this was what happened this morning;

I was walking parallel to the seawall looking for critters. As usual, I will stop and look into crevices in front of me. At this spot, there were some rocks to my left. Thus, I put my left foot on one rock to lean against when I bent down and forward to check out the crevices in front.

Just when I was done looking and standing up, I felt a needle-like poking on my left side of my left foot suddenly! My first reaction was to quickly retract my left foot from the rocks. And that was when I saw the rock moved! Eeeeeek!!!! It's a Stonefish!!!

See how well camouflaged it was! It just looks like any piece of rocks when not moving!

Fortunately, it was just a slight poke and not a deep injection by the fish. Thus, not much venom injected. I did not feel any instant pain shooting up my leg nor my body trying to shut down the nerves like when I was stingrayed.

Phew! And sorry for causing an heart-attack kind of alarm again.

After which, I was utterly careful where I step and rest my feet. Make sure I check out that it is indeed a rock that I am putting the legs on.

So besides this close shave with a Stonefish, other encounters on the shore are;


Shrimpy. And Ria finally got a pic of that Saron Shrimp that I have been trying to shoot. Haha.....she must have brought the right ring for Saron(Sauron). :p

Filefish - A Green one and a Hairy one!

Cute Bobtail Squid!!!

and last but not least,

An Octopus hunting for its supper!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Sluggish Day @ St John's.....

It has been a long time since my last visit to St John's island. So today, I was back at St John's for an intertidal trip.

Here you can see the massive shore protection works done to protect the cliffs after the massive landslides.

Today turns out to be a sluggish day as we saw one Sea slug after another. So what are the Sea slugs that we came across?

The Oval Sea Grapes Seaweed are in season. Among one patch was this Sea slug. Think it could be an Emerald Stiliger slug (Stiliger smaragdinus). It lives and feeds on the Seaweed which it will retain the algae colour pigments in its digestive system. The pigments colour the slug and thus make it looking like part of the Sea Grapes.

A closer look at this Sea Grapes-looking Sea slug. A first-sighting for me if I remembered correctly.

Found this Blue Dragon Nudibranch (Pteraeolidia ianthina) swaying about.

And James found a juvenile too.

There were a lots of this little stripey Armina Nudibranch. Looks like Dermatobranchus albus. I lost count after seeing 10.

A commonly seen Black-margined Nudibranch (Glossodoris atromarginata).

This tiny tiny nudibranch was found on a Brown Seaweed. It was about 5mm. It is an Aeolid Nudibranch. From the shape, I would guess it could be a Cuthona sp. And haha.....look carefully and you can actually see its eyes! Can you see a tiny Black spot just about at the base of its rhinophores?

Another look at this tiny nudibranch. Yet another first sighting for me!

When we were at the sandy lagoon, we saw a Solitary Fan Green Seaweed (Avrainvillea sp.). I was telling James that this type of Seaweed sometime can find slug. And indeed noticed a tiny speck of black spot on the Seaweed. And it turned out to be a Sea slug. This guy was about 3mm. It could be a Costasiella slug (Costasiella sp.). Its rhinophores are uber cute when they were moving about! And this slug is the 3rd First sighting for me.

Of course besides the Sea slugs, there were other creatures sighted too.


A tiny Pygmy Squid on the water surface trying to be like a piece of twig.

A Shrimp on a soft coral. much for after a long absence to St John's island with these wonderful sightings!