Sunday, January 21, 2007

Exploratory Trip for Semakau Guides & Trainees

Finally! A Semakau trip that I didn’t have to guide, and I could take all the photos I want!

We were all quite worried about the weather initially. Rain stop rain stop. During the boat ride to Semakau, it was raining so heavily that the boat had to go really slowly because visibility was really bad. But fortunately, the weather improved when we reached Semakau and we managed to proceed with the walk, though we had to wait at the canteen for a little while for the rain to stop.

Some of the guides started playing table tennis, and Mr Poi even offered us some mangoes from the mango trees planted on the island. They tasted rather nice, though kind of sour :P

Anyway, we eventually managed to get to the intertidal zone. Probably because of the rain, the sandy area was kind of quiet today. We only saw a few common sea stars, when we could normally see many of them. I got a bit worried as this monsoon had badly affected Chek Jawa, and I certainly do not want the same thing to happen to Semakau. But good thing it turned out that things were still ok at Semakau.

And indeed, today's trip turned out to be one of the best trips we had so far!

When we were crossing the seagrass lagoon, we saw a long synaptid sea cucumber, at least a metre long! Later at the coral reef, we also managed to find a stonefish sea cucumber and a sandfish sea cucumber. Both these sea cucumbers are supposed to be edible, but they must be properly prepared before they can be consumed.

And at the coral rubble, we found a carpet anemone with a beautiful anemone shrimp. Been trying to get a nice photo of an anemone shrimp, and finally managed to do it today!

Anemone Shrimp

We also found several nudibranchs today, including several gymnodoris...

Gymnodoris rubropapulosa

We also saw a few noble volutes.

Noble Volute, Cymbiola nobilis

They seemed to be in season end of the year till beginning of the year. Normally we can’t seem to find them at other times of the year.

And of course, we also saw the usual knobbly seastars, corals, anemones, swimming crabs, hairy crabs, flatworms etc.

But the highlights of the day must be these two first time encounters!

I could still remember telling Luan Keng on the boat, “I’m sure we will be able to find featherstars one of these days. Since they can find it around Hantu next door.”

And this was what Ed found.

Feather star, crinoid

I could still remember shouting to Luan Keng who was like 50 to 100 metres away, “LUAN KENG, FEA-THER-STAR! CRI-NOID”

YES! FINALLY! After saying it so many times, we finally found a featherstar!

And coincidentally, I also remember telling the others before, that if we could find cushion stars on Jong next door, maybe one day we would find them on Semakeu too!

And indeed, Samson found this!

Cushion star

We have been to Semakau so many times, and yet we are still finding new things every now and then! For one thing, Semakau is just too big and there are just so many things hiding in the unexplored corners. And not to forget that some animals are seasonal and we may not be there to find them when they are in season.

Soon it was time to turn back. But even the journey back had a few surprises.

What’s this? Is this what I think it is?

Upside Down Jellyfish

Flipping it over with my chopsticks… YES! It’s a jellyfish. An upside down jellyfish! Hadn’t had a nice photo of a jellyfish as well, so now I finally got one.

Upside-down jellyfish

Indeed, today’s trip was simply GREAT. And more importantly, we could also see that many of the new guides were truly passionate about this, and I do hope to see more of them in our future walks.

Thanks to Luan Keng for organising this walk.

And also, thanks to Mr Poi for staying back to drive us back to the jetty :)


juanhui said...

*darn* you beat me to putting up photos~~~ Guess it's my fault for crashing out once I got home :P Anyways, thanks for the interesting tripand the very fruitful walk to the other end of the flat! And now I know who to disturb for nudi ID-ing!! Hee...

Please also checkout my blog and photo albums ( Comments on the nudi pics wld b greatly appreciated ^^

p/s. in case you can't tell who I am, I'm one of the new trainees. Can call me Jun too~~

shenjiaqing said...

Hey, Ron

i think in fact, you did guide! LOL
You got quite a good shot for the anemone shrimp ya. :)

Siyang said...

Haa, yalo, I got sick of uploading too much photos so gave up at 3am.

tHE tiDE cHAsER said...

Pai seh, pai seh. Sometimes, I just can't hold back the passion to share with others my love for nature :)