Sunday, April 08, 2007

Back to Onch Kingdom

It was a misty morning when we returned to Sentosa for my second recce (Check out the entry on my previous recce here).

I was in Andy's car on the way to the meeting place when Lahiru called me.

"Hi Ron. I'm on a cab in Sentosa now. How do we get to the meeting place?"

"Oh, it's near Fort Siloso."

"The cab driver doesn't know where is Fort Siloso."

"It's near Underwater World."

"Eh... The cab driver doesn't know where is Underwater World."

"It's just outside Rasa Sentosa."

"Eh... The cab driver doesn't know a single place on Sentosa!"

"What??!!??? What kind of #$%@&^* cab driver is he? Doesn't even know a single place on Sentosa??!!??? What will happen to the tourist taking his cab??!!?? What's happening to this world??!!?? A cab driver doesn't know the tourist spots on Sentosa??!!??"


"Ok ok. Imagine if you are facing Indonesia now, you should head right all the way. Just look for the road signs..."

And so, this was the little episode that woke me up, despite me only having less than 3 hours of sleep for each of the past 2 nights.

When we reached the meeting point, we saw Lahiru and his friends getting off the cab. At least in future this cab driver should know how to get to Fort Siloso, Underwater World and Rasa Sentosa.

Some of the Team Seagrass gang were there already. We were on different missions though, they would be monitoring the seagrass, while my gang will be doing a recce.

Soon, the rest of my gang, which includes Ley Kun, Alyce, November and Vilma, arrived. We said goodbye to the weaklings who were going to the intertidal area via the easy route, as my garang gang would be going there via the more adventurous route.

"Don't call us halfway to save you," shouted Alvin.

"What??!!??? We are the garang gang, you know??!!??"

Hmmm... I just hope my garang gang would not let me down and become gabra gang later.

In any case, everyone made it down the little slope to the coastal area safe and sound. On the other side of the sea was mainland Singapore, and what we see below was the site for the future marina.

This was my second time here, but yet I was still overwhelmed by the number of the onchidiums around me! Basically, they were here, there, everywhere on the rocky shore!

Slug, Onchidium

There were just so many of them, that I felt like I was in Onch Kingdom! We had to keep nearer to the cliff on the sandy area to avoid stepping onto them.

But of course, the onchs were not the only wild things you would see here.

Sea Hare

We found a poor little seahare (top left) wriggling on the sand. We managed to pick it up and put in back in the water. We saw lots of sea snails - topshells, turban shells, dove snails and also many cute little nerites (top right).

We were also really fortunate to have November and Vilma with us this time round, who enlightened us on the geology and plants in the area respectively.

Rock formation

Can you see the beautiful vein of quartz cutting across the rocks (top left)? And the dramatic rocky shore partially eroded by the waves (top left)?

November also told us that the caves we found were natural caves. Due to wave actions, the softer rocks were eroded and thus the caves were formed. To prevent the cliff from collapsing, concrete was used to strengthen the mouth of the caves (bottom left). However, at some places, the damage was done before the preventive measures were taken, and thus we got something like the Broken Soul Cliff (bottom right).

Cave and Cliff

And as we moved on, other animals greeted us - corals, fanworms, sponges, anemones, gobies, crabs, even a black sea cucumber (bottom left) and carpets of zoanthids (bottom right).

Black sea cucumber and zoanthids

But apart from the animals, we saw many interesting plants too!

Raffles pitcher plant, Nepenthes rafflesiana

There were several patches of Raffles pitcher plants, with their dangling fruits (top left), cute little pitchers hanging like little jugs (top right), and lovely flowers.

There were bushes of native resam ferns (bottom left) as well, which reminded me of my army days when we had to bash through them.

Resam fern, Dicranopteris linearis, and Tongkat Ali, Eurycoma longifolia jack

And what got me quite excited was the tongkat ali (top right)! Ahem, not that I'm interested in it's medicinal value, but this is something that we have lots of interesting and sexy stories to tell our visitors :) Have seen it in the Central Nature Reserve and on some of our southern islands before, but really didn't quite expect to see it here. In fact, I got so excited about this that I forgot to take a photo. The above photo was from Ria. Thanks, Ria! :P

And apart from the greenery, we had a number of other colourful encounters too!

Wild orchid and ixora

Vilma spotted this lovely wild orchid (top left), and the pretty wild ixora (top right).

And guess what, all the above plants are native species!

Just a quick recce and we found so many interesting wild things. Sentosa certainly has a lot to offer nature lovers!

But how many Singaporeans know this? When people are paying big bucks to see pitcher plants, corals, rock formations, and other nature things that are actually readily available at our door step... I would say, sadly, not many...

1 comment:

Monkey said...

checked with my prof on the formation there yesterday
i now have the geology, geomorphology and whatever geo-information we need :P

He even confirm my suspicion on why its pink :P Not as romantic as we would all like but am going to blog about it