Thursday, May 31, 2007

Big Sisters Island on Vesak Day

It was around 1.45am when I left my place. I was supposed to pick up Alvin at his place around 2am to go to Marina South Pier. The boat was departing around 3am.

I had thought that it would take about 30 min to reach Marina South from Alvin's place, but surprisingly, it only took 15 min! Alamak, could have slept for another 15min if I knew this.

Anyway, when the boat reached Sisters Island, one of those Kenki boats was there again, blocking the jetty. The water at the jetty was quite rough actually, and thus it was kind of dangerous to jump from boat to boat. But anyway, we made it to land safe and sound.

It was a beautiful night, and the moon was round and bright. (hmmm this actualy rhymes...)

Dr Chua and gang found this velcro crab (Camposcia retusa) near the mouth of the lagoon. Come to think of it, dont' think I've seen decorator crabs on Sisters before. They were more common on our northen shores. Its body and legs were covered with fine hooked hairs that allowed it to camouflage itself by sticking pieces of sponges, ascidian and algae that it came into contact with.

There were many red egg crabs (Atergatis integerrimus) as well. The water was exceptionally clear, and I decided to take a few underwater shots. Note that this crab is poisonous though, so you are not supposed to eat them.

The were lots of leaf slugs (Elysia ornata) as well, feeding on the hairy green seaweed, bryopsis.

We also found many of these tiny hairy little sap-sucking slugs, that looked exactly like the broyopisi they were on. Can you spot it in the photo below?

Saw a few nudibranchs as well, including the marginated glossodoris nudibranch (Glossodoris atromarginata) below. 'Nudibranch' means 'naked gills' actually, which you can see on the back on the nudibranch in the photo.

Near the sea wall, I also found this giant top shell (Trochus niloticus). If only Dr Dan was with us! He had wanted to see one when he was out with us early this year, but we only manage to find two of the smaller ones. This one was definitely bigger than the ones we found that day.

I also saw this octopus, which quickly got undet the rocks when it saw me.

There were many beautiful branching anemones in the lagoon too. And thanks to the clear water, I managed to get a nice underwater close-up shot of this one.

There were many leathery soft corals too, including this finger soft coral (Sinularia sp.)

There were some lovely mushroom corals (Fungia sp.), with their tentacles all out as well!

And here's a close-up shot of a boulder hard coral, probably a Favia sp.

We saw many fishes too. There were lots of toadfishes, espeically little ones.

I also found this well-camouflaged flathead.

There were a few blue-spotted fantail ray out in the open as well. We often find them hiding under the sand, and any poor chap who accidentally step onto them will get a painful jab in return.

And yet another master of camouflage - the Peacock Sole (Pardachirus pavoninus).

We also saw this cute little pufferfish.

And a ball of juvenile eel-tails catfish!

Soon, the tide started coming in. You can probably tell from the above photo that the water was getting murky.

We had no choice but to move back to dry land.

To see more photos of this trip, do check out the following blog entries:
- Dark Side of the Sisters
- Crabby night at Big Sister's Island
- Ray and rabbitfish
- Benthic hunters


budak said...

ron, could the tinier sapsuckers be Placida sp?

tHE tiDE cHAsER said...

Hmmm... could be... Sure look alike...