Monday, June 18, 2007

Another Wet Day at Semakau on 17 Jun 2007

The weather these days are really so unpredictable.

When we reached Semakau, I could still see some stars in the sky.

But as we walked towards the entrance to the forest, the wind picked up and dark clouds gathered.

And as we were cutting through the forest, it started drizzling.

By the time we reached the sandy shores, the rain was much heavier. And just as we were discussing whether we should proceed to the intertidal area - a clap of thunder made the decision for us.

We went back to the shelter near the entrance of the forest, and were stuck there for at least one and a half hours.

Eventually, the rain turned into a drizzle again, and there was no more lightning, and we decided to go ahead with the exploration in our ponchos.

Anyway, due to the rain, most of the organisms were hiding. But still, we had a few good finds :)

Some of us went to the far right side of the intertidal area, and the biodiversity there was simply amazing.

Sponges, hard corals, seaweeds... All packed together, competing for space. Especially the sponges, there were so many of themin different colours!

And right next to a rock, I found the above ocellated sea cucumber (Stichopus ocellatus), which has false "eyes" on its body.

And somehow, the rain did not stop the false clownfishes (Amphiprion ocellaris) to come out to play among the tentacles of the merten's carpet anemone (Stichodactyla mertensii).

While we did not encounter the fishy stonefish, we found one non-fishy one - the stonefish sea cucumber (Actinopyga lecanora).

And as we walked on, there was this area with lots of leathery soft corals. The photo above features a omelette leahery soft coral (Sacrophyton sp.)

Not to forget hard corals, there were lots of them too, including the colony of plate corals (Turbinaria sp.) above.

We also found a marginated glossodoris nudibranch (Glossodoris atromarginata), and I managed to grab an underwater shot of it.

But the find of the day must be this:

A cute little red seastar spotted by Chee Kong! It looks like a crown seastar (Asterina coronata) to me. Understand that they have found the crown seastar at Semakau before, but this was my first time seeing it! And this was also the first time I saw a crown sea star that was not greyish in colour! Here's the underside of the seastar.

The crown seastars at Chek Jawa were usually found under rocks in the day, and thus we also call them rock stars. But at night, they would come out into the open.

Well, depsite the rain, we had quite a bit of fun, with some good findings! Hopefully my next Semakau trip will be even better and we'll see even more things!


juanhui said...

woh~~~ cute sea star!! weather wasn't any better at Kusu either.

p/s. we spotted some dolphins near St John's today!!! *bounces* Will put up photos and videos tonite ^^

Siyang said...

The small sea star looks like its raising one hand saying hi!!

tHE tiDE cHAsER said...

Dolphins??? Wow!

Yah, the sea star really cute. Reminds me of Sponge Bob's fren, Patrick :)

juanhui said...

photos and vids up on both our blogs ^^