Saturday, September 01, 2007

St. John's in the Evening

Today was the first evening trip for like the past half a year, and I was quite glad that I didn't have to wake up so early for a change :)

Our destination was St John's Island. It was raining rather heavily at my place just before I left home, but fortunately the sky cleared and we had fine weather for the trip!

During the boat ride, we saw this ship in the distance smoking like nobody's business. What's happening? Did something caught fire or what?

We soon reached our destination, and wasted no time in getting to the shores!

On the rocks were lots of limpets clinging tightly to the rocks, which most of us usually neglected. These are actually snails that will move around the rocks are covered with water to graze on algae on the rocks, But as the tide goes down, they will always return to the same "home" spot to settle down, clamping tightly on the rocks avoid predation and drying up.

Kok Sheng found this beautiful spider conch. Was watching this documentary some time ago, and saw you can sometimes find heaps of conches in coral reefs, and they look just like a colony of branching corals with their spines! The documentary mentioned that this is a camouflage technique used by the spider conches, but personally I've never seen this in the wild before. Guess spider conches are just not so common these days in our waters that they can gather for some mass camouflage effort...

We also found a palm-size not-so-gigantic gigantic carpet anemone which has a cute anemone shrimp on it.

While we were exploring at the reef edge, I noticed lots of green and white blobs among the rocks and blue corals. I had initially thought that they are corallimorphs, but looking at the submerged ones make me somewhat doubtful...

They looked more like sea anemones instead! So are they anemones, corallimorphs or whatever, I'm not really sure. But some how they reminded me of the anemones we found at sekudu. We saw 2 types at St John's - one with a greenish column and banded tentacles (top-left), and another with a white column and white-tipped brown tentacles. Not sure if they are just colour variations or different species.

Anyway, the above are the proper corallimorphs that usually wrap around rocks and dead corals.

There were lots of beautiful zoanthids too, forming lovely flowery carpets!

And there were crabs here and there happily feeding among the colourful corals, anemones, zoanthids, and corallimorphs!

There were the aggressive swimming crabs...

...poisonous angbao red egg crabs...

...and even the highly camouflaged velcro crabs too!

And ultra flat flatworms were sliding over rocks and corals...

...while yet another master of camouflage, a little seahorse was quietly resting among the seaweeds.

Moving over to the sandy lagoon, moon snails were lurking just underneath the sand, searching for little shells for supper.

And common sea stars, which sadly are not exactly that common on most of our shores, were lazing on the sand...

And who says there's nothing to see on Singapore shores? :)

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