Thursday, August 30, 2007

Exploring Semakau with CNN

Today, Ria, YC, Liana and I were out on Semakau Landfill! But this was no Wildfilms or Team Seagrass trip, and neither was this a public intertidal walk. We were there to bring a TV crew from CNN to film the Semakau shore!

I always enjoy visiting Semakau in the morning, as the intertidal area simply looked great under the morning sun.

Here are the CNN people, Charlie and Constance.

The trip was quite good despite the fact that we didn't have much time to explore the shore due to the rising tide. We managed to see quite a number of things, including the usual suspects:

From top-left going clockwise, we have the common sea star (Archaster typicus), knobbly sea star (Protoreaster nodosus), the sunflower mushroom coral (Heliofungia actiniformis) and the fluted giant clam (Tridacna squamosa). Pai seh, the above photos were actually taken on a previous trip, as I was busy guiding today :P

However, towards the end when the CNN crew were busy shooting others things, I managed to steal time to take a few quick shots of some of the other interesting stuff we found.

Finally, the mystery was solved. According to Ria, this is a magnificent anemone (Heteractis magnifica)! Been wondering what it is for the longest time. So pai seh. I didn't know that the magnificent anemone's column comes in colours other than purple, since all along I've only seen the purple ones. This one's column is bright brown in colour.

We also saw one of my favourite slugs today - Gymnodoris rubropapulosa! This nudibranch eats other slugs for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

There were huge patches of soft corals of different species, such as the dead men's fingers above.

Of course, there were lots of hard corals too! The anemone coral (Goniopora sp.) above will be even prettier when the tide is higher and the colony is totally submerged - all the flowery polyps will be out and it will look like a ball of flowers!

On the coral rubble area, I found a noble volute (Cymbiola nobilis) laying eggs too! Have seen quite a few noble volute laying eggs during my past few Semakau trips actually. It's always heartening to seeing reproduction in action, as it just shows how very much alive our shores are!

Shawn also found a pair of mangrove horseshoe crabs (Carcinoscorpius rotundicauda). If you look carefully, you will see the partially exposed exoskeleton of the female horseshoe crab below the smaller male!

Soon, tide was rising and it's time to go. As we were leaving, we could see gigantic storm clouds moving towards the island. I think we were really lucky that it was all bright and sunny when we were out there on the shore earlier :P

On the whole, I was really glad that I could make it for this trip to share our shores with the CNN crew. Hopefully when this is broadcast, it will raise awareness about the diverse intertidal life we have on our tiny island, and what we can do to conserve the few nature spots that we have left.

For a more complete account of the trip, do visit the Wildfilms Blog! :)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A Relaxing Day On Ubin

Three of my secondary friends decided that we should have a meal together, and since I had a CJ appreciation BBQ on Saturday night, I managed to convince them to go to Ubin for lunch so that I didn't have to run around too much.

It always feels good to go to Ubin. When ever I'm there, I just feel very relaxed and forget all my troubles for a while. On our way there on the bumboat, I could see one of the kelongs nearer to the jetty - it was flying a Singapore flag! So cool right? :)

Soon, we reached the jetty. Dark clouds were gathering then, but fortunately it didn't rain. I had planned to bring my friends to the Chek Jawa Boardwalk to test out the route for our guided walk, so was really hoping for a dry day.

As we walked towards the shops, a hibiscus plant next to the road was in full bloom! This particular hibiscus blooms in the morning as a white flower, and slowly turned pink in the afternoon, and eventually in the evening, it turns magenta and will probably drop off that night or the next day.

We went to the restaurant and ordered several things, including my favourite fried squid. Yum yum, it was definitely a great meal.

After the meal, we were discussing whether we should cycle or take a van to the Chek Jawa boardwalk. Since there were only 4 of us, I wasn't sure if the van drivers will charge us more than the standard $2 per person, and none of the van drivers I knew were around. Just then, someone I'm not familiar with approached us and said he could drive us there for $24! Wow! That means to-and-fro will cost us $48. We thanked him, rejected his offer and decided to go for the bikes instead.

And just as we were reaching the bike shops, yet another van driver who I was also not familiar with saw us, and told us that he could take us there for $2 each, even if there were only 4 of us! So off we went with him to Chek Jawa.

As we entered the coastal forest, one of my friend spotted something moving on the sand. I squat down to take a closer look, and realised that it was a pair of sea slaters, probably working hard for the next generation! :)

Although the tide was quite high, the rocks at the beginning of the coastal boardwalk were still exposed, and there were lots of oysters stuck to them. These oysters will feed on tiny edible particles or organisms when they are covered by water during high tide.

The coastal boardwalk was about 600m long. Including the mangrove boardwalk which was 500m long, the entire boardwalk took about 18 months to build.

And here are some of the perepat trees near the mangrove boardwalk, and their flowers are pollinated by bats which feed on the nectar and pollen.

There were lots of fiddler crabs waving their pincers just below the boardwalk, looking as if they were saying, "Come come, don't shy." Haha...

On the sea hibiscus tree next to the boardwalk, we found lots of cotton stainer bugs. Like the sea slaters we saw earlier, many of the adult bugs were also working hard for the next generation. :P

There were lots of juvenile cotton stainers too.

And along the mangrove boardwalk, mud lobster mounds were a common sight. The mud near the entrance looked really fresh, and was still trickling down the slope. Did we just miss seeing the mud lobster bringing the mud to the surface?

We also saw a juvenile monitor lizard. I have seen juvenile monitor lizards many times at the boardwalk, but have not seen any huge adults so far. Wonder where they have gone to.

And of course, a mangrove walk would certainly be incomplete without seeing a mudskipper! This is the giant mudskipper, the largest mudskipper in Singapore. Mudskippers are actually fish, even though they can stay out of water for quite a long while. They basically carry water in their mouth and gill chambers for them to breath, and thus they cannot move too far away from water as they will need to replenish the water once the oxygen runs out. They can breath through their skin when it's wet too!

On one of the storyboards, a pretty little beetle caught our attention. Have no idea what's the species though.

There was a group of people gathering around a spot, and walking closer, I realised that they were looking at a tree-climbing crab just under the boardwalk. Looked like it was feeding on a rotten sea almond fruit, as we could see it picking something from the fruit and put it into its mouth every now and then. Or maybe it could also be feeding on something on the rotten fruit? Hmm...

And here is the Jejawi Tower, named after the Malayan Banyan tree growing next to it. It's 20m tall, and can take about 40 people.

And a group shot of the gang of four. Cheers to almost 20 years of friendship.

After about one and a half hours, we finally reached the Chek Jawa Visitor Centre, also known as House Number 1 which is its postal address in Pulau Ubin. This unique building was built in the 1930s for Langdon Williams, the then Chief Surveyor, as a holiday retreat.

As there was still time, I decided to bring my friends to the Sensory Trail after our walk at the CJ boardwalk.

And there were cotton stainers here too on the lady's fingers. Bugs from this family mainly feed on seeds from plants of the Malvaceae family, which includes the hibiscus, lady's finger and cotton.

Strangely, I couldn't find any cotton stainers on the cotton plant though, even though they were fruiting. Remembered seeing the cotton stainers when I was here the last time.

Soon, it was getting dark, and my friends took the bumboat back to mainland Singapore. I stayed on though, for part two - the CJ appreciation BBQ.

Joined Adelle and the other volunteers back at House No. 1, and we took a walk along the jetty. The sun was setting, but the boardwalk still looked spectacular in the distance.

After the BBQ session, some of us decided to go for a walk on the boardwalk. As it was quite dark, we didn't really see lots of things, but it was still quite exciting as we walked and joked about.

This was one of the spiders we spotted on the boardwalk. It was just there, not moving, even when I got nearer to it to take this photo. Not sure what's the species though.

We also saw some of the usual suspects that we saw in the day time...

..such as this tree-climbing crab...

..and lots of cotton stainers on the sea hibiscus tree.

We also saw another species of crabs that climb trees - the tree-dwelling crab.

Understand that some of the others even saw civet cats on the boardwalk, which I missed.

Anyway, it was a great night, all the volunteers gathered for some fun and laughter. Will be even better actually if we can combine this with an exploration trip down the tidal flats at CJ actually. Hope we'll get more of such get-together activities in future.

Thanks to the NParks people for organising this :)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

After 2 Years...

Today is a special day... exactly 2 years ago, on 25 Aug 2005, I signed up as a Semakau Landfill guide.

Time really passed quickly for the past 2 years. It's not that long actually, but some how it felt like I've done quite a lot of things within these 2 years.

Thought this will be a good time to recap on how I got into the scene, what I've done so far, and what's coming up next...

How It All Started

I've always been a nature lover, and had thought about doing some nature work many times in the past, but some how just never really got into it. It all started because my company wanted to organise a trip to the southern islands, and the HR department asked me to help do some research. Some of my colleagues were in some fishing club, and so they had heard about some island called "Pulau Sekeng". So off I went searching for "Pulau Sekeng" on Google...

And found out that these days it's usually called "Pulau Sakeng", and in fact, it had already been combined with another island called "Pulau Semakau" to form Semakau Landfill.

One of the websites I found was Ria's WildSingapore Website, and at that time, they were recruiting guides to start guided walks at Semakau Landfill. I dropped Ria an email, and she told me to give her a call. It was kind of a funny conversation actually. Some how I got the impression from the various blogs I visited that most of the volunteers were like undergrads or just graduated, so I was asking Ria if I was too old to be a volunteer. I think Ria was probably a bit offended when I told her my age, since I'm much younger than her. HAHAhahaha...

My First Face-to-Face Encounter with Other Nature Volunteers

I soon received an email from Ria that she will be giving a public talk at Sungei Buloh on 3 Sep 2005. Since I was quite new to all these, I decided to attend the talk to at least find out more about the nature scene in Singapore.

It was also at this talk that I had my first face-to-face encounter with the other nature volunteers, which include Ria and some other Blue Water Volunteers.

My First Intertidal Visit

Finally, Ria dropped us an email saying that they were having a few field trips to Semakau Landfill, and I signed up for the 18 Sep 2005 trip. Although I had visited my Grandma who used to live in Punggol, the area where she lived comprised mainly of mangroves, and thus I had never really been to an intertidal area before.

We were supposed to depart at 3am, but since I'd never been to West Coast Pier before, I decided to leave my place earlier. I ended up being the first to arrive at around 2.15am, in my booties, all ready to go. Only when the others arrived then I realised that we're not jumping into the water straight and there woould be dry land for me to change into my booties on Semakau itself :P

Anyway, this was also when I first met Luan Keng from RMBR, who was doing the co-ordination work for the Semakau walks.

We eventually reached Semakau Landfill and went to the intertidal area. Being my first trip to an intertidal area, not knowing anyone and totally clueless about anything, I managed to tag along with another lone ranger who supposedly had gone for the Kusu walks before. But out there when I was looking into a tidal pool trying to find things, she suddenly disappeared into the darkness. So there I was, all alone, don't know anything, and so I decided to just bash to the reef area and hope for the best.

Finally bumped into a gang of Blue Water Volunteers, but then wind was picking up, and it soon started raining. We had no choice but to go back to find shelter, feeding mosquitoes. Basically, I hardly saw anything during this trip since I really had no idea what to look out for, except for a pair of gymnodoris rubropapulosa that some of the others found and brought to the shelter.

My First Guided Walk

After the field trip, we had a series of classroom sessions at NUS, and at the end of the sessions everyone had to submit a script for the guided walk. We also had a visit to Tuas South Incineration Plant on 26 Nov 2005, and another field session, but the one I attended on 18 Oct 2005 was on plants by Joe Lai. I learned many interesting things from him, but still did not get any proper exposure to intertidal life.

And finally came the D-Day - my first guided walk on 3 Dec 2005. I had a surprise, or in fact, a shock, when I saw in Luan Keng's email:

Group 3: Sea Star - 6 pax
- Ron (lead guide)
- Chay Hoon

And this was my response to her:

Noticed that I'm the lead guide in my group, but I think Chay Hoon is more experience than me in terms of guiding. So not sure if you have got it correctly...

And this was her reply:

Correct. I'm plunging you straight into deep water as I believe you CAN guide. Chay Hoon will be a good assistant. I will be around as well. So go look at your script again and Ria's comments.

So there I was, someone who had only attended classroom sessions, never properly explored any intertidal area, never attended any guided walks, and I was going to guide a group of visitors.

So the first time I attended a nature guided walk was the one guided by me, myself, Ron Yeo.

Can you imagine telling the visitors about common seastars when that was also the very first time I was seeing them? I was probably more excited than most of them, since apparently some of them had been to the Kusu walks before.

During this trip, I also saw for the first time a noble volute, flatworm, bristleworm, striped eel-tail catfish, fang blenny, and the list goes on...

It was certainly a good experience. I thought I did quite alright for my first assignment. My visitors definitely enjoyed themselves :)

Indeed, over the the past 2 years, Semakau has secured a special place in my heart. The Semakau gang was also a great one - Luan Keng, Chay Hoon, Robert, Tiong Chin, Samson, Ed, Kah Chine, Alyce, Siew Chin and also the newer guides like July, Siyang, Helen, Juanhui, Jing Kai etc.

Looking forward to more great trips with all of you! :)

Joining Beachfleas & Wildfilms

On 4 Dec 2005, I went on my first trip to another southern island - Sister's Island. After a few trips, I was invited to join the Beachfleas on 15 Jan 2006, and later, Ria invited me to join Wildfilms on 4 Feb 2006.

Frankly, I don't really enjoy doing video stuff much, though it did take me two modules in NTU to find that out. Not that I did badly in them, just that I realised it's not my cup of tea. But guess doing it for Wildfilms was kind of different, since I'm doing it for nature, and I don't mind helping to carry stuff and assisting Alvin especially when they do need more manpower sometimes.

But one advantage of being part of Wildfilms was I got to visit our shores very often, and I picked up a lot of new things along the way. When I see something new, I'll go back home and surf the Net for more information. If not for the Wildfilms trips, I'll probably know much less things now. Wildfilms also brought me to other shores less often explored by others, and these places often mean new things to see.

And the Wildfilms gang was a fun gang too, with people like Ria, Alvin, Chay Hoon, Wai, Helen, Andy, Yuchen, Cynthia, Pris etc. And sometimes we get some of the wild beachfleas like Dr Chua, Marcus and November too!

Becoming an Ubin Volunteer

During the rainy season, Luan Keng decided to cancel one of the walks, and we managed to tag along with Ria to one of the Chek Jawa public walks, where I was introduced to some of the Nparks people like Adelle and Choon Beng.

This was my first time visiting Chek Jawa actually, and those days before the great flood, Chek Jawa was really beautiful, with lots of carpet anemones every where, and many common sea stars near the sand bar. It was certainly very different from Semakau Landfill.

On 6 Jun 2006, I finally decided to sign up to become an Ubin volunteer.

I had one on-the-job training session at Chek Jawa with Ria, and soon started guiding on my own. After some time, I did another OJT with Ley Kun on the Sensory Trail, and started guiding there as well.

Ubin has certainly become one of my favourite places after Semakau - interesting Kampong trails, beautiful quarry lakes, quiet shores, friendly people, delicious seafood - where else can you find all these existing together in Singapore?

Not to forget the fun-loving ubin volunteers - Ria, Chay Hoon, Robert, Ley Kun, Alyce, May, Kah Chine, Dr Chua, Mr Wong, Kaifen, Jiansheng, Evelyn, Terry, Jane, Robin, Alan etc.

Monitoring Seagrass with Team Seagrass

On 31 Oct 2006, I joined yet another group - Team Seagrass, and met other interesting people from Nparks, including Siti, Shufen and Weiling.

Have to admit that my seagrass ID skills is still quite miserable, so pai seh. But at least I think I've learned a lot of things about seagrasses from the various sessions.

The seagrass trips were certainly very fun too, and I got to know more like-minded people. It was also during a seagrass when I saw my first shark in local water. How exciting!

Team Seagrass is also where I first met some of the younger volunteers like Kok Sheng, Jing Kai, Dickson, Gaytri and Annabelle.

My Blog

I started a personal blog in 5 May 2005, but hardly update it. Finally, on 19 Jan 2007, I converted it to a nature blog, which is what you are reading now.

Unlike what most people think, blogging is actually quite time-consuming, and we didn't do it because we are very free. It takes a lot of commitment and you need to invest a lot of time to write a story and put up photos.

On every shore trip, I had to consciously take enough photos so that I could blog later. And frankly, it's not an easy task, since I had to help out with Wildfilms most of the time, when you need to help carry equipment and hold lights etc. And when you are guiding, it's very hard to take photos too as the visitors will be casting shadows or murk up the water, and you do not want to make the visitors feel neglected. I always have to reassure them that I'm documenting the things we saw so that they can refresh their memory on my blog later, and have to take the photo quickly before the visitors settle down on a spot.

As such, most of my photos were not very well taken. When I was looking through my photos last week, I realised I don't even have one single photo of a carpet anemone that I'm satisfied with, and I've probably seen hundreds of them already.

The Naked Hermit Crabs

During a trip to Sisters Island, I had a conversation with Ria, and we felt that more could be done to bring Singaporeans to our natural shores, especially the ones in danger. We decided to start off with Sentosa and did a recce there.

While we were having lunch after the recce at Seah Imm Foodcourt, the Naked Hermit Crabs were hatched.

It was hard work starting another volunteer group. There was a lot of coordination work to be done, planning of recces, getting people to join the group, getting things ready for the walks, and getting the participants and managing the registration. Responding to emails from the public already took up a lot of time, and all these while I am still very active in the other nature volunteer groups that I'm involved with. Not to forget I have a full-time job which has frozen the headcount, several of my colleagues have resigned, and work was really piling up.

The end result, however, was very heartening, and we had 4 successful walks at Sentosa, and now, we will be starting walks to the Chek Jawa Boardwalk soon.

I'm sure everyone had a good time on every of our trips. Thanks to all the Naked Hermit Crabs for been so supportive of the various events!

The Anemone Team

Luan Keng approached me a few months ago to get me to help out with the sea anemone collection. Have not really contributed much actually, since I only managed to attend some of the trips, and did not really find that many anemones. Fortunately, the are several others in the team who were able to help out.

My Photos Got Published

RMBR had published a few nature publications, and many of my photos were used in 2 of them - the intertidal book, Private Lives, and the intertidal guidesheet.

Guess despite the fact that many of my photos turned out crappy, a few of them did turned out quite well.

What's Up Next?

I was really hoping conduct more guided walks to other wild places under the Naked Hermit Crabs umbrella, but guess these days I'm really over-stretched, being actively involved with too many volunteer groups. Was really glad that November was able to help out with the activity schedule for the Naked Hermit Crabs, so I can focus on the guided walks themselves.

Had also wanted to start some kind of environment club in Temasek Polytechnic for the longest time. Must really work out something with the Student & Alumni Affairs Department. So far I have conducted a sharing session and a talk at TP, hopefully can do more in future.

These are the two big plans I have so far. Hopefully things will turn out well :)

Anyway, have a long list of people whom I really want to thank, but at the same time, I'm worried that I may miss out someone. So here's just a BIG THANK YOU to anyone and everyone who has helped me in one way or another for the past 2 years.

Looking forward to more GREAT ADVENTURES with everyone!


Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Cat

Went for a recce with the rest of the Naked Hermit Crabs at the Chek Jawa Boardwalk, but didn't take enough photos to put up a blog entry as I was busy with the training. Good thing Kok Sheng managed to put up one :)

Anyway, after our recce when we were back at Changi, we saw something which I thought was kind of funny, but yet a little sad when you think about it.

This is what we encountered:

Scene: Outside a shop at Changi Village.

Teenager son: 这是真猫还是假猫?(Translation: Is this a real cat or a fake cat?)

I was about to slap my fore head in disbelief when the father shocked me even further.

Father: 假猫啦!(Fake cat lah!)

And suddenly, the cat turned its head.

Mother: 会动的!是真猫!(It can move! It's a real cat!)
Father and son: 哇!真的是真猫啊! 看起来像假猫一样!(Wah! It's really a real cat ah! Looked just like a fake one!)

Really, it was so obvious that it's a real cat. In fact, you can see that the tip of its left ear was snipped off, indicating that it's an "incomplete" cat (ahem, it's been neutered).

It's just so funny to see their reaction when they saw the cat moved, but yet, don't you think it's kind of sad that Singaporeans are so used to fake animals, so much so that they can't even recognise the real thing when they see it?

Really, before this incident, I have only heard of people mistaking fake cats for real ones.

Some how I'm getting the impression that the cat must have felt ultra insulted, that's why it turned its head to look at them.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Monitoring Sand Stars at Chek Jawa

How difficult can it be to take a photo of a sand star?

Today, a gang of nature volunteers were down at Chek Jawa to help Kok Sheng with his Chek Jawa Mortality and Recovery Project. My task was to monitor the sand star (Astropecten sp.) population at Chek Jawa.

In case you have not seen a sand star before, this is how it looks like.

When Kok Sheng briefed me on my task, it didn't sound too difficult actually. I was supposed to find the sand star population, get the GPS readings for the boundary of the population, take down the radius of 15 sand stars, and take photos of them.

Doesn't sound too difficult right? And that's what I though too, until I started doing it.

Just imagine having a torch in your mouth, a clip board and a camera on your left hand, and a pen and a ruler on your right hand.

Finding the sand star was not a problem, but trying to measure the radius of something which kept sliding away or burrowing into the sand was a a big headache. And when I finally finished measuring the radius, and tried to take a photo using the ruler for scale, this was what I got:

It had gone too far away from the ruler! Just imagine, you put it down next to the ruler, lift up your camera, focus, shoot. And oops, it has run away. Catch it, put it down next to the ruler again, shoot.

Oops, it has burrowed.

Ahem... Seems like it's not exactly as easy as I thought it will be.

Or rather, perhaps, I hadn't found the easier way yet?

After measuring 15 sand stars from the first population, I finally discovered the secret of measuring and taking photos of sand stars...

Place them on moist but compact sand.

If the sand is too wet or under water, the sand star can burrow or slide away easily.

If the sand is too dry, sand particles will stick on the sand star and you can't get a good picture.

Moist but compact sand - too hard to burrow, no water for it to slide away quickly, and sand won't stick onto it. Haha, perfect! Can even take two at one go!

So now, the only remaining problem was the rising tide!

So after I was done with the first population, off I went searching for another one at the northern sand bar.

With the waves splashing against my butt, this was the last photo I took of the sand stars before they disappeared with the rising tide.

Sorry Kok Sheng, no time, and had to take everything together.

But anyway, while I was monitoring the sand stars, I came across a few other interesting animals along the way.

Sometime after the great flood, lots of brittle stars started appearing at Chek Jawa.

Why the sudden jump in population? Had there been an increase in food sources, or did the flood wipe out their predators? In fact, not just the brittle star, the huge sand star population was also observed sometime after the flood.

The peacock anemones were pretty as usual. This one had a ring of tube worms surrounding it.

I also found several juvenile sandfish sea cucumber!

There are also many whelks carrying little sea anemones on their back.

And in one of the tidal pool was this cute little seahorse!

There are also lots of juvenile carpet anemones, which Ria and some others were monitoring today.

As we were leaving, we were greeted by lovely flowers of the delek air!

What a great way to end a wonderful trip, don't you think so? :)

See also:
- Chek Jawa Monitoring trip at CJ Project Blog
- Monitoring Chek Jawa's recovery at Wildfilms Blog

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Coral Reef & Freshwater Life at Tioman

Day 3 of the PJC Tioman Field trip was yet another bright and sunny day.

In the morning, we went on a snorkelling trip. I've snorkelled at Tioman a few years ago, but this time round, I had my waterproof camera with me! Hmm... time to test whether it really works :)

We had to take a boat to the first snorkelling spot, which took us about 20 minutes. The currents were a bit strong, and thus some of the students got a little seasick.

Some of the students chose not to snorkel. Here are the daring ones - most of them were snorkelling for the first time!

There were lots of fishes at the coral reef! I guess snorkelling is certainly a much cheaper alternative to scuba diving if you just want to see lots of fishes. Heh heh, the divers like Chay Hoon and Samson will probably disagree with me though :P

I'm not very good with identifying fishes actually. So most of the time I had no idea what fish I was looking at.

I think this is a parrotfish. Am I right?

The seabed was densely covered with corals, but like the lagoon in front of my room, Acropora seems to be the dominating genus.

And here're more Acropora.

Not quite sure what coral this is though. Probably a Montipora?

Apart from corals and fishes, there were other organisms too, such as the sea urchins above.

There were sea cucumbers too!

Near our snorkelling spot, there were some tern's nesting rocks as well. I managed to swim close enough to get a nice shot.

We spent about 45 minutes at the first snorkelling spot before taking a boat ride to the marine park. There were not many corals here, but there were lots of fishes!

Here's Andrew giving quick instructions to some of the PJC students on how to snorkel properly.

Indeed, there were lots of fishes!

Fishes, fishes, everywhere!

Here's a group shot of 4 PJC students snorkelling with me.

Another shot of three other students, whom I jokingly told them that with the goggles, no one will be able to tell who they were.

And so they decided to take another one without the goggles.

It was a fun-filled morning in saltwater, and we headed back to the resort for lunch. And after lunch, it's freshwater time!

The students were supposed to catch whatever animals they could find in the stream with nets.

One of the methods engaged was the "rock and roll" method. Bascially, they rocked and rolled the rocks and place a net nearby to scoop up the animals that were trying to escape from the commotion.

And of course, after catching the animals, you have to remove them from the net and place them in containers or plastic bags.

A recorder then had to record the number of animals found per species.

Was busy taking the people shots and helping to catch the animals that I forgot to take photos of the animals we found :P

Anyway, we caught several crabs, lots of shrimps of various species, a few water skaters, a frog, a few stonefly nymphs, a few freshwater nerites and many fishes.

On the whole, this has been a very enriching experience for me. So that's how they conduct studies on freshwater biodiversity!

I think today has indeed been a very fun day for both the students and the instructors :)