Sunday, November 11, 2007

Day 2 at Chek Jawa

Today, I was back at Chek Jawa again. My assistant was Demao, who happened to be my neighbour working as a temp staff for NParks! Used to bump into him in the lift when he was a small kid. How time flies, and now he has already finished his NS!

On our way to the shore, we saw many fruit trees, including the starfruit above. There was a kampong here last time, and thus many fruit trees were planted by the people who used to live there.

To make it easier for me to gather the group, I decided that we need a group name, and told my visitors that we would name our group after the first animal we saw.

The first animal we saw happened to be a vinegar crab, but most of the kids in my group didn't want to be called crabs. Thus, we decided to call ourselves after the second animal we saw - the mudskipper!

Have you eaten ice kacang before? The attap chee in the dessert came from the nipah palm, and you can find a whole forest of them at Chek Jawa! The above shows the fruits of the nipah palm, forming a huge ball. Each fruit contains an attap chee.

We soon got onto the sandy shore, and saw this bigger-than-your-face carpet anemone.

The children were quite fascinated by the sand dollars with its tiny spikes.

There were several sandfish sea cucumber too. This sea cucumber can be eaten, but must be specially treated first to remove its toxins.

We also saw many striped hermit crabs! Hermit crabs need a shell to protect their soft body. So please don't pick up shells from the beach, or the hermit crabs will have to run around naked without any protection from its predators!

Here two caring parents showing their daughter how to gently handle a sand star.

Here's a sponge crab in a tidal pool at one of the hunter-seeker stations. This crab usually carry a sponge or colonial ascidians trimmed them to the right size. And all this while, the sponge or ascidian remains alive!

We also saw several crab moults. The above was the moult of a flower crab. As crabs have hard external skeletons, they need to shed it to grow bigger. The old shell is called a moult.

There were plenty of brittle stars too!

And in some of the tidal pools, we found a few pretty peacock anemone.

This sole fish is so well-camouflaged that if you don't look carefully, you will think that it's part of the sand!

One of the visitors found this little leaf slug covered with silt.

There were also huge clumps of mussels growing on the pillars of the pontoon.

And here's a group shot of my visitors for the day!

All in all, it was definitely a great day out!

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