Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Tioman Fieldtrip with Hwa Chong Students

The past few weeks had really been hectic, and thus LK, SY and I were really looking forward to this field trip with Hwa Chong Institution students.

And for me, after the great experience with the Pioneer Junior college students last year, I was certainly even more eager to go back to refresh my memory and to revisit the organisms there!

As expected, Pulau Tioman didn't disappoint me! The moment we stepped down from the boat, we were greeted by clear waters and colourful corals next to the jetty!

I got to share my room with ST, and the view was also GREAT, with the sea right in front of our room!

As per last year, we started off with an orientation nature walk, and we visited the same old coastal plants we visited last year, including this hoya climber which happened to be flowering.

As we were telling the students about the adaptations of casuarina trees, I found this cute little bug on the modified stem of the casuarina.

And it so happened that the casuarina was flowering too! Such pretty little red flowers!

And on the same tree, we also saw an hornet's nest... good thing it's rather high up.

The villagers also planted several cashew nut trees.

As we headed towards the back mangroves, we saw a troupe of long-tailed macaques. Didn't see them last year though.

Apart from the hoya climber, casuarina and cashew nut trees, the nipah palms were flowering too!

In the evening, we had a night walk in the mangroves area. And surprise surprise! I spotted a mud lobster!

In the mangroves, there were lots of fiddler crabs too.

And also... dog-faced watersnake. SJ was there too, and helped to catch a few of them to show the students.

The second day, we started off with the intertidal walk followed by an intertidal ecology lecture. In the afternoon, we went for a short forest trek (JH, JL and SY had recced the route on the first day) and a quick survey of the freshwater life in the stream. Have to say the fresh water survey was really quite a fun experience! Unfortunately, we couldn't do the survey at the same part of the stream which we did the survey last year as there are some other people swimming there. That part of the stream has more freshwater life, but well, it was still very fun!

And Day 3 was snorkelling day! This time round, probably because there were more of us guides around, we managed to spot more things like cushion star, crown-of-thorns sea stars, magnificent anemone with clownfish etc!

The students then got their afternoon off to prepare for their presentation that evening on "Ecotourism and Conservation". Must say the presentation was quite enjoyable too! Haha

It actually rained rather heavily on the first 3 days we were there, but fortunately the rain didn't last for long and we still managed to go ahead with our programmes. But well, frankly speaking I didn't really mind the rain much, since they brought along the rainbow!

Finally on Day 4, we went back to Singapore. It was certainly a great trip again, especially with the great company, both the guides and the Hwa Chong students! :)

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