Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sultan Shoal Lighthouse on 27 Dec 2008

Finally, we got to visit Sultan Shoal Lighthouse! Built in 1895, this lighthouse was located about 8km away from the southern tip of mainland Singapore.

Jurong Island
On the way to the lighthouse, our boat passed by Jurong Island, which was reclaimed from several other smaller islands.

Sultan Shoal Lighthouse
After about 40 min on the boat, we could finally see the island with lighthouse!

Sultan Shoal Lighthouse
The lighthouse was a charming building painted red and white, and there's a little lagoon right in front of it. And of course, we wasted no time getting into it to explore!

Fiddler Crab (Uca tetragonon)
And with Prof Peter Ng around, we have no lack of crabby surprises. This is Uca tetragonon, a very pretty fiddler crab that I had not seen before!

Leaf porter crab (Neodorippe callida)
Prof Ng also found this little leaf porter crab (probably Neodorippe callida). In the day, this crab hides under the leaf, but at night, it swims upside down at the surface holding the leaf below, thus hiding it from predators swimming below!

Pseudoscorpion (Parahya submersa)
Yet another interesting find was this tiny intertidal pseudoscorpion (Parahya submersa). Related to spiders and scorpions (Class Arachnida), this arthropod belongs to the order Pseudoscorpionida. Like their relative the spider, pseudoscorpions can also spin silk. The silk is produced from a gland in their jaws, and is made into disk-shaped cocoons for mating or molting, among other functions.

Something that got me really puzzled was the many prawns jumping around on the dry sand. Why didn't they go out with the tide?

In the sandy lagoon, there were lots of nerites (Nerita spp.) too. It seemed that the above nerites could be indulging in some sexy business though. Hmm...

Gold-spotted mudskipper (Periophthalmus chrysospilos)
We were rather delighted to see many mudskippers in the lagoon too. The one above looks like a gold-spotted mudskipper (Periophthalmus chrysospilos) to me. Mudskippers are fishes that are able to survive out of the water for short periods of time by storing water in their gill chambers. They can breathe through their wet skins too.

Feather Star
A lonely feather star was spotted by some other volunteers in the shallow water.

Unidentified worm
Another volunteer found this worm, which I have totally no idea what it is.

Sea cucumber
KS spotted this sea cucumber, which I have seem similar ones at Sisters Island and Pulau Semakau before. I'm not exactly sure what sea cucumber this is, but searching through the WWW, it does look like some of the colour variations of Holothuria hilla.

Arabian cowries (Cypraea arabica)
After exploring the little lagoon, we decided to venture out to the rocky shore outside. Within a short time frame, we found two Arabian cowries (Cypraea arabica).

Zoanthids and hard corals
There were a few colonies of zoanthids and hard corals at the rocky shore.

Mushroom corals (Fungia sp.)
Several solitary mushroom corals (Fungia sp.), both mature and juvenile ones, we also spotted.

As the tide was not very low, we did not managed to venture to much to the coral reef. But we could see a few colonies of Acropora corals, which require clear water to do well. Thus, they tend to be less common in Singapore's sediment-laden waters.

Magnificent anemones (Heteractis magnifica)
Some of the majestic magnificent anemones (Heteractis magnifica) looked rather sad out of water, but once the tide came back, they will be spreading their tentacles and hold their oral discs upright again.

Brittle stars etc
I turned over a few rocks and found an abundance of life underneath! Under this one, there were 3 brittle stars, many little red sea cucumbers, clams, keel worms, limpets, barnacles etc! But if you have turned over any rocks on the sea shore, please remember to place them back to their original positions, or the marine life underneath may die from exposure to the hot sun or dry up!

Sea cucumber
Just before we head back to dry land, I spotted this reddish sea cucumber (probably Family Cucumariidae) sticking itself to a big rock.

Our boat soon arrived, and we were off heading back to mainland Singapore under the setting sun...


Anonymous said...

hey there. I'm really interested in the sultan shoal lighthouse and would love to visit - how do you go about going? I have chartered boats to the sister islands - would I do the same thing? Are people just allowed to turn up or do you have to get a permit or anything?
Any pointers much apprecieted.

Ron Yeo said...

Hi Harry, you will need a permit from MPA to go there. Understand you can book the PSA chalets on the island too. You can write to MPA or PSA for more info.