Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Ups and downs at Chek Jawa

Today the sea anemone team were out in the field again and this time to Chek Jawa. Gun Kiat, Yikang and I also joined along. I have not been to CJ so early just before the sun rises and the view is really breathtaking from the coral rubble area.

Among the firsts to catch Dr Daphne's attention were the juvenile cerianthids or the peacock anemones. Judging from the seagrass blade, you can see how small they are and I have not paid attention to them before.

The team did not managed to find any of Stichodactyla gigantea which has longer tenacles that pulsate. Those carpet anemones from Chek Jawa are mostly Stichodactyla haddoni where there are long-short tentacles fringing the side of these carpet anemones. These haddoni species are doing very well at the coral rubble area.

These fifty cents coin-like "mini-carpet anemone" lookalike are not baby Stichodactyla haddoni but according to their near arrangement of tentacles near the centre, these are actually Stichodactyla tapetum which will not grow to be as big as haddoni species.

I thought that usually the residents of these disused big shells would be those hermit crabs but here there's a juvenile thunder crab living in it.

Chek Jawa is not called coral rubble for nothing. Indeed you can find the remains of the mushroom coral and this one is huge.

I was walking close to the reef edge in slight murky waters of the coral rubble trying to find something special. I chanced upon the first living coral I've ever seen in Chek Jawa. Anyone can help me with the id???

Magnificent sunrise over Johor and Tekong.

Other life sighted were this little sea cucumber and the brittlestar on the right.

Dr Daphne and team were very hardworking into finding the anemones. They found these Diadumene luciae growing on and near to the barnacles of the boardwalk pontoon. As you can see, they have red lines radiating from the centre.

More of such anemones can be seen and these ones are have white stripes. Are they also Diadumene luciae or another species?

There is this another small anemone found by Yuchen. The team will bring it back to Raffles museum to check the id of this anemone and also to store for future research or education purposes that is going to benefit many.

I was also doing some work for my project. An attempt was made to compare past photos with current ones. The one on the left was taken by Ria during 20th Jan 2007, source: Team Seagrass website. It shows the mass death event where animals and anemones turned white and died. The photo taken on the right shows the barren sandbar with no carpet anemones but just strewn with seaweed.

After my rounds of taking photographs, the team walked towards the mangrove side and I was proceeding to transect 3 area to do some checking out of the 300m stretch. And halfway through, something sharp struck through my booties and whacked my foot.

"Ouch!" I yelled. Quickly, I turned and looked what had caused that and it was a hard and sharply-pointed prop root of the mangrove. Thank God its no stonefish or whatever venomous creatures. The pain got the better of me, thus I took off my booties and examined the punctured wound. Blood was flowing profusely outward at first but thankfully it stopped soon. Followed were those first aid attempts on it and I put back my booties and tried to continue to do the work that needs to be done by today.

But I can't go on after a while. Thankfully, Gun Kiat and Yikang were there to lend a hand. After much briefing of what to do, they took the clipboard, notes, photos, GPS and compass and proceeded to help me do the work while I rested on the high shore. And they went far far away.

Because we were punctual and timely for today's trip, we also ended early without to chase after the tides.

After some washing up was done, I tooked this photo outside House no. 1 of the imminent thunderstorm that approaches.

On the bumboat trip back, the storm caught up from westward direction.

And Ria alerted us there is a water sprout! WOW. I always wanted to see with my own eyes and here it is just a short distance away from us at Serangoon Harbour. It was huge and spectacular.

Today was pretty eventful and uneventful at the same time. Come to think of it, Ria and company were discussing openly in the van about stonefishes and stingrays bites and it sort of materialized. Though this root thingy is relatively nothing compared to a stonefish sting, it taught me a painful lesson to walk more gently on the shore and open my eyes bigger to see where I thread. It's a bit swollen now but I will go and see a doctor tomorrow late afternoon, so no worries. Thank you Ria for your concern too :-)

Thanks a lot for the sea anemone team for bringing us along and thanks to Gun Kiat and Yikang for taking the time off to come. Thanks GK also for driving us back and forth.


Ron Yeo said...

Oh man! I'm green with envy now! Have always wanted to see a water spout!

Kok Sheng said...


Think you'll see it, just a matter of when.

Unknown said...

Water spouts are pretty common off Changi down towards Tuas area. Have seen at least 10 times since I was a kid.

Kok Sheng said...

thanks for sharing Robert, hope to see one more another time.