Thursday, August 16, 2007

Chek Jawa Monitoring trip

Dr Dan was in town more than a week ago when he also visited Chek Jawa. After some discussions, we decided to focus on some prominent and charismatic fauna to monitor recovery from the mass death in January.

This time round, I'm heartened to see many friends volunteered despite it being on a weekday morning. Because the meeting time was kind of too early for most of us, some overnight-ed in school. Gave a briefing shortly to Ron and Gywnne who arrived first which was good because there were much to explain and its good to have people knowing what we are doing.

I'm apologetic to Ron and Shuying especially for helping me rush some logistic tasks till 1am before we take a short sleep (sorry also you all slept so little). Woke up at 4am this morning, and not too soon, got a phone call from Robert that he is approaching in 5-10 minutes. Hahaha. Quickly and sleepily, we grabbed our stuffs and pooled taxi to Changi Point Ferry Terminal. My taxi driver drove like a madman and we arrived much earlier. Upon arrival, I was searching my bag upside down for my wallet and good grief, there was no sight of it and I thought most likely it's in school. Thanks to Huijia and Shuying who paid first for me. When we proceeded to the basement waiting for others to come, I took out some food for those who wants breakfast and the wallet was in the food!

Everyone was punctual for the trip and we left at 5.15am after YC ran to get coffee (he was kind of running from "ladies" of Changi V). Here's a group photo on Mr Chua's bumboat as we leave mainland Singapore. For a couple of them, it's their first time to Ubin and Chek Jawa.

When we were there after a van ride from Mr. Chu, it was total darkness with a clear night sky of stars. Orion constellation was well position along the way we were walking towards the shore. After some briefing and organisings, each group of people were despatched to do their allocated stations. We spent close to one hour in the dark before day break with a tinge of light. (Photo by Paul)

This is Huijia's task of finding these button shells and placing them on a tray with grid to determine their sizes and location subsequently with GPS. To our dismay, one GPS was down and I had to run all over CJ to give points, it was a great exercise though. Huijia did a great job finding these button shells though they were not obvious to find.

I passed my camera to her later to take more button shell photos. Everyone were working hard to complete their given tasks. The priority is definitely the carpet anemone team where we have Ria explaining in detail at wildfilms blog how the process goes about monitoring them.

We also have the other great groups doing peacock anemones, cyanobacteria mussel beds, sandstars and sand dollars.

There were a few featherstars (Class Crinoidea) spotted along the way and we were excited to spot the first one.

And here's more found by Dickson and Robert. Didn't see them in CJ before and they don't live on sandy areas, but on reefs. They don't look like CJ residents and definitely were washed off from a nearby reef where it might be impacted.

As I was browsing through Paul's photos, was pleasantly glad that seahorses still can be found in Chek Jawa. More creatures found by the intrepid team are the geographical and hairy sea hares, luidia eight-armed star, brittlestars, baby sandfish sea cucumbers etc etc.

We finished our job on time as the tide returned and finally everyone can take a nice slow pace to enjoy the serenity of Chek Jawa. I really like these Delek flowers that smell bit spicy yet like Tembusu flowers.

Here's a group photo (taken by Ria) where we posed at the end of the monitoring. Believe everyone had fun at the same time as we marvel at how CJ is recovering. Returning to the visitor centre, our hungry stomaches were treated to breakfast kindly prepared by Ria. Thanks.

Thank you Ria, Ron, Robert, Gwynne, Huijia, Yuchen, Yuan Ting, Pei Hao, Paul, Dickson, Yijun and Shuying for taking time out and all the wonderful help. Whatever data we have got today will be very important for us to better understand the vulnerabilities of our living shores and better appreciate their nature and response to danger.

Thanks also to Siva, my supervisor and also Choon Beng from Nparks Ubin.

Thank God no rain until immediately after we boarded the returning van! The heavy downpour was terribly heavy.


Liana said...

paul! old friend :)

Kok Sheng said...

wish you were there Liana :-)