Sunday, October 19, 2008

A quick check at the coral rubble

It has been more than two months since I've checked Chek Jawa out. This time, I was fortunate to have Dr Dan, Siva and Airani joining to have a good look at how Chek Jawa is recovering.

Here is Chee Kong with Dr Dan and Airani. Apparently, Chee Kong and Sijie were being filmed for some programme.

It was surreal to be back at this wonderful place at a good weather. Soon, we were on a mission to check out the identification of the plentiful tubeworms at the northern sandbar, which was a success!

Quickly, I did a followup survey on the peacock anemones and there were a few more new additions in the survey plots to my previous count during January 2008. This is great.

The team seagrassers were also there to monitor the lush seagrass. Some of them alerted me and they have found a juvenile kite butterflyfish.

Time and tide waits for no man and I headed to the coral rubble area (the prominent icon of this area being the beacon) for my last agenda of the day since the tide was low enough to check this fragile and rich spot of Chek Jawa.

There were a number of these fanworms which has tentacles that swirl gracefully in the waters.

Soon, the Star trackers found a juvenile knobbly sea star which was exciting. They proceeded with the measurement. Am looking forward to their analysis of the knobblies in Chek Jawa since recently we see many juvenile ones.

The carpet anemones were doing well.

Stuck at the sandy substrate are many of these fan shells.

However, sponge recovery was not that fast, many of them were still sparsely distributed which small sizes. But it is good to see from this photo that there are quite a number of different species represented.

More sponges....

And more sponges. Be patient and I hope they will comeback in bigger numbers and sizes.

Below are many more of the marine organisms found at the coral rubble.

I was venturing deeper into the coral rubble carefully, to avoid stonefish and careless trampling. And I saw this thorny sea cucumber and a swimming crab.

There were also many of these anemones that we usually see at Pulau Sekudu.

Hydroids are man's enemies if we didn't wear longs.

Soft corals at the deeper parts of the coral rubble.

From the small colony of Porites coral.

to a bigger colony that I couldn't get a clear photo since it was deep in the water. Surprisingly, I didn't notice the colourful fish beside it until I was back!

Thundercrabs were also common foraging when the tide went out.

I also encountered a number of sea stars at the coral rubble.

Several biscuit sea stars.

The bigger Astropecten sand star, possibly Astropecten vappa.

Adult cake sea star. This photo shows a shrimp that I didn't notice till I was processing the photos. Indeed there's much life that awaits our discovery only if we decide to look closely and intently.

I found a rare find of this sand star with six arms just very near the cake sea star as well.

Towards the end of the check, I suddenly realized I was all alone in the shore while the rest has retreated back. So I quickly hurried my steps to head back.

Suddenly, this knobbly sea star caught my attention and I went to take a closer look. It has one of its arm chomped off.

Last but not least, I had a pleasant encounter with this charming Gold-spotted mudskipper (Periophthalmus chrysospilos) just beneath the boardwalk.

It was a good trip, and I believe that the coral rubble is slowly but surely recovering.

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