We are back at Chek Jawa on a predawn survey and focused on the coral rubble near the Chek Jawa front beacon. We were here last month but the tide was not low enough to document what lies out there.
mass mortality event in 2007.
Unfortunately, I have never visited Chek Jawa before the mass death. In fact my first visit to Chek Jawa was when we witnessed the mortality event. :(
Ria's old photo taken in 2002, you can see that whole coral rubble was covered with thick growths of colourful sponges and other marine organisms.
I was searching high and low for the Knobbly sea stars (Protoreaster nodosus) and was relieved to find two of them near the front beacon.
Barrel sponges (Xestospongia testudinaria) which were also found in the 2002 photo at the bottom left hand corner. I do hope that many of these will proliferate and grow into larger ones in the future.
Posy sea anemones like what we would find on Pulau Sekudu, which is a stone's throw away.
Sea fans or Gorgonians (Order Gorgonacea). Though many of them are yellow and branching, I also came across a short and highly branched pink version and also two of them that are probably Sea whips.
Haddon's carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni)!
Kite butterflyfish (Parachaetodon ocellatus) swimming near the tentacles.
Spiky flowery soft corals (Stereonephthya sp.) that are commonly found on Tuas.
Pink flowery soft corals (Family Nephtheidae) at the coral rubble.
Tiny colourful brittle stars (Ophiothela danae) that live on these soft corals.
Ball flowery soft coral though. It has a commensal snapping shrimp that I didn't notice until I processed the photos back at home.
Pore hard corals (Porites sp.).
Carpet eel blenny (Congrogadus subducens) lurking inside the crevice of the hard coral!
Neat hexa corals (Pseudosiderastrea tayami)?
Boulder sandpaper coral (Psammocora sp.) on the edge of the coral rubble. This colony is quite large!
Tape seagrass (Enhalus acoroides) at the deeper ends though the blades have been "chomped off". The tape seagrass is seldom seen on Chek Jawa.
Eight-armed sand star (Luidia maculata).
Feather stars (Order Comatulida) which looks elegant when their arms are extended outwards.
Long black sea cucumber (Holothuria leucospilota) on Chek Jawa. These sea cucumbers are very commonly found on rocky shores of the South.
Synaptic sea cucumber that was found coiled around the yellow sponges. Apparently, she saw quite a number of them which I was oblivious of their presence when documenting the coral rubble.
Biscuit stars (Goniodiscaster scaber) and sea fans as well!
Purple-spotted yellow flatworm (Pseudoceros laingensis).
The shores of Chek Jawa are still very much alive and sometimes all we need to do is to sacrifice our sleep to survey the shore at super low spring tides which normally take place at super unearthly hours. This trip started near 4am!
Thank you Nparks for giving us the permission to visit the shore. Chek Jawa Wetlands is out of bounds to visitors going down but we can still visit this precious location through the boardwalks.