30 May 2009

Sentosa with the Naked Hermit Crabs

A leisurely late morning start today, as I joined the Naked Hermit Crabs to help guide a group of visitors to Sentosa's last natural shore.
Although it is ringed by ships, industrial facilities and container ports, this last rocky cliff and reef is still very much alive! And a great place for families to safely explore what Ley Kun aptly calls "The Original Underwater World".

My group of visitors very gamely got their feet wet as we explored the seagrass meadows there.
As well as checked out the reef flat. We saw some baby hard corals as well as humungous grandmother corals too. As some corals grow very slowly, perhaps only 1cm a year, those that reach 1m may be our grandmothers!

In the water, Ivan spotted a baby Batfish (Platax sp.)! And we saw a tiny Pygmy squid (Idiosepius sp.), lots of swimming crabs, sponges and leathery soft corals too.

We had a quick look at the rocky shore.
Which had lots of snails of all kinds, as well as placid Onch slugs grazing on the meadows of tiny algae growing on the rocks.

Sam, Sijie and Evelyn had earlier been busy hunting seeking and had lots of finds to share.
From tiny fishes to huge crabs that we shouldn't eat.
And we had a chance to take a closer look at some snails too.

Alas, the weather suddenly turned ominous.
We had a quick last look at the finds made by the hunter seekers.
And a quick group photo before we rushed back to shelter. Just in time before the heavens opened up. Fortunately, there was no lightning. Nowadays, I am grateful for every injury-free trip.

More about the trip on the Adventures with the Naked Hermit Crabs blog.

After the trip, a few of us headed down to Nature's Niche's new outlet at Imbiah. I wanted to get my copy of Rudie Kuiter's new Seahorse book.
It's a great book with HUGE photos. And for Hippocampus kuda, all the photos are from Singapore! Yay! With photos by Marcus and me. Rudie Kuiter said he wanted photos from Singapore as the type locality for Hippocampus kuda was Singapore. It's good to know that there is international interest in our marine life. And that our photos of our shores are helping to show everyone that we have great shores.

Nature's Niche is located in Sentosa's Nature Discovery trail.
Which has quite interesting displays of nature at Sentosa.

But Sentosa's idea of conservation is very terrestrial. For example, highlighting the increase in greenery since before development.
At start of development.
And today.
But it is clear that Sentosa has lost vast amounts of marine habitats (coloured pink). From large areas of pink before development to mere dotted lines now.

While it is comforting to see that they included the shore where we conducted the walk on today.
They don't seem to have a good idea of their marine habitats. The above shore for example, is NOT a good example of a sandy shore.

While the sandy shore they illustrated in their display, is being reclaimed for the Sentosa Integrated Resort!

Indeed, the Naked Hermit Crabs conduct tours of this shore not just because it is our wonderful natural heritage, but also because it is under threat.
A large chunk of reefs under the cable car tower has already been reclaimed for the Sentosa Integrated Resort. The cranes and construction site of this massive project dominate the skyline on Sentosa.

Today, there's a report that the Sentosa IR might be facing problems. It's recruitment tour is cut short and it may face licence issues even as opening date nears (Sentosa IR cutting it a little too close? Lim Wei Chean, Straits Times 30 May 09)

In addition, this shore is also very near the humungous project to extend the Pasir Panjang container terminals.
Other threats include a recent oil spill earlier this month (1 May) which fortunately did not have a major impact on the shore.

Besides the Naked Hermit Crabs' work on guiding, this shore is also monitored by TeamSeagrass. Yes, this shore has lots of seagrasses too!

We need to continue to monitor this last natural shore at Sentosa to make sure it survives so that more families can enjoy our own natural heritage.

You CAN make a difference!
Ongoing marine works near Sentosa
Other impacts
Previous trips to this shore
Other related posts

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