02 February 2011

A quick look at Pulau Semakau

A small team heads out to set up data loggers at Pulau Semakau for TeamSeagrass.
Although it was a lovely rain-free day, the trip there on a super fast boat was splashy and windy, flapping boat-mops and people alike.

More about what we did to set up the loggers on the TeamSeagrass blog, with a video clip of Siti outlining what we needed to do.
Along the way to and from setting up the loggers, I managed to see all kinds of marine life! Like this tiny horseshoe crab!
A very large and very dead stingray. I'm not quite sure what kind it is.
A large Giant anemone (Stichodactyla gigantea). But I couldn't find any nemos or anemoneshrimps in it.
A Durian sea cucumber (Stichopus horrens) which had just pooped. In the seagrass meadows, Andy found a humungously long synaptid sea cucumber (Family Synaptidae).
Even in the high water I glimpsed some healthy corals, including a baby Sunflower mushroom coral (Heliofungia actiniformis) that was still stuck to the rubble. There were lots of little Pore corals (Porites sp.) and Favid corals (Family Faviidae).
The coral rubble area is dotted with pockets of life! Button zoanthids (Zoanthus sp.), Frilly sea anemones (Phymanthus sp.), fan worms (Family Sabellidae) and all kinds of different sponges.
There was a nice 'fluffy' Anemone coral (Goniopora sp.).
I sneaked a peek at the very rare Cryptic sea star (Cryptasterina sp.) that so far I've only seen on Pulau Semakau.
As we head home, we have a quick look at the mangroves near the shore.
I'm glad I could find some flowering Perepat (Sonneratia alba) to show Thorsten.
What a treat! Andy encounters a Banded filesnake (Acrochordus granulatus). The snake seemed to have just moulted. Like many marine snakes, it is curious and will come up to investigate booties. But snakes won't bite if we remain calm and just leave them alone.
Oh dear. There's a little accident just before we started work and Siti's friend Andy got hurt. Fortunately, NEA is well provisioned with an impressive medical kit, and Siti is well practiced at bandaging. Sadly, we had to leave Tracy and Andy behind as we went on to do our work. The kind NEA staff sent Andy and Tracy back separately to the mainland for medical treatment. Later on, we heard all was well.
Thorsten and Eva did a lot of pounding and logger attachment!
Alas, the long driftnet is still there. We should try to make time to remove it at the next TeamSeagrass trip to Semakau this month.
In the distance, there is some flaring going on at Pulau Bukom but the burn seems clean without lots of black smoke rising.
Sadly, we came across more build up of trash on the high shores behind the mangroves. This area had been a target of a clean up, but it's hard to keep up with a never-ending stream of in-coming trash.
We left at sunset, on a lovely rain-free day.
We'll be back with TeamSeagrass later in the month to collect the data loggers as we do our monitoring. There's always so much more to learn about our shores!

Check out Andy's great clip of the filesnake in its final stages of shedding its skin.

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