04 February 2011

Rocky shores of St. John's Island

Besides mangroves, St. John's also has a tiny stretch of reefs. And it is just off Singapore's main business district!
We seem to seldom visit St. John's. Our last trip here was in May 10.

Besides special mangroves, St. John's also has splendid rocky shore views, here with Little Sisters island in the background.
And here's a look at both Sisters from the beautiful boulder-strewn shores of St. John's Island.
The tide didn't seem to fall much, and the wind was very strong. So it was hard to have a look at the reefs.
We can tell where the reefs are from the brown Sargassum seaweed in the water. On the horizon is Pulau Tekukor.
I could only get glimpses of corals, and only saw a few live hard corals, they were not bleaching.
Russel found a friendly Top shell snail (Trochus niloticus) which briefly showed its tentacles and bits from under the enormous shell.
I did a quick look at the lower shore and met with the Giant reefworm (Eunice aphroditois)!
It looks like it has grabbed hold of a tiny bit of Sargassum seaweed.
While the rest valiantly scoured the low tide shore, I decided to check out the rocky shore. Only tough creatures can survive on top of a rock. And there were lots and lots of these Knobbly periwinkles (Echinolittorina malaccana).
Most the life on a rocky shore are found under stones, where it is safe, moist and cool. Colourful sponges and encrusting animals, all kinds of snails, clams and crabs. So we must be gentle when turning over stones, and remember to put them gently back exactly the way we first found them.
Under lots of the stones, I saw these tiny crabs that resemble pebbles and come in a wide variety of colours and patterns.
A closer look at the crab from above.
When I turn it over, it lays still with all its limbs curled up. The tips of the pincers look spoon-shaped.
Among the abundant animals under the stones were lots of little black African sea cucumbers (Afrocucumis africana). We also saw several of little white sea cucumbers that we saw on our previous trip in May 10. There are also lots of these 'hairy' Barbatia ark clams (Barbatia sp.), and many ribbon worms. Kok Sheng has photos of a wide variety of the colourful worms he saw on this trip.
Also abundant under stones are these pretty snails. Are they Turtle dove snails (Pardalina testudinaria)?
Russel found a lovely Arabian cowrie (Cypraea arabica)! Sending the Beach Paparazzi into a shooting frenzy.
James also found some mysterious sea anemones. The rest of the team also found slugs and more.

I made had a very quick look at the sandy lagoon. It was full of Bazillion snails (Batillaria zonalis), tiny gobies and some Common sea stars (Archaster typicus).
Earlier, I had a quick look at the special mangroves at St. John's Island.

During this holiday period, the island was crowded with campers and people out and about on the shore. This family seem to be chiselling open oysters.
A small group also visited the shore, methodically gathering marinelife and putting them into plastic bags.

We ended this Lunar New Year trip with yummy snacks. Kwang Liak and Andy shared these awesome New Year breadthings with bak kwa AND pork floss. Lethal but delicious! We also browsed on snacks brought by Russel, and made a valiant but failed effort to finish the well-travelled butter cake that first made its debut on the Semakau trip.
Another glorious day out with sunshine and no rain. Although it was very windy and the tide wasn't very low.
Thanks to contributions by Stephen, Chay Hoon and Russel for today's boat trip

More about St. John's Island and nature walks conducted there by the Tropical Marine Science Institute.

Other posts about this trip
  • Kok Sheng with all kinds of colourful worms and other animals.
  • James with super closeup looks at the mysterious anemone and other shore critters.
  • Russel with Arabian cowrie and lovely scenic shots on facebook.

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