13 October 2011

Sunset trip to Cyrene

A glorious day on Cyrene Reef! I was out with Siti and her colleagues to do seagrassy stuff there.
We worked hard throughout the late afternoon and stopped only when the sun went down, in a spectacular light show.

Here's the first dinghy load heading out to Cyrene, all pumped up to get some seagrass stuff done!
My job today was to help Siti at her experimental site, way way off in the middle of the Reef. On the horizon is Pulau Bukom, looking all calm and quiet. There's no signs of the recent fire at the refineries there, and I didn't see any flaring there today.
My job today is to clean the barnacles and other encrusting organisms that have settled on Siti's experiment. It's been a while, so there's a particularly thick, tenacious, crusty layer. It's tough to deal with barnacles.
The barnacle growths are so well established, even Drills (Family Muricidae) have already settled on them. Drills are aptly named as they can drill a hole through barnacle shells! Too bad there weren't enough Drills to get rid of ALL the barnacles!
It was tiring scraping barnacles, so I was very relieved when the rest of the team got done with their tasks and came around to help. Many hands do indeed make for lighter work.
It wasn't all work. We also spotted some interesting marine life on the way to and from the work site. Wow, many Common sea stars (Archaster typicus) mating, and lots of small ones too!
Also many tiny White sea urchins (Salmacis sp.) and we found one Remarkable sea cucumber (Holothuria notabilis). Cyrene is echinoderm heaven and in many ways, like the Chek Jawa of the South.
A cute little snapping shrimp (Family Alpheidae)! It snapped at me when I snapped it with my camera...haha lame seashore joke.
There were some tiny moon snails that I've not seen before. They were about 1cm in diameter. One seemed to be eating a button snail (Umbonium vestiarium). I have no idea what moon snails these are. Are they juveniles of some common snail? Cyrene always surprises me on every trip!
Susan spotted this Grey bonnet snail (Phalium glaucum) as it got dark. I'm surprised at how quickly they emerge after sunset! While these snails can be commonly encountered on Cyrene, they are rarely seen elsewhere in Singapore. I'm constantly amazed at the marvellous marine life found in this submerged reef in the middle of the Industrial Triangle!
As we were heading home, the dredger moved very close to Cyrene. Dredging has been going on 24/7 near Cyrene since Apr 2010 and is expected to continue to the end of the year and possibly longer. Here's more about how dredging can affect marine life.
Earlier on, when we first arrived, the dredger was further away from Cyrene.
It was actually closer to the massive Pasir Panjang Container Terminal reclamation site which has been going on for years.
The reclamation site is massive and I noticed some changes today.
Piles of big square blocks have been lined up around the outside of gianormous hills of sand.
Hopefully this means the end of the project is in sight?

Tomorrow, more trips with Siti! Seagrass work is tiring but fun!

1 comment:

  1. I'm sure you ha a great time there coz it shows in your pictures. There are a lot of very nice views and places to roam around.

    -admin

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