26 November 2011

Long trip to the Lost Coast

We're back to explore the vast and remote shore at Changi East!
This amazing sandy shore is home to creatures which are not commonly seen elsewhere. Like this Bonnet snail.

Due to some miscomms, the boat was late. So we decided to walk to the shore! Thanks to Travis who showed us the way, we know how to get there.
Kok Sheng and his trusty iPhone led the way, and he found a nice spot to cross the stream. With the recent rainy weather the stream had grown quite large in some parts.
We had to bash through some dense undergrowth.
And walk a long distance through very tall grass. Thankfully, we had Siong Kiat in the lead. He was tall enough to see over the grass! Those of us who are short soon learnt it was easier to walk behind him.
Finally, we reached the shore! In a way, it was good that we walked in. It gave us a chance to explore more closely some intriguing portions of the shoreline.
This is a stretch of sandy shore in front of a canal. It was teeming with Bazillion snails (Batillaria zonalis).
The shoreline is vast! Fortunately, we enjoyed great weather and blue blue skies!
We finally trekked all the way to the huge sand bar that we first visited last month.
Along the way, we saw all kinds of marine life on the seemingly barren sand. There are lots and lots of Button snails (Umbonium vestiarum) just beneath the sand surface!
These little snails are hunted by burrowing predators such as moon snails. We found all kinds of moon snails (Family Naticidae) on the shore.
We also saw several small Laganum sand dollars (Laganum depressum) which are rather rarely sighted, and some Common sea stars (Archaster typicus).
There were also lots and lots of  Cake sand dollars (Arachnoides placenta). This shore is also well foraged upon by all kinds of shore birds. I noticed that some of sand dollars had been pried out of the sand and pecked on centre on the underside. Little bird prints around the scene of the crime suggest the perpetrators. I noticed this behaviour earlier at Chek Jawa too.
A small Fig snail! Mei Lin, who wrote a paper about this, confirms that it's Ficus variegata. There were many Grey bonnet snails (Phalium glaucum) too. But not as many as we saw on our trip last month.
Joelle and Siong Kiat have found a whole bucket of clams that were buried in the sand. We were oblivious to these clams! There are some advantages to being a mollusc expert.
There are so many little shells on the shore that the tube worms have incorporated them into their tubes!
A little crab is found on the shore! To me it looks like Ozius guttatus, but it seems to be some kind of Eriphia.
Not too many sea anemones on the shore. I saw two carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni), one had a pair of anemone shrimps.
The remains of some kind of stingray (Family Dasyatidae)! Only its long tail is left. Hermit crabs, which are abundant on this shore, were busy eating the softer parts. Nothing is wasted on the shore!
Alas, even on this remote shore, we saw fish traps. Travis also dragged up a large abandoned net to the high shore.
All too soon, the sun went down and the water went up. It was time to go home.
Fortunately, well before then, Alex and Jumari had arrived in our most beloved Boon Teik (name of the boat) and we had an easy and relaxing trip back to the mainland.
The long walk meant we had a good excuse to eat a lot at dinner!

Yesterday, there was a big event at Chek Jawa with a visit by President Tony Tan! It was nice to see that Yi Feng was guiding the President there. And many of our friends were also at the visit, I'm seeing lots of great photos of the trip on facebook. And the visit was also featured in the media. Bravo to NParks and the volunteers for putting up a good show for our shores!
Photo by Dr Chua Ee Kiam

Another long walk later today as TeamSeagrass heads out to Pulau Semakau!

Posts by others on this trip
  • Meilin with raptors, shorebirds, more anemones and other sightings.
  • Kok Sheng with lots more snails and slugs and corny jokes!

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