11 November 2012

Jolly jellyfishes at Chek Jawa with the Naked Hermit Crabs

Another huge turnout for the free monthly guided walk at Chek Jawa by the Naked Hermit Crabs! Hurray!
We had a great time spotting tiny crabs, mudskippers and lots of jellyfishes!

Kok Sheng is back with four of his students who are learning to guide with the Naked Hermit Crabs. This is part of his EXCEL programme at Dunman High School which hopes to expose students to real issues, and real efforts to address them by real people.
It's a lovely sunny morning. This bumboat has little pots of colourful flowers! So cheerful.
When we arrived at Chek Jawa, Ley Kun introduces the students to rubber trees which are everywhere on Ubin.
As we were waiting to start the walk, Pei Yan spotted nests made by some Fire ants out of leaves. They were conveniently located for a closer, but careful, look. More about these ants, their nests on Pei Yan's blog.
Mum spotted the first mudskipper of the trip!
The kids were also great at spotting wildlife, especially tiny ones!
The kids spot tiny red crabs, giving them the very appropriate name of "Cherry crab"! As well as this odd little 'triangular' snail that is only found in mangroves.
As we rested at the first shelter, someone spotted a bunch of super tiny baby spiders that just hatched!
As we headed out to the outer edge of the mangroves, there are different kinds of fiddler crabs, little bees, bugs and more mudskippers!
"What are those tiny Christmas trees?" asked one of the kids. These seaweed draped breathing roots of the mangroves do look like Christmas trees! I love how the kids give me a fresh image of the mangroves!
Under the hot sun, we spotted a Malayan water monitor slowly checking out the shore for edible tit bits.
The monitor lizard plays an important role in the habitat, eating up dead animals and maintaining the balance of nature.
The tide is a high, which is a great time to spot stuff that we can't see at low tide.
Like this school of mullets. We also saw some small Needlefishes, and Halfbeaks.
Wow, more little fishes in a huge school!
The repair work on the floating pontoon is starting. Once completed, we can go out to see more of the seagrass meadows!
But the highlight of the day were sightings of lots and lots of jellyfishes. Jellyfish are seasonal and may be abundant, then not seen again for some time. So we were lucky to spot them.
We take a closer look and yes, we spot fishes swimming with these jellyfishes. The fishes probably get some protection by staying close to these stinging animals.
I first saw this relationship during the Northern Expedition of the Mega Marine Survey.
Photo by Thanh Son Nguyen on facebook.
Rachel does a great job depicting this fish-jellyfish relationship in her gorgeous drawing!
All too soon, it's the end of the walk and time to share about Chek Jawa in the Naked Hermit Crab guestbook. The kids create such beautiful drawings!
Pei Yan and Ley Kun take photos of their visitors with their beautiful drawings! I'm sorry that I didn't get a chance to photograph Daniel and his group.
It's also time to share what the other guides saw. Kok Sheng saw a snake in a bush that all of us passed by without noticing it.
It's a beautiful bronzeback! Check out Kok Sheng's blog for more about the animals and plants that only he could spot.
I was just wondering about the wild boar as we didn't see them, when they were spotted just as we were leaving Chek Jawa.
There were two of them, I think the grownup daughter of mama wild boar with the daughter's grown up child. They were foraging quietly in the forest and not begging among the people.
Wild boar and other wild animals can find enough food in the wild. There is no need to feed them. Following the incident at Chek Jawa where an elderly woman fell following an encounter with the friendly wild boar, there is now a new sign to tell people to move calmly away from these wild animals, to avoid using flash photography and do NOT to feed the animals. If we treat wild animals with respect, we can enjoy looking at them without any people or animals coming to harm.
The guides gathered for our now monthly lunch of pepper crab. Kok Sheng took photos of this dish so that the Sisters who run the shop can add them to their menu book.
The restaurant is a living museum! With lots of photos of Singapore and Ubin in the past. Kok Sheng takes some time to share some of them with his students.
The rain poured while we had lunch, but it was clear as we left Pulau Ubin. It's great to have Kok Sheng's students join the Naked Hermit Crabs. And I'm glad they had a good time too. Here's reflections by Raphael Lee and Jinjing of their experience. Bravo to Kok Sheng and his students!
Thanks to the students, it was also a breeze to retrieve the TeamSeagrass equipment that was used during the Chek Jawa monitoring a few weeks ago. I had to miss that monitoring session due to the Northern Expedition. The equipment is going to be used for another monitoring session at Pulau Semakau when our independent low tide trips resume! I'm looking forward to fabulous trips to some of our Southern shores.

Posts by others on this trip

  • Pei Yan with lots of information and photos the Fire ants and about Chek Jawa.
  • Kok Sheng with all the interesting animals that only he could spot, and more about his wonderful students.

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