15 June 2013

Piggies and seagrasses at Chek Jawa

A warm piggie welcome at Chek Jawa by Young mama pig and her piglets!
A great way to start the day as a large contingent of TeamSeagrass arrive for monitoring and training with Seagrass-Watch.


The van driver pointed out that there are actually three families of wild boar piglets. Besides Young mama with six piglets, there are two other mamas, one with two piglets, and another with only one piglet.
We set up for training at House No. 1. Thankfully, with many hands, all the equipment is quickly sorted out.
Len McKenzie begins the session with a safety briefing. We are then soon sorted out into our groups and we're off for the seashore.
Today, there is also a public intertidal walk at Chek Jawa. So we meet the Ubin volunteers hard at work sharing Chek Jawa with members of the public. Such as Choo Yi Feng, who guided President Tony Tan when he visited Chek Jawa in Nov 2011.
We also bumped into bird-watching Andy Dinesh and David Tan aka 'David Bird' (who put together the awesome Singapore got wildlife meh? videoclip). I also met Grace Ang a key mover in Ubin Green House, and even met Justin who was leading a guided walk with the Ubin Explorer. Chek Jawa is great place to nature watch and to nature share.
Andy Dinesh (who filmed the recent talks by experts on seagrasses, copepods and bryozoans), shared this wonderful clip of the amazing critters he saw from the boardwalk at Chek Jawa.

Also hard at work was Yook Sau of Ubin NParks.
On the shore, other NParks staff and volunteers were hard at work. Some finding interesting marine life to bring to the sandy area for the visitors to view. While others were explaining the finds.
Chay Hoon was guiding today! She is also a TeamSeagrass member as well as a diver with Hantu Bloggers and Blue Water Volunteers. Many TeamSeagrass members do more than just monitor seagrasses.
It was a hot hot hazy day as the teams head out to monitor seagrasses on Chek Jawa.
I did the far Site 2 and when we arrived, we did a quick refresh of the kinds of seagrasses we might find in this site. Boon Seng uses a T-shirt to make a really useful 'hat'.
It's fun to figure out seagrasses!
We then quickly set up for monitoring on Site 2.
Sadly, one of the transects on Site 2 has been 'eaten' up by the moving sand bar over the 6 years since we have monitoring on Chek Jawa. But zero is still data, so I did this rather boring transect. If the sand bar moves back to where it came from, hopefully the seagrasses will grow back and we will be there to record this!
Thanks to Johnson Ong, I get a glimpse of what happened at Site 1. Everyone is working hard!
Photo by Johnson Ong.
Even when the tide came in and overwhelmed the last readings! Thanks to Jerome Pang for helping to take GPS readings of Site 1. As Pei Yan, Yifeng and I whacked in a missing stake at this site.
Photo by Johnson Ong.
We really ended quite late today and had to walk back in  high water.
Photo by Johnson Ong.
Sadly, I noticed bleaching Spoon seagrasses in several areas on Chek Jawa. Seagrasses lose their chlorophyll and turn transparent when they are stressed. Seagrass monitoring will hopefully help us understand such events.
Along the way, some of the Team members spot a carpet anemone in the process of eating a 'sotong'! Pei Yan also spotted ONETWOTHREEDEATH! or what is more sedately called the mantis shrimp. Jonathan has great photos of this and other critters seen during this trip.
At the end of the monitoring, I was very grateful to have many hands help wash and sort out the large amount of equipment.
Len and Rudi shared a few words of encouragement at the end of the session.
Len will provide a more detailed assessment of our effort tomorrow, when Level 2 training continues.

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