18 April 2014

Sentosa is alive

My first seashore trip after I broke my foot about 7 months ago! I managed to briefly explore the beautiful natural shore of Sentosa, which is so full of life.
There are seagrasses, corals, rare trees and all kinds of marine creatures on this shore just opposite the container terminals on the horizon.


There was a massive bloom of Bryopsis seaweed. This is normal. It happens seasonally, around this time of the year, just after the Sargassum seaweed bloom. This makes it tricky to walk on the shore as the seaweed is slippery, and we don't know what we are squashing under the seaweed. Also, we have had a Stonefish incident on this shore before, so we are very careful when exploring this shore.
All kinds of creatures live in this explosion of Bryopsis seaweed. This tiny fish is a dragonet! Perhaps the Mosaic dragonet (Callionymus enneactis). My first sighting for Sentosa!
The seaweed usually teems with 'pods'. Including these critters which might be amphipods?
There were all kinds of tiny crabs, most of which I have no idea of their identity.
An octopus! This shore has always been full of them and I'm glad to see one. The rest of the team also saw many. So it looks like Sentosa remains an Octopus' Garden!
I managed to get a little way out to the shore! Where there are lots of seagrasses and seaweeds. Unfortunately, The Foot is not too happy walking on uneven rubble, so I only had a brief look here.
There were some Tape seagrasses, which were not very long but not cropped very short either. In many parts, there were thick growths of Spoon seagrasses with tiny blades. But some of the blades were 'missing' green stuff. Bleaching? This is not very different from what I observed here in Jun 2013.
I decided it was safer and easier on The Foot to explore the high rocky shore. And wow, it's full of life. From a pimply Onch slug that I've not seen on Sentosa before; a tiny fast moving flatworm that resembles Phlegm; lots of little limpets that look like Chinaman hats; and of course, snails. Though I didn't see as many snails as I usually see in the past. There were also only a few sea slaters.
There was a little Shore cricket! It is a true cricket that lives on the shores. At low tide, it forages on the miniature meadows of seaweeds that grows on the rocks.
Rock pools shelter more delicate creatures such as these Banded bead anemones. In this photo, the anemones that are still submerged have their tentacles expanded. While those that are out of the pool tuck their tentacles into their body so they resemble little beads.
The long line of blue drums are still there. These are part of a floating 'security barrier' installed in 2012. I only managed to look at a few of those nearer the shore. Compared to Pei Yan's last check in Aug 2013, none of the drums are broken, and it appears they have been rearranged so that the drums no longer bash against the rocks. The line of drums are also straighter. Pei Yan has been documenting the changes and impact of these drums. Alas, she is unwell today and couldn't come.
On one of the drums, I came across this spider that had built a web on the upper part of the drum which obviously never gets wet as the drum floats.
Oh dear, there were some large patches of ferns that were crispy brown. Due to the recent drought?
The awesome Sea teak (Podocarpus polystachyus) is blooming. The Sea teak is a conifer. That is, it produces seeds but no flowers. Instead, it has reproductive structures called cones or strobili. These are the male flowers. The scientific name refers to 'many (poly) ears of corn (stachys)' which is what the male cones resemble. The Delek air (Memecylon edule) is still there and was blooming and fruiting too.
A special find for me was this small tree growing right at the base of the natural cliff. It looks like Nyireh laut (Xylocarpus rumphii): compound leaf with pale veins. This tree is rare in Singapore. There is a big mother tree on Sentosa (which was too far for me to walk to today). Perhaps this is one of her babies? Wow, so exciting.
The rest of the team saw all kinds of interesting things too. The corals there seem to be doing well, no signs of bleaching. And there were some soft corals too.
My last look at Sentosa's Tanjung Rimau shore as we leave at sunrise. My last visit here was in Jun 2013. I hope it stays well until I can visit again!

Check out the photos shared by Kai on facebook for all the animals that I didn't see during the trip.

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