25 November 2014

Wet and wild at the Sisters' Islands Marine Park

It's the rainy season! But this didn't stop enthusiastic visitors and volunteers from heading out for the public walks at the Sisters' Islands Marine Park this month!
In October, we did a series of intensive workshops to train new volunteer guides for the Marine Park. So we really had a great team of guides for the November walks!

There's lots of marine life to see right from the jetty where we land! Here's the colourful corals (orange, green, brown) growing on the jetty legs.
Photo by Richard Kuah on facebook.
Looking down from the walkway, we can see colourful corals, a huge Bubble-tip sea anemone and the large Tomato anemonefish that lives in it. We also saw schools of reef fishes.
Kwan Siong's group came across a humungous jellyfish that was stranded on the shore.
Photo by Koh Kwan Siong on facebook.
Ing Sind shows a well camouflaged Leaf slug that Chay Hoon found earlier. This fascinating slug sucks the sap of seaweeds and thus often has the same colour as the seaweeds.
Oh my, there are so many Common sea stars out on the shore! They are so big. And almost all of them are in 'mating' position.
We observe how a sea star can turn itself back the right way. But we should not stress the sea stars by doing this repeatedly.
Kwan Siong has found a very large and scary Long-spined black sea urchin! We keep in it the bucket so it doesn't get hurt. After having a closer look at it, the animal is safely returned to where it was found.
Ing Sind turns over a rock gently, using gloves to avoid being hurt by sharp rocks. Oh! There's all kinds of critters there. From cowries to scintilla clams to a Very long ribbon worm.
There are all kinds of little fishes, shrimps and other tiny critters in the pools left behind at low tide. In deeper water, our favourite Fluted giant clam is doing well.
Among the Spoon seagrasses, there are tiny hermit crabs and other critters.
Christine found this Pink-speckled shrimp goby. The shrimp goby lives in the same burrow with a snapping shrimp. With keener eyesight, the goby keeps a look-out while the shrimp busily digs out and maintains their shared home. The shrimp is literally constantly in touch with the goby with at least one of its antennae always on the goby. When the goby darts into the burrow, the shrimp is right behind.
As usual, the Haddon's carpet anemone and its anemone shrimps are a great hit. We saw several of these large colourful anemones on the shore.
It's the rainy season, but everyone is well prepared. When there is threat of lightning or the rain gets heavy, we take shelter for a while in the huts that line the shore.
The little ones look so cute all decked out in their rain gear!
There are wild monkeys on the Sisters Islands. But they will not disturb you if you don't bring food and if you stay in a group.
Big Sisters Island lies next to the Singapore Strait one of the busiest shipping areas in the world, used by humungous vessels. And yet, the Sisters Islands are home to living reefs full of amazing marine life.
After the walk, a quick wash up at the restrooms. The water here is not for drinking but suitable for washing up.
Here's the wonderful folks who joined us on the first day.
And the wonderful folks who braved the rain storm on the mainland to join us on the second day.
It was a delight to share the Marine Park with such enthusiastic visitors who spotted lots of interesting marine life. Special thanks to all the volunteer guides to came to make the public walks possible.

Catch up with all the happenings at the Marine Park through the Sisters' Islands Marine Park facebook page. You can share your encounters, ideas and thoughts for the Marine Park here.



There's also a new facebook group called 'Things found in Sisters Islands'. You can share your finds here too.


More about guided walks at the Sisters' Islands Marine Park on the NParks website.

More about what to expect at a guided walk.

Why should I visit with an experienced and trained guide? Why are places limited on a public walk? Which other shores are accessible to the public? and more in this wildsingapore page

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