22 February 2015

Glorious at St. John's Island

A glorious day out at St. John's Island yesterday with a small team.
I checked up on mangrove trees, seagrasses, corals. And came across interesting finds including some special sea stars.

Just minutes from the Central Business District lies the beautiful natural rocky shores of St. John's Island!
The natural cliffs are cloaked in coastal plants, many of which are now rare in Singapore because we have lost the habitats.
I headed out around the Tanjung (Point) to get to the western side of St. John's Island.
From here, we can see the two Sisters Islands which are part of Singapore's first Marine Park. In fact, the western shore of St. John's Island is also part of the Marine Park. Some of the team were at the Sisters Islands Marine Park guiding at the public walk. Too many shores too few low spring tides!
One of my goals was to check on the Nyireh laut trees here. We only have a handful of these Critically Endangered trees, some here and one other growing at Sentosa. The big mother tree seems alright. The two other smaller trees nearby were also doing fine.
Alas, I noticed the centre of the tree trunk is black like charcoal. I was a little alarmed at first to see the leafless branches. But a closer look showed that tiny new leaves were emerging.
Animals on the rocky shore are well camouflaged. Like this Spider conch and a contracted Frilly sea anemone.
In a large empty shell of a Giant top shell snail, I saw a Very hairy hermit crab that was too shy to come all the way out. It's my first time seeing this hermit crab on St. John's Island.
How nice to see this Leathery sea fan. My first sighting of it for St. John's Island.
How nice to get a glimpse of a shy Clown anemonefish in a Giant carpet anemone!
I was wondering what the worm-like thing was next to the Long black sea cucumber. Then I realised it was the sea cucumber's gut. The sea cucumber can eject its gut, together with white sticky stuff in order to dispel disturbers. It will eventually regrow its guts, but this takes a long time so please don't purposely annoy sea cucumbers.
The old landslide site that was cemented over is starting to get overgrown by plants.
There are a few large corals on the rocky shore. I didn't manage to go out to the reef edge to check for corals there. But still, I get the sense that I saw a lot fewer corals that I used to in the past. Both in number of colonies and kinds of corals.
I didn't come across many corals, but those I saw were mostly alright without signs of bleaching.
I saw this strange coral that looks like some kind of Sand paper coral.
Some of the Favid corals look like they are suffering from some kind of disease that is causing their polyps to bleach. The grey area is dead.
I saw a few large Leathery soft corals and many fragmented ones. They didn't seem too healthy but were not bleaching.
The man-made swimming lagoons are surprisingly full of life! There are small dense patches of tiny Spoon seagrasses here.
Kok Sheng found several small sea stars in this area. The green one we have also seen at Changi. Are they all baby Knobbly sea stars?
One of them with more obvious knobs also has tiny bumps at the tips of its arms, which I remember is a character for the Pentaceraster sea star. So much more to figure out on our shores.
There were also many of these sea cucumbers that look like small Garlic bread sea cucumbers. Or are they something else?
Kok Sheng also pointed out to me the typical position of the Clear sundial snails in the seagrass area. We found several small snails here. There were also several small Haddon's carpet anemones.
Oh, a pair of fiddler crabs that look like they are in mating position. I find it odd that the female is a lot larger than the male! I found them in the muddier, sandier part of the swimming lagoon, which also had many Common sea stars.
The Tape seagrasses growing below the low water mark were still long and green. But a few clumps growing above the low water mark were crisping up.
St. John's is a lovely getaway from city life. A chance to camp out and do a little fishing.
I saw a short length of rope with many dangling hooks baited with small pieces of fish. But aside from this, we didn't come across any nets or traps.
Our last visit to St. John's was in May 2014. We don't get to visit it as often as we would like to. I hope it stays well until we return.

Posts by others on this trip

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails