06 July 2015

Surveying the magical reefs of Sentosa Serapong

There's a magical reef on Sentosa which lies opposite the Tanjung Pagar container terminal and just off Serapong Golf Club. With the kind permission and support of Sentosa and the Golf Club, we survey this shore once a year.
As usual, we got an overdose of soft and hard corals. Alas, we couldn't find the baby Giant clam that we saw last year.


We started and ended at the old jetty at the Serapong Golf Course. Thanks to Sheila for showing us an easy way to get down the seawall nearby. Under the jetty, there were colourful sponges and sea fans too. Here's a video clip of them.
Reef octopuses are more active at night. I was lucky to spot this large one just before sunrise.
There were a lot of Red feather stars in one part of the shore. Many of them were clinging onto the large colonies of Ridged montipora corals growing there.
Here's a video clip of some of the red feather stars.
I saw one black feather star.
We saw several Magnificent anemones, some Frilly sea anemones and one Haddon's carpet anemone in the sandy patch near the old jetty. But no Giant carpet anemone. In one of the Magnificent anemones I saw a pair of anemone shrimps. But I didn't see any 'Nemos' in any of them. In May 2012, every one of the 10 Magnificent anemones had clown anemonefishes in them.
For the first time I've found this large nudibranch on my own: Ceratosoma gracillimum. Later on, another prettier one was found. These, apparently, are commonly seen by divers. And we've seen these before at Sentosa Serapong.
Among the other nudibranchs I saw was Discodoris boholiensis.
There is a wide variety of corals on this shore, many with large colonies.
Another view of the corals on the shore. A small stretch of shore was also crowded with small flowery soft corals and Button zoanthids. As usual, there were plenty of different kinds of sponges.
Here's a video clip of the corals on the shore.
There were a lot of Cauliflower corals today. One part of the shore was thickly covered in them. We did see many in May 2014, but this year there seems to be a lot more.
Here's another view of the Cauliflower patch. Some of those on the higher shore were turning pale but none was completely bleaching.
Here's a view of Cauliflower corals, with more of those higher up on the shore being pale, while those in deeper water were still nice and brown.
There was also a patch of Branching montipora corals near the high shore. None were clearly bleaching although some of the tips and parts of the colony appeared dead.
In fact, most of the corals I saw were alright, if some were pale. Only patches or part of the colony were bleaching.
What is coral bleaching and why this is of concern on the Bleach Watch Singapore blog. Fortunately, the latest Bleaching Alert Areas from the NOAA website shows that Singapore now falls outside the 'Watch' status. So let's hope our corals have passed the danger period for the year.
There were also some large patches of Anemone corals.
And large colonies of Acropora corals which are quite delicate and seldom seen on the intertidal. Here's a video clip of them.
Here's some of the other interesting corals I saw today. Many of them in large colonies, and most of them were not bleaching. I was busy taking video clips so I didn't take as many still shots. I'm sure the others will share lots more interesting photos.
Near the beacon, there is a wonderful patch of pastel-coloured leathery soft corals.
Here's a video clip of the beautiful living shores at Sentosa Serapong!
We also saw one small clump of Tape seagrass, Sean pointed out the developing female flower. The leaf blades were long. There was a sprinkling of Sickle seagrass near the beacon and a sprinkle of Spoon seagrasses near the old jetty.
After reading about our trip in April 2011, Dr John Yong, our mangrove guru, shared that the presence of mangroves in Berhala lagoon (outlined in green) probably contributes to the healthy reefs here (outlined in yellow). Thus protecting mangroves also helps protect reefs and visa versa. Thanks Dr Yong! Indeed! We have yet to be able to explore the tantalizing reef outlined in orange as it seems to require a much lower tide. I'm quite certain it is just as, if not more, spectacular than what we have seen so far!
Thanks to Josephine from Sentosa Development Corp and Sheila of Serapong Golf Course for arranging the trip and looking after us as always. Also to Shao Wei who unfortunately couldn't join us today. And to Jasmine and Hidayah for joining us for our trip. And to the team who surveyed the shore.

Posts by others on this trip


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