28 December 2008

Scenic Semakau

A glorious blue sky day on Pulau Semakau results in more scenic shots of this vast shore.Semakau is best loved for its vast meadows of Tape seagrass (Enhalus acoroides) which stretch for kilometres. The health of this meadow is monitored by TeamSeagrass on a regular basis.

By following the same path across this meadow on every trip, damage to the meadow is restricted to a narrow 'zone of death'. This is quite important in managing regular trips to a shore over the long term. Another ecosystem commonly seen on Pulau Semakau are mangroves. Mangrove trees of all kinds and at various stages of growth are found here.Looking at the mangroves from the seaward edge of Pulau Semakau, you can clearly see the original mangroves of Pulau Semakau (older, taller trees to the left) and the replanted mangroves (of equal height, shorter, brighter tree to the right).
Our waters can be quite clear, especially with the outgoing tide.Sandy shores are another ecosystem found on Pulau Semakau. Sea stars are always a delight to encounter here!Of course reefs and rubble are the most exciting ecosystem to explore on Pulau Semakau. The tide wasn't very low but still, we could encounter this large assembly of branching hard corals.The reefs are vast!Alas, the waters off Pulau Semakau are designated parking zones for large oil rigs. In addition, yesterday there was a small sampan (boat) in the middle of the seagrass meadows! It was definitely stuck there for the duration of the low tide which would only turn well after sunset.The people on the sampan had laid a very VERY long drift net right across the seagrass meadows. Drift nets are very hard for animals to spot and will trap everything from fish to crabs. Most of the animals trapped are not of interest to the fisherman and will be thrown back, injured or dead. Air-breathing animals found in the intertidal will drown if they are trapped in such a net. These include animals such as sea snakes, dugongs, dolphins, crocodiles, water monitor lizards. We had also encountered this practice on Pulau Semakau in an earlier trip.
The amazing ecosystems of Pulau Semakau lie very close to the petrochemical plants on Pulau Bukom.Despite the troubling encounters and thoughts, it was a glorious day out on Pulau Semakau with a stunning sunset.As we walked back to the high shore, the sunset turned the sponge-studded high shores pink.And the dead tree marking the entrace to the path through the forest glows in the last rays of the sun.

Semakau's shores are full of surprises and we hope it will bear up well under the many pressures it faces.

More about what we saw in the earlier post.

1 comment:

  1. This rules!
    Sad to see all the troubling pics



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