01 January 2010

Stinging in the New Year

Happy New Year! The intrepid crew head out for Terumbu Bemban Besar today.

We had arrived somewhat early and the tide was a little high. The huge submerged reef is hardly peeking out of the water yet.
As is our tradition, we make a toast on the first shore we visit in the year.
Thanks to James for the tripod and Kok Sheng for the self timer camera, we gather in our spiffy vests for the group shot. And just as we complete this ritual, it starts to rain.
But intrepid is the key word and we head out in the hopes it might stop after a while.
But alas, it just got worse.
And soon, we were caught in a full on deluge.
Fortunately there was no lightning and we remained in high spirits. And just kept looking for giant clams.
Soon the rain eased up a little, though the wind was mighty strong. The reef edge is thick with sargassum, so we could not get to see much reef.
But I still managed to see some hard corals.
Lots of soft corals.
Sponges were the only colourful things in the drab murky rain splashed shore.
And these juicy looking seaweeds that resemble a bunch of green bubbles (Boergesenia forbesii).
I saw some Common sea stars (Archaster typicus) while the others saw several Knobbly sea stars (Protoreaster nodosus).
The marine life hate rain as much as we do, and those which are not submerged were puckered up closed. Like these zoanthids.
This peacock anemone was still submerged so it was less unhappy.
I took my new swimming camera for a little dip and she seemed ok. Though I still have to learn how to use her better. Doesn't help to have rain dripping into my eyes and wind whipping everything around.

Kok Sheng saw more interesting marine life.

There was a bunch of fishermen near the Terumbu, patiently fishing in the rain.

Just as it was nearly time to go home, I heard that Ivan had stepped on a stonefish! Oh dear! We were a good 500m away from the departure point. But he managed to walk back all the way unassisted. As usual, Jumari got us very quickly and safely back on the boat.
We immediately soaked Ivan's foot in hot water. Nearly scalding him in the process. The only object large enough to accommodate his foot on the boat was the dustbin. During the journey the pain got worse. Andy documented the cursing and screaming on film in the hopes of educating would-be shore explorers. Ivan also twittered constantly, you can catch up with his status on his blog or on his twitter.

Thanks to Andy for doing the ambulance run, and James for accompanying them. It's a good thing I didn't do the ambulance run as I forgot I was low on petrol and had to tank up immediately after leaving the Marina. Phew.

Ivan was in hospital within half an hour and got painkillers soon. He was operated upon but fortunately no spine was found in his foot. Poor Ivan. Get well soon Ivan!

One thing we learnt today is that Tan Tock Seng hospital is probably the best place to send victims of stonefish to. The hospital seemed to have reacted faster and more appropriately than the other hospitals we used in the past (that would be NUH and Changi hospitals).

There are many dangers on the shores. Here's a short quiz on some of them. Try it out and see how you score. And more about preparing for a trip to the shores.

Other posts about this trip
Happy 2010 and stonefish accident at BBB by Kok Sheng.


  1. Thanks for the help yesterday! I've been warded while they wait and see if I start dying. They're also checking the X-ray to make sure there's no foregn bodies. Foot's still really swollen but it's more numb than painful now. I'm just bored and want the pain to stop so I can go home! If the venom doesn't kill you, boredom will. Luckily I have my iPhone, my phone charger and someone to keep me company.

  2. Thanks for the updates. Hope you feel better soon. Seems like the worst is over? Do take care.



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