16 July 2010

Awesome skies over Cyrene

Another predawn trip to Cyrene, this time with TeamSeagrass to monitor the fabulous seagrasses there.
And once again, we enjoyed a spectacular sunrise!

We arrived a little too early and the tide was still high. We had to slog quite some distance in high water from the landing point before we reached a small patch of sand bar that had just emerged.
Only a sliver of sand bar has emerged along the 'spine' of Cyrene. In the distance, a huge cloud has built up over the petrochemical plants of Pulau Bukom.
There were lots of long-legged shore birds out this morning. Large vessels pass silently by, with the huge orange beacon looking rather tiny in the distance.
Joo Yong points out the bird print and poop print on the shore!
I was doing Site 2 today and looked up before I started work. Chay Hoon is doing Transect 3 with Jurong Island in the background.
Joo Yong is doing Transect 1 with Pulau Bukom in the background.
As the sun rose, a team from DHI arrived on Cyrene to do their regular monitoring. Their line cuts right across Transect 2 of Site 2.
Their line runs along part of Transect 2.
They also took some readings near Transect 3.
As we finished monitoring, I noticed a storm had built up over Jurong Island!
As I hurried back, I took a few shots of the marine life on the seagrass meadows. Here's an underwater look at a baby Knobbly sea star (Protoreaster nodosus) among the seagrasses.
The seagrass meadows are full of life and life-to-be. I saw this coil of nudibranch eggs laid among the seagrasses.
A little synaptid sea cucumber (Family Synaptidae) grazing among the seaweeds in the seagrass meadows. I found out later that the the Site 1 team saw two Long-horned cowfishes (Lactoria cornuta). Wow!
Rain is starting to fall, and it looks like it will hit us soon!
Lightning starts to strike nearby so we hurry to get back to the boat. Even though it was very sunny on some parts of Cyrene still!
With the storm building up, the waves are rather high on shore. It makes the departure rather tricky!
But we all make it back safely thanks to Jumari and Alex!

We certainly had a spectacular day at Cyrene!

More about the monitoring on the TeamSeagrass blog. See also Joo Yong's facebook photos.

More about Cyrene on the Cyrene Reef Exposed blog and facebook page.

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