I explored a stretch of Sentosa for the first time today. And it's very much alive, with lots of awesome hard and soft corals.
Red feather star!
It's an underwater garden! Although the tide was not very low, the water was quite clear!
Copperband butterflyfish (Chelmon rostratus), a Yellow-banded damselfish (Dischistodus fasciatus) and an unknown fish.
Bengal sergeant (Abudefduf bengalensis), Freckled goatfish (Upeneus tragula), many little Chequered cardinalfishes (Apogon margaritophorus) and a school of baby Striped eeltail catfishes (Plotosus lineatus). Other fishes I saw included a Gold-spotted mudskipper (Periophthalmus chrysospilos) and a Blue-spotted fantail ray (Taeniura lymma).
Magnificent anemone (Heteractis magnifica)! So far, I've only seen this anemone on islands further offshore like Kusu, Hantu and Semakau, as well as on the submerged reefs. The water was a little too deep for me to properly check to see if there were 'Nemo's and anemone shrimps in this anemone.
leathery soft corals (Family Alcyoniidae)!
Black-and-white leathery soft coral (Cladiella sp.), many Omelette leathery soft corals some very large, and even many Starry leathery soft corals which I seldom see. As well as the common flowery soft corals: the purplish Asparagus flowery soft coral and Spiky flowery soft coral. There were also clumps of Feathery soft corals.
Anemone corals (Goniopora sp.) and Small Goniopora corals (Goniopora sp.). Also several colonies of Galaxy coral (Galaxea sp.).
Cauliflower corals (Pocillopora sp.) and some large Sandpaper coral (Psammocora sp.). All those I saw seemed unbleached. This is great as these two species were badly affected during the coral bleaching last year.
Pore corals (Porites sp.).
Flowery disk coral (Turbinaria sp.) as well as several nice cup-shaped colonies of Thin disk corals (Turbinaria sp.).
Montipora corals (Montipora sp.) and I saw one Pebble coral (Astreopora sp.).
Favid corals (Family Faviidae).
cerianthid and also a fan worm!
Button zoanthids (Zoanthus sp.), and large clumps of Sea mat zoanthids (Palythoa tuberculosa).
sponges that can be seen on a good reef.
Tape seagrass (Enhalus acoroides) and there were patches of Sickle seagrass (Thalassia hemprichii) among the corals. Wow, this is great! Seagrasses are an important part of the marine ecosystem and an indicator of shore health.
seaweeds of all kinds on the shores! Despite the common name, these are not 'rubbish' or 'weeds'. Macro algae, the proper term, are important sources of food and shelter for reef creatures, and some play a role in cementing the reef.
More photos on wildsingapore flickr!
What an amazing variety of marine life! Even on a not-so-low tide, during daylight (more animals are active at night), and working alone. I'm not very good at spotting marine life. I imagine we would see a lot more if we come during a night trip. Especially if the more keen-eyed regular shore explorers came along!
This trip was only made possible by thanks to Sheila and Shao Wei and also Gee Khoon who introduced me to these ladies. Shao Wei turned up even though her foot is still swollen and painful from the stonefish sting she encountered on our last trip to Sentosa's Tanjung Rimau shore. Get well soon Shao Wei! And Sheila brought me there and back and checked on me regularly to make sure I didn't drown. Thank you Sheila! I'm glad such dedicated ladies are looking after these shores!
It is finally the end of a long series of low tide trips. I'm still stunned by the many marvellous marine creatures we saw. Singapore's shores are very much alive!