19 May 2014

Living reefs at Serapong Golf Course, Sentosa

There are amazing reefs off Serapong Golf Course! Today, a small team had a long look despite the drizzly start.
As usual, an overdose of corals with other special finds like a baby giant clam!

Today, Kok Sheng literally did the entire shore. From the bridge to Sentosa, all the way to the beacon at Sentosa Cove! I couldn't keep up, but managed to cover some of the amazing shores found here.
We started at the old jetty at the Serapong Golf Course. Thanks to Sheila for showing me an easy way to get down the seawall nearby. Here's a look at the amazing marine life crowding under the jetty!
There were lots of Barrel sponges and also lots of red feather stars today!
Sheila found this pretty brown-and-white feather star that I seldom see on our shores. We also saw two all black ones.
Oh, a little Reef octopus! As I put my camera underwater, close to him to take his photo, he wrapped his tentacles around my fingers! We also saw egg capsules of a squid.
We also came across a ball of writhing little Striped eel-tail catfishes.
Among the amazing anemones I saw were Magnificent anemones, Frilly sea anemones and the Wiggly reef star anemone. Kok Sheng saw special anemones like the Alicia sea anemone and Fire anemone!
There are stretches of this shore that remind us of the colourful shores at Tuas, with plenty of flowery soft corals, Button zoanthids, sea fans, stinging hydroids and candy hydroids.
There were also colourful sponges in all kinds of shapes: the intriguing Pink puff ball sponge, Blue spatula sponge, Yellow volcano sponge and Lumpy pink sponges.
I saw this large Black spotted flatworm that is commonly encountered. Kok Sheng also saw a Dawn flatworm.
Other marine life seen include corallimorphs and zoanthids of all kinds. Josephine found the first nudibranch: Jorunna funebris. We later saw a Phyllidieila nigra.
As with most of Singapore's shores, most of the corals are Favid corals.
There were also lots of other kinds of common corals such as: Cauliflower corals, Branching Montipora corals, Carnation corals, Galaxy corals, Anemone corals and Ridged corals. Also many Disk corals and one Brain coral. Kok Sheng saw lots more corals!
We nervously keep an eye out for coral bleaching. A few small colonies of hard corals and leathery soft corals were very pale or yellowish, and some of the Asparagus flowery soft corals were rather pale.
We saw one large Diadema sea urchin. Next to it, a Carnation hard coral that looks like it is starting to bleach.
Some stretches of shore was thick with corals and sponges of all kinds.
We also did the usual stretch of shore as the tide turned. I was astounded to see many colonies of Cauliflower corals and they were all nice and brown, i.e., NOT bleaching.
There were also patches of branching Montipora corals. This shore reminds me very much of the Sentosa reefs that were reclained for the Resorts World integrated resort. Here's more photos of what was lost to reclamation.
The big surprise was to find a young Burrowing giant clam! It was only about 6cm long! We looked but couldn't find any others nearby. This shows that the shore is indeed quite healthy.
We came across two patches of Tape seagrass.
I saw a few small patches of  Spoon seagrass.
This rich stretch of shore with very large colonies of  leathery soft corals lies at the mouth of a seawater lagoon with Singapore's largest stand of Bakau pasir, a Vulnerable mangrove tree. With the support of Sheila, there are efforts to collect the propagules of these mangroves for replanting elsewhere in Singapore.
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!
Click on image for larger view.
Thanks to Josephine (in red) from Sentosa Development Corp for arranging the trip. Also to Shao Wei who unfortunately couldn't join us today. And Sheila of Serapong Golf Course for looking after us as always. These ladies and others at Sentosa have been making these trips possible for several years. Thanks also to Kok Sheng, James and June for helping to survey the shore.
I was so glad to be able to climb down and up the seawalls! It is nearly 8 months since I broke my foot, during which I spent 4 months in a wheelchair. There were times when I didn't expect to ever be able to explore my beloved shores again. I'm so glad these worst fears didn't come true. All thanks to friends who encourage and help me along the way!
The last time we visited this shore was in May 2012. We missed surveying this shore last year, so are glad we managed to do a check up this year. I am sure it will continue to do well under the good care of Sheila and all our friends at Sentosa.

Check out Kok Sheng's awesome blog post with lots of gorgeous photos of all the amazing marine life he saw on his very long march too and fro on this shore.

Photos by others on this trip


  1. its even better before they build a concrete wall across the seawater pond to retain the water.. there was so much marine fish, ( groupers, mangrove jacks, sea bass, barracudas, ladyfish, mullet), crustaceans ( deep sea prawns, flower crabs, mud crabs n burrowing shrimps), green eye squids n octopus.. and the coral is in good condition as well. but the wall destroyed it all.. as fresh seawater is not able to flow in and out freely.. unless its a super spring tide... haiz.. you folks are late..

  2. Hi guys,

    Are the Serapong reefs publicly accessible? There will be very low tides on Oct 10/11 evening, and we're planning to go there.


  3. Dear Adrian, We surveyed Serapong reefs with the support of Sentosa. I don't think they are open to the public.

  4. Thanks Ria!

    Do you know whether any of the other reefs on Sentosa are accessible? I went a few times to Tanjong Rimau, but the northern access is fenced off now (I don't know about the access through Rasa Sentosa, though).


  5. Dear Adrian, Tanjung Rimau was accessible the last time we visited from both UnderWater World and Rasa Sentosa: http://wildshores.blogspot.com/2014/09/octopus-garden-at-sentosa.html

    I haven't had the opportunity to explore other shores at Sentosa. If you do, let me know how the shores are?

    Thank you Adrian!

  6. Dear Ria,

    Yes, I saw your post - nice pictures. We went to Tanjong Rimau on the 14th of September, one week after you went, and the access through Underwater World was already fenced off. I quickly went there today to check and it is still not accessible that way (now, there is even a caution tape around the whole area), but it seems still possible to go through Rasa Sentosa.

    If anyone is interested to go this Friday (10th Oct) evening, let me know.


  7. Oh wow, thanks for this news! Can you take a photo of the tape and fencing off and share it with us?

    Unfortunately, I am already scheduled for a survey elsewhere for the 10 Oct low tide.

    Thank you!

  8. Hello Adrian, I just had a look at the shore next to Underwater World from the mainland yesterday (Thursday). I couldn't see any fencing or caution tape. Hope you can access it today (Friday)? Let me know? Thanks!



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