24 March 2015

Sharing Singapore's last natural western reefs with agencies

Early this morning, I was glad to share with agencies my favourite Tuas shore.
We had great weather, good spotters and a wonderful day exploring Singapore's last natural western reefs.

Here we are bright and early, ready to head off to the reef!
We all made it safely down the seawall! Hurray!
Tuas has some lush seagrass meadows which is home to a wide variety of animals. As usual, the visitors are the ones who find all the cool stuff. Like this large Orange-striped hermit crab. Also found: fiddler crabs, whelks, elbow crab, spider crab, sea cucumber and more!
The sandy area may appear bare, but here, burrowing animals are found such as this Ball sea cucumber. Other burrowing creatures include the Peacock anemone and tubeworms.
Most marine life prefer to be where it's wet. So as we approach the water's edge, we see more animals such as this spectacularly large sea star.
This Eight-armed sea star is a predator. But it tends to drop off its arms if it is alarmed, so we musn't handle it, and if we do, we must be super gentle and careful.
Other interesting stuff in the water include Ball soft corals, flowery soft corals, starry leathery soft corals and also small Haddon's carpet anemones. We also saw a Snaky sea anemone. In deeper water there are more reef creatures. Such as hard corals. Which are indeed hard to the gentle touch. Most of the corals we saw  were Disk corals.
There are also sponges of all kinds!
Near the fields of zoanthids, we spot a Long black sea cucumber. It is possible to gently hold it. Important not to squeeze or poke it or it might squirt out white stuff.
In deeper waters, there are colourful sea fans! Also, nasty Stinging hydroids.
The tide isn't as low as we had expect it to be. Yet, some of the braver visitors decided to walk across the shallow channel to Merawang Beacon.
They're stay there was brief because the tide was turning.
Someone found an enormous Fan shell clam that was dead. We also saw a large dead Noble volunte shell.
We had a quick look at the rocky shore with Stone crabs, rock stars and porcelain crabs. We also saw a Hairy sea hare.
A final group photo before we leave. As we left, the Great-billed heron returned to foraging on the shore. Mr Ong and Sheryl of MSD also shared how they saw 7 otters on the shore last year. Staff of MSD, the company located along this shore, have been steadfastly monitoring the seagrass on this shore for 8 years with TeamSeagrass.
It's hard to guide and take photos, so fortunately, I was here last week. Here's more photos and stories of what we saw on this shore.

This special sliver of shore is all that is left of Singapore's natural western reefs.  Kok Sheng shared this photo of what Merawang looked like before the Tuas reclamation, at the map exhibition at the National Library.
Thanks to Eunice for organising the participation, Annabelle and Pei Rong for helping to guide, and all the visitors for finding cool and interesting things. Special thanks to Sheryl of MSD for making all the arrangements so we could visit this awesome shore!


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