09 April 2016

Checking out the reefs on St John's Island

Just across the central business district on the mainland, are the living reefs of St. John's Island!
The tide was quite low today so we could get a glimpse of the reef edge.

At night, the fishes are less skitish so we see a wider variety of them. These include the False scorpionfish, Bengal sergeant and Carpet eel-blenny. I saw a lot of Shadow gobies.
How nice to see a baby batfish. At first, I thought it was a dead leaf.
I saw this oddly patterned filefish. I'm not sure if it is ill. It was very much alive.
As usual, with trepidation, I check for coral bleaching on the shore. I feel there are much fewer live corals in the area compared to our last trip here at super low tide in May 2014. Anemone corals were the most common coral I saw today.
Although they were not bleaching, the colonies didn't look very well. Their skeleton seems to be rather scummy.
This Anemone coral has dead patches with seaweeds growing on it.
There were several large Boulder pore corals and all those I saw were alright. I only saw a few Merulinid (formerly Favid) corals. Some of them had dead patches. Among the other kinds of corals I saw was one small Galaxy coral, and two small Crinkled sandpaper corals. I didn't see any Cauliflower corals.
The other common coral I saw were Flowery disk corals. All of them seemed alright. The dark blob on the lower right corner is a nudibranch!
Here's a closer look at the Black phyllid nudibranch which has its gills on the sides.
I also saw a large Tongue mushroom coral!
A few of the corals were rather pale.
The leathery soft corals, zoanthids and corallimorphs I saw were all not bleaching.
Spoon seagrasses were growing well on the shores, forming large lush patches inside the swimming lagoons, and also outside the seawalls. There were also patches of Tape seagrasses, most of which were cropped, but not very short.
Chay Hoon and Kok Sheng find two baby Knobbly sea stars. Our last trip here was in Nov 2015.
Today is our first predawn trip for the year.
A gorgeous sunrise is one of the delights of a predawn trip. It is also much less hot!
After sunrise, Kok Sheng documented the entire reef edge and brought back some stunning photos of the corals and anemones and anemonefishes that are found there. Check out his blog for more stunning photos and videos.
The visibility was great today! As we were leaving, we saw some guys offloading air tanks. I asked and they said they were preparing to do a shore dive of the reef edge.
Let's hope this beautiful shore remains safe until we check up on it.

More by others on this trip

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