21 March 2023

Pulau Tekukor with huge corals

A small team check out Pulau Tekukor on the last evening low tide for this cycle. 
Kelvin Yong's awesome drone videos and photos give us a new perspective! Pulau Tekukor's western shore is part of the Sisters' Islands Marine Park. It's also close to St. John's Island. 

There are lots of huge corals on the southernmost tip of Pulau Tekukor! St John's Island and Lazarus Island are on the horizon.
Southern tip of Pulau Tekukor, Mar 2023
Today is the first time since Jan 2017 that I've finally made it to this spot. As before, there remain many large boulder-shaped corals here, and leathery soft corals cram the pool. I didn't see a wide variety of hard corals but none of those I saw were bleaching.

James managed to photograph the Black-tipped reef sharks that are commonly seen on our southern shores, but hard to shoot.

The 30cm Fluted giant clam is still there. But we couldn't find the larger one that was seen on our last survey in Aug 2021. There is not a wide variety of animals on Pulau Tekukor, but a lot of a few kinds of animals. These include Long black sea cucumbers, small ones are only commonly seen here. Also, a lot of Land hermit crabs - I saw many gathered around a piece of cloth...I have no idea why. There were also many Giant carpet anemonesFrilly anemones, Wiggly reef star anemone. The rest of the team also saw Snaky anemones for the first time here.
Zoanthids remain the most abundant animals on the shore. Thick Sea Mat zoanthids and carpets of tinier Button zoanthids continue to cover large stretches of the eastern rocky areas.
Sea mat zoanthid (Palythoa tuberculosa)
Pulau Tekukor's undeveloped eastern half has some of the last natural cliffs cloaked in natural coastal forests in Singapore. They seem  to be doing well. With many large patches of Raffles pitcher plants.
Kelvin took a lovely drone video of the forest and natural cliffs.
This very rocky shore is just a few hundred metres from Sentosa! I find this juxtaposition of natural rocky features against Sentosa Cove at the northern tip of Pulau Tekukor quite intriguing...
Living shores of Pulau Tekukor, Mar 2023
The western shore of Pulau Tekukor is part of the Sisters Islands Marine Park.
Sickle seagrass (Thalassia hemprichi)
There are good growths of seagrasses on the shore that faces the Sisters Islands. Sickle seagrass covers a large area of this shore, with fresh green leaf blades. There were also sprinkles of Spoon seagrass with small leaf blades. The patch of Tape seagrass had male flower bracts (I didn't see any male flowers) and leaves were longish (about 20-30cm). When I last saw it in Mar 2022 and Nov 2020, this patch was also producing male flowers. Overall, the seagrass situation is very similar to what I saw in Mar 2022.
Usually, there is a long line of plastic trash on the high shore. What I saw in Mar 2020 is typical. Today, I saw hardly any trash on the entire high shore. I hope whatever changed the situation continues to keep trash off the shore.
Let's hope this special shore stays safe until we can return next year.

Photos by others on this survey

Kelvin Yong's awesome drone videos

Kelvin Yong's photos

James Koh

Che Cheng Neo

Loh Kok Sheng

Tammy Lim


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