Friday, November 11, 2011

Pulau Semakau (10 Nov 2011)

A small team of volunteers head out to Pulau Semakau on a hazy afternoon to sample another patch of mudflats here.
The team already worked on another part of Semakau on an earlier trip. What can we find in this new location?

Wow, dining set up in a big fancy boat! No we're not taking this one, just passing through to get to our ferry.
Before we begin, a quick briefing on what to do and NOT to do. Safety is important!
Then we carefully walk down the seawall towards a lovely patch of mud between the mangrove trees which have been replanted at Semakau. On the horizon are the refineries of Pulau Bukom.
Thank you Yen-Ling and Helen for setting up the transect line in a shady area.
It's a little tricky to get there. When the mud is very soft, we need to walk on our knees! This helps spread out our weight so we don't sink so much.
Another handy trick is to use our bucket to further spread out our weight. The volunteers cheerfully deal with this.
When you get really stuck, you have to crawl out. As Brian illustrates.
And here's Brian, well coated in mud.
But it's nice and hard in the middle of the stream, as Mark shows.
Everyone is soon well spread out along the transect line to see what we can find in the mud.
We pose with some of our special finds. Ian takes a photo of a Mangrove horseshoe crab that Mark has rescued from an abandoned driftnet tied to the mangrove trees nearby.
There were lots and lots of fishes in the streams. These included the tiny banded Pandaka species, among the world's smallest fishes!
Someone has found little Crown sea stars!
A tiny little Copperband butterflyfish!
Sadly, we also saw a driftnet tied to the mangrove trees and abandoned there. These plastic nets don't biodegrade and will continue to trap and kill marine life until they are removed. So a few of us spent a little time removing them.
Soon it was time to sort out our finds and pack up.
We then enjoyed a slow stroll back to the NEA jetty. On the horizon, the submerged reef of Terumbu Semakau which has awesome marine life too!
Thankfully, we had clear weather. A lovely muted sunset, and the full moon as we headed home.
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To join us, register your interest in this form and you'll be invited to join the mailing list to receive updates on the Survey and sign up for Survey activities.

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To find out more about our common mangrove wildlife, check out the online Guide to the Mangroves of Singapore and the wildsingapore wild fact sheets.

Rene shared more about what we found on this trip.

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