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Mon 22 Nov 2004

Reef Walk 2004

Category : marine

The Blue Water Volunteers conducted their first public Reef Walk at Kusu Island on Sunday 14th November 2004, and Khoo Ming Sheng reports:

Reef Walk aims to introduce the public to the rich marine life in the Southern Shores of Singapore, without the need to dive or swim.

Despite the monsoon, an exceptionally sunny day greeted 70 successful registrants and their 16 trained volunteer guides. The receeding tide revealed the hidden beauty of the reef-flat and highlights included anemone shrimp, octopus and moulting swimming crabs. Soaring in the clear skies above was a brahminy kite.

Sentosa Leisure Group, which manages Kusu Island was very supportive of the event especially in terms of transport and logistics, and participants were picked up by specially-scheduled ferry boat ride back to the mainland.

More walks will be held when the tide is suitably low. December walks are unfortunately fully booked, but more dates will be scheduled next year. For information on signing up for the walks or becoming a marine guide, contact event coordinator, Khoo Ming Sheng.

As always, I am tickled by this "Uniquely Singapore-an" picture - a tropical reef with a bustling city's skyline in the backdrop.

'Fringing reef communities are found around many of the southern islands, despite the typically relatively turbid waters, and 197 species of hard coral have been recorded.

Coral cover was high as 76% in the 1980s but most reefs lost up to 65% between 1986 and 1999. Around 90% of all corals was bleached during the 1998 event and about 25 percent died, including significant quantities of soft corals' - extracted from World Atlas of Coral Reefs, 2001.

Conservationists, alarmed by the amount of damage to our reefs and their current legal vulnerability, are monitoring government plans and indications about development in the southern islands. See Southern Shores of Singapore.

No one wants to wake up one morning and find it all gone. Unfortunately, that's a uniquely Singaporean experience too.

Thanks to Ria Tan for the photos

Posted at 3:06PM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email | Raffles Museum news