Pulau Hantu - A celebration of marine life

Secret lives and secret worlds hidden in Singapore's most popular coral reef.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Surveying a Sanctuary

Adding on to Tse Lyn's post, here's a look at some of the activity and fantastic coral scape we were treated to this morning while surveying the fringe reef at Hantu:

Showing that tasks can be carried out without a bump, Reef Friends volunteer Ming Sheng sets up a bouy on the reef crest, along which 2 sets of 100m-long transects will be laid out.

And look what came to say hello! An oriental sweetlips cruises around the reef crest, inspecting our crew of 8 divers.

Reef Friends volunteer Wai carries out her LIT along the second transect.

Look! A school of razorfish swimming quietly across the reef.

A massive braincoral in the foreground, and the line transect running along in the back. Check out how good the vis is!

Another massive colony. I think this is Montipora. Jani patiently introduced me to coral genera today. It's facinating and fun but also quite challenging and confusing! you don't realise how many different corals there are until you try to name them!

That's Wai hovering over the transect at the back, and I'm sure Jani explained what coral this was in the foreground but I've clearly forgotten. Sometimes that a genera of coral can occur in several different forms really boggles me silly...

That's Merulina in the left foreground and a HUGE colony of bubble coral in the back. Where else have you seen such a massive colony of bubble coral? Imagine all the animals that must be hiding in there!

More huge coral colonies.. I think these are Goniophora? I'm truly guessing here, from what I can vaguely see from this distance in the picture! But it looks like Anemone Coral doesn't it? Tentacles streaming out of the little massives...

And look what swarmed over the Goniopora as I was shooting pictures... it's the Razorfish again!

Alright, gotta have a little bit of macro in each dive - here's a flatworm Pesudoceros, as in "fake horn". A little curious as to how such a name came about. Will make a closer inspection the next time I encounter one!

I know this coral! It's easy, Jani taught me; Pavona.

And here is Jani, hard at work on the LIT.

And look at this gorgeous colony. I learnt today that this is called Pachyseris, like Pachyderm... maybe that's because the lines that run along the coral are reminiscent of the wrinkles on an elephant's hide???

This huge boulder coral is Platygyra. 'Platy' means "many coloured" in Latin, and while this coral can occur in a few colours, I'm not sure if that's exactly how the name came about...

Lots of huge colonies photographed today. Here's another kind of boulder coral but shot from the top. I have to relish the good vis and take pictures like these so you can see how the reef can be appreciated from several prespectives.

Few places in the world you could be diving next to a reef that's getting filled up. In Singapore we're pressured to coexist with the challenges. Here's a barge filling in the area that will soon bridge Busing with Ular and Bukom. The depth has already been greatly reduced.

Today we also saw a derrick piling in what could've been steel sheets. Reclamation activites in Singapore occur every so swiftly. Apparently this method of filling is more efficient than dumping, with less runoff and a reduced silt plume.

We weren't the only ones celebrating Good Friday at Hantu - several boaters were also sighted in the lagoon, and 5 families chose to spend the long weekend with their kids on Hantu island! How fantastic is that?! I spoke to one of the mothers, and she commented that trips like these are necessary because "the kids need to have memories". The later part of the day saw some stormy weather, but we hope it lasts well through the weekend and that they see tons of wildlife!