Pulau Hantu - A celebration of marine life

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

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Blog Log Oct 21, 2006

Lots of nudibranches, and lots of fishes. We've always wondered how many times we'd passed a creatures by (or probably more precisely, creatures have passed us by) without either of us actually realising it. Well, to be fair, chances are the animals were aware of us, but us not of them. When the waters of Pulau Hantu ever so rarely clear up to reveal marvelous visibility, it's wonders and beauty can so easliy be appreciated. From the reef slope, schools of rabbitfish and yellowtail barracuda could be observed circling upon the reef flat. This would be the 2nd time the Hantu Blog has experienced such favourable vis this year, and just as well, because the video crew from last week joined us again for a chance to document more animals. Look out for the episode to be screened during the 1st week of December on Channel U.

Not only were the fishes schooling, but the sea slugs seemed to be schooling too! Divers and camera crew were understandably distracted by the numerous, brilliantly-coloured, and photogenic relatives of the garden snail.

Small or large, common or rare, sea slugs were sprinkled all over the reef slope and sea bed! Yes! Sea bed! We travelled all the way to the depths this time, taking full advantage of the great vis. And we were very appropriately rewarded ;)

Leather jackets, also known as Filefish, were EVERYWHERE. Some were skittish, but others such as this individual, were more obliging towards the camera!

Even this common flatworm appears vivid against the red encrusting coral!

This Gymnodoris nudibranch is so translucent you can observe its internal organs with the right lighting! There were 3 such nudis clustered together. Photographers were spoiled for choice!

Relatively common and unassumingly plain-looking in black, this flatworm dazzles with its cobalt blue margin.

Hantu Blog and Reef Xplore volunteer Gina Tan spotted this TINY little critter, no more than 3mm across! She has remarkable eyes, but what's more remarkable is that such a tiny little creature is actually a poisonous carnivore!

Another carnivore on the reef that's a little larger, well, MUCH larger, is the reef cuttlefish. Hovering quietly above the sea bed, even when there were 3 of us hanging over its head and firing flashes andhttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gif breathing noisy bubbles, this individual maintained its calm, keeping its camoufladge, and slowly, ever-so stealthily, sneaked away from right under our noses! This same cuttlefish later "bumped" into me, as I was hanging over a coral trying to catch a glimpse of a yellow-coloured Tigertail seahorse that crept into a crevice when it was spotted.

Other creatures we saw but didn't manage to get shots off included Bobtail squid, yellow-lipped seakrait, and bait squid. The most magnificent of part of the dive was when the school of Silver Moony arrived overhead... Their gorgeous silvery colours and their quiet yet awesome presence were a magical sight... Didn't manage to get any pictures unfortunately, but hopefully it will be cut into the Youth Decode episode due 1st week of December. So stay tuned to Channel U eh!

I also managed to get a video of a goby and the blind shrimp it shares its home with. Will load it onto the Blog soon! Oh! And I also shot this fun video of a Butterfly whiptail, a gorgeous fish and one of my favourite fishes on the Hantu reef... But my best fish for today must've been the rare Red Grouper. Before you say "YUM!" groupers though plain-looking fish (apart from probably the fantastic-looking Tiger grouper) are truly magestic fish that really look like they own the reef! There were also goatfish and snappers and tons of damselfish and HUGE six-banded angelfish and small schools of Kite and Copperband butterflyfish... and... SO MANY THINGS TO SEE!!!!