Pulau Hantu - A celebration of marine life

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

Monday, November 06, 2006

OUR BOATMAN'S RETIREMENT: Blog Log Nov 5, 2006

The purpose of this week's dive was just to take one last look at Hantu with the boatman who's been with us, and at sea, since the days of his childhood. Uncle Chua has offered divers with the Hantu Blog a unique and affordable experience in local waters with the little bits that make the trip special, such as the stories of the animals he has sighted at sea in Singapore, such as Pilot whales, giant stingrays, dolphins and nurse sharks, days that today's generation will never encounter. He's recognised most for his onboard mp3 player loaded with Teochew songs, and his Magiver toolbox that seems to be able to fix anything from a busted engine to qurrelsome first stage. Here's one last snapshot with the man who's made diving at Hantu special: (left) Ah Chua, Xplore trainer and marine biologist Jeffrey Low, myself, and Xplore volunteers Gina, Hui Bing, Marcel.

This strange invertebrate which isn't quite a jellyfish was pulsating in the water right after I'd made my descent. Taking a look at the pix of the left you'll notice a beansprout-shaped structure within the animal. A moment later, this "beansprout" was literally ejected out of the organism (right pix). Observing it was absolutely bizarre but extremely fascinating. I'm not sure if the "beansprout" could've been fecal matter or something with a reproductive purpose.

Coral scape: We found a part of Hantu's reef that has extraordinary varieties of hard and soft coral.

A Phyllidia Seaslug sits on the neck of a long forgotten gladd bottle. Look at how wonderfully the bottle has become encrusted with coral! A note to make is while removing "rubbish" from coral reefs, it should be taken into account if coral has begun to colonise the formally unnatural structure. Removing such structures could actually do more harm than good. It's best recommended that a appropriately qualified scientific advisor be appointed for such garbage-retrieval operations.

A small jellyfish from the front and side, sorry it isn't too well focussed as the creature is tranlucent and my camera was low on batt! A terrible combination for taking pictures!

Flabellina nudi, common but still brilliant!

Pretty tube worm

I wouldn't have spotted this TINY Oreo-cookie nudibranch if it wasn't for our resident nudi-spotter Hui Bing! She's great with macro stuff. This little critter also happens to be in a very interesting posture as seen from the side...
... and from the front! Such tall rhinophores, almost looks like a rabbit from this angle!

We almost missed this Juvenile Tigertail Seahorse which was so well camoufladged when it had its striped tail curled under the coral bit.

This beautiful Flatworm was in a hurry to go somewhere. These simple animals look extremely elegant when they move whether in midwater or over coral. This one has a gorgeous orange margin along its skirting.

Our very keen-eyed reef guide Gina managed to run off alone on the reef and grab this shot of TWO small cuttefish hanging out face to face! This is a rare shot in my opinion and they have displayed a lovely colour with intricate contortions.

We also spotted groupers, rabbitfish, fusiliers and TONS of nudibranches. Unfortunately failing to charge my camera's battery and forgetting to bring a spare, my last shot was the flatworm. But with our luck, I'd say we'd bump into those animals again soon for another photo opportunity!