Pulau Hantu - A celebration of marine life

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

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Hantu Blog visits Lazarus Island

On July 21, the Hantu Blog visited Lazarus Island with a team of NUS researchers to aid in the removal of a ghost line, tangled amongst Lazarus' submerged reef.

The net was first discovered a month ago when NUS marine biology researchers were doing a reef survey.

The initial gill net measured some 100m and took two visits to remove. With good organisation and instruction, researchers and volunteers cut up sections of the netting, freeing trapped animals and relieving stressed coral.

Crabs were the primary victims, though sharks had also drowned in the net.

It is likely the net was discarded by fishermen and has drifted in from the seas to finally land caught in the islands' reef.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Make the change

"Most importantly, START SOMETHING"

That's the note Siva ended with at yesterdays talk about conservation.

"The public adds value to wild places, [they are] nowadays a very potent force"

Remember: Public popularity gave Chek Jawa its reprieve.

Siva cited the story of the albatross, a bird that lives and wanders far into the least inhibited parts of the ocean, and how it can still be affected by land activities. The stomach contents of a single albatross yielded plastic and styrafoam bits that have drifted from land, showing how a individual's action can effect something so seemingly distant.

"The government needs civil participation."

Everyone can effect change, no matter how small. Every citizen on Earth shares a responsibility.

If you believe in something, you can make a difference.

Talk to people, change values. Set up a blog or weblog. Discuss with friends. Share our wild places. Your action doesn't have to start big. You can do something on your own, or join an existing group. The Hantu Blog is an example of such an initiative - an extremely simple set up on a blog, operated by no IT genius. Talking about Hantu on finsonline. Sharing Hantu through simple dive trips.

Remember the story of the albatross, and the litter released into the sea by a person who thought a piece of litter that small wouldn't make a difference in the mass of the ocean. You can be that person who picked that one piece of litter up before it reached the sea.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Talk on conservation this Saturday

There will be a talk by Sivasothi from the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity and Research (RMBR) on conservation in general and what you can and cannot do about it.

So you've gone for an expedition, what can YOU do with the new knowledge and experience that you have garnered.

Siva will be sharing his experiences with us as well, among other things.

Date: 24th July 2004
Location: NUS DBS conference room
Time: 2.30 pm

Please email Jani at tmsjtit@nus.edu.sg for more information.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Revealing topside survey

A casual beach survey on Pulau Hantu Kecil on Friday 16 July revealed secret lives below the waters surface.

Washed up on shore were three varieties of Murex shells - Their distinctive and alluring pattern and design, make them easy to identify and very pleasing to look at. We also found two varieties of cowrie, and Mitre shells. Sea stars and coral rubble had also been washed up onto the beach.

Making for a wonderful surprise was the presence of Singapore's tallest bird, the Great-Billed Heron (Adrea sumatrana) that stands at an impressive 115cm. This is a rare coastal bird of Singapore, and there it was, standing watch of its territory at Pulau Hantu. Incredible!

There were also crab burrows dotted along the length of Pulau Hantu Kecil, every inch of the island is simply covered with life great and small, above and below the sea.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Hantu Blog Log 18 July 2004

Another successful dive on a rightfully gorgeous Sunday morn.

The creatures did a fantastic display for us too! Here's what we saw:

Copper banded butterfly fish, Eight banded butterfly fish, ? Starry triggerfish, Flase clown anemonefish, ? Yellow lipped sea krait, ? Butterfly fish, Marine worm, Swimming crabs, Flabellina (Nudibranch), Phyllidia sp. (Sea slug), Icon Stars

And here's what this weekend's divers had to say:

"Hantu was a surprising discovery! Interesting to know that there's an abundance of marine life, even in Singapore waters!" - Josh Loh

"Wonderful trip!" - Reephana

"Viz never is a deterrent because it allows you to focus on the marine life. Good opportunity for learning about the great variety of corals, if the fish hide behind the viz. Looking forward to the next trip!" - Jeff Greig

"Diving at Hantu is special because it's diving in Singapore waters. It's cool to see the varieties of corals, I have learnt alot!" - Catherine Tng

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Bobtail squid in Sentosa

If you think bizarre and strange creatures exist only in far-flung exotic places, think again. The Bobtail or Dumpling Squid (Eupyrmna sp.), well known to the Wallace region (Papua, New Guinea, Sulawesi, Komodo etc), has been keeping a quiet existence right here at home!

Chek Jawa Lady, Ria Tan from WildSingapore didn't know what this tiny (<2cm) squid this was when she photographed it in June this year, at Sentosa's inter-tidal. We're all very excited! Not only does this squid exist here, it can even be observed TOPSIDE!

Rob van der Loos in his book, Living Reefs of the Indo-Pacific, describes this squid "likes burrowing into soft sandy silt to hide by day. At night they employ luminescent bacteria in their body to confuse predators. This curious, shy creature usually emerges from its daytime slumber to take position on the sea floor and wait for prey."

According to the book, it's depth ranges from 2-30m, and is distributed through PNG, Australia, and much of the central Indo-Pacific region.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

TNC-SEACMPA launches new website

The Nature Conservancy's Southeast Asia Center for Marine Protected Areas (TNC-SEACMPA) is pleased to announce the launch of its new website www.tnc-seacmpa.org. This new site contains complete information about TNC-SEACMPA and its programs in Indonesia, along with downloadable reports of the various programs.

SEACMPA, focused on the establishment and support of marine protected areas in Indonesia and Southeast Asia, is based in Bali and our on-site conservation programs are spread throughout central and eastern Indonesia, in Komodo National Park, Wakatobi National Park, Raja Ampat Archipelago and the Derawan Islands. We are working in close partnership with governments, communities and businesses in creating collaborative management mechanisms for marine protected areas that would bring long-term benefits through the sustainable management of marine resources.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Underwater World and WWF in marine conservation tie-up

Singapore's Underwater World has signed South East Asia's first marine conservation tie-up with global conservation group, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, to raise awareness about the destruction of coral reefs in the region.

Full story

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

1st Int'l Manta Photo & Video Competition

The new non-profit worldwide organization, The Manta Network, is holding their First Annual International Manta Ray Photo and
Video Contest.

A central goal of this International Contest is to create awareness of The Manta Network and to become the source for all Manta information.

The deadline for entries is September 15, 2004!

Entries can be submitted either online or via regular mail.

Contestants can obtain entry forms and official rules from the Manta Network website at: http://www.Save-the-Mantas.org. Digital entries can also be submitted on-line.

For more information contact at contest@Save-the-Mantas.org

Friday, July 09, 2004

Celebrate the Sea/Marine Imagery Festival 2004

This festival has returned to KL for a consecutive year.

It will be held at the National Science Centre, Bukit Kiara from 29 July - 1 August.

Set to be the most exciting and important event in the region, the festival will present photographic competitions and workshops, seminars, static exhibitions, and non-stop marine documentaries.

There will also be talks by 30 foreign guest speakers, including Dr Gerald Allen, author of the "Indo-Pacific Coral Reef Field Guide" and Emory Kristoff, a veteran National Geographic staff photographer.

The festival hopes to motivate people to take action and preserve the environment through images.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Thank you

Thanks to your genuine interest and participation, the Hantu Blog has been kept updated and our dives have been successful.

Here's what keeps us going:

"Would like to complement the contributions so far!!
Didn't know frankly that the marine life at Hantu can still be so rich.
Would have to lookout again for u next field trip." - cyclone777sg

"Really interested in chipping in in whatever i can do to save what our nation has left... really interested in diving hantu, have yet to be there before.... keep mi updated!" - Phucer

"Would like to recognise your time and effort in this initiative.
If anyone were to look at the ideas that were tossed around initially and what is actually running now, you'd realized a lot has been done. Bravo!!" - Luv4nature

"interesting stuff... always been interested in diving closer to home" - Blackice

"Whoaaaaaa.... neat!" - atpooh

Fishes are swimming in silent tribute

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Blog Log - Hantu dive July 3rd

It's been 3 weeks since Hantu Bloggers have visited our local waters, and boy! What a great refresher!

Animals are discovered at new locations all the time! A couple of Tomato clowns have established a very well-guarded home we found, with an anemone completely surrounded by vicious hydroids. And well, that aside, they were fiercely territorial too, nipping at divers that got too close.

Sam, one of the Blog's regular divers this time did himself proud by spotting a pretty pair of anemone shrimp. A brilliantly good find considering the animals are near transparent. "I went slow this time!" He exclaims.

Like a night dive, the best way to find Hantu's denizens is to take it along slowly. Not so much because there is low vis, but more so because creatures are more challenging to spot.

Here's what else we saw:
Catfish, Damsels (2 spp.), Filefish, Cardinal fish (2 spp.), Copper banded butterlyfish (pairs and individuals), Vermiculated (Yellowfin) angelfish (pair), marine worms (2), Swimmer crabs, Soapfish and Rabbitfish.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Dolphins sighting at Sisters islands on Tue 22 Jun 2004

"It was SO amazing to see dolphins frolicking in Singapore waters! They were doing flips and jumps, cocking half their bodies out of the water too! Approximately 10 of them were just playing around that area and we sat there and watched them for about half an hour. AMAZING!"

"It was an experience of a lifetime! Even when I saw dolphins in Australia, the feeling is different: to see dolphins in our own backyard, and in the wild, means so much more than to see it anywhere else."

- Jani Thuaibah, who was on a field trip with other members of the Marine Biology Lab, NUS Biological Sciences.

[Read the full story at Habitat News]

International Coastal Cleanup - Singapore

Help protect our marine life!

The International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) is an annual international event coordinated by The Ocean Conservancy. In almost 100 countries around the globe, volunteers remove and collect data on marine trash that not only creates an eyesore on shorelines, waterways and beaches but hurts marine life and the environment. The data is used to educate and to encourage
positive change in ourselves, other individuals, organisations and governments.

The International Coastal Cleanup Singapore (ICCS) now in its 13th year, annually involves some 2,000 volunteers who collect, categorise and dispose of several tonnes of marine debris from beaches and mangroves around Singapore. Between 2001-3, some 10 tonnes of trash have been removed from just Kranji mangroves alone! And plastic is the main component.

The Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore & the Nature Society (Singapore) are recruiting volunteers! Would you like to have a role in this effort?

[Excerpt from Habitat News]