Pulau Hantu - A celebration of marine life

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

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Blog Log - May 29, 2005

As much as we dislike bringing it up, poor vis was the biggest challenge of this weekend's dive.

It appears there has been increased activity in the channels between the Southern Islands. A recently installed derrick was sighted at the channel between Pulau Hantu and Busing, and a dredger was observed in action in the channel that runs between Jurong Island and Pulau Sudong.

Derrick off Busing

A derrick is an offshore rig established for the purposes of drilling and dredging to pumping and piling. They range in lengths from a mere 30 feet to hundreds of feet, as are familiarly seen in deep ocean oil rigs.

We do not know of the purpose of the derrick just off Busing. The last sight of any dredging was in September, and its momentary halt saw visibility shoot up to over 6m. Just when divers (and certainly animals) were relishing the power of the sun, darkness decended like an ominous cloud, bringing vis down to zero past the 7m depth and only a mere foot at 2-3m.

It is critical to realise that while this poor vis leads to but a dismal dive for us, to the coral it could very well mean death. With no light penetrating the depths past 7m, it means the Zooxanthellae cannot manufacture food, and thus coral is literally starved.

It was difficult to remain positive about the current situation during the dive, and stressfull for guides taking divers out for their first time. We hope this uneventful circumstance translates into an educational experience for them. That they will dive Hantu again to experience her true glory, or better yet, join the movement to prevent such dispiriting and tedious occurances.

Despite the poor vis, Hantu Blog volunteer Dive Master Edd Ong was hard at work finding critters and managed these beautiful photographs of Hantu's interminable resilience.

A magnificent flat worm

Pretty coral polyps gather food from the water

A silt-dusted swimmer crab. A determinable sight on every dive, but for how much longer?

Saturday, May 21, 2005

A tale of a Hantu filefish

On 27 April, I was out helping Jani with installing and collecting sediment traps at the western fringing reef, when suddenly, Jani squealed and pointed excitedly to a moving shape darting towards some coral rocks. It was a shy filefish, so shy that it swam away whenever we got nearer and hid behind an algae covered coral skeleton:

This calls for patience, so we breathed very quietly and inched slowly forward, and the filefish allowed us to get closer:

and closer:

and so close that you can count the bristles!!!

Other reef life:

A gorgeous huge flatworm

A cute small one

A feather-duster worm living in a cup sponge

Baby Plerogyra bubble coral!

A brittlestar under a coral rubble piece

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Hantu Blog features in Dive Junkie newsletter

Dive Junkie, the SCUBA diving apparel for those who simply can't get enough of the sea and want to show it, featured The Hantu Blog in their lastest newsletter, which also released their latest designs for the flash diver!

The Dive Junkie newsletter sees subscribers from the region and beyond, and we hope this feature gives Pulau Hantu the broader attention it deserves!

Read the latest Dive Junkie newsletter

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Update: Cowrie

Dr. Tan Koh Siang of the Tropical Marine Sciences Institute, comments on Ivan Choong's sighting and photograph of a cowrie at Hantu:

"It looks like you have some kind of Phenacovolva species, a member of the family Ovulidae. Indeed it is related to the cowries (family Cypraeidae), although most, if not all ovulids are obligate associates of gorgonians and feed on them (in the photo there appears to be a trail of destruction left by the snail, as shown to the left of the animal where the polyps of the gorgonian have been sucked out; the animal's head is to the right). I'm afraid I am unable to help you with the name of the gorgonian the snail is sitting on. Maybe Dr Nigel Goh at NParks could assist you.

Two species of Phenacovolva were reported by Nigel Goh et al in their paper on shallow water gorgonian associated fauna in Singapore (Bulletin of Marine Science vol 65: 259–282, 1999). They appear to be different from the one you have. Little work has been done on the ecology of cowries and their allies in Singapore. We will have to depend on you guys for lots of help in getting more information about their habits. The photograph is great. Keep it up!"

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

New Australian Museum Fish Site

"I saw this fish... it was like THIS big... and it was going like that... and it's like a black colour with spots... I can't seem to find it in the books!"


The Australian Museum has set up a new Fish Site to showcase and make available its resources and databases of the very creatures that turn our reefs ALIVE!

At the site, you will be able to LEARN about fishes and what makes them what they are, FIND and IDENTIFY fishes, pull out useful LINKS on fishes if you're doing some research or just feeding your curiousity, VIEW the museum's collection of fishes, and even WATCH amazing underwater videos of Australian fishes.

The definitive website on fishes, the Australian Museum Fish Site is a URL you definately want to add to your bookmarks.