Pulau Hantu - A celebration of marine life

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

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Blog Log May 27

Despite the recent spade of torrential rains, the skies cleared up for us last Sunday. We set out on our bum boat to Hantu Island. We were informed that morning that boat prices will increase in July, which might affect the cost of our dives when July comes, so please be alert to the possibility of revised pricing. We began the day with a commonly spotted Phyllidia sea slug. This was a rather small individual and had a lovely pair of rhinophores which it retracted when it sensed that I was getting close.

Copper banded Butterflyfish are one of the most conspicuous fishes on our reef. They are also great for photography as they seem rather comfortably with cameras and flashes as long as you approach cautiously. I like to compare them with the Black-naped Orioles that we find on the mainland - beautiful and highly visible.

Bubble coral

This juvenile Flabellina was photographed creeping along the edges of a small barrel sponge. Looking rather pain and simple, not even very colourful like other sea slugs, the Flabellia is actually a solar powered creature. Also known as the Blue Dragon, it swallows microscopic plants called zooxanthellae whilst feeding on hydriods. Within the nudibranch, the plants use the sun's energy to produce sugars, passing on a considerable portion to the nudibranch for its own use. This nudibranch can also inflict a sting by using the hydriods untriggered stinging cells in its body.

There were loads of filefish (aka. leatherjackets) out this weekend. Alot of them were quite busy feeding so weren't too bothered by all the photos we were taking. While we usually see small ones about 5-6cm in length, most of Sunday's sightings seemed almost palm-sized! Some species of filefish and grow up to a meter in length.

Pretty sea fans - these can be quite a challenge to photograph during low visibility days, so I took clever advantage of the opportunity!

There were many photo-taking opportunities for everyone! Just as well, there were alot of cameras on the reef that day!

A cuttlefish makes a run for it after its cover was blown!

More coral whips in the deep...

A teeny-tiny nudibranch on a mess of algae. It was only a few millimeters long!

As large a size as they were, the Six banded Angelfish seemed less excited to meet us than we were to see them...

What a pleasant treat! A juvenile batfish! It wasn't too fond of being photographed and often turned its back to the cameras or swam into holes and crevices to evade us.

Employing extremely good camouflage, this Tigertail seahorse would never have been spotted if not for Hui Bing's unparalleled keen sense of sight and patience!

Rabbitfish were much sought after on Sunday as one of the Hantu Blog's dive guides, Marco Perrig from Switzerland, has been encouraging everyone to take as many pictures of Rabbitfish as they can as part of his postgraduate project. If you have pix of Rabbitfish and would like to contribute to his research efforts, please email us!

A gorgeous school of silver moonies - They are always magical to watch, silently circling the shallow waters.

One of the 3 Six banded Angelfish cruising by again...

Icon seastar

The soft and elongated polyps of the Goniopora coral can make the colony appear about 4-5 times larger! Pretty to look at but nasty to touch, they have a mean sting that may take a few weeks to recover from. I speak with experience!

Pseudoceros flatworm

Platygyra is a boulder or massive coral that can be identified by its merged and elongated, wavy walls.

A goby fish?

HUGE and very conspicuous barrel sponges (aka. Naptunes cup) surely give the reef a burst of colour!

A little wrasse

Summing up the day's diving just before ascending, this brightly coloured Hypselodoris nudibranch popped into my view and I had to stop my ascent just to photograph it! It feeds on algae and is fond of shallow rubble bottoms... just what Hantu has!

All of us saw more than what we could've asked for during this day's dive at Hantu. Continue to swing in during the week to see what other treasures were sighted in Hantu by our divers and reef guides!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Summing up Sentosa

Wildfilms blogger writes... "And the saddest thing about this is that this section of the beach is doomed for reconstruction - carparks and whatnots. All these pretty critters will dissapear and be replaced with clean, spartan concrete."
"[T]he underwater world, purported to showcase the marine world to the tourists, has all of 2 or 3 coral exhibits. And right outside their doorstep is a whole wonderland of corals!"
Visit the Wildfilms Blog for the full story.

Slugs, sharks and stripey fish!

Blog diver Geraldine Lee dived with us in March and shares these exquisite photographs with us!

Though she claimed they weren't "professionally shot", I think she managed to capture the essence and excitement of the dive, and another perspective that was missed by other divers who preferred to focus on the macro life. I certainly missed out on the bamboo shark and the golden travelly!

Frill fin gobies can be a challenge to photograph because they are good at making quick getaways. Here, Geraldine manages to get close enough to capture the colourful dorsal fin of an otherwise subdued-coloured fish.

Not only did Geraldine manage to get some nice wide shots, she even managed this cool closeup of a blue dragon nudibranch. Aren't they spectacular?!

These red swimmer crabs and sometimes get pretty aggressive. Despite their threatening demeanour, they are shy creatures that are anxious to evade contact with curious divers!

Thanks to Geraldine and her dive buddies, this bamboo reef shark was relieved of its predicament. Bubu fish traps are indiscriminate, fishes caught can end up in the ornamental or food fish trade.

A bullocki nudibranch sniffs the current for some direction..

Tracking the movements of golden travellies. It looks like they were swimming around Geraldine! Something the curious fish sometimes like to do!

A great close up of a Seagrass filefish!

If you joined us on one of our dives and would like to share your photos on the blog or like us to put up a link to your photo gallery, please email us! We'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Black tipped reef shark!

See the brilliant photograph of a Black tipped reef shark, shot at Semakau on the nature spies blog.

Friday, May 18, 2007

International Day for Biological Diversity

Wildsingapore marks upcoming International Day for Biological Diversity, coming up on 22 May (Tuesday) with photos of marine life on our Red List.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Videos of dolphin's sighted off St. John's Islands, 7th Apr 2007

Tan Sijie has posted two videos up at YouTube that he took of dolphin's off St. John's Island on 7th April 2007.

Dolphins are occasionally sighted along Singapore's coast. To see the video, swing onto the Habitatnews site.

Environmental report for disposal of dredged material at designated containment site east of Pulau Semakau

The Environmental report for disposal of dredged material at designated containment site east of Pulau Semakau is now available for viewing for 4 weeks from 02 May 2007.

"The Public Utilities Board plans to dredge sediment material from Sungei Punggol and Sungei Serangoon. The dredged material will be placed in the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore's designated containment site east of Pulau Semakau. Studies have been carried out to determine the environmental impact of this activity.

The environmental report is available, for public viewing by appointment, at the Environment Building, 40 Scotts Road, Singapore 228231 for 4 weeks with effect from 2nd May 2007.

To view the said report, please contact Mr Sim Hock Lai at 67313820 or via email at sim_hock_lai @ pub.gov.sg.

Anyone who wishes to inspect the said report after 29th May 2007 can contact Mr Sim Hock Lai to make arrangements to view it."

- First published in the Government Gazette, Electronic Edition, on 2nd May 2007 at 5.00 pm.

For a graphic depicting the location of the site, please refer to Habitatnews.