Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Macro shooting at Kusu

Today was a fine day. Good weather, no rain, not very hot and a good low tide finally. Kusu Island was my target for today, and probably one of my last adventure trips before the holidays ended. Made a silly mistake that today is not a public holiday thus messed up the boat timings… resulting in taking the 9am boat when the tide recedes at 4.30pm… Mm... the last and only time I went there was when I joined the BWV guide walk at 3am last July. Haa, the timing was horrible but that was my first experience of intertidal walk.

And so me and girl waited, and waited for time to pass and I took this opportunity to test my newly acquired supermacro lens, DCR250 for my underpowered canon A520. So began walking around the grass taking pictures of tiny flowers :p. Heres a nice one.

We also encountered some weird stuff and nice surroundings... There are quite a fair number of visitors around, mostly tourists and Indians. I wonder why so many Indians (just curious, I'm not racist). This island is so damn nice! Just like a nice little garden with a continous flow of cool sea breeze. I cannot imagine the day when this place is turned into a resort for the super rich.

A monitor lizard inside the turtle shelter?

Bonsai in the Tao temple and traveller's palms outside.

Wishing well pavilion A good time at the beach

Tide started to come down abit at 2pm and we started exploring. A nice surprise was that there were quite a number of fiddler crabs around. But it was so hard to get a good shot with my x4 zoom. Even the picture below I had to crop them to make it larger. Further down were a small group of mudskippers. Their jumping motions were really cute =). And this is the first time I saw that they have a reddish retractable sail on the dorsal side. Wonder what species are they.

Fiddler crabs

Cute mudskippers

Lots of spoon seagrass covering the lagoon floor. (Look, theres a tiny crab in the picture). Also home to this habitat were large amounts of these creeper shells. At first I thought they graze on the seagrasses but it was said that they are detrital feeders instead.

The beautifully designed polymorphic shell, Clithon oualaniensis. The shell patterns shows a huge variation among its species hence its name (check out this for a pictorial illustration). They are detritus and algae feeders.

Here was where I started going crazy using the macro lens. Quite cumbersome as I had to take it out and put it back again so many times and focusing also makes my back ache, not to mention taking pictures of shy creatures who don't stay put. From the quality of pictures I took, think theres still alot of room for improvement :( Can guess what are those below?

Snapping shrimp. They sure are good diggers. This one just took 5 sec to dig a hole away from me. Its also possible to hear the clicking sounds of their snapping there.

Spotted anything on the carpet anemone?

Anemone shrimp

rounded tips of tenacles of the carpet anemone

Long tube like tenacles of another large anemone

How to differentiate this from the omelette soft coral? Looks almost identical to me. But saw its central mouth and besides its tenacles closed up showed no individual polyps so this is probably an anemone. Mmm...been wondering about another question. How come we can safely touch these anemones without being stuck by their nematocyst? Why only the sticky feeling from their tenacles instead of pain?

Many fine feathers for filter feeding

Fan worms

See a reddish eye?

This one having a meal on its pincer.

The hairy crab, the master of camouflage. So docile them. But their legs are so sharp! ouch... Hairy crabs well, have alot of hairs all over their bodies to trap sediment on them, thus having the color and texture like its sandy, rocky habitat. The hairs also help to break the outline of its shape, making them less visible.

These were my biggest puzzle.

Found them covering an entire branching hard coral like some infestation. Later found similar ones on the other side of the shore behind the temple, with their polyps opened. >>

Mmm... Been wondering alot about zonathids lately. Are they these things?

This mess of slimely stuff should be zonathids ba. Got this gut feeling. But how to differentiate zoanthids from other corals or anemones besides them being colonial?

Many other interesting stuff that I saw, well, at least interesting to me...

Tube worm's home

Common Sea Star

Flowery soft coral, Dendronephthya sp.

False Clownfish, Amphiprion ocellaris

Snail. Mmm...whats with its one tenacle? shouldn't it have two?

Is this the flower of the spoon seagrass?

Menacing flower crabs all around the shore. Compared to the hairy crabs, they are good swimmers and will swim away quickly at the time rising their pincers protectively when approaching them. When cornered, they tried to hide and conceal themselves inside small sandy depressions and let the current wash a layer of sand over them. Must say it was rather effective, at least towards me.

Lots of pictures of corals that I dun have a clue what they are called. Well, I'll try to take closer pictures of them next time to identify them. Headache ar... But at least saw lots of corals today xD Mmm...wonder also why never saw any nudibranches before. Must be my eyes not trained enough to spot them. Also hope kind soul can answer my questions earlier.

Some of the beautiful corals I saw

Living corals and rubble

Today could be a marvellous day if not for eating and swallowing a chunk of uncooked chicken meat from long john silvers during dinner =S.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The mudskippers look like Gold-spotted Mudskippers.

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