Friday, June 12, 2009

Sunrise at Semakau

It seems like a long time since I last guided at Pulau Semakau. The last one was about a month ago and this was also my first predawn trip for the year. Felt quite different now that I am back to a volunteer again; even though things were pretty the way it has been all along.

Even though I barely managed to sleep much despite going to bed early, I was very much awake by the time I reached Marina South Pier, our meeting point. All thanks to my cab driver who made a big detour because he don't know where is KPE. Probably wasted about 4 dollars because of that. Grumbles... haha, I know I sounded very stingy, but every penny counts for me now.

My group consisted of several clients for the Intumex Asia Pacific (do correct me if I am wrong) and we were rewarded by an amazing sunrise peeping slowly out of the the "bun" island, Pulau Jong. This was probably one of the best sunrises I have seen so far. It was really huge!

As usual, the traditional photo taking session when everyone was soaked wet in the seagrass meadow. But still, all managed to maintain their joyous mood and some with funky poses too. The last person in line is Wen Qing, my assistant guide who, well, did most of the guiding. Probably the easiest guiding I have so far too because of this reason. :)

Here are some of the interesting marine creatures that we see during this trip.

The hunter seekers did a good job as usual, managing to find two Knobbly Sea Stars (Protoreaster nodosus). These two are probably the most pointy knobs that I have ever seen. Many starfishes can actually push out one of their two stomachs to engulf its prey. I took a picture of the same species during the last trip to Cyrene Reef.

The Polka Dot Nudibranch (Jorunna funebris) have attractive and contrasting colouration compared with their habitat. But this is actually used to advertise that they are poisonous. These slugs have been observed to feed on sponges and that is probably where the toxins come from.

Another nice find was this Tiger Tail Seahorse (Hippocampus comes). These fishes cannot swim fast thus relying on their prehensile tail to anchor on something like a blade of a seagrass.

Sponges come in many colours. Probably the most beautiful species here was this pink sponge (Haliclona baeri).

This Red Swimming Crab (Thalamita spinimana) had already lost most of its limbs but it can still regenerate them after their next moult.

We found quite a few Noble Volutes (Cymbiola nobilis) laying eyes again. Unfortunately, this one had her egg sacs detached from the piece of coral rubble. Hopefully the little ones inside will survive this ordeal.

The Turban Shell (Turbo bruneus) has a very beautiful convex trapdoor that is used to conceal the opening of its shell to protect its soft body. This shiny structure is actually used to make buttons last time!

Onch Slugs (Family: Onchidiidae) even though found in a marine setting are actually more related to land snails because they have lungs instead of gills.

I was telling Wen Qing that it will be great if we can end the day with a Spider Conch (Lambis lambis) and it just happened that KS, another of our guide actually found it! This beautiful animal have spines like spider legs with alien like eye stalks that can peep out from their shell to scan the surroundings.

And finally, just before we leave, a full group picture (with me in it). Thanks for being such wonderful participants guys!


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