May 22, 2007

Frog Island Foray

It's the last of the super lows for this month and this morning we headed for Pulau Sekudu.
This scenic little island lies just off Pulau Ubin and Chek Jawa. Like many parts of Pulau Ubin, Pulau Sekudu has wonderful rock formations.
One of the large rocks looks very much like a frog. Some people had painted eyes and a smiley to add to this impression. In fact, Pulau Sekudu means Frog Island. There's a folktale about a race among a frog, a pig and an elephant which resulted in the formation of Pulau Ubin and Pulau Sekudu. The entire folktale is on the Ubin Stories blog.

Since the mass deaths at Chek Jawa, we always look for signs of recovery during our visits to the Northern shores.
The seagrasses were doing very well! Thick carpets of Spoon seagrass (Halophila ovalis) were everywhere and there were chunks of long Tape seagrass (Enhalus acoroides) here and there. I came across patches of rather pointed Spoon seagrasses. I'm not really sure if this is something to get excited about.
Will have to ask the TeamSeagrass experts about this...

The carpet anemones all looked happy and colourful.
And although it was bright daylight, there were lots of peacock anemones unfurled in the lagoon. In various colours, hence their common name.
A peacock anemones produces a soft felty tube to live in. And this apparently is a nice place for other animals to stay in as well.Embedded in the tube of the peacock anemone above were several little black feathery Phoronid worms. There was also a tiny elbow crab! Which I almost missed until it moved. There's also a chunky thing with holes stuck to the outside of the tube (sponge or ascidian?)And how nice to come across a nice, healthy Biscuit sea star (Goniodiscaster scabre). I didn't see any Knobbly sea stars, though.

There are a few mangrove trees growing among the gigantic rocks on Pulau Sekudu.
Among them was a magnificent Nyireh bunga (Xylocarpus granatum) which was blooming! Its tiny flowers carpeted the sand beneath it.
Unfortunately, some irresponsible people have not only made a barbecue next to its roots, but also left the entire assembly behind. There was also one person on the shore busy digging up clams. On weekends, we've seen large numbers of clam diggers removing buckets of clams, as well as fishermen who fish with lines and also leave several driftnets in the lagoon.

Pulau Sekudu overlooks the built-up mainland and lies along shipping lanes through which large ocean-going ships pass on their way to Sembawang Shipyard or Johor.What a precious treasure this little island is! Hopefully, it will survive all the pressures upon it for sometime yet.

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