May 6, 2007

Heavenly St. John's

Twice blessed are we! Another glorious morning on a shore, this time at St. John's Island.Just a 15-minute boat ride from the city centre is this small but rich reef flat.

The sunrise was spectacular! Better than fireworks! Free! How seldom we appreciate this daily event. If a sunrise happens only once a year, everyone would get up early to see it I'm sure.Next to St. John's are the Sisters Islands, languid in the pink dawn.St. John's reef flats has lots of hard and soft corals. A night visit is a great thrill as many of the coral polyps are extended, which doesn't happen much during the day.The reef flats are absolutely encrusted with all kinds of lifeforms.You have to be careful where you step, and look closely.Some stuff that look like scum are actually tiny animals. I'm still not sure what these are.And what a delightful surprise! A feather star!We came at a slightly highish tide so the flats were not completely exposed. In the pools were all kinds of fishes. A nervous pair of cardinalfishes with a tiny butterflyfish.
Bengal sergeants of various sizes play hide and seek among the seaweeds.
And two kinds of fishes that I haven't a clue about. Probably a wrasse on the left, and a cardinal on the right.The shallow pools were also teeming with little shrimps and tiny gobies!The pretty gobies are really hard to spot!The St. John's reef flats are edged by spectacular natural cliffs and a Really Rocky shore.As the sun rose, first one then a second Brahminy kite circled the reef. One settled on a tree on the cliff-side. Here is my lame attempt at a photo of it...Andy later said he saw they had a nest up there! Wow!

All too soon the tide came back in, and the day got hot. While it was still shady under the cliffs of St. John's, the Sisters were already basking the sunshine.Dickson, Gaytri, Murrati, James and Andy saw lots of other stuff too. Dickson shares delightful stories and lots of photos on his blue heaven blog.

Alas, there was obviously a recent landslide on the shore.Andy also came across a stash of trash obviously deliberately discarded among the recesses in the natural cliffs. The trash comprised some construction waste.

Sigh. Perhaps this is why we were not greeted by the usual troop of land hermit crabs when we first arrived in the dark. The high shores are usually crawling with them.

People often don't realise, at high tide, that a marvellous shore lies in the murky waters. Carelessness with litter and other impacts can harm our fragile and beautiful shores.


koksheng said...

i really wish i was there..sigh

JC said...

Those look like some Pulse corals from the family Xeniidae.

The fish seems could be from the basslet family too.

Lovely place. Lovely pix. Lovely sunrise. I wan to visit it!

ria said...

Thanks JC for the ids!

Yah come lah! You'll love it.

Rahul said...

I've never been to St John's, but I guess it's time to go before the IR comes in. :( I can't believe these beautiful places are right by the coast! It's so sad to hear that it might become a "rich man's playground". How about the rest of us?