Feb 21, 2008

Last Chek Jawa project trip

This afternoon, was out with Yikang and friends for the last of Kok Sheng's Chek Jawa project trips. I missed yesterday's Chek Jawa project trip as I was at Semakau with TeamSeagrass.

It was the first time I was doing the transect part of the Chek Jawa project. I didn't have to shoot anemones! Yay!! We had two transects to do today, which is a good thing as there were only 7 of us. The transects are VERY long! We had to put down the 100m tape three times!

The guys were great!
Very garang and gung ho despite soft mud and long trudges to get the line really straight in the gusting winds.

As I was in the middle of the soft mud where I almost never was before, I decided to take a closer photo of the wonderful Sonneratia mangrove tree there. I think it's such a magnificent tree. Someone remarked that it looked like the scary tree in the Harry Porter movie...hmmm...now that it's mentioned, it does. So it's probably a good thing no one comes near it.

While we were at work, Jen Lee and her team were down on the shore!Jen Lee was heavily involved in Chek Jawa before deferment, and now she's sub editor at the New Paper. Here's more about Jen Lee. Wow, it's nice to meet her again and we're looking forward to her story about Chek Jawa in the New Paper.

After the work was done, we had a little look around. Among the special finds was this pipefish that one of the guys spotted.It looks like a pregnant papa with a big belly. Good thing we put it back in the water as it was found high and dry among the seagrasses.

There was also a Gong gong (Strombus canius) next to a pile of string-like egg mass.
Could it just have laid the egg mass? Hmmm.

As I was going back along the sand bar, among the selection of animals that must have been found for Jen Lee, there was this pretty snail that I've never seen before!I wonder what it is?

Amazing! I've been going to Chek Jawa for years and years and I still see something new every time I go. Our shores are just magnificent.

Alas, on the way back, on the rocky shore, we discovered several of the large oysters had been pried open.It's such a shame! These oysters are large, about 10cm long. And must have taken a long time to grow to that size.

I have often had visitors ask me if there are pearls in the oysters. I usually explain that precious pearls are generally NOT found in nature. Those that we use in necklaces and cost a lot of money are cultured and produced on farms. A plastic bead is inserted under stringent conditions, into special bivalves and removed when a thin layer of mother-of-pearl is secreted by the animal. Natural pearls tend to be mishappen and worthless and only occur when a bit of dirt accidentally enters the oyster, which doesn't happen often. So our oysters do NOT have pearls. Please don't needlessly kill them out of curiosity.

Well, here's a last look at the valiant team, before we headed back.I shall miss the project trips because it was such fun working with the many enthusiastic and garang volunteers who came along. We learnt so much from our trips, and we're looking forward to Kok Sheng's analysis of the data. I'm sure it will provide much valuable information about this precious shore of ours -- Chek Jawa!!

4 comments:

CH / SONNENBLUME said...

Hi Ria,

the pretty snail looks like a Bubble shell/Headshield Slug.

ria said...

Thanks Chay Hoon!

I did think so at the time and waited and waited for him to put out his frilly body.

But he didn't and we had to go home :-(

whatafish said...

I saw you fatties! Just like dead dugongs! The earth shake!

ria said...

Whatafish on Chek Jawa while we were working?

That was the day we saw vandalised oysters...

Hmmm....whatafishy situation...