Mar 26, 2008

Introducing Semakau shores to youths from around the world!

This morning was spent on Pulau Semakau with an amazing group of youths from around the world!

These included the Duke University students, and a group of Commonwealth Asia Region youths visiting for a Climate Change workshop hosted by the National Youth Council (NYC). And of course Dr Dan and Dr Stan, as well as some staff from NYC, and a lovely surprise, Mr Roger Nielsen from Impact Development Training.

We were a little late because of engine trouble with our boat. But this resulted in a switch to the fabulous VIP boat with an open deck! How exciting!This trip came about in a rather convoluted way.

I am on the National Youth Council, and was asked to host the Commonwealth event which coincidentally included a visit Semakau on the same day that I was scheduled to visit Semakau with Dr Dan and his students from Duke University. I thought it would be great if we could combine the two trips so everyone could get to know one another! Dr Dan thought so too!

As it was a weekday, the regular Semakau guides were unavailable. Fortunately, the Naked Hermit Crabs kindly stepped up to guide this large group of very interested visitors!

In addition, there was also a film crew along with us to film November who (together with Ivan, unfortunately unavailable for today's trip) would be featured on the Rouge talkshow hosted by Eunice Olsen this weekend!

So it was a very exciting group to bring to the shores!

After a quick walk through the forested portion of this natural part of Pulau Semakau...We soon encountered all manner of interesting creatures on this living shore.It was wonderful sharing our favourite shore with new friends. And learning from them too about their shores.Visitors were thrilled by our Common sea stars, Noble volutes, swimming crabs, hairy crabs, various kinds of nudibranchs, fanworms, flatworms, corals, sponges and all the other myriad marinelife we commonly encounter on this shore. The snapping shrimp was a particular hit.The incoming tide did not deter these enthusiastic visitors!The high water afforded different views and sightings, including a Blue-spotted stingray, several long-tentacled jellyfishes, a cuttlefish and possibly a little shark (it was fast moving and had a little dorsal fin). Other special sightings included the big red sea star.Unfortunately, there was a driftnet right across the seagrass path again. But this was an opportunity to explain some of the issues surrounding the use of driftnets (such as bycatch).November finds a hermit crab!! And explains the idea behind the Naked Hermit Crabs group.All too soon, it was time to leave, and make final comments.After the walk, everyone piled onto the bus to head out to the Southern most point of Singapore. As there wasn't enough space, some of the guides walked back.

At the NEA Jetty, I saw for the first time the fabulous new Visitor Centre with really comfy area where everyone spent a little time recovering from the outing. Before going for a briefing on the landfill and its operations.Despite the surrounding petrochemical industries and high port traffic, the shores in our Southern islands are still full of marine life.This was an earlier look at the giant cloud that was forming over the petrochemical plants at nearby Pulau Bukom on the way to the landfill earlier in the morning.The Semakau landfill is certainly an example of effective compromise. Where the demands of urbanisation are met without sacrificing all of the natural surroundings. Although all of Pulau Sakeng was buried, half of Pulau Semakau remained left in its natural state. And this is the portion that we went to visit this morning. Of course, there are always better ways to do things. Which is why it's exciting to know about events such as the Commonwealth youths coming together to share and learn from one another.

All too soon, it was time to go home. And everyone on board shared their impressions of the trip in the usual Naked manner, by drawing and writing in the guestbook.Both in the open upper deck...
And in the comfy aircon lower deck...More of what they shared on the Adventures with the Naked Hermit Crab blog.

Thank you to all the Naked Hermit Crab guides who made this possible: Robert, Sijie, Marcus, Leykun, Bian, Andy, Alvin and November.

More blog posts about the trip
stories on the nature scouters blog
more photos on the adventures with the naked hermit crabs blog
stories on the leafmonkey blog

More about visiting Pulau Semakau on the wildsingapore website

1 comment:

Ivan said...

Wow looks like it was a really successful trip. Pity I couldn't be there to share in all the excitement. =( Oh well...