Oct 15, 2007

15 Fabulous Facts about Singapore's Shores

In support of Blog Action Day on 15 Oct, here's 15 facts about Singapore's fabulous shores!

1. Accessible

Singapore's shores are easy to get to! We forget we live on a tiny little island, with shores all around. And we have lots of off shore islands. Here's the view of the city centre from the reefs of Kusu Island, just 15 minutes away from the mainland by fast boat.
Uniquely Singapore! Where else in the world can you go from a first world business district to a great reef or shore. In under half an hour? More thoughts about our city reefs.

2. Alive!

Many people think Singapore's shores are dead. Not!

Even our reclaimed shores are very much alive. On Tanah Merah and the East Coast, you can still see sea fans, button shells and sand dollars!
On Changi, you will commonly encounter cuttlefishes, sea horses and sea stars!
More blog entries about Changi shores.

3. Reefs galore!

And our Southern Islands have fabulous shores packed with corals and other reef life.

The Blue Water Volunteers saw this underwater garden when they conducted the reef survey at Kusu Island on Jun 07! Minsheng took the photo.

No need to swim, no need to dive! At low tide, the fabulous reefs are easily explored by all. Here's the reef at Pulau Semakau, located right next to our landfill, where every single piece of rubbish you throw ends up.
The landfill is well constructed and operated. So much so that various marine habitats nearby are thriving. AND open for public visits! Here's some visitors on the Raffles Museum intertidal walk of Pulau Semakau exploring the reefs there.
This shows that if we try and make the effort, we can retain our special wild places AND enjoy urbanisation and development. More about Pulau Semakau and other nature activities there.

4. Wild dolphins!

Wild dolphins are regularly sighted in our waters! This photo by Tan Ching Kian taken in May 07 is "the closest photo of a wild dolphin that we know of".
More about this sighting and other sightings over the past few years on the habitatnews blog

AND there were other sightings reported this year on the ashira blog and urban forest blog

5. Sea turtles!

In May 06, baby sea turtles were spotted hatching on the East Coast! Baby turtles naturally head for the sea when they first hatch. In nature, moonlight over the water tells them were the sea is. Unfortunately, in urban Singapore, our lights distracted them. Volunteers turned up rapidly to help rescue the lost baby turtles and send them back where they belonged.
More about the Hawksbill turtle hatchling rescue at East Coast Park on the habitatnews blog

This year, we learnt that sea turtles which nest in Malaysia spend their time in our Southern Islands!
More about the Hawksbill turtle tagged with satellite transmitter seen near Sentosa on the News from International Coastal Cleanup blog and the WWF Malaysia Satellite Tracking of Hawksbill Turtles page

More about sea turtles in Singapore on the habitatnews blog

6. Underwater Meadows

Seagrass meadows are less well known than reefs, but they are vital habitats for marine life. And Singapore has huge seagrass meadows!
The best known is the one at Chek Jawa. But we also have meadows kilometres long at Pulau Semakau (above).

And an amazing stretch of seagrass meadows at Cyrene Reef (below) which lies in the midst of our industrial installations, container port and major shipping lanes.
On the mainland, there are also good growths at Changi and Labrador.

Seagrasses are eaten by .... the sea cow! The shy dugong or sea cow is rarely seen but we regularly see signs of them on Chek Jawa.
This photo above was a feeding trail made by a dugong on Chek Jawa! More about this sighting on the teamseagrass blog.

Even more amazing than our marine wildlife are the wild volunteers who work tirelessly for them. Many are committed to gathering data to better understand our shores. While many more work as volunteer guides to share these shores with ordinary people.

7. TeamSeagrass

The volunteers of teamseagrass collect vital data about our many seagrass meadows. This data helps us better understand our seagrasses as well as global seagrass health (data is submitted to NParks and to International Seagrass-Watch).
Watching seagrasses is fun and meaningful! More on the teamseagrass blog. A group of young seagrassers are also part of this effort and they are looking after the seagrasses at labrador park.

8. International Coastal Cleanup Singapore

It's NOT just about picking up litter! Volunteers with the International Coastal Cleanup collect data about marine debris which is not only unsightly but also kills marine life. Plastic floats forever in our oceans, breaking up into smaller and smaller pieces that eventually get eaten and enter our seafood! Part of a long-term global effort, the Singapore data helps us better understand and hopefully resolve the ever growing issue of marine debris. More on the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore blog.

9. Chek Jawa volunteer guides

Volunteers have been involved on Chek Jawa since before reclamation was deferred in 2001 for 10 years. Since then, the volunteers continue to provide guided walks to the public to share this marvelous shore that was saved from reclamation.
Here are some of the many volunteers involved in Chek Jawa, toasting the launch of the boardwalk this year.

Deferment of reclamation 'expires' in a few more years. Come see Chek Jawa while you can. Better yet, join the volunteer programme so that there are more guides to bring more people to see Chek Jawa. More about Chek Jawa before deferment, today, and on the Ubin Volunteer Blog. As well as more blog entries about Chek Jawa.

Among the most recent volunteers for Chek Jawa are those working with Loh Kok Seng. Following the massive floods earlier this year, there were mass deaths of some animals on Chek Jawa. Kok Seng has started a painstaking study of the recovery of Chek Jawa and is supported by a small group of volunteers in this effort.
More on the Chek Jawa Mortality and Recruitment project blog.

10. Blue Water Volunteers

Volunteer guides from the Blue Water Volunteers introduce the amazing reefs of Kusu Island to families and kids. No need to swim, no need to dive, and just half an hour from the city centre!
The Blue Water Volunteers also conduct underwater reef surveys and guided dives of our very own wild reefs. More about them on the Blue Water Volunteer website. Here more blog entries about Kusu Island.

11. Hantu Bloggers

Led by Debby Ng, the hantu bloggers conduct regular dives of the marvelous reefs of Pulau Hantu! Check out their blog for all the adventures and sightings that you can enjoy on our own reefs. They're planning a dive on 18 Nov (Sun)! Join their mailing list to get updates of trips.Non-divers can also visit and enjoy Pulau Hantu. More about Pulau Hantu and other blog entries about Pulau Hantu.

12. Semakau volunteers
Volunteers with the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research bring visitors on intertidal walks at Pulau Semakau. Here, you can explore one of the largest seagrass meadows in Singapore, as well as living reefs, mangroves, sandy shores and more!

More about the Semakau intertidal walks, and blog entries about Pulau Semakau.

13. Naked Hermit Crabs

A group of volunteer shore guides have come together to provide guided walks at other shores that are at risk but are not covered by existing groups. The Naked Hermit Crabs provide a fun introduction for families and kids to our natural shores!
Join their upcoming walk at Sentosa on 27 Oct (Sat)! They also conduct guided walks on the Chek Jawa boardwalk. More on the Naked Hermit Crab blog.

14. Singapore Splendours: Life on the Edge

This magnificent book by Dr Chua Ee Kiam is packed with stunning photos of our shores, and graced by Dr Chua's stories of his explorations. Get a copy today!
More about the book on the simply green website

15. YOU can make a difference for our shores!

It's simple!
Just Explore, Express and Act!

Explore your shores! Just join any of the many guided activities on our shores, from walks to dives. Come for shore talks and other events. These are updated daily on the wildsingapore happenings blog. Get weekly updates by subscribing to the blog.

Express about your shores! Blog about your trip. Share your photos. Send me the links and I will post it up on wildsingapore for everyone to share.

Speak up about our shores. Enjoyed your trip? Tell the organisers, agencies managing the shore. You don't need to write only to complain. Written support of existing habitats will strengthen the case for preserving them. Don't wait until they are at risk!

Act for your shores! Join any of the many volunteer opportunities, more about these on on-going opportunities. Get updates emailed to you by subscribing to feeds from the wildsingapore daily news blog which features news, blog updates and volunteer opportunities.

MORE links
This has been a brief introduction to our shores. Here's links to more!
About our wild places how to get there, what to see and do, what to prepare.
Blog entries about our wildshores

Other wild blog entries for Blog Action Day

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