Mar 31, 2008

Marine construction off Pulau Hantu

from PORT MARINE NOTICE NO. 75 of 2008 31 March 2008

This is a revision of PMN No. 48 of 2008 (posted on wildfilms). The working area has been revised and work period extended.

With effect from 07 Apr 08 to 06 Oct 08, At Pulau Ular, Pulau Busing and Pulau Bukom Kechil, within a working area bounded by the following co-ordinates (see attached plan)
Construction of unloading quay and ro-ro ramp will be carried out at the southern shoreline of the newly reclaimed areas of Pulau Ular, Pulau Bukom Kechil and Pulau Busing. Safety and security boats will be deployed in the vicinity of the working areas to warn other craft of the project works.

Further enquiries relating to the project can be directed to Mr Francis Malone, project coordinator, at Tel No: 9631 4887, email:

[wildfilms note: Pulau Hantu is a wonderful wild reef. This beautiful cuttlefish was taken recently at Pulau Hantu, on the colourful clouds blog. Latests sightings on dives there on the hantu blog]

Mar 30, 2008

Chek Jawa boardwalk with Outward Bound Singapore: Part 2

Was off bright and early to Pulau Ubin with the Naked Hermit Crabs to introduce Chek Jawa to another group of enthusiastic Outward Bound Singapore trainers.Again, showing what a lively group photo should look like!
Wow, they're really ON, writing even on the bumboat there.We stopped first for the obligatory Sunday-Only Lontong at Pak Ali's shop, and then headed straight out to Chek Jawa.

I was really lucky Marcus and Chay Hoon were with us today to help introduce the Boardwalk. The two of them captivated the group with their stories.And everyone took copious notes!We came across a figging fig tree (no, not being rude..the fig tree was figging and thus attracting lots of birds!)It was hot, but we did everything thoroughly. And even saw lots of shorebirds including Whimbrels and the Great Billed Heron.After we ended the walk, they shared their thoughts in the Naked Hermit Crab guestbook.More about what they shared in the Naked Guestbook on the adventures with the naked hermit crabs blog.

Then we were off back to Ubin Town for lunch.

As we passed Ubin Green House, all of them decided to have a look at the House run by the Green Volunteers Network. Grace was there to give everyone a personal tour.We saw the amazing use of recycled products.

The solar tube used to bring daylight into the room.Cards that newly weds can place at their banquet to explain why they are not serving sharks' fins.Paintings done by elephants!Cool stuff made from elephant poo-poo! (Elephants can be viewed as natural producers of paper mache)And among the many awards, a star (made of plastic, not a real one) given to the Singapore Environment Council for support for Chek Jawa.After a quick lunch, it was time to run the end-of-the-month public walk on the Chek Jawa boardwalk with the Naked Hermit Crabs.I had a great group with me, Johan and family from Belgium and Alex Chai and family.Although the tide was high, we had great fun exploring the shores!
Lots of photos of what we saw on the walk, and what they visitors shared in the Naked Hermit Crab guestbook on the adventures with the naked hermit crabs blog.

Wow, that was a really packed day, and weekend! But it was great to share Chek Jawa with so many people.

Mar 29, 2008

Wild Animals of Singapore book launch

I rushed over after the Chek Jawa trip to catch the launch of this much awaited book by Nick Baker and Kelvin Lim.And what a fabulous book it is!

The book features our native vertebrates (of which I'm greatly ignorant, being more focused in spineless marine creatures). There's an introduction to the habitats, as well as background on extinctions and alien species. There's also tips on how to observe wildlife, with special mention about snakes, lots of information about our nature places and gardens with a map.

And of course, gorgeous photos of our vertebrates and lots of details about them! The book includes freshwater fishes, amphibians, reptiles and mammals.

There's awesome information such as tadpoles of our native frogs.and amazing action photos of our wildlife!Some beloved animals of ours.And some little known and intriguing ones.There's also a very useful checklist of native and introduced vertebrates.

WOW! I salute the team who toiled for four years to put together this gold mine of information. The book will no doubt be treasured by nature enthusiasts, as well as inspire others to learn more about and appreciate our native wildlife.

Alas I missed the talks, but managed to catch up with lots of old friends. I forgot to take photos until almost everyone had left, but managed to catch Nick Baker (left) and Celine (right).

Congratulations everyone!

This wonderful book can be purchased from the Nature Society (Singapore) as well as Nature's Niche at S$29.95.

Here's a write up of the book on the Nature's Niche website:

"Four years in the making this brand new stunning book is completed. It is the most comprehensive account of Singapore's wild animals ever produced in one volume. Compiled by a dedicated and experienced group of wildlife experts within the Nature Society of Singapore, it describes and illustrates 38 mammals, 50 snakes and 37 other reptiles, 25 frogs and toads, and 30 freshwater fishes. The brilliant habitat photographs are all taken on location. Additional chapters show how and where to find wildlife, complete checklists are included listing all species ever recorded from the country."

More details of the book:
Wild Animals of Singapore
A Photographic Guide to Mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians and Freshwater Fishes
Nick Baker & Kelvin Lim
2008, Paperback, 180 pages, 12 x 19 cm
ISBN 9810594596

At the event, I was also given the latest issue of Nature Watch: it features our shores! (as well as the lovely Teresa Teo Guttensohn on the cover).

More about this issue on the Singapore Celebrates our Reefs blog.

Chek Jawa boardwalk with Outward Bound Singapore: Part 1

Today, I was out with the Naked Hermit Crabs to introduce the Chek Jawa Boardwalk to an outstanding bunch of programme managers from Outward Bound Singapore.The exuberant team has set a new standard for lively photos! And what a delight they were to be with.

We started the day with a live demonstration of rubber tapping by driver Ah Ha.
And almost immediately were immersed in exploring this fascinating trail, starting with civet cat poo! The animated and interested group made it really fun to share the boardwalk. Everything from roots and leaves, to flatworms and tadpoles were closely examined.And various references frequently explored as well.Towards the end of the walk, there was excited pointing.At first I thought it was the extremely long Tongkat Ali that was of interest (at the right most on the photo). But no, it was an enormous gathering of Cotton Stainer bugs!At the end of the walk, the team shared their thoughts for the Naked Hermit Crab guestbook. These thoughts were the most profound we have ever received!More about what we saw and did on the Naked Hermit Crab blog. And the thoughts shared in the Naked Guestbook.

On the way home, as the bumboat drove behind a very large passing ship, Choon pointed out the terns flying along the wake.Wow! I've never noticed this before.The flock of birds did this only for a while, before flying back towards Loyang. Amazing! What a great sighting. I must observe this more closely the next time we go to and from Ubin. Indeed, I learn something new on every trip to the shore!

Alas, at the mouth of Changi Creek, dredging is ongoing, again.
Apparently, the bumboat operator said the earlier dredging did not work because the wake from the passing bumboats washed the sediments back into the channel. So now, they are trying to do something else involving building some sort of wall...oh dear.

There are some good rich shores near Changi Creek. Let's hope the activities don't impact these shores too badly.

Mar 26, 2008

Dredging and works near Cyrene Reef

from PORT MARINE NOTICE NO. 72 of 2008 26 March 2008

This is a revision of Port Marine Notice No 192 of 2007. The work scope has been revised and work period extended.

With effect from 07 Apr 08 to 06 Oct 08, at Pasir Panjang Terminal, within a working area bounded by the following co-ordinates (see attached plan)
24 hours daily including Sundays and Public Holidays.

Dredging works will be carried out within the working area by grab dredger held by 4-point anchor moorings with a circular safety working zone of 50-metre radius centred at the dredger. Construction works will also be carried out within the same working area which entailed piling of the decking structure, revetment works, soil investigation works and installation of the marine fendering system and bollards. The crane barge and grab dredgers will be held by 4-point anchoring systems. Soil Investigation works will be carried out by a crane barge. A safety boat will be deployed to warn other craft of the project work area.

Further enquiries relating to the operation can be directed to Mr N Yambao, the
project manager, at Tel: 6773 0978, email:

wildfilms note: This area is near Cyrene Reef, as indicated in this larger map taken from Port Marine Notice No. 66 of 2008

There are also currently other marine works in this vicinity:

PORT MARINE NOTICE No. 71 of 2008 25 March 2008

PORT MARINE NOTICE NO. 62 of 2008 13 March 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