Apr 8, 2008

Changi: first predawn tide in 2008

Chay Hoon and I decided to visit Changi for the first time in months for the first low spring tide of the year.

As usual, this spectacular shore didn't disappoint. Chay Hoon almost immediately finds the endearing Pebble crab (Family Leucosiidae).But just as we were settling down to take photos of it, we were called to shore by a pair of policemen. They were very polite and took down our particulars including handphone numbers (this is the reason why us shore explorers always bring our IC with us). I thought this was rather odd, as this never happened before. But I attributed it to the recent increased security on the borders. We were stopped twice again by two other different groups of policemen. Most odd.

Anyways, we got to see lots of Noble volutes (Cymbiola nobilis) today!Rather little ones, that's nice.

And lots of Gong gong (Strombus canarium) too.These snails are well camouflaged with only their eyes peeping out from under the shell.

These intensive police patrols is great if they keep down the number of people who take home these animals to eat. And since they are taking everyone's particulars down, we can even track down people who take things home. Excellent!

We saw lots of shells of dead Button snails (Umbonium vestiarum) but didn't see the large patches of living ones. Oh dear.

There were lots of bright pink Thorny sea cucumbers (Colochirus quadrangularis). I haven't seen this all year since the flooding in early 2007. There were also lots of Ball sea cucumbers (Phyllophorus sp.) and Smooth sea cucumbers. And we came across this odd-looking 'hairy' sea cucumber which we still haven't got an ID for.

And what a lovely surprise to see two of these sea stars, which we think might be Gymanthenea laevis although they do look like baby Cake sea stars (Anthenea aspera).

I found a mottled one.Chay Hoon found a bright orange one!
These sea stars are rather flat (instead of convex) and have a set of five largish bumps on the middle upper surface (at the points of the dark pentagon). On the underside are large clam-like pincers (see the slit like structures?) called bivalved pedicellaria. Anyway, we're not really sure what stars they are, but it's nice to see them as they are not commonly encountered.

The entire shore was covered by very LARGE white sea urchins (possibly Salmacis sp.). And there were lots of sand dollars too, of all sizes. Looks like the echinoderms are doing very well on the shore.

There were lots of small little sea anemones, and two tiny carpet anemones. We also came across this large sea anemone that we seldom see.We call him Bob because we don't know his scientific name (yet, Dr Daphne Fautin is figuring it out). He is rather boring on top, but has lots of big bumps on the sides. Cool!

And there was this tiny sea anemone trying to swallow a huge piece of crab shell...Or perhaps spitting it out? Sea anemones only have one opening that serves both as a mouth and an anus.

We didn't see too many fishes, except this rather odd Black eel-tail catfish (Plotosus canius).Only it wasn't black! We know it's the Black eeltail catfish because the 'whiskers' (called barbels) at the top of its mouth extends past its eyes.

And there were a pair of these beautiful Diamond wrasse (Halichoeres dussumieri) who looked like they were dead and washed up on the shore.But when Chay Hoon nudged one gently, it immediately burrowed into the sand. At the same time, giving her a good morning face wash with lots of splashing in the pool!

As the tide came in, we came across an octopus in the murky water who wasn't moving at all. We figured it was eating breakfast and left it alone.

All too soon, it was sunrise to the chorus of birds in the park on the shore.In the morning light, we realised that the entire shore had changed from three fingers of sand bars to a giant lagoon with a sandbar surrounding it in the low water mark. Amazing! But we didn't go out as the water was murky and we didn't want to crunch up any sea urchins.

The seagrasses were not as lush as before, with a lot less Halophila spinulosa. And quite a bit of sanding up of the Halophila ovalis. Perhaps this is due to the change in the profile of the shore.

And as we were leaving, we notice lots of policemen, and a pair of patrol cars next to and police tape around a shelter in the park. Driving out, we saw even more policemen and patrol cars. I'm sure we'll soon read in the papers what all this was about.

Me and Chay Hoon just wanted to go home quickly to wash up and sigh...go to work.

Tomorrow and the rest of the week, more morning low tides to look forward to!

(PS: Today was also the first time Mr D3 went out to the shore for his first morning shoot. He's doing very well and the high ISO shots are terrifyingly impressive. Poor Ms D2X hardly got used. But lugging two of them is killing me. Despite trying to figure different ways to carry them. I need (a) two necks (b) an extra pair of hands (c) retrofitted back (d) knee replacements).

1 comment:

Monkey said...

wow you two saw tons of exciting things! So lucky! monkey so envious :P