Jul 8, 2008

Cyrene walk

At sunrise, a bunch of us are gathered to visit Cyrene Reefs! And just before we made the brave amphibious landing, Teresa spots the Hawksbill turtle that Melvin says he's been seeing over the last few trips! What a great start to the trip!We make a safe landing, thanks yet again to Melvin. Unfortunately, the weather is starting to loom...oops.

Dr Raju is here again to do a GIS survey of Cyrene Reefs (here's some of his past surveys of our shores), Robin and Hassan are doing Star Tracker work, while the Naked Hermit Crabs Jun, July (yes, the Crabs have several months in the Team :-) and Vyna are off to recce the reefs. I get the pleasure of introducing Cyrene to the rest of the team. We take a quick group photo, interrupting Dr Raju who is still busy calibrating his GPS equipment.We had a great time! Much excitement as Ivy sees her first Knobbly sea star on Cyrene! We see lots of baby Knobblies too, which result in more "oohs" and "aahs". We also drop by to see the Nemo in her anemone (still too shy to show much of herself) and spot several worm eels along the way. Just like Chek Jawa, the seagrass meadows are full of carpet anemones and peacock anemones. Of course there were lots of Common sea stars and sand dollars.
In fact, Cyrene is just thick with echinoderms. We saw these representatives of the echinoderms in one pool. A pale Knobbly sea star, a small long-spined black sea urchin, and a worm-like synaptid sea cucumber!
The group is really easy to please and are even enthusiastic about seeing the butt end of the acorn worm!Along the way, we spot little egrets. Bee Choo (the only one with a bino and who knows birds) tells us it's a Reef egret. Isn't it amazing how these birds can be at home just in front of major industrial installations.
We come to a patch that is full of hairy sea hares! We have to be really careful not to step on any of them.Soon we reach the reefs of Cyrene and marvel at the many hard and soft corals there. The soft corals are really large and plentiful! We come across a very large flatworm, a first for some of the guests. Unfortunately, we are slugless today and didn't see any nudibranchs. But we had a great time out on Cyrene. Thanks to all guests for the pleasant company!Although we didn't get anyone from the "I want to go Cyrene" facegroup applying to join this trip, we are very fortunate to have Annabelle (at left) joining us. Because she has been managing the facebook group while she was in the US! Thank you Annabelle. She's back for a short visit and just in time to join us!
Meanwhile, the weather is really building up in the distance over Jurong Island. And over the city. With lightning over the mainland.Here's a closer look at the photo above, just to show how close Cyrene is to the city! Fortunately (and I attribute it entirely to Melvin), the wet weather completely missed us! We only got a sprinkle on the way home. Another miracle! The cloudy weather in fact, made for a cool and pleasant trip to Cyrene!Today, the DHI team was also hard at work on Cyrene Reef.Alas, for some reason, we saw lots of ships today emitting large amounts of black smoke. The above photo on the way in.And this one just as we were going home.

Despite all these pressures, Cyrene Reefs continues to harbour amazing marine life!

I didn't post any of the sightings today as it's hard to guide and take photos at the same time.

Here's what some of the others have posted about their sightings on this trip.

  • Vyna's can you sea me? blog shares some hidden sights for those who open their eyes to our shores.
  • July's discovery blog where he got a knobbly star overdose and lots of other discoveries too.

See the gorgeous map of Cyrene that Dr Raju shared based on the readings he took on this trip.

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