Sunday, February 2, 2014

Northern Beauty of Semakau

It was my first time checking the northern reef of Semakau. It was also the team's first time covering the whole reef of Semakau through a team effort.
Pink line marks the reef coverage the team covered on this trip.
Another team check the submerged reef next to Semakau's western reef, Terumbu Raya.

The purpose of this trip was to assess the impact of oil spill in this area. Read more about the findings here.

The ground at northern reef is a softer than the western reef. There were certain parts where it can get rather soft, something which I have yet to be comfortable with while carrying my camera gears.

Despite facing oil refineries of Pulau Bukom, the northern tip of Semakau reef is beautiful with corals and many other animals.
Large coral structures with oil refineries in the background.
Some animals were rather aggressive. This is the first time a hairy crab (Pilummus sp.) raised its pincers at me.
Hairy crab raising its pincers at me.
A swimming crab nearby decided to do the same to me.
Swimming crab raising its pincers at me.
Then came the showdown at Semakau between a pair of swimming crab. It could be a male and a female crab with the male trying to get the female to mate.
Fighting swimming crab
 I took a video of this "shore fight".

Not all animals were aggressive.
This floral egg crab (Atergatis floridus) seems to be chilling away on the reef but it got rather annoyed when I disturbed it.
Floral egg crab, overview
Floral egg crab, underside
Floral egg crab, showing the mouth part
Neither was this juvenile blue-spotted fantail ray (Taeniura lymma).
Blue-spotted fantail ray
Close-up of the ray.
Nor this red egg crab (Atergatis integerrimus).
Red egg crab
There were signs of new life, among the sargassum seaweed (Sargassum sp.).
Squid eggs
There were many magnificent anemones (Heteractis magnifica) on the northern reef and a number of them were hosting the false clown anemonefish (Amphiprion ocellaris).
Can you see me?
Stranded on very shallow water.
A family
Stranded outside its anemone
I only came across one flatworm, the dawn flatworm (Pseduobiceros uniarborensis).
Dawn flatworm
Could this be the fruit of spoon seagrass (Halpohila ovalis)?
Fruit of spoon seagrass?
Closer look.
I love to look at the eyes of conch snails, like this pearl conch (Strombus turturella).
Eyes of pearl conch
Towards the end of the trip, I came across a durian sea cucumber (Stichopus horrens).
Durian sea cucumber
And a small reef octopus swam by as I was leaving the reef. I was frightened for a short moment as I thought I saw blue rings on the octopus. I must be still thinking about the blue-ring octopus I saw diving in Indonesia last year. The size and texture does feels like a blue-ring octopus.
Reef octopus
The southern shores never fails to amaze me. Even seeing the false clown anemonefish makes me happy and excited.

Posts by others:
Kok Sheng - Oil spill check at Northern Semakau
Singapore Reef Watch on Facebook.

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