Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Sentosa Walk 6 July 2008

A turnout of 30 visitors greeted us for our last Sentosa walk of this current season. Lovely weather was guaranteed for our visitors, from the looks of the fair skies that morning.

In fact, before the morning light even penetrated the skies, Kok Sheng and his friend had been hard at work doing hunter-seeking and getting the stations ready for our visitors.

Ivan and Gerald’s group went down to the shore first, while LK and Vyna’s group waited for more people to come. Some of our visitors had fallen victim to the “meeting point doppelganger”, so do remember to park at the nearest car park which is located at Imbiah walk, not Imbiah Lookout.

The first treat for the visitors before they reached the shore was the sight of the natural rock formation which does look like mini-caves. We marvelled at the pink rocks, the result of the presence of oxidised iron. One of our young visitors asked if there were bears inside. Well, no bears for sure – but you will definitely be spoiled by the presence of a rich variety of marine life! LK also explained about the harsh environment that these trees above the rocks survived in.

We soon went down to our first station, where the visitors got to see a mosaic crab, a brown egg crab and a small shrimp. At the second station, they saw flatworms, a red egg crab and nudibranch species such as the Phyllid, Jorunna funebris and Phyllodesmium briareum. Most nudibranchs are carnivores, and feed on immobile creatures like barnacles, sponges, ascidians, hard corals, soft corals, sea anemones, zoanthids, peacock anemones, sea pens and eggs of other creatures including other nudibranch eggs even!

Despite all that variety, the humble (and fortunately still rather common) hairy crab which was scuttling amongst the rocks, almost stole the show. Our young visitors thought that the “teddy bear” crabs were extremely cute!

We took our visitors to the station where the black sea cucumber (Holothuria leucospilota) was found. Our group were amazed looking at the sea cucumber which tensed up when it was touched, but relaxes and appeared to grow longer when it was let go (however, visitors should not touch anything on the shores, leave it to the more experienced guides please!). Sometimes, it may even squirt its sticky threads out when it is distressed!

Plenty of the soft ‘omelette’ corals were out in full glory, some even displaying their polyps prettily being half-immersed in the water.

Not to be outdone, the hard corals, such as the mushroom coral below, also make their presence felt. Why mushroom? When they are young, these corals are attached to some surface by a stalk, which they grew out of and detach from when they grow larger. And don’t the patterns on the mushroom coral match resemble very much the underside of a mushroom?

The variety of marine life on the Sentosa shores astounds even the guides. At one of the stations, we saw a sponge moving – or rather, a crab which looks like a sponge! Can you spot it in the picture below?

The tide was coming in, and our last station was at the tidal pool. Remember folks, take nothing from the shore but only pictures! See here one of our young visitors exercising his own “Independence Day”, releasing the marine life he had seen earlier back into the sea.

At the end of the Sentosa walk, the participants gathered at the end point and drew lovely drawings to depict what they have seen for the day. They also got to know more about how glasses protect our eyes from UV rays by using the indicators cards provided by Transitions Optical, sponsor of the Naked Hermit Crab Sentosa walks!

Everyone had a great time at the walk. See the broad smiles on everyone!

Thanks to the guides who made the walk successful: Ivan, LK, Jerald, Allen, Vyna, Kok Sheng and his friend. Credits also go to LK for many of the pictures on today’s post.

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