Thursday, June 7, 2007

Sentosa Walk Day 2

Dark clouds were looming over us when we reached the meeting point to get ready for our second walk at Sentosa.

But even the gloomy weather could not dampen our spirits as the guides gathered for a group shot!

And fortunately, the cool weather persisted, with a bit of strong wind every now and then, but never changed into a downpour :)

We had 3 groups today - the Hairy Crabs and the Egg Crabs went on the Family Trail, while the Swimming Crabs (initially I wanted to call my group Thunder Crab, but it's not exactly very auspicious name with dark clouds all over. Hahahahhaa...) went on the Adventure Trail.

Both trails require the participants to get down a low sea wall.

The above shows Marcus helping some of the Family Trail participants to get down to the beach area.

After everyone got down to the beach, we took a nice group photo of all the Family Trail participants.

And immediately after that, it's exploration time!

Sentosa is one of those few places in Singapore that you can still find natural caves. These caves were created when the waves hit against the cliff, which was made up of rocks with different hardness. The softer rocks will be eroded faster than the harder rocks, thus forming the caves.

And soon, they were down in the lagoon checking out the rich intertidal life.

In the meantime, the Swimming Crabs had also made their way down the sea wall. Robert, the hunter-seeker, found something unusual, and shouted to me immediately. From afar, it looked like some circle on the sand made by some animal. But what animal made circles like this? I've never seen this before!

But as I walked closer, I noticed 2 holes at the edge of the circle. They looked like ghost crab burrows. And indeed, as I looked closer, I saw a ghost crab in one of the holes.

It's unusual enough to see ghost crabs in the day time, since they normally come out when it's dark. But why did it make the circle on the sand? Looking at the centre of the circle, we found the answer.

One of its pincers got entangled with a fishing line! And that called for a rescue mission!

I was there trying to cut the fishing line with my Swiss knife, while Robert and Andy were trying to stop the ghost crab from running around. And this proved to be really difficult, as the ghost crab was a really fast runner! We eventually managed to pin it down and cut the line.

And as we walked on, we reached the huge patch of branching corals and zoanthids.

This is the largest patch of branching corals I've seen among all the intertidal zones I've visited so far! Branching corals are actually colonial animals, and each coral you see above has lots on tiny holes, and each hole has a tiny coral animal, called a polyp.

We proceeded on and soon we reaching the rocky shores. And on the rocks, we saw lots of these:

Onch slugs! Here, there, every where!

And just a short distance away was this spectacular pink cliff.

The colour came from the iron in the rocks.

We manged to check out some of the plants on the cliff as well, including the Raffles pitcher plant below.

Finally, we reached the lagoon! There were lots of huge corals every where!

The above is a pretty boulder hard coral. The colour on the corals came from algae that live in it. The algae will photosynthesize, and nutrients will leak to the coral. This is one way that corals obtain nutrients. The other way is by filter-feeding. The polyps will come out when the tide is high, and use their tentacles to collect edible particles in the water.

We also saw several soft corals, including the lobed leathery soft coral above. It is also a colony of polyps, but instead of a hard skeleton, they live together in a shared leathery tissue.

Soon, we got out of the lagoon and proceed to the "Broken Soul Cliff".

The stuff found the hunter-seekers were placed near the area. And among the many things they found was a cute marginated glossodoris nudibranch!

Eventually, we decided to call it a day.

Here's a group shot of the garang Swimming Crabs who went to and survived on the Adventure Trail!

And some of the children with the Family Trail drew some really pretty drawings on our guest book.

And before we knew it, our second Sentosa walk was over!

Check out the blog entries put up by other Naked Hermit Crabs:
- Adventure with Naked Hermit Crabs on 6 June 2007
- Sentosa's Natural Integrated Resort
- Morning packed full of seaside fun!

Thanks to Ria and Andy for providing most of the photos published in this entry, and the other NHCs who helped make this walk so successful - Marcus, LK, July, Ivan, November, Helen, Robert, Kok Sheng, Yuchen and Liana :)