Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Yoga Asanas and More!

Knobbly Sea stars are common in Chek Jawa (the shore I frequent the most) so when I usually encounter them on the inter-tidal areas I photograph them and try to keep a running count of them on the field. But this proved to be a disaster at Cyrene.

I visited Cyrene for the 1st time with National Parks Central Nature Reserve Volunteers on 1st May 2010. The trip was organized by Ria Tan (we all know her from Wild Singapore) and Ling Ling Woon (Outreach officer and Volunteer Coordinator for National Parks' Central Nature Reserve Volunteer Program).

So the journey began. The ride from Keppel Bay and the amphibious landing to the reef went pretty smoothly. More about the sunrise at Cyrene at http://wildshores.blogspot.com/2010/05/stunning-cyrene-at-sunrise.html

We unloaded our bags on a dry sandy area and off we went. Now was the time for real fun and exploration!

I was really thrilled to see my 1st knobbly of the day (blurry picture though).

Then the 2nd. This one didn’t look too happy. Probably it got stressed up while regenerating its arm!

Then the 3rd. This one was special since I had read about Pentaceraster mammilatus in Cyrene that was discovered there only in 2008.

Then I saw a few more.

By the time we had crossed the seagrass meadows to the other side of the sandbar, there were even more and in the funniest of yoga poses. Looking really cute! Ria says they curl up to keep themselves cool.

This is called the 'Lazy Yoga Asana'.

This is unique. I call this Knobbly only - 'All Limb Stretch Yoga Asana'.

The 'Chicken Asana'. No wonder we felt so hungry.

By now I had seen over 10 knobblies so I gave up taking pictures. Soon I was counting in multiples of 5’s then 10’s then 20’s. There were hundreds of them. Believe me! Look how close they can be.

Quite literally...they are just about everywhere on the sandbars of Cyrene.

Obviously we had seen many Knobblies but we saw a lot of other stuff too like the Reef Octopus http://wildshores.blogspot.com/2010/05/stunning-cyrene-at-sunrise.html

Many different types of hard and soft corals, numerous common sea stars, sea cucumbers, sand dollars, anemones and many crabs – hairy crab, flower crab, red egg crab and brown egg crab to name a few.

Collin who is tagging the Alligator pipefish in Cyrene was with us. He showed us many fish he had caught.

Look at these Bearded Filefish and the Grunters (the big ones). Pretty isn’t it.

Can you spot the Alligator Pipefish here? It looks just like the blade of Seagrass next to it.

Ling Ling joked of ‘Operation No Release’ program by Central Nature Reserve but we had to do our part by not harming the fish and letting them go safely into the seagrass meadows. Hope I will be back to Cyrene soon and help Collin with his research one day.

It seems the birds also love this island along with the marine creatures. I saw this pair of Grey Herons calling out to each other. They don't seem to have noticed us. Or may be they thought …these humans they are just about anywhere in Singapore. Let’s ignore them and mind our own business!

The ride back to Keppel Bay was equally fun. We feasted on yummy homemade cakes, bread and some 100plus. So here they are! Ria and Ling Ling again - happily fooding!

After alighting from the boat at Keppel Bay, we peeped at the sides of the concrete platforms on the bay. Amazing marine life grows on these concrete structures too. Plate corals, branching corals both dead and alive, schools of fish and more. The most fun was to watch this jellyfish trying to detangle itself.

What a memorable day! Now I can proudly say I have been to Cyrene and it’s a place we must PROTECT!

Frankly I have been on the wild shores many times but nothing comes close to Cyrene when talking about Knobblies. Hope to be back soon and watch them in YOGATION once again!