Today, I had the chance to step on an island which I've passed and seen over many times on the way to Semakau Land-fill Island. This island is Pulau Jong. To get an idea why I've seen it many times to my way to Semakau, refer to the picture below.
Pulau Jong is a small and unhabitated island near to Semakau land-fill island. But they are not the cause of our interest in the island. Jong intrigues us as it not only possess a undistrubed coastal forest, it also has an inter-tidal area which is larger than the area of the island seen during high tide.
However to land on the island itself is not simple as it does not have any proper landing site, thus an amphidious landing would be one of the few ways available for us to land. Probably the picture below can give you a better idea. It shows our 'first' team which have just achieved a landing via a small boat.
Before the rest could follow, we were halted in our steps by mother nature. Storm clouds were approaching us and very soon Jong was overcasted by them (picture below).
Luckily for us, it was a passing storm and our very experienced boat captain soon informed us that it was safe for the rest to leave the boat and land on Jong.
And so my first photo of Jong on Jong...hahaha (picture below)I've heard from the others who have been onto the island that one could find many soft corals there and true to their word, Jong was covered with loads of soft corals. Here's a little bit of them (picture below). Here's a photo showing the marine transfer station over at Semakau in the back while a small part of the inter-tidal area of Jong in the foreground (picture below). Exploring around, I came across a few black margined nudibranch (Glossodoris atromarginata), polka-dort nudibranches (Jorunna funebris), a phyllid nudibranch (not sure of its species), some blue-lined flatworms, a blue-spotted fantail ray (which swam pass my legs), many hairy crabs, etc.
There are 2 special things I wish to highlight in this posting. The first one or 'discovery' is the giant reef worm (picture below).
1. Giant reef worms are commonly encountered on our southern shores. However, they are shy and will quicky hide at the sight or sense of danger. Thus, it takes great patience or luck to have a decent photo of one. This (picture above) was a lucky shot.
2. They are segmented worms and can grow to a lenght of about 1.5m.
3. You must not wish to handle this as they are known to give a nasty bite.
4. Read more about them @ http://www.wildsingapore.com/wildfacts/worm/polychaeta/giant.htm.
The second one or 'discovery' is a nudibranch which I've never seen before. If I am not wrong, this is a nudibranch from the Genus Bornella. Below is a series of photos of the same individual. Discovery Note:
1. From what i read from wildfacts, it states that they are said to be able to swim by flexing its long body from side to side. This is true as it was flexing away at the point of time when I came across it.
2. They are said to feed on hydriods. This means there is a possibility that they will carry the stings of hydroids as a result of their diet and for self defense. For your own safety, never handle nudibranches with your bare hands.
Overall, it was a great trip despite having a shorter time than planned to explore the area. Thanks to LK for organising this trip and of cos everyone else. =D
Jong is mentioned in an interesting proposal, the Singapore Blue Plan 2009.
The Singapore Blue Plan 2009, in summary, is a proposal to the government and people of Singapore regarding about the conservation and rehabilitation of our coastal and marine heritage. And within this plan, Jong is proposed to be one of the places to be listed as "Marine Biodiversity Areas".
Right now, this blue plan is a draft and the planning committee welcome any feedback. So head over to http://dl-client.getdropbox.com/u/8936/Singapore%20Blue%20Plan%20Draft.pdf, download the draft and provide any suggestions or feedback.
For those interested to find out what plants are found there, I found a list made by JL while I was searching information on Jong online.
Here's the link > http://www.eart-h.com/text/jong1.htm
a) Read KS's blog entry on this trip. It has loads of pictures on corals.