Monday, 13 September 2010

pilgrimage to kusu island

Kusu Island is one of several islands located south of Singapore. It is better known to the Chinese community in Singapore for the chinese temple Tua Pek Kong (the Merchant God or God of Prosperity). Every year, particularly during the ninth month of the lunar calendar, throngs of worshippers make their annual pilgrimage to the temple. At other times, Kusu Island is usually quiet with the occasional day-tripper(s) out to enjoy the sun and the sand. Yesterday, a yacht had foolishly anchored itself above the reef just outside the lagoon's seawall.

We set off just before sunset and like the day before, it was glorious, despite the very threatening dark rain clouds looming overhead. We approached the island just as the tide was receding.

The first thing we noticed was that half the lagoon was blanketed with a thick carpet of ribbon sea lettuce (Ulva reticulata). Another seaweed I noticed growing amongst the ribbon sea lettuce was the bubble green seaweed (Boergesenia forbesii). As I ventured deeper into the the lagoon, I came across a proliferation of hard coral such as cauliflower coral (Pocillopora sp), different types of favids, anemone corals (Goniopora sp) and acroporas.

There were also quite a few sponges, a haddon's carpet anemone (Stichodactyla haddoni), and lots of giant carpet anemone (Stichodactyla gigantea) and magnificent anemone (Heteractis magnifica) both in and outside the lagoon. There was even a large rock at the mouth of the lagoon which was filled with magnificent anemones. Sadly, no clownfish were spotted amongst the tentacles of these anemones.

Chay Hoon pointed me to my 2nd octopus sighting, plus I got to see another sea hare, this time the extraordinary sea hare (Aplysia extraordinaria). I also chanced upon the white-rumped sea cucumber (Actinopyga lecanora) taking cover under a coral. Apart from that I didn't see anything too spectacular or unusual. I've yet also, to see my first blue spotted fantail ray and I will probably have to wait till October when the tides are low enough.

*All images taken with Canon 7D and Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 L IS USM Macro lens, Canon 580 EX II Speedlite, Canon Powershot G10*

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