Sunday, 12 September 2010

re-visiting big sister

Yesterday's trip to the sea took us to the larger of the two Sisters Island, Pulau Subar Laut. This was my 2nd visit to the island, the last being sometime in July.

The weather was perfect for the trip to the reefs; clear blue skies and lots of sunshine meant longer daylight hours to work with, or so I thought. It's easy to forget how quickly the sun sets into the horizon, taking away its brilliance and leaving a reddish orange glow which fades calmly into the night sky. Nevertheless, it was a great sunset and one which I was determined to capture.

Sisters Island is rich in marine biodiversity despite the absence of any seagrass meadows. However, we found that the coral areas outside the lagoon sea wall and the peripheral areas around the island were in far better condition than the ones within the sandy lagoon. There was some bleaching, but definitely not quite as bad as what we found back in August, an indication that the corals were recovering perhaps. There appears to be far more hard coral than soft ones, though I did see a couple of leathery corals, sponges and carpet anemones. The favids appeared to be doing very well, with many retaining its brilliant and almost luminescent colours.

Fish wise, I got to see the usual suspects; painted scorpion fish (Parascopaena picta ), fringe-eyed flathead (Cymbacephalus nematophthalmus), silversides (Atherinomorus
duodecimalis), shadow gobies (Acentrogobius nebulosus), chequered cardinalfish (Apogon margaritophorus), streaked rabbitfish (Siganus javus), three-spined toadfish (Batrochomeous trispinosus), a copperband butterfly (Chelmon rostratus) and an unidentified cardinal-like fish. I also got to see my first octopus and this was after having gone on 5 trips to the sea.

Others managed to spot a school of juvenile striped eeltail catfish (Plotosus lineatus), blue-spotted fantail ray (Taeniura lymma), spotted-tail frogfish (Lophiocharon trisignatus) and the infamous hollow-cheeked stonefish (Synanceia horrida) which apparently, was no bigger than a coin.

As with any other shore/reef, there were also the usual crabby crustaceans; mainly egg and swimming crabs.

Later today, we will be visiting the shore along Kusu Island. It will be my first time there and from what I hear, the reef is quite spectacular.

*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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