Waiting for a Coral Spawning

Date April 10, 2021

There are a few special times of the year, when the phases of the moon and tides align to trigger a global marine underwater phenomenon called mass coral spawning. I witnessed my first mass coral spawning in 2003. It was also at Pulau Satumu, also known as Raffles Lighthouse. We camped on the island in tents, watched as the sun set into the water, and I recall one of the divers on our team, Huang Danwei, exclaim, “Dolphins!” with fingers pointed towards the sun, and the backlit dorsal fins of at least two dolphins. I wonder if the dolphins knew about the evenings’ spectacle that was to come.

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What’s a wedgefish and why should we care?

Date March 31, 2021

Wedgefish are awesome animals, and they are much loved by anglers and biologists because they are beautiful, rare, and fascinating. Their massive dorsal fins and flattened heads may have you wondering if they are sharks or rays. I hope this post inspires you discover and appreciate our wedgefishes and participate in ensuring their long term survival in Singapore waters. This post was inspired by the 20kg white-spotted wedgefish (Rhynchobatus spp. ) that was caught at Singapore’s Bedok Jetty on 29 March 2020.

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New to Science, Found in Singapore

Date January 23, 2021

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Phestilla fuscostriata by Nicholas Chew (2021)

By Nicholas Chew: I had seen some photos of an extremely cryptic nudibranch Phestilla viei by Chay Hoon over the last few months. It had superb camouflage, unlike anything I’d seen before. Mimicking the patterns and colours of the specific host coral Pavona explanulata, it blended in perfectly. I found it incredibly amazing and beautiful, and challenged myself to look for it whenever I was out diving.

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Eagle Rays in Singapore Seas

Date November 9, 2020

Eagle rays at Labrador Park, 2020.

“Where was this?” were the first questions from members of the public that appeared in my message box after I posted the above video on social media. Followed by, “what were they doing here?”

Seeing the five rays swim in formation along the seawall at Labrador Park didn’t so much as surprise me. Rather, it was so good to see them back! How fortunate are we to have had the moment captured and shared on TikTok by this fisherman. The attention that the video has received also showed how much joy can come from witnessing our LIVING seas. Our shores are not just rock and water. If we love the big stuff, we have to look after the little stuff.

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Singapore’s Starry Starry Sea

Date August 18, 2020

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By Isabelle Athena: A few weeks ago, a friend and I were discussing the term ‘starfish’ and ‘sea stars’. The creature’s interchangeable name can cause confusion, with identifing sea stars as fish, rather than echinoderms – a group of animals related to sea urchins and sea cucumbers.

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Why an 80kg ray is so amazing.

Date August 4, 2020

Photo: Raj Bharathi / FB

A large honeycomb ray (Himantura undulata) was caught off Bedok jetty last week. It was described as the 2nd largest catch from that fishing spot, and the largest haul by a “shorewrangler” this year. According to various blogposts, the ray had a wingspan that measured between 2-3 meters and weighed somewhere around 70-100 kg (I’m going with 80kg).

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17-years of Sharing Singapore Reefs

Date March 22, 2020

Today, we celebrate how our local community has come together over 17 years to recognise the wonders of our little reef!

17 years ago, when our tiny team of volunteer guides were haphazardly trying to pull a volunteer organisation together, divers sneered and scoffed at how anyone could have a desire to dive in “pea soup”. We were asked, “What difference can you make?” while others recommended, “Wouldn’t it be better to get ang mohs (foreigners) to be vocal about Singapore reefs since the government seemed to care more about what foreigners wanted?”

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Hunters in murky waters

Date January 22, 2020

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Veteran diver, Toh Chay Hoon, has completed more than 800 dives in Singapore waters! “I stopped logging after my 300th dive, and that was many many years ago!” But on special, albeit low visibility days, she still gets enthralled by something new or unexpected. Above: A cool cuttlefish remains still even as our diver Chay Hoon moves within inches from it.

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Favourite moments from 2019

Date December 1, 2019

What makes Pulau Hantu special? “It is an island with dive sites situated right next to a very busy city such as Singapore,” shares diver Veronica Alcantara, who did her first dive in Singapore at Pulau Hantu. “On 19 May 2018,” she remembers exactly. “I have dived at Pulau Hantu 63 times since. I haven’t dived anywhere else in Singapore except in the pool! I enjoy going to Hantu because of the wide variety of nudibranchs, and the convenience of going there. When I only have a weekend for rest and recreation, I don’t have to travel for hours to immerse myself in a beautiful sea.”

Kissing Doto sp.

Meeting two Doto nudibranchs “kissing” was Veronica’s favourite moment from 2019.

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Sea Snails, Ostracods, and the Oldest Penis on Earth

Date November 2, 2019

Ostracod

You’ve probably never heard of an ostracod. Why would you? It’s a tiny creature, about the size of a mustard seed, and nothing much more than a head. It is not exactly the thing that many divers go looking for when they are out on the reef. While ostracods are not popular, they truly are fascinating. Since one (above) was recently photographed on Pulau Hantu’s reef, we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to dedicate a post to this seemingly benign creature. Above photo: Toh Chay Hoon Read the rest of this entry »