Showing posts from 2005

Sisters Darat Reef Friends Survey 26 Nov 2005

'Twas a nice and sunny day! Dragged myself out of bed at 6.45am and mumbled that the diving better be worth it.... Had not breathed underwater for yonks, hope I could still hover with some decency, heheh.

The shallow transect at Sisters' had enough patches of coralline algae, turf and hard corals to give a LIT benthic surveyor nightmares. As usual, I didn't have much time to look around and take photos, but on the way back from laying 2 tapes, we managed to squeeze in some stuff:

Gorgeous huge seafan at 7m depth. Next time we have to search for pygmy seahorses!

3 of these tiny fella were crawling around the shallow transect tape. So cute!
Abby saw them on the other survey site at Sisters' Laut too!

And one of the highlights of the dive:

Jani spotted this pregnant male seahorse! Pretty shy dude, went to hide in a crevice.

It was an excellent trip! Decent visibility, efficient movement of volunteers, and we completed the survey in 2.5 hours, which must be a Reef Friends record …

What I had for lunch today

Made myself a mushroom and onion omelette, stuffed it full of cheese, and garnished with a sprinkle of chopped parsley! YUM!

Picnic at Lower Peirce

Few things in life are better than a picnic by the water's edge, watching the sunset over the treetops with good friends, and a good assortment of snacks on hand. :)

Beautiful St John's

Ahhhh...the joys of diving in 3.5m vis.....No need to struggle with the buoy, no need to 'touch and feel' our way along the reef crest, no fear of hitting my face on an angle iron/anemone/bunch of hydroids/poky mussid.... If only everyday could be like this ;)

Check out the blue water!

Allied cowrie!!

Wow! An Alveopora colony! They're not easy to find, normally we only see Goniopora.
Check out the tentacles- 12 instead of 24!

Nice fishies like the Copperbanded Butterflyfish

The carpet eel blenny made an appearance too

Cute flatworm!

Another flatworm

Ginormous swimming flatworm

Tiny little phyllid nudibranch

Drupella snails happily munching away on the Oxypora coral (The skeleton had holes- Hah!)

And saving the best for last, guess what we came across on the nubbins tray while cleaning?

Guess who's hiding among the nubbins?

A closer look at the Tiger Tailed Seahorse

So, think Singapore's marine life deserves some legal protection?

You can read comments on setting up a marine park i…

Ladies!!! Take your calcium pills!!!!!

Was walking through Ann Siang Hill towards Neil Road with Frank, Zee and Jani on Saturday when I saw a line of cars stuck behind a stationary car at the road junction. Could just make out a foot on the other side of the car, and some blood?!'s an accident....

An old lady was sitting on the road while the distraught driver leaned over her repeatedly asking why she was walking on the road and not the pavement. As I stooped to check on the old lady, I noticed that her left shin bone was snapped completely, and the exposed bone was jutting out of her lower leg. The foot was just a bloody mess. How much force was involved? The car couldn't have been driving that fast, since the area just has small lanes and typically slow traffic. Thank goodness the paramedics came (called by a helpful passerby) in 15min and bundled her off to hospital. Hope she's okay and can walk again.

The next day, my sister informed me that my brother-in-law's grandmother broke her hip after sh…

Pulau Hantu Reef Friends survey dives

Spent more than 3 1/2 hours underwater and all I got to photograph was this nudibranch...

Wanna know more about Reef Friends? Go to

Roadtrip!! Fraser's, Chiling Falls and...erm... well... Genting as well... 5-8 Sep 2005

Day 1: 5 Sep 2005- JB-Kajang-Fraser's

We had everything planned out. Meet early, pack breakfast while TT settle the car, and leave on a weekday so there's no queue at JB customs. As we departed from the car rental office at 9+am, we were feeling quite smug about departing on schedule. Then...Ming and TT noticed a persistent draft in the car, and we discovered that the rear window would not close completely! Reluctantly, we U-turned (not that easy to do on some Malaysian roads), and headed back to JB town, concluding that we'll never start a roadtrip before 11am.

Our 1st driver!

To save time, we did the ultimate sacrifice by eating at a highway stop instead of going to Melaka for lunch :). However, as we veered closer to KL, realised that we were pretty near KAJANG, and the famous Kajang satay we missed last time going to Nuang!! A quick round of consultations later, we concluded that no-one was in any particular hurry to ascend the mountain, and anyway, how often do you get t…

Roadtrip!! Fraser's, Chiling Falls and...erm... well... Genting as well... 5-8 Sep 2005 Part II

Day 3: 7 Sept- Goodbye Fraser's!! Sniff!! Hello Chiling!! And a mysterious night stop....

Well, I did kinda wake up at 7+am, the sun was shining, wisps of mist brushed against the pine tree tops, and it looked like a brilliant morning for some light hiking and birding....just that...was simply too engrossed in my volume #8 of Lucifer, and Ming wasn't exactly up and raring to go as well!

Shortly after I put down the comic, wondered why I haven't received any SMS'es in the last 12 hours. Looked into Eric's pouch and zounds!! IT WASN'T THERE!!!! Roused the rest of the folks and searched the bedroom more thoroughly. It still wasn't there!!! Heart racing slightly, got Eric to accompany me to the restaurant where we had dinner last night and the tavern where we had drinks. Zero. Zilch. Nada.... I can only feel slightly relieved that I backed most of the phone numbers up already, well, up to the letter 'P', and anything not in the SIM card. In the midst of a…

Dolphins!! At St John's!!

Was coming up from a rainy, cold, morning dive, and heard Daniel calling,"Dolphins!! Quick!! Dolphins!"

My 1st thought- this better not be a joke.

Back on Mr Loh's bumboat, the water was slightly choppy...and empty.

However, Daniel, Marco and Mr Loh were all insisting that dolphins were actually JUMPING out of the water just before. Okaaaayy...braved the rain some more and squinted into the distance...and...what's that? Dorsal fins just grazed the surface! Wow! And a few seconds later, one jumped into the air with a graceful flick. It was so amazing to watch them it took incredible presence of mind to grab the camera and position it towards them. As we motored towards SJ jetty, could see Jani jumping up and down (guess her ankle must be healed by now), and more jumps! And breaches! And flips!

These were the Indo-Pacific dolphins, could see their pinkish underbellies and mottled grey backs, and Jani said there was even a completely pink baby!

Nice view for lunch break inde…

Brrrrr......Belumut 13-14 August 2005

This was supposed to be a fun and easy revisit to Pelepah... Since XJ and Eric couldn't make it, decided to try something else instead and Belumut seemed near and do-able enough. We were supposed to meet early, charge up the summit and down again, camp at the base and 'nuah' until early morning, so that we can chill in a nice JB spa.... So much for the best laid plans of men and mice...

13 Aug: Meeting time- 6.45am. Due to unforseen circumstances (ahem), who we shall not name, we finally passed through Woodlands checkpoint at 8am. Reached Larkin at 9am, and realised that we had no choice but to cab to Belumut if we wanted to make it down before it got too dark. Was pondering a tarpau lunch of Marrybrown when...'Since when did McDonald's open at Larkin?????' we had one round of Sausage McMuffins. Negotiated with a cabby from RM100 to RM85, and he agreed to take us to the FOOT OF THE MOUNTAIN.

Half an hour into the ride, the cab driver asked if any of us knew …

Semakau survey results out!

Well, the preliminary survey results, that is. Check out the exciting news at

Day of silence...


I lost my voice today. It has been reduced to an indecipherable whisper, and I wish for a Magna-doodle board so I can actually tell people what I'm saying.

All this just because of an errant fried chicken wing after my training swim yesterday?? Life doesn't seem too fair. Anyway, am obediently on a diet of bland soupy food till I manage something more than a strangled squeak.

So I can't go for the Blue Water Volunteers booth at Divers' Nite at Hard Rock Cafe tonight. Pulled out of the booth manning for the public launch of Pulau Semakau, happening tomorrow, as well. Wish you guys great weather and good business!

In the meantime, it's only emails, sms and MSN for me.....

Semakau survey

I spent my weekend in the mud. Saturday while taking visitors on a guided walk around Kusu Island's coral lagoon (wanna come? see more about the Reefwalk at

On Sunday, woke up early again (low tides always have to be at %@^#&@^ ungodly hours) and boarded a ferry with 70 other people to Pulau Semakau, where we did a mangrove survey.

Pictures and details at the Wild Singapore website.

Results and report coming soon!

Adventures in babysitting

After spending the morning with my hyperactive 18 month old nephew, I have duly concluded that babysitting is a much tougher job than ploughing through thigh deep mangrove mud. Whereas the latter only involved the willingness to get dirty and the ability to crawl on your hands and knees sometimes, babysitting is an exercise in multi-tasking through toilet visits every 15min, grappling with baby shorts while holding the baby so that he pees straight in to the toilet bowl and not on my hand, bouts of singing and making other funny noises, chasing after him when he seems to be able to run in 4 different directions at the same time, coming up with new and exciting games endlessly, trying to comfort him when he cries and shrieks for no apparent reason...until he finally got tired and fell asleep at 12pm.


And the future is...

I was asked if there were no limitations to what is possible, what would I wish for regarding marine conservation in Singapore? (Yes there are marine nature areas including coral reefs in Singapore, go see

This is my answer:

1. I wish for organisations to work together to manage marine areas. Currently, to work in a certain Southern Island, for example, one has to go through various agencies for various permits. Would also be nice if each agency would also share information and data with one another.

2. I wish for protected MARINE nature areas. This pretty obvious, most conservationists would like to have legislation recognise the value of nature areas. We don't ask for much, if a nature reserve is just too much to ask for right now, let's start with some level of protection (like no poaching?), and work from there.

3. I wish for synergy in research efforts between various institutions. 'Nuff said.

4. I wish for greater awareness and education about…

Where's BB?

I can't find BB, my cat. :(

She's about 2.5 years old, short-haired black street cat, with a stump for a tail. She has a white patch on her chest and another on her belly. She has not been home since Sunday night (19 June 2005), last heard her in the house around midnight.

Called the SPCA and AVA, but they don't have a cat fitting the description. If you see her wandering around in the Pasir Ris area, do let me know.... :~~~/

Kilimanjaro training log 19 June 2005

Ran 4km around Pasir Ris and Tampines, plus 30 sit-ups and 10 crunches at Sun Plaza park. Oof my almost non-existent abs...

Undid all the hard work by having massive dinner at Muthu's Curry with the family! Too much MSG though, am having a headache and unstoppable thirst... One to add to my list, sigh.

It's very nice but I've forgotten where it is....

Could be the theme for our weekend hike, also known as 'the quest to find the fine white sand of Sg Pelepah!'

From a estimated three hour hike with three rest stops to swim and play, it expanded to a 'tour-de-Kota Tinggi' where we explored various detours and dead ends for 6 hours. We finally concluded that no hiking trip is complete if we DON'T arrive at the campsite past sunset ("7.30pm is about right.."). Well, the good news is- we now know the Kota Tinggi trails pretty well :), and we achieved our goal to get a good workout this weekend! All's well that ends well..

Plus the various waterfalls, streams and rock pools are very very pretty, so my amnesia rating for this trek is pretty low...and I look upon the swimming sessions and late late dinner with great fondness.

Desmond gave us a scare halfway through the ascent when he slid down a 2m rockface after the 'jacuzzi' waterfall and bounced off a couple of logs at the bottom, where we spotted a…

Gunong Nuang

Gunung Nuang was supposed to be part of our training to get fit in time for Kilimanjaro, but apparently, you need to be fit pretty fit to climb Nuang as well! This mountain is rightfully termed the 'mountain of pain'..

We started out with a early morning meet-up at Woodlands checkpoint at 7.30am. Well, almost everyone was late enough such that TT managed to sneak in a 45min nap! Proceeded over to the car rental place (Hawk) in JB by 8.30am! Great stuff! Initially we couldn't didn't know where the rental office was and was about to hop into a cab when the driver gave us a disdainful look and pointed us RIGHT IN FRONT!!!! Not very good with directions eh?

After a nice slow breakfast of canai and thosai, piled into the Proton Wira and headed north! Our road trip begins! TT drove the 1st leg as Eric was too bamboozled from nights of no sleep. Ming and I were content to lounge in the back while the pile of snacks between us grew in mass... We're wondering where XJ would s…