Friday, 27 January 2017

Joyful January at the Sisters Islands Marine Park

More delightful public intertidal walks in January, led by volunteers and NParks staff. Giving a glimpse of the amazing marine life found the Park.
Photo by Richard Kuah.
There was also a lovely feature of the Marine Park thanks to Lea Wee of the Straits Times. Announcing that coral bleaching is over and the dive trails are now open again at the Marine Park.

The  low tide walks allows us to explore the vast Sisters' Island lagoon without having to swim or dive!
Photo by Richard Kuah.
Among the exciting encounters, a 'Nemo' or clown anemonefish. These fishes need to live in the safety of its anemone home and will stay close to it even at low tide. More about anemonefishes in Singapore, which are quite commonly encountered on our shores.
Photo by Belinda Tan.
 Thanks to the volunteers and NParks staff for guiding at these public walks!
Photo by Mohammad Juhari.

Photos shared by participants of the walks

More about guided walks at the Sisters' Islands Marine Park on the NParks website.

More about what to expect at a guided walk.

Why should I visit with an experienced and trained guide? Why are places limited on a public walk? Which other shores are accessible to the public? and more in this wildsingapore page.

Dive trails are open again!

Thanks to Lea Wee for a great article in the Straits Times about the Marine Park, announcing that "the reefs at Sisters' Islands Marine Park, which were bleached due to rising sea temperatures last year, have since recovered". The dive trails are now open again.

From Lea Wee's article:

"Open to the public in October 2015, the trails are set at different depths to allow divers to enjoy the unique biodiversity of each one.

The Shallow Dive Trail, which is about 4 to 6m deep, features hard corals, some of which were salvaged from reefs in Singapore that were threatened or designated for reclamation.

The Deep Dive Trail, about 10 to 15m deep, showcases more colourful creatures such as seafans, seawhips and sponges which require less light to survive.
Each trail, which goes in a circular loop, is about 100m long and has 10 stations. These are marked by signs with information about the marine life in the waters.

Some stations engage divers in simple biodiversity or water visibility surveys for instance, by getting them to count the number of fish between two markers or filling in water visibility estimates.

The visibility underwater is estimated to be between 1 and 5m, depending on weather conditions.

Six dive operators have been approved by the National Parks Board to conduct the dives and they must adhere to a code of conduct. For example, they must ensure that their divers do not take, intentionally disturb or touch marine life.

The dive trips take place about two to three times every month. Only eight divers are allowed on each trail at any one time to ensure minimal damage and avoid overcrowding.

The divers get to dive at the shallow trail and at the deep trail, with a break in between.

To go on the dive trip, divers are required to have logged at least 20 dives with one local dive within the past two years and to have a certification beyond entry level from a reputable international training organisation.

Each dive trip, which takes about five to six hours, costs between $130 and $170, usually excluding equipment."

More info about dive dates and who to contact on the NParks website.

MORE about the Marine Park

Catch up with all the happenings at the Marine Park through the Sisters' Islands Marine Park facebook page. You can share your encounters, ideas and thoughts for the Marine Park here. Photos in this blog post are from those who shared on this facebook page. Thank you!

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