Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Jam-packed June and July at the Sisters' Islands Marine Park

It has been a very busy June and July at the Marine Park! Our first dive cleanup, an important meeting of the Friends of the Sisters Islands Marine Park, lots of public walks, surveys of the marine park for impact of mass coral bleaching and more.
Photo by Stephen Beng.
Stephen Beng, Chair of the grouping saind "Friends of the Sisters' Islands Marine Park met to Strengthen ties within our ocean-loving community, to Share in our efforts to protect our Marine Park, and to Support the good work each of us is doing for our reefs."

First community dive reef clean up

Our Singapore Reefs organised the first volunteer community dive reef clean up in on 4 Jun: Too much trash, not enough time. Among the trash: trolley, anchor, engine battery. 424 pieces of debris weighing over 72 kg collected by 20 divers in just 45 mins. The data is now available online. This effort was part of World Ocean Day celebrations and was featured in the Straits Times!

Lots of intertidal public walks

For the school holidays, there were lots of intertidal walks. Some visitors braved the weather for the walks. Bravo!
Photo by Richard Kuah.
But most enjoyed great weather!
Photo by Richard Kuah.
Abel Yeo won a place on the public walk from an instagram contest run by NParks. He shared some of the wonderful sightings at the Marine Park.

Thanks also to Lester Tan for sharing awesome photos of his trip.

Missed the walks, no worries. Thanks to volunteer guide Vincent Choo who shares lots of live videos of the walks.

Including amusing ones like this one of an 'escaping' moon snail. Do note, all animals are released back to where they are found after visitors have had a closer look at this. By doing it this way, we minimise the impact of trampling while at the same time allow the public a closer look at a wide variety of animals found in the Marine Park.

Thanks to volunteers and staff of NParks for making these walks possible!
Photo by Abigail Leong.
Photo by Abigail Leong.

Surveys of the Marine Park

Last year, the two Sisters Islands were affected by mass coral bleaching, like many of Singapore's other reefs. This year, volunteers surveyed for impacts on the Sisters Islands. On Big Sisters Island, the team was a relieved that most of the corals were not bleaching. But about 50% of the corals were estimated to have died, and some corals had bleaching portions or were very pale.
Living reefs of Big Sisters Island
While Big Sister's Island is open to the public, Little Sister's Island is closed to visits and set aside for research. With permission from NParks, volunteers surveyed Little Sisters Island for the first time since mass coral bleaching hit last year and were relieved to see that most of the corals were alright.
Living reefs of Little Sisters Island, July 2017

Researchers also dive the Sisters Islands. Here's a glimpse of what they saw on such a dive, thanks to volunteer Toh Chay Hoon.

Young botanists from Prof Hugh Tan's lab mapped the vegetation and the locations of rare plants on the islands including the Sisters Islands. Check out the Lee Kong Chian Natural History blog post on the plants that can be found on the Sisters Islands as well as other islands like Pulau Tekukor and St John's Island.
Photo by Alex Yee. From the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum.

The Sisters Islands have a rich cultural history, and among the many stories about them is the gruesome murder that happened here not too long ago. Sharon Teng wrote about this in "Murder more Malevolent" BiblioAsia, a magazine of the National Library. Thanks to Marcus Ng for the heads up.

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.

More about volunteering with the Sisters Islands 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!

No comments:

Post a Comment