Pulau Hantu Intertidal walk

I visited Pulau Hantu last year for another intertidal walk experience. The group met at Marina Bay Cruise Centre before sunrise, and boat trip took us 1 hour.

Many in Singapore still do not believe that we have a rich biodiversity in our “urban” settings 🙂

Conservation and protection of our marine assets are the buzzwords nowadays. The recent news about Singapore Blue Plan, and turtle hatchlings on Sisters’ Islands, cultivation of coral reefs in our waters, recreational diving and snorkeling for students in the Southern Islands might be a reality one day 🙂

We are conserving a vital part of Nature heritage for the next generation. I would like to visit a turtle sanctuary on Sister Islands one day too.

Back to our Pulau Hantu trip…   Different skyline along the ferry journey, high rise buildings replaced by view of oil storage tanks and chimneys.

As with all intertidal walks, the best period is when water is ankle level or lower. This would allow us to view more marine creatures.

Reached Pulau Hantu and we can see clear water. Hantu in Malayu actually means ghost 🙂
No haunting on the island, but we spotted many marine creatures, we got to touch some of Singapore’s rich biodiversity.

This is all the more amazing when Pulau Bukom’s oil storage tanks and chimneys are less than 500m away from us.

Pulau Hantu
Pulau Hantu

Amazingly, thousands of vessels pass through Singapore Strait every day, brushing so near to the Southern Islands.

Visitors can learn about Pulau Hantu history.

Grass, trees and ferns. Feels like a nature park. This island is usually quiet.

Blue sky, clear water, and that is Pulau Bukom refinery in the background.

oogle Map below, Pulau Bukom is so near (to the North) I might be able to swim across. We can see the chimneys.

To the South is Pulau Semakau, a landfill for Singapore’s waste (ashes) but has evolved into an excellent example of how Singapore conserves our biodiversity even though we have limited land space.

Read Semakau episode , it is our best intertidal experience in Singapore.

Our guide will bring us single-file to spot more marine creatures and other oganisms.

Seagrass is staple food for dugungs (sea cows). We heard wild Dugungs and Dolphins are regulars in Singapore waters.

And other patches of greens, which looks like a carpet.

I believed these are some corals foundations.

Petrol-chemical industry coexist with rich marine biodiversity. Foreground coastal ponds and oil storage tanks in the background. WHAT a contrast!

One day, this stalk of mangrove will flourish and offer protection and sanctuary for inland coastal area.

Wildlife and marine ecosystem are resilient and can thrive in harsh  environment. Marine life galore, guide will display some specimens in the containers for us to view.

Besides the sea cucumber, anemone and starfishes, some other creatures are acorn worm, clipper and pea crab. Sand collar and sea sludge, but no oysters or scallops.

Nothing beats an outdoor science classroom.

Sea star (right photo above) is different from starfish.

Our guides told us that goby fish cohabitat with shrimps, benefiting each other. Shrimps maintains their habitat, and goby’s good eyesight protect the shrimps from predators.

Flower crab (below right), a delicacy to some.

The translucent white slug is unique, but we heard some slugs are voracious hunters.

Catch of the day was a stone fish. It would be excruciating painful if you step on this well-camouflaged species!

Before we left Pulau Hantu, we cleared some of the rubbish off the islands. Although no one lives on the island, but current will bring rubbish in from the sea.

Do visit more photos on our Facebook album.

GPS for Pulau Hantu is “1.224857, 103.748914”. Do look out for more future offshore explorations from Nature Groups.

You may visit our Intertidal experiences at this link.(Sisters, Semakau, Chek Jawa. If your child loves everything Marine and nature, do pop by “http://www.wildsingapore.com

ps.. Our Pulau Hantu trip was organised by Lee Kong Chian Museum, and sponsored by HSBC.

Sisters’ Islands Intertidal walk

Boon Kang would like to swim in Sisters’ Islands (姐妹岛)’ lagoons. This pair of Southern islands have been designated as Singapore’s first marine park.

When we arrived at Sisters’ Island (big island) pier, sky is still dark. During this period, the tide is lowest, thus optimal to spot the marine creatures.

With coconut trees swaying by the coastline, the backdrop could be a beach resort from Malaysia or Thailand. (sing Sisters’ Island, Sunny Island Set in the Sea)

Amazing sunrise from across the horizon.

All of us are eager to explore Singapore’s first Marine Park.

Map of Singapore’s offshore islands. Sisters’ Islands are directly below Sentosa.
Map of sisters Island
(map credit coralreef.nus.edu.sg)

The visitors are split into three groups, there are two lagoons on Big Sisters’ Island. As the tide is still low, we can walk straight into the lagoon.

Some of the plants and creatures which can only be seen during low tide. (Apologies as Daddy do not have the name for most of them). Our friendly guides will be most helpful to answer your queries 🙂

(From Left to Right) Anemone shrimps on the carpet anemone, Sea worm’s poo, and a single stalk of mangrove seedling.

Fluted Giant clam (we heard it is a delicacy) and Brain coral.

Guess why this snail is called Moon Snail? (hint: its egg case is round)

Starfish spotting. For some of us, this is the first time we are seeing the starfishes so near.

These starfishes are very well camouflaged, and they like to burrow themselves into the seabed.
Starfish Singapore

Dead crab and rubbish can be seen littering the floor. Some of the rubbish float in during high tide and most rubbish are man-made.

For the kids, this is a fun and interactive outdoor classroom. Our guides will share which sea creatures we can touch. (gently please, and maybe leave the crab alone).

Forget about pepper crab, this Red Egg crab is not edible. Below pic is some sort of sea slug (Nudibranchs).

A tiny Octopus and Black flatworm (looks harmless but it actually leech itself onto its prey and suck them dry!). These creatures are placed in pails for us to understand more about them and they are released at the end of our trip.

Video : Tour of Sisters’ Island

Enthusiastic visitors soak up every nugget of information from our guides.

Patches of beautiful green seaweed, like an underwater meadow.

As our guide Ria is showing us the difference between seaweed and seagrass, offshore refineries are just across the sea.

Huge containers and oil tankers ply the busy waterway of Singapore, yet the marine diversity in Singapore’s offshore islands continues to thrive!

Not sure what is this plant, but it stands resolutely on its own. Against the elements, determined to flourish. A green petal of Life.

Exploration is possible on dry land too. We found so many casuarina seeds, and grasshoppers are thriving on this island (near extinct on mainland).

Fauna on the island.

As the tide slowly rises, we have come to the end of our 90 minutes tour.

Little bit of Sisters’ Islands history.

Before we board the ferry, try to spot the corals under the jetty.

Bye Bye Sisters’ Islands and our guides 🙂

The brothers enjoy their Sisters’ Islands trip. Although wading in the water with soggy socks might be uncomfortable, they still love the refreshing experience.

(image credit Pei Yan)

Tips to enjoy your Sisters’ Islands trip :

1) The ferry departs punctually from Pasir Panjang terminal. Do arrive early as the way in is not straightforward
2) If you are prone to seasick, do prepare a plastic bag. The Ferry is confined and air conditioned
3) At Sisters’ Island, follow your guide’s instruction. Try to walk in a single file as we want to sustain (and not kill) the marine life environment
4) Wear your bootie, boots or just wear your old running shoes. Socks will be wet, sandy and soggy. Enjoy the experience.
5) Monkeys inhabit the islands, do not expose your food or feed them
6) There is a toilet facility on the Island

** There are 4 more Sisters’ Islands tours before the end of 2014 (evenings slots). Do pop by Nparks link for the next schedule. Quick fingers are needed as many families will be trying to register.

7) Nparks’ Sisters’ Islands tours are Free. If you charter your own boat, it will be $300+

8 ) Ria (in black with bandana) was our Chek Jawa guide last round. She runs the popular nature website/blog Wildshores of Singapore which offers nature trails too. Do pop by her detail Sisters’ Islands review here, here and here (2014Sep weekend).

9) Video : You must catch the paranomic overhead view of the two lagoons from a Drone’s view (courtesy of Pei Yan)

A big Thank You to Nparks for organising this Fun trip, and our friendly and knowledgeable guides too! (Ria Tan and Pei Yan, and nParks’ Collin, Guan Xiong and Alice)

Click for more images.

More Sisters’ Islands photos can be found on our Fanpage album.
Checkout other intertidal walks from Sengkangbabies too, Chek Jawa and Pulau Semakau.