Saturday, February 01, 2014

Kusu Reef: A reef with the lion city view under lots of stress

The reef at Kusu Island is rather unique. It is one reef that has a special view - The cityscape of Singapore. This view can be reach with a 15 mintues ferry ride from Marina South Pier.
Kusu reef with Singapore's cityscape in the distance.
Kusu Island is managed by Sentosa. All visitors are required to pay an entrance fee of SG$0.50 upon arrival at the island. On this island, there is a chinese temple and three Kramats. You can read more about Kusu Island here.
I did not visit Kusu Island for the temples but to check the reefs. It was 2 years since I last checked this beautiful reef with cityscape view. The blog post of my previous trip to Kusu is here.

Unfortunately, one of the lagoons on Kusu Island was hit by oil spill resulted from the collision of two vessels nearby. The details on the impact of the oil spill can be found in a separate blog post.

The reef was rather quiet today but I did see some animals and checked the various types of corals on the reef.

Kusu Island is one location that I know of with plenty of magnificent anemone (Heteractis magnifica) but they seemed to be lesser of them as compared to my previous visit.
Large clusters of magnificent anemone
Of the many anemones I came across, a few of them had the five-spot anemone shrimps (Periclimenes brevicarpalis). It was difficult to get a good photo of them on this trip as they are either in deeper water or in areas with oil slick.
First shrimp spotted.
A five-spot anemone shrimp couple.
The bigger shrimp is female.
Throughout the trip, I only came across two fan worms.
Fan worm 1
Fan worm 2
Only 1 sea slug encountered on this trip. The ornate leaf slug (Elysia ornata).
Ornate leaf slug
2 flat worms, one of which very much prefers to do free swimming than move on the reef.
Dawn flatworm (Pseudobiceros uniarborensis)
Damawan flatworm (Pseudobiceros damawan)
Damawan flatworm swimming
Here's a short video of the damawan flatworm swimming.

In the lagoon, near the sea wall on the right, there was dying quoy's halfbeak (Hyporhamphus quoyi). It was not very active and keeps floating to its side.
Right side view
Closer look at its jaw.
The halfbeak has a much longer lower jaw than the upper jaw.
The reef at Kusu is full of different beautiful corals.
Unknown coral 1
Lettuce coral (Pavona sp.)
Branching anchor corals (Euphyllis paraancora)
Galaxy coral (Galaxea sp.)
Branching montipora coral (Montipora sp.) ?
Unknown plate coral
Unknown coral 2
Coral reefscape at Kusu Island
Sadly, all this beautiful coral reefscape at Kusu are under impact of human dumping activities. Along the trip, we came across mattresses, furnitures and construction materials on the reef, damaging and possibly causing stress to the animals.
Dumped mattress
Magnificent anemone attached itself to the side of the mattress
Dumped mattress breaking off, revealing the springs used.
Mattress springs spread out along the reef.
Mattress sheets covering corals
Some kind of bedside drawers with wheels.
It is upsetting that our beautiful reef is being treated in such manner. There were mattresses dumped all over Kusu Island. All of them are already being encrusted with animals. Furthermore, the mattress sheets could be soaking and absorbing the bunker oil that reached Kusu Island, resulting in slow release of the oil in the long term?

Kok Sheng managed to cover most of the reef around the island and he found more other items being dumped. Read more from his blog post here.

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