May 30, 2006

ReefFriends survey dive at Semakau

Last Sunday I took part in the BWV ReefFriends survey dive at Pulau Semakau. We had two boats and Jeff and I were the scientific officers for our boat. Just after we finished laying the shallow transects for the survey, we chanced upon a bubu (fish trap). It was on the reefslope and didn't have any buoys or lines attached to it. According to the Blue Tempeh, it is likely to be abandoned, or it would have been difficult to relocate and retrieve anyway.

As Jeff and I circled it, I saw something appear and quickly disappear within it. The visibility that day was pretty bad so I couldn't quite make out what it was. But after hanging around for a while, I realised it was a big cuttlefish!


Did I ever mention how much I love cuttlefish? Not as food, of course... Anyway. We circled the trap looking for the door and cuttlefish followed us from within. When we found the door and opened it, it came out immediately and hung around us for quite a while. This is it just after emerging through the door.

It was about 30cm long (with tentacles)

Check out the patterns on its body. It's exactly the same algae-covered, hexagonal patterns as the trap! How delightfully clever! My mum couldn't believe it and insisted that it stayed inside so long that the algae had grown on its body. In actual fact, the cuttlefish is able to change not only the colour, but also the texture of its skin. Amazing!

Inside the trap there was also a red-egg reef crab. But that one needed to be cajoled out the door (actually more like gentle prodding).

Big crab!

1 comment:

Papa Jeff said...

Hey Abby,

Despite the good dive (every dive is a good dive, eh?), you didn't mention all the things that went wrong during the survey ... transect laid at wrong depth ... your lost (and, luckily, found) slate with the data ... the torrential sediment rain ... the low visibility (I think you mentioned that) ....

Ah well, just another dive in Singapore! :P