Dec 19, 2006

Reef Friends Survey- Sisters' Islands Dec 2006

Last Saturday, the monsoon rains took a rest as BWV's ReefFriends Survey team went out to the Sisters' Islands. It didn't bode too well in the beginning, with scientific officers pulling out of the dive, leaving me alone to hold the fort, with a reduced team (we had to cancel one boat) and 2 sites to finish in one day. So much for a lepak lepak trip back to Singapore waters :).

Nevertheless, we had 3 SO's in-training on board, 2 newcomers to Reef Check who were going to learn how to lay tape on-the-job, and a boatful of divers brimming with enthusiasm and confidence (at least, that's what I was saying to myself...)

People ask what it's like to dive in S'pore again after a field trip to the Florida Keys, and the answer is- it was GREAT! The vis was really nice, so clear that I didn't need to use my white balance function on the shallow transect. Plus I really missed seeing my nudis!

Phyllids are sweet...

As is this polka dotted Jorunna

And what's this next to the transect tape?

Our little team of 9 was the epitome of efficiency, and we were done with our first site (Sisters Laut) by lunchtime, just as the current was picking up. Marco, the head RF coordinator, was testing out a new scheme to expand the number of fish and invertebrate species we survey, including nudibranchs and featherstars. Lots and lots of the latter today! Maybe because the currents got pretty strong?

Some of the feather-stars were tiny!

Half an hour later, the tape-laying teams bravely descended into the currents to start the second transect at Sisters Darat. The timing was perfect, such that by the time the benthic survey came around, there was hardly any water movement at all....

Benthic survey means recording immobile stuff like this hard coral!

The invert folks got excited upon seeing this m0nster sea cucumber along the transect line, but alas, it wasn't one of the four edible Reef Check target species.

Amazingly, we wrapped the second survey by 4pm with all data intact! And this concludes the Reef Friends Southern Islands Survey for 2006! More to come next year!

So Reef Check and LIT-trained divers- Where are you??? We need you for future survey dives! Do sign up by emailing with your name, survey experience (e.g. expedition trip), and dive gear rental requirements. Or write to the Reef Friends coordinators, who are all friendly people, at

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