Sunday, March 23, 2008

Day 5--Semakau

Starfish/octopus/sea cucumber and Ria leading the mudflat look-about

Semakau is the island south of Singapore which serves as the landfill site for all the incinerated ashes of the country’s trash comig from several processing sites. Semakau previously was the home of a native village and culture that was displaced by this islands reclamation and new purpose. The result seems to be a successful, clean operation to handle rubbish but also providing a unique habitat for wild birds and preserving/replanting of mangroves, sustaining an extensive area of mud flat/sea grass and coral rubble and coral reef further out. There is also a tropical forest section behind the mangroves—and plenty of mosquitoes. We saw few birds but a wide variety of species—some exotic or uncommon—but this is a desirable birders site. I saw no shorebirds but one heron was seen by someone else. Our timing put us there at dusk and low tide so we could see the variety of coral/starfish/shell-dwellers which I couldn’t name—and much more.

The ride out to Semakau allowed us to see the massive petroleum factories—one 2 or three largest in the word/ shipping docks-second largest in the world and also Singapore’s state bird (according to our birder guide at Ubin--Raj) the crane—in this case along the docks.

We saw starfish, octopus, sea cucumbers, numerous types of coral, an anemone with “nemo” hiding inside, and –well, I wanted to run about to see the nest thing someone else found. We were calling out in joy with our discoveries to show our finds—seventeen of us—there was no minute without a new find and and a new gathering. Later, we learned that there was much to be seen by staying still and quiet and life emerge from hiding.
We were guided by Ron and a contigent of volunteers and especially Ria Tan.

Please visit Ria’s sites:

Her blog post for Semakau is up on the wildfilms blog

The photos of our visit are also up on Ria’s flickr account

Ria features news on the wildsingapore news blog

1 comment:

tHE tiDE cHAsER said...

Hi Dr Stan, Ron here.

It's been a great experience exploring Semakau with you, Dr Dan and the students from Duke University. Sure hope to see you again next year!

Have also put up a blog entry at