From the West to the East, from mangroves to seagrasses.

Had a most enjoyable day last Saturday, 21 September 2013, one of the most awesome Saturdays one could ever ask for.

I woke up bright and early to head to Kranji East mangroves for International Coastal Cleanup Singapore’s annual cleanup. At Kranji East this year, we had Raffles Museum Toddycats and the NUS Biodiversity Crew, Jurong Secondary School and North Vista Secondary School ODAC.

Kranji East, a rather 'ulu' (hard-to-get-to) place in Singapore

Kranji East, a rather ‘ulu’ (hard-to-get-to) place in Singapore

I had initially meant to take the train to Dover, where Raffles Museum Toddycats had arranged for a bus pickup, but my parents decided to have breakfast with me before dropping me there directly.

Thank God for 24/7 coffeeshops in Singapore :D

Thank God for 24/7 coffee shops in Singapore 😀

After dropping me off at Kranji East, it wasn’t too long before the rest of the Toddycats/independents arrived, and Siva gave a briefing.

Siva gives a briefing

Pre-cleanup briefing by Siva

This site had a small but unstable slope down, so for safety’s sake we had a bit of rope for people to rappel down.

Gotta do a bit of rappelling to get past the unstable slope!

Gotta do a bit of rappelling to get past the unstable slope!

And as usual at most mangroves, trash is everywhere! I barely know where to start. Lots of rubber tubings at this site, and the usual food wrappers and drink bags (the kind the coffee shop uncle puts your kopi in when you ask for takeaway) all over. What got me the most this time were the many plastic bags adorning the trees.

"Christmas decorations" of plastic on a mangrove tree >:(

“Christmas decorations” of plastic on a mangrove tree 😡

All kinds of trash accumulate in our mangroves

All kinds of trash accumulate in our mangroves

You also always get the odd item in the mangroves, last year at Lim Chu Kang East mangroves we had huge oil drums (though I don’t think I blogged about it), and this year we have mattresses and a sofa. Maybe someone was intending to make the mangroves his/her home.

Enthusiastic volunteers move out this huge, heavy mattress

Enthusiastic volunteers move out this huge, heavy mattress

And a sofa!

And a sofa!

The tide was relatively low when we started about 8.30am, but quickly rose, and by the time it was about 10.30am, we would have been wading about had we still been at it.

Low tide during cleanup

Low tide during cleanup

And the tide rises quickly, while we were moving out the trash and weighing them.

And the tide rose quickly, while we were moving out the trash and weighing them.

Another interesting item was this skull, possibly a dog skull.

Possibly a dog skull?

Possibly a dog skull with the carnassials still attached.

After we moved all the trash from the Trash Collection Points to the Trash Disposal Points, we headed back to the National University of Singapore (NUS) to wash the gloves and process the data.

A researcher in Japan was trying to use lighters to trace trash flow with currents (if I recall right), and so some of the Toddycats were sorting out where the lighters were collected and photographing them.

Back in NUS, some were sorting the origin of lighters for use in research

Back in NUS, some were sorting the origin of lighters for use in research

The Zone captains were also furiously processing and verifying data as data submissions from their various organisers streamed in.

Zone captains of ICCS Otters processing the data and verifying with the organisers

Zone captains of ICCS Otters processing the data and verifying with the organisers

The ICCS Otters are a bunch of highly motivated and efficient volunteers, and you can view the results of the 2013 cleanup here!

By about 3.00pm, we had to leave for our next activity. Sean Yap and I signed up for TeamSeagrass monitoring at Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin in the evening, and Andy kindly drove us over to Changi Point Ferry Terminal at Changi Village.

Bumboat ride to Ubin

Bumboat ride to Ubin. It was really nice to see that the view hadn’t changed much.

Bumboats at the jetty

Bumboats at the Pulau Ubin jetty. An endangered trade I should think.

After a quick ride in the minibus, we arrived at Chek Jawa and quickly headed out to the sea while the tide was still low.

Siti explaining how to fill in the data sheet

Siti, our Science officer, explaining how to fill in the data sheet

Sean was ‘arrowed’ (targeted) by Siti (Science officer) and Rachel (NParks coordinator) to explain the different species of seagrasses found at Chek Jawa, since he’s been doing this for years.

Sean explaining the different species of seagrasses found at Chek Jawa

Sean explaining the different species of seagrasses found at Chek Jawa

Sean showing what  Halophila ovalis looks like

Sean showing what Halophila ovalis looks like

We then quickly went off to do our monitoring. I was leading a transect line with Le Min and Yu Zhen, and I was really glad to see that the seagrass meadow of Smooth ribbon seagrass (Cymodocea rotundata) was as lush as ever with Spoon seagrass (Halophila ovalis) peeking out in between.

Chek Jawa - immensely grateful for those who managed to get it saved from development for us

Jonathan Tan leading another group to the other site

Seagrass monitoring in progress

Seagrass monitoring in progress

After we were done with our transect, we had a quick wander around before heading back.

Peacock anemone

Peacock anemone

Noble volute

Noble volute

Flower crabs mating

Flower crabs mating (the female is under this male)

Dugong feeding trail??

Dugong feeding trail??

Plain sand star with an arm missing

Plain sand star with an arm missing

Mangrove horseshoe crab

Mangrove horseshoe crab

Sunset

Sunset

Amazing wetland

Chek Jawa – immensely grateful to those who managed to get it saved from development for us

The photos are all a little smaller than usual, cos I took these with my iPhone. Nonetheless, photos just serve to help capture the moment and preserve it in a more tangible form. Enjoying the moment is way more important, and I’m glad for the way I spent my last Saturday in Singapore for another year or so.

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About Jocelyne Sze

I'm a Nature-lover, aspiring conservationist, and wannabe traveller in search of outdoor adventure.
This entry was posted in Outdoor activities and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to From the West to the East, from mangroves to seagrasses.

  1. Pingback: More than 1,500kg of trash cleared at Kranji East mangrove – data, blog posts and photo albums from ICCS 2013 | News from the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore

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