13 October 2014

Fun field workshop with volunteer guides at the Sisters Islands Marine Park!

Introducing the volunteer guides of  the Sisters Islands Marine Park. We a great field workshop last night.
We practiced our stories, got familiar with the walk route and practiced 'seeking' for special animals to share with the visitors.


On the way in the boat, we practiced stories about the places and things we saw. We also checked everyone's first aid kit (all guides should carry one). But we learned yet one more important item for the safety kit. 'Medicated oil', useful for anyone suffering from sea-sickness. Thank you Le Min!
All too soon, we arrived at the Sisters Islands!
As soon as we land, we can see amazing marine life growing right on the pontoon at the jetty!
Here's Ian taking a photo of the colourful corals growing on the pontoon.
It was a rather hazy day, we couldn't even see the flyer on the mainland. The island is Pulau Tekukor, also part of the Sisters Islands Marine Park.
As guides, we can talk about something almost anywhere on Sisters Islands. Here is Ian telling us fascinating stories about barnacles found right on the pontoon.
We work in small groups so as to avoid trampling and disturbing the animals. The Great-billed heron continued to forage even as we checked out the shore.
We stopped at a rocky shore and saw Onch snails, a snapping shrimp and many kinds of seaweeds. saw this hidden octopus trying to bring back this crab into its burrow. On the sandy shores, we also saw Moon snails, Acorn worms, blobs of Peachia anemones and various sponges.
Soon it got dark, but we kept on going! We had a quick look at the seagrasses in the small lagoon. And also stopped at the Giant clam.
At the sea star zone, almost all the Common sea stars were in mating position!
Even above the high water mark, there are things to see and talk about. Such as the Sea poison tree. As it got dark, there were lots of Land hermit crabs everywhere. Sadly, we came across the shell of a Red-eared slider, a freshwater turtle, that was probably abandoned on the island. It was probably eaten by the wild monkeys there. Please do not abandon pets in the wild, it is cruel and can harm nature too. More here.
In the dark, there were lots of octopuses out and about! Also many Blue-spotted fantail rays. Other sightings include a papa frogfish with eggs stuck on him. Vincent too a great video clip of it.
Among the exciting finds were a Yellow-lipped sea krait found by Ian.
Photo by Sean Yap on facebook.
We also practiced 'seeking', finding interesting animals to bring up to the high shore so that visitors can have a look at them without trampling the shore. Among the awesome finds were a Red-egg crab, a Flower crab, a Hairy crab, a White-rumped sea cucumber, several Gong-gong snails.
Xiuling is a teacher and experience shore guide. She demonstrates a great use for a bucket. To look at the underside of an animal without stressing it too much. Sek Chua brought UV light to show animals glowing in the dark!
Another group found a Spider conch!
The Find-of-the-Day was a live Cone snail! These snails are highly venomous and their sting can cause death in humans. So only experienced guides can handle them. Fortunately, after our rather scary discussion of safety during the classroom workshop, when Boyi saw the snail, he did not touch but alerted Pei Yan who safely collected it. These snails are rarely encountered on our shores and its presence suggests a healthy reef.
Here's a much nicer photo of the cone snail by Pei Yan.
Photo by Heng Pei Yan on facebook.
All too soon, the tide turned and it's time to go home. In the boat, we share photos of what we saw and ate up snacks shared by generous fellow guides.
Thanks to all the enthusiastic volunteers for making the field trip fun and a success. We shared and learned a lot from one another! Special thanks to all the facilitators and to NParks. We are now all ready to help out at the walks for the public at the Sisters Islands Marine Park.

This training programme is a collaboration among NParks, National Biodiversity Centre, The Leafmonkey Workshop, Ria Tan (wildsingapore) and the volunteer guides of The Naked Hermit Crabs.

Related links
Posts by others on this trip

More about the Sisters Islands Marine Park

The Marine Park includes the Sisters' Islands and the western subtidal shores of Pulau Tekukor and St. John's Island as indicated on this diagram.
Diagram from the NParks website.
Want to come for public walks at Sisters Island? MORE dates are available! From the NParks website (also the link for online registration when registration opens).
DateTimeOnline registration* period
14 August 2014, Thursday
 7.30am - 9.30amFULLY BOOKED
15 August 2014, Friday
7.30am - 9.30amFULLY BOOKED
10 September 2014, Wednesday
6.00am - 8.30am
1 August 2014, 12.00am – 8 August, 11.59pm
11 September 2014, Thursday
6.00am - 8.30am
1 August 2014, 12.00am – 8 August, 11.59pm
23 November 2014, Sunday
4.30pm – 7.00pm
1 October 2014, 12.00am – 8 October 2014, 11.59pm
24 November 2014, Monday
5.00pm – 7.30pm
1 October 2014, 12.00am – 8 October 2014, 11.59pm
22 December 2014, Monday
5.00pm – 7.30pm
1 November 2014, 12.00am – 8 November 2014, 11.59pm
23 December 2014, Tuesday
5.00pm – 7.30pm
1 November 2014, 12.00am – 8 November 2014, 11.59pm
*Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis
**There are no tours in October as the tides are not favourable

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