Feb 21, 2010
Feb 18, 2010
First you have to pay to go in.. In blood :P Short walk through a rainforest path to the shore. The mozzies there only get fed when crazy people go for an intertidal walk so beware..
Once out of the forest you are facing a wide expence of shore that seems to stretch out for miles until it fades into the sea. The sheer contrast between this and the damp closeness of the rainforest.. Oh and no mosquitoes :)
Our Seagrass Meadow and it's path of death.
Semakau's mine field (But here you do more damage to the mines instead of the other way around) These are the imprints of star fish called the sand sifting sea star (Archaster typicus) They bury themselves during the day and emerge during cloudy days/ at night. Though their name suggests otherwise these are not fish but rather echinoderms which are symmetrical along 5 axis with spiny skin and tube feet. Efficeient bottom feeders, their mouth is located on the center of their “star” on it’s bottom side. They feed by protruding their stomachs from their mouths and mopping up detritus from the sea bed.
Buried sea stars - "bodyprint" caused by them flipping sand up to cover themselves
Gigantic carpet anemone
Hard corals law down a calcium carbonate foundation that acts like a skeleton. This is covered by a thin layer of living tissue made up of individual coral animal called polyps. Each polyp within the colony has a mouth which is surrounded by tentacles that trap food. The skeleton of the coral is called corallite this is a pic of a dead skeleton next to it's living counterpart.
From Latin nudus meaning naked and greek branchia meaning gills this colorful fellow gets his name from these bunches on his back end. They are called branchial plumes from which he breaths. Sort of like carrying it’s lungs/gills on his back. His cephalic (head) tentacles are sensitive to touch and smell and it his club shaped rhinophores that pick up smell. But unlike us it only has simple eyes with only 5 photoreceptors ( we have a few hundred) and can only "see" darkness or light. They are also hermaphrodites (partners fertilise each other they don't self fertilize). Descended from snails they have traded curbsome shells for more efficient defense mechanisms. Some adopt colors similar to that of the sandy floor or even of the corals they live on. Others ingest hydroids or stinging cells from the jellyfish or sponges they eat and express them on theirs skin. The latter few often have an extremely colourful appearance to warn away potential predators. Can they be eaten? Well everything can be eaten though some things only once.. Jokes aside some people do eat them after removing the poisonous organs. Islanders off Russia and Alaska enjoy a variety of boiled/roasted sea slugs.
Black marginated Glossidoris... Beautifull
Phyllid nudibranch (being shy and all curled up)
Everyone brings up Pirates of the caribbean when they see this.. Name? Dead Man's fingers sure look like flaccid water bloated fingers don't you think? This is actually soft coral (Hard coral without it's hard calcium skeleton. Out of water the tiny polyps retract into a soft tissue matrix to avoid drying out when in water they emerge.. Looks like a garden blossoming actually.
When back in water
Pipe fish - relative of the seahorse. Think this one is a daddy.. See the central bulge? The males carry their young llike their cousins.
Feb 17, 2010
Clean energy on Semakau: Wind and solar energy
Lagoon surrounded by the rock bund
Monitoring wells to check for leakage water samples are collected regularly
Picnic sites! Super strong ocean breeze. Semakau is also offering recreational activities like cycling, kite flying, star gazing and fishing. Had a fantastic BBQ here.
You won't believe that that this is a landfill right? As the lots are filled they are covered with soil and seeded. Already many small trees growing making them look like a normal patch of wild grassland. And because it is mainly insinerated trash - there is no smell. I didn't have any good pics of the "true" Semakau. Right at the jetty is a huge building where refuse, comprising incinerated waste from our three incineration plants and construction debris, first arrives from the mainland. It houses 3 ton trucks, cranes that lift one ton of ash at a go, barges that tip the scales at 3500 tons. (these barges are parked at night to avoid busy sea traffic) With incineration reducing the amount of rubbish by? 90%, it is expected (or hoped) that semakau will continue to fulfill our land fill needs till 2045. And after that who knows? An island get-away?
Our local hornbills almost got extinct when we cleared our island of all the old hollow trees in which they nested. Once mated the male seals his wife into a hollow tree by blocking the entrance hole with mud. There she will stay for the months it takes to hatch her brood and for them to grow their mature fight feathers. With no suitable trees we got a few visitors from across the causeway but none remained to breed. Solution? Artificial nesting boxes like the one above. Here is another close up.
Now I think that family has settled in as my new neighbours. Many thanks to those who worked so hard to bring them back. From a super rare sighting they routinely visit the fruit trees in my garden and no one jumps at their loud "wonk wonk" any more. Even Stripes my hunter doesnt spare them more than a disgusted look. Maybe she is used to them but I'm willing to bet she remembers that afternoon when her alpha almost died laughing at her :)