Tuesday, 7 August 2012

A Trip to Pulau Semakau

In the wee of hour morning trip to Pulau Semakau on the Saturday 4th Aug 2012 at 5.00am. In the rush after waking up at 3.00am and not to delay, for the first time, I took a taxi at 4.00am at the taxi stand to reach Pasir Panjang Ferry Terminal about 4.30am. The MPA 'comfortable boat was docked at 5.15am after delay about 15 mins to head towards the southern islands and it would take me an hour to reach the point at 6.20am.
Arrived at the Assembly Area
Pulau Semakau and Pulau Sekang (also known as Pulau Seking), were combined together by a rock bund that is Singapore's only landfill for waste disposal, covers approximately 350 hectares of space and has a capacity of 63,000,000 metres cube. Pulau Semakau was commissioned in April 1999.
Pulau Sakeng, the smaller island was the site of a sea village housing several shops catering to both islanders and visitors. Most of the village was built on stilts over the ocean, since most of the residents were fishermen, making a living from the abundance of marine life.
Pulau Semakau on the larger island was a home to a slightly smaller community. In the year 1987, the Government, having acquired the land from the islanders, set about relocating the islanders to the mainland where they were resettled in Bukit Merah and Telok Blangah housing estates.

Morning sunrise at Pulau Semakau

The coastal and inter-tidal areas of the island is always served me on discovery of mainland shores about seagrass, sponges and coral reefs. The guide carefully briefed out the the danger of poisonous species on the tidal flat.
Bakau Tree (mangrove)
Along the sea bund where there's a low tide at the beginning of the walk, the Bakau tree (mangrove) growing on the flat soil - mangroves would have dominated much of the coastal landscape prior to the landfill being established.
The grasslands and mangroves of Semakau Landfill are home to more than 80 species of birds as well as 33 species of butterflies. Many endangered trees and other plants also thrive by the bund, providing healthy habitats for uncommon dragonflies and spiders that exist in harmony with Singapore's offshore landfill. There are over 780 species of interesting flora and fauna at Semakau, including more than 100 rare or threatened species.

Flat Worm

Endangered Knobbly Sea Star
Endangered Knobbly Sea Stars are often spotted on the intertidal reef flat and in the seagrass bed. 
Hairy Crab
Sea snail
Sea Cucumber
 Tube Anemone

The Log
gymnodoris rubropapulosa
Sticky green flat that will stick to your finger if touch
At about 10.00am, part of the tour included the drive to the receiving station where the waste collected from the mainland's rubbish incinerators are transferred from the barges onto the truck.
Collects the waste onto the moving truck
 At about 10.50am, the boat is back to pick us up and head back toward the Marina Ferry Terminal.

From left: Lina Ooi, Juria T. and Jerome Lim
You can read other information that posted the link at Jerome Lim's blog
This tidal walk that I participated in this, is organised by our licensed tour guide Robert Heigermoser and another ways is to which the island can be visited are ongoing activities organised by interest groups such as the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, the Nature Society Singapore.
For more information on Pulau Semakau, activities on Pulau Semakau and the landfill at the NEA website can be found at this NEA Landfill and Landfill Brochure.