Monday, 26 May 2008

Cyrene Impressions

Thanks to Ria Tan and her gang of 15, I got to see Cyrene Reef first hand on 23 May 2008. We took a Dolphin there (that's the name of the boat), departing from the Republic of Singapore Yacht Club at 6am in the morning. Cyrene was serene, almost ethereal as it revealed its face in the low tide. The amphibious landing, as November Tan forewarned, was easier than anticipated. I was amazed at the stretch of sand bank and coral flats that greeted us, looming a good 2-3km ahead, right smack in the middle of the sea. As the sun peaked over the horizon, the sky took on a pinkish hue, a pretty start to a glorious day.

Octopus! This red beauty surfaced only towards the end of the walk. It darted amongst the rocks in a frenzied bid to escape our predatory cameras.

They call it the 'Sea Biscuit', a cute, tiny starfish that reminds me of candied confectionery.

I've always paid scant attention to Sea Urchins, viewing them as only spiny balls. Of course, whenever I see any during dives, I naturally swim higher up to avoid their pricks. Having said that, I was speared by a white sea urchin while in the Philippines (Cebu), as I carelessly stepped into a boat without footwear. It was a gross experience as the urchin's spikes were in such profusion, it appeared that I suddenly acquired a 'furry' toe! The Flipino boat lady tried to pluck out what she could, and when she gave up, I had the unpleasant task of plucking out /breaking off the spikes myself. Apparently, these spikes dissolve in the flesh after a period of time. Coming back to this blackie, I was amazed that it could move its spikes in any direction, something that I had not known before.

Sea Grapes. This sea weed brings back good (or another in its genus) is eaten as a salad in the Philippines (Cebu again!), tasting very much like salmon roe.

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