The second island to be surveyed in our Reef Friends programme for 2007, Kusu has always been a challenging site to survey, mainly due to the huge waves generated by the mega-ships that ply our waters. The waves generate momentum and by the time they hit Kusu, can be a meter or so in height.
Map of Kusu Island, showing the location of the survey site.
This has not daunted the reefal organisms though, as Juanhui’s blog shows.
The coral life in the shallows was still pretty amazing, with many sizable colonies more than a meter wide recorded on our transects. Deep down, gorgonians and sea whips thrive, although at a seemingly shallow depth (about 7m) then previously encountered.
The gorgonian garden (photo by Minsheng)
Huibing and Marcel complained (happily, I might add) about the profusion of featherstars (deep invertebrate) and anemonefishes (shallow fish) on their transects. Huibing indicated in an email that she was seeing (feather)stars in her sleep!! There were sometimes so many featherstars on the whips and seafans that they were bent double from the weight!
Marcel, on the other hand, found out why Kusu’s reefs are also known as “Anemone City” to some of us. He had fun counting all the anemonefish that made these anemones their home.
The clincher, however, was the sighting of a lobster at the start of transect 5 (also see Juanhui’s blog). I think almost everyone (except me – I was too busy recording) took the time to go look at the little fella.
The little fella (photo by Minsheng)
Up top, the waves were not as active today as other days – this combined with relatively clear waters and a clear sky, made for a very pleasant trip out – at least, all of us were still looking fresh and smiling at the end of the trip
The data still needs to be compiled as it comes streaming in, so I will post those separately when they are done.