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  The Straits Times, 11 Feb 05
Finding Nemo? It's all here at the reefs
by Radha Basu

TRAMPING around muddy shores on a lazy holiday afternoon may not be everyone's idea of fun, but the 60-odd nature enthusiasts who turned up for a reef walk on Kusu Island yesterday saw plenty of exotic sea creatures.

There were 'chocolate chip' starfish, golden, brown and blue corals, ugly sea cucumbers and plenty of transparent shrimp anemone. And as dusk darkened the Shenton Way skyline across the Singapore Strait, a bright orange and white clownfish - immortalised by Disney character Nemo - also made a brief appearance, nestling in a dazzling purple anemone.

Fringed by coral reefs, Kusu is a small island on Singapore's southern shores. The walk - held during low tide - was organised by a marine conservation group called Blue Water Volunteers (BWV). Since its inaugural walk in November last year, the group has organised two more, led by trained guides.

Walk coordinator Khoo Min Sheng said BWV started the tours when it realised most Singaporeans do not even know 'the beauty and the natural heritage that lies unacknowledged in our backyard'.

'The common perception is that reefs are usually underwater and therefore visible only to divers,' said Mr Khoo. 'But during low tide, many of the reefs hugging the shores get exposed and you can see them simply by walking on the shores of islands such as Kusu and Pulau Hantu.'

Civil servant Johnson See, 51, and his family have spent years diving in famous spots like the Great Barrier Reef, Maldives and Seychelles. 'The amazing thing is that some of the stuff we have seen overseas is right here on our tiny shores,' he said.

To families that don't dive, the experience was all the more enjoyable. 'I had no idea you could see a clownfish like Nemo just by walking on a beach in Singapore,' said Bedok resident Helga Ong.

The 43-year-old spent the afternoon scouring the shores with seven family members, including her 73-year-old mother and two young children. 'But it's good we had the guides around, or we wouldn't know where to look,' she added.

more about Kusu Island
photo gallery of what you can see at Kusu Island
info for visitors to Kusu Island

more about Blue Water Volunteers and their work on our reefs

more about the reefwalks

Related articles on Wild shores of Singapore

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