#2 East Johor-Tanjung Sutera Dinosaur Trail

The highlight of our trip to Tanjung Sutera (please see my first post) was venturing through the beachside rocks formed by ash and molten lava that had erupted from an underwater volcano on the South China sea millions of years ago. This was a 2 1/2 km Dinosaur trail and one of the most fascinating formations I’ve seen. Each rock had its own unique features- with vibrant colors that date back to the Triassic age – even before the Jurassic age, when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

Each rock was also teeming with marine life- sea cucumbers, crabs, barnacles, hermit crabs, and creatures I could not recognise! Just like I said in the previous post, it was a totally new ecosystem for me to explore. We actually went to the rocks every day we stayed in Tanjung Sutera, so this is the compilation of the photos of all the days. The first day, we completed the entire trail, but the rest of the days we just explored some rocks and listened to the sea.

We went down the path from the resort to the trail. Most people would just hang around near the beginning of the trail and not venture too deep as the rocks were slippery. But my family, being more adventurous, went through the whole trail to Tahan beach at the end and returned by the main road through the oil plantations back to the resort.

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On the way down the path, we saw this beautiful beetle which was brown but had a whitish upper body:

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Look at this cute crab which was staring at me as it scuttled behind the rocks for safety!

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These rocks were so narrow and straight. We had to balance on it just like a tight rope! It lead to this huge slab of rock where we sat and enjoyed the view of the sea.

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The rocks were filled with these shells, and I think they were of the hermit crabs. I saw a few moving underwater and found three of them fighting with each other.
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Just look at the bright colours of this hermit crab below, with lovely blue pincers and red eyes that pop out from inside the shell. Below are clusters of the Planaxis snails.

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Some beautiful colored rocks. What lovely art Nature makes.

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While climbing one of the rocks, we felt a big movement and looked into the water pool to see a huge red crab which was intently staring at us.  I’m not very familiar with crab names and couldn’t find the species, even though I went through Ria Tan’s and Alan Yeo’s Guidebook to Chek Jawa. Ria Tan helped me identify the species. This one is the Spotted-belly forceps crab:

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There were a lot of mudskippers as well, but they looked different from the ones I’ve seen in Sungei Buloh in Singapore. They had stripes, were smaller, and I think they are the Silver-lined MudskippersPeriophthalmus argentilineatus) :

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I saw these birds twice- once bathing in a rock pool, and another time sitting on a tree. I’m not sure of the species, but I think it is the Olive-winged bulbul (Pycnonotus plumosus):

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Some more crabs that were scuttling around:

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In the middle of the trail, we also spotted on one of trees along the beach, a blue- throated Bee-eater (Meros viridis) that was feeding on a bee. It was actually my first time seeing a bee-eater!

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In this cave-like rock formation we decided to go in and explore. The rocks were very slippery. But in the water we saw these two beautiful corals- one was shaped like a flower and the other like a strawberry! I think that it’s a brain coral.

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In between the rocks, water from the sea had flooded in, allowing marine life to adapt to both land and water.  The amazing thing was to watch the tides go high and low. In the mornings, most of the rocks would disappear with high tide, while in the evenings, the tides would go down and the rocks would pop up again. I wondered where all the water went.

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This is a sea cucumber:

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Other interesting things we saw on the trail include:

This brilliant green algae which looked as if it would glow in the dark. These are the Green gum drops acsidians: 

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These spiny organisms:

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This tube-like organism which had I thought had antlers like a sea anemone. Turns out it is a type of sea cucumber, known as the Black long sea cucumber.

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These small and slimy button-like creatures that were the Banded bead anemones:

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Thanks again to Ria Tan for helping me to identify the species!

After that, we reached the end of the trail, on the beach near the main road. It was such an amazing experience! I had discovered and learnt about a lot of marine life. Even though climbing some rocks was a bit tricky, it was still a great learning experience.

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I can’t wait to go again, because each time you walk along the beach, there’s something new to find!

Lavanya Prakash

Blog- https://mynatureexperiences.wordpress.com/
Twitter- https://twitter.com/MyNatureExp
Facebook page- Mynatureexperiences
Email- mynatureexperiences(at)hotmail.com

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