Reef encounters

Pulau Tekukor is a small, thin island just south of Sentosa. Its name is derived from ''tekukur'', the Malay word for the spotted dove. According to heritage blogger Jerome Lim, the island used to be a commercial explosives storage facility in the 19
Pulau Tekukor is a small, thin island just south of Sentosa. Its name is derived from ''tekukur'', the Malay word for the spotted dove. According to heritage blogger Jerome Lim, the island used to be a commercial explosives storage facility in the 1980s. Proposals to turn the island into a sanctuary for long-tailed macaques in the mid-2000s never materialised. Mr Lim also wrote that duels to the death between Malay and Bugis warriors used to take place on Pulau Tekukor, giving the island a bloody past.
Low tide at Terumbu Pempang Laut, one of the Republic's largest submerged reefs, according to environmentalist Ria Tan. The reef, which lies near Jurong Island in the south of Singapore, has seagrass meadows and is home to animals like the fluted gia
Low tide at Terumbu Pempang Laut, one of the Republic's largest submerged reefs, according to environmentalist Ria Tan. The reef, which lies near Jurong Island in the south of Singapore, has seagrass meadows and is home to animals like the fluted giant clam.
Beting Bemban Besar is, according to environmentalist Ria Tan, one of Singapore's biggest submerged reefs. It lies off the western coast of Pulau Semakau, and this photo shows it during low tide. To demonstrate the reef's size, people in the photo ar
Beting Bemban Besar is, according to environmentalist Ria Tan, one of Singapore's biggest submerged reefs. It lies off the western coast of Pulau Semakau, and this photo shows it during low tide. To demonstrate the reef's size, people in the photo are circled in yellow. Besides corals, giant clams have also been spotted on the reef.
The smaller of the two Sisters' Islands, also known as Pulau Subar Darat, is 1.7ha. Big Sister's Island to its right, also known as Pulau Subar Laut, is 3.9ha. Legend has it that the two isles were formed from two sisters who drowned in that spot. Th
The smaller of the two Sisters' Islands, also known as Pulau Subar Darat, is 1.7ha. Big Sister's Island to its right, also known as Pulau Subar Laut, is 3.9ha. Legend has it that the two isles were formed from two sisters who drowned in that spot. The islands are the site of Singapore's first marine park, which spans about 40ha and touches the western reefs of Pulau Tekukor and St John's Island.

Every 10 years, nature lovers in Singapore and the world pay tribute to the wonders of the seas in a year-round celebration. This week marks the start of the third International Year of the Reef (IYOR). It is a worldwide effort to increase awareness and understanding of not just reefs, but also the environments related to them, such as mangrove forests and seagrass meadows. As a tropical island nation in South-east Asia, Singapore lies in some of the world's most biodiverse waters. Although economic development has greatly reduced the size of some of the ecosystems, the Republic still possesses all three of the ecosystems the IYOR aims to protect: mangroves, seagrass and, most importantly, coral reefs. Jose Hong showcases a selection of the 64 islands and various reefs that fringe the country's shores, as seen through the lens of 32-year-old nature enthusiast Heng Pei Yan's drone over the past three years. Those keen on seeing more pictures may visit Ms Heng's Facebook page "SG Sea Drone - Dronietta seashorensis".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 04, 2018, with the headline 'Reef encounters'. Print Edition | Subscribe