Monday, August 19, 2013

Coastal greenery at Sematan

Long stretches of beach are fringed with tall Ru and coconut trees

Ru tree visited by a colourful bird.
 On a recent visit to Sematan, I watched long stretches of wide sandy beaches portraying the tropical look of swaying coconut trees and greenery.  The casuarina trees are called "Ru" in Malay.  These trees and the coconut palms dominant the coastal greenery but below them are a rich diversity of flowering shrubs. Of interest are the Sea Hibiscus (Hibiscus tiliaceus), Sea Lettuce (Scaevoda taccada)  and the Sea Ox eye (Wollostonia biflora).  On the sandy ground floor I noticed the Common Morning Glory ( Ipomoea purpurea) and another vine that is new to my eyes.
Typical coastal vegetation fringe ...large and tall Ru trees and shrubbery below and vines on the sandy beach floor
Ru (Casuarina equisetifolia )
Family : Casuarinaceae - Casuarina family

Young Ru treelets grown from its 'fruits' which are cones, although cones are not fruits.

Coconut trees (Cococ nucifera)
 I love to see swaying coconut leaves but I love most its young nuts opened and drinking its refreshing coconut water.  I was particularly fascinated by a small flock of parrots that fly to a tall but dead coconut trunk.  They seemed to be using the top of the trunk to clean their beaks.

 Three flowering shrubs or rather small trees that are abundantly free-flowering are the Sea Hibiscus, Sea Lettuce and Sea Ox eye.  The Sea Hibiscus has bright yellow flowers that gradually turn pink during the day ( see inset).
Sea Hibiscus (Hibiscus tiliaceus)
Family : Malvaceae - Hibiscus family

Sea Lettuce (Scaevoda taccada)
 The flowers of the Sea Lettuce look like half-flowers.  Its 5-lobed corolla is completely split down in its upper side and flared out like a fan.
Sea Lettuce (Scaevoda taccada)
Family : Goodeniaceae - Goodenia family

Free-flowering low shrubbery - Sea Ox eye ( Wollastonia biflora)

Pokok Serunai (Malay) - Wollastonia biflora
Syn : Weedelia biflora
Family : Compositae - Sun flower family

Common Morning Glory (Ipomoea purpurea)
Family : Convolvulaceae - Morning Glory family
 On the sandy floor I saw the Common Morning Glory.  There is however another plant that is uncommon to my eyes.  It has purple flowers that look more from the sub-family Papilionoideae, with flowers closely resembling the Clitoria ternata or the Butterfly pea but leaves of the Morning Glory.  Its pod makes it under the family of Leguminosae or Bean family which is further divided into the sub-families - Caesalpinioideae, Mimosideae and Papilionoideae.  Peculiar to the Papilionoideae, the upper petals stands out by its larger size and different shape with the two lower petals  united.

Sematan escapade

Sematan Palm Beach resort

 The Hari Raya celebration is almost over which started on the 8th of August.  To cap it all we took a one night stay at Sematan Palm Beach Resort some 110 km away from Kuching city.  The resort is easily reached by car in approximately one hour and a half hours journey, through a countryside of rolling hills, greenery and pleasant rural village landscape.  The beaches at Sematan are long and gradually slopes into the South China Sea. It is very popular among Kuching nites who flock there to enjoy its beaches, sun and scenery during holidays and more often at weekends.
Stretches of wide beaches at Sematan

 There is a swimming pool that is located a few yards  in front of the chalets and fronting the beach.  From the pool you can see the Turtle islands of Talang-Talang and Satang.  What is interesting about the place is its serenity.  There are no sound of cars on roads nearby and instead visitors and guests hear the sounds of birds, wind, waves, laughter and occasionally rain.
Turtle islands of Talang-Talang and Satang in the distance..

The resort is well-maintained, well-landscaped and the room charges and food moderately priced.

View from inside Saffron chalet, where we put up for the night.

Satisfied guests...

Fun time in the swimming pool...

Friday, August 16, 2013

Happy with the goats

 We visited a lovely lady at Samarahan during the Hari Raya holidays, where we were treated to lunch and a tour of her goat farm.  The farm is well maintained and the 70 heads of goats looked healthy and well-fed.  Most of the fodder are obtained from the site where the various fodder crop like napier and mulberry  are planted in rows for easy harvesting.  So far the goats are reared and bred for meat and majority are of the boer species though much inter-breeding is tolerated.
Fodder crop - napier seen as tall grass in the background

Feeding time - twice a day..
 There is much technical and management skills required to operate a successful goat farm.  Demand is high for the supply of goat's meat in Sarawak but has never been met satisfactorily due to the difficulties in rearing and breeding them, not to mention the myriad of support services required to expand the farm like financial accessibility, veterinarian expertise, mechanisation practices and skilled labour.   Mok's success in keeping her stable of goats is exemplary and there is much to be learned from her success for aspiring entrepreneurs.
"Mok", proud owner of the goat farm

Thursday, August 8, 2013

2013 Hari Raya Aidilfitri family gathering

Hj. Yussop and wife seated at the center , with their children, grand children, and great grand children..

Hj. Yussop and wife with their children.
 This year Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri gathering held on the first day of Syawal (10th month of Muslim calender) has been merry and memorable.  This year my father will be 91 years old come 22 September and my mother will be 88 years old on 22nd October.  We took the opportunity to take a group photo of our big family, as it is not often that we can meet at one place and time like on the first  day of Syawal when we see our parents and other family members  to  celebrate the successful completion of the month-long fasting during the month of Ramadhan.  For many years now we always arrange this annual big family re-union at my parents place in Bintulu.  Here's more pics taken during the occasion.
The men in the family with their spouses
Grandsons and their spouses
My sisters with their husbands

Conversation over Raya delicacies, food and drinks...