Ocean Fest 2024: Sea-ing the unseen and the need for ocean conservation

Three years ago, I distinctly recall YouTuber Mr Beast starting a fundraising campaign titled #TeamSeas: An initiative which turned a tide of online engagement into real-world impact as he mobilised millions across the globe to donate to help clear over 30 million pounds of trash. It was surreal seeing how quickly one man’s initiative reached its goals, and in turn, underscored the growing global awareness of the importance of marine conservation. Here in Singapore, you can find this spirit of dedication towards the environment echoed in Ocean Fest 2024! 

Happening from 20 May to 19 July 2024, Ocean Fest 2024: Righting the Future by the S.E.A Aquarium is back for its fifth edition, and it highlights the critical need for marine protection and conservation as well as celebrating the ocean’s hidden treasures,

This is in conjunction with World Oceans Day, which is just around the corner. So, if you’re looking to dive into a world where education meets excitement, come along with me as I take you through the activities and installations you can find at this year’s Ocean Fest.

Unseen Beauty

Through the lens of Singaporean photographer Toh Xing Jie, you can discover the hidden gems of species found in our waters. Before visiting this commissioned exhibition titled Unseen Beauty, I lacked knowledge of our local marine life as it was easy to assume that it wasn’t anything exciting due to the size of our tiny island. However, just below the surface, a secret world of biodiversity thrives in Singapore’s waters, and you can have a close-up view of this little-known underwater realm at Toh’s photo exhibition. 

Having won a top prize at the Nature Photographer of the Year awards last year for a photo of a nautilus clinging onto a plastic bag, this fact is reflected in how he expertly captured the beauty of our marine life. 

On the day of my visit, Toh came down to share stories about his exhibition, which is how I learned about the marine life he photographed for the first time. He shared that he had taken at least 40 dives to capture the photos, and the efforts clearly paid off as he managed to photograph this difficult-to-capture marine life. 

Ocean Fest 2024: Toh Xing Jie
Toh Xing Jie on the Whip Coral Goby, which he shared, was difficult to photograph as they are incredibly skittish, so one wrong move meant it would dart away like a bullet!

Some creatures that you can learn more about and appreciate their beauty include the Nudibranch, a marine gastropod mollusc with finger-like projections called cerata on its back for nutrient and oxygen intake and the Amphipod, which plays a crucial role as scavengers and assistants in nutrient cycling in the ocean. 

If I sound like some sort of marine expert, that’s Toh’s photo exhibition doing the heavy lifting! Each displayed photo comes with a description of the pictured creature and a QR code for you to scan to find out more about the said creature, so you’re getting a learning experience out of this stunning gallery as well.

Ocean Fest 2024: Unseen Beauty
Curious about the Amphipod like me? Scan the QR code to learn more about this tiny but stunning creature!

Ocean Memories

Take a peek into the dreams and memories five Singaporeans have of the sea through this installation entitled Ocean Memories, which is a distinctive, specially curated video wall. From an 8-year-old boy fascinated by the ecosystem to a dive enthusiast whose love for diving and the sea was spurred by her first, unforgettable encounter with sea turtles, these narratives of these various walks of life all feature their heart-warming experiences and relationships with the ocean.

Ocean Fest 2024: Ocean Memories
In the shape of a book, Ocean Memories opens your eyes to stories Singaporeans have about the ocean

In a poetic twist, their memories and aspirations are juxtaposed against the ocean’s current state, hopefully inspiring you to make a difference and preserve it when you see and hear their stories.

Waves of Hope

Another booth to further your appreciation for marine life is Waves of Hope, an educational booth where you can learn about the prehistoric horseshoe crab, a ubiquitous species in Singapore waters.

This booth is in collaboration with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Horseshoe Crab Conference and coincides with the upcoming International Horseshoe Crab Day, which is 20 June 2024. 

Ocean Fest 2024: Waves of Hope
If you’ve ever wanted to be part of the S.E.A Aquarium’s conservation efforts, Waves of Hope is your one-stop booth for all the need-to-know information!

Featuring information on horseshoe crab conservation efforts and S.E.A Aquarium’s outreach programmes, be inspired to participate in the aquarium’s conservation efforts! The S.E.A Aquarium’s youth ambassadors will also be present to share their experiences with Singapore’s shores from 19 to 21 June 2024. 

Some of the local conservation work that will be shown includes an innovative synthetic alternative to horseshoe crab blood, which is still unfortunately widely harvested, and the conservation of horseshoe crabs’ local habitats.

Marine Conservation Quest

Drawing from arcade pin-ball style games, Paper Carpenter, a local team of cardboard artists, built a fun installation for you to play! Get hands-on and help release a “marine creature” back into the sea by navigating it through an ocean of obstacles made of trash and slopes representing sea waves through the Marine Conservation Quest!

To play this pinball game, twist a wheel to guide a ball (aka your “marine creature”) sitting in a lift up to the starting point before it releases to allow the ball to roll through the course. Along the way, you’ll encounter obstacles and slopes, and you can twist more handles to guide your ball to safety!

Ocean Fest 2024: Marine Conservation Quest
Marine Conservation Quest also displays facts about the harm pollution in our oceans cause

Every obstacle in this installation is made from recycled materials, showing how well-crafted and conscious the team was in incorporating the spirit of environmental consciousness and the message of safeguarding the ocean and its biodiversity.

Learn from Industry Experts

If you’d like to further enhance your knowledge of the world underwater, you can hear from industry experts from the Asia-Pacific region only at the Ocean Dome and online on 18 May, 25 May, and 21 June 2024.

On 18 May, Dr. Elena Kupriyanova, Senior Research Scientist, Marine Invertebrates Division, Australian Museum, Sydney, will introduce you to calcareous worms and discuss their taxonomy and ability to guard themselves against predators and extreme environmental conditions.

Then, on 25 May, Dr. Conni Sidabalok, a Researcher at the National Research and Innovation Agency, Cibinong, Indonesia, will introduce you to the diversity and taxonomy of marine isopods found in forests and oceans!

Finally, Mr. Lester Tan, leader of the Horseshoe Crab Research and Rescue programme under the Marine Conservation Group, Nature Society Singapore, will wrap up the talks on 21 June. Through his sharing, you’ll learn more about horseshoe crabs and why they are precious to our biodiversity.

If you are interested, S.E.A Aquarium ticket holders can attend the talks in person and learn about marine biodiversity at no additional cost if they successfully register their interest via the form here!

Seats at the Ocean Dome are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis, so you can always join the talks online if you can’t get a seat! RWS’ website has more details on the talk, including links to reserve your sets!

Ocean Fest 2024: Entrance
The wave of action and awareness flows into Ocean Fest 2024

With the wave of enthusiasm for ocean conservation continuing to swell over the last few years, consider visiting S.E.A Aquarium’s Ocean Fest 2024 to take part in the movement! I could feel the powerful dedication to marine conservation pulse through me as I heard passionate stories on this important movement at the event, and I’m sure you’ll feel it, too, when you’re at the S.E.A Aquarium. 

There’s so much to explore, and once you step into Ocean Fest’s world of wonder, you’ll never want to leave. For more information, you can visit RWS’ official website

Ocean Fest 2024: Righting The Future at S.E.A Aquarium

🗓️Date: 20 May to 19 July 2024
📍Location: 8 Sentosa Gateway, Sentosa Island, Singapore 098269
💲Price: S$41/Adult and S$31/Child
Opening hours: Daily from 10am to 5pm, except Wednesdays from 10am to 6pm

Photos by Pauline Caoile of the DANAMIC Team.

Glenda Chong

Down to yap about anything related to K-Pop and pop culture anytime, anywhere.

Related Articles

Back to top button