Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Natural Attractions in West Papua

West Papua is a very important destination for anyone who is interested in everything about coral reef and rainforest. Every year, before the Covid-19 pandemic, thousands of international visitors went to this region to see the beauty of its marine life and watch the exotic courtship dance of birds of paradise.

There were visitors who were traveling solo or in very small groups of 3 to 4 people and relied on local guide like me to accompany each of them to see tropical reef fish and wildlife in the rainforest. But there were also visitors who came in big groups to enjoy scuba diving using the service of big companies that provide liveaboard scuba diving cruise boats to remote islands in Raja Ampat, Cendrawasih Bay and Triton bay.

As the largest tropical island in the world, New Guinea can be considered as one of the epicenters of biodiversity. The indigenous people depend on the wealth of plants and animals both at sea and in the forest for their survival. They get timber for house construction, herbs for their traditional medicine and animals as their source of protein. Sago trees are cut and processed to produce starch and coconut fruits are grated, squeezed to produce coconut milk. This milk could be boiled to make cooking oil.

A German tourist in Raja Ampat was swimming over pristine coral reef
A German tourist was  enjoying snorkeling in Raja Ampat
 
French and Spanish visitors were watching Lesser Birds of Paradise in Susnguakti forest of Manokwari
European visitors were watching birds of paradise in Susnguakti forest of Manokwari
A European tourist was watching King Bird of Paradise using a spotting scope
A European Tourist was watching King Bird of Paradise in Susnguakti forest of Manokwari

British girl was making chilli sauce while camping in the jungle of Manokwari
A British visitor was making chilli sauce when taking a multiple day camping tour in the jungle of Manokwari
Coral reef and tropical rainforest absorb CO2 gas that we emit every day from our farming, household, industrial, and transportation activities. They are also the largest deposit of plants and animals on earth. They have to be protected because science and technology that we develop to improve living standards often need natural resources from these coral reef and rainforest.
Ecotourism is a strategic scheme that I and my friends try to develop in West Papua to generate alternative income for local people and at the same time preserve our nature. We offer multiple day tours to rainforest and coral reef for visitors to enjoy hiking, sightseeing, wildlife watching, snorkeling and other related activities that are environmentally friendly.
Visitors who are interested in taking this tour need to take international flight from their country to Jakarta (the capital of Indonesia). After that, they can continue their trip to Manokwari city by plane. Airlines such as Batik Air, Sriwijaya Air and Lion Air provide regular flight service between Manokwari and other major cities in Indonesia. 
There are hotels, lodges, inns, restaurants, shops and supermarkets in Manokwari city to cater the needs of visitors before and after their trip to remote coral reed and mountainous areas. When visitors spend a few days in the jungle, tents, sleeping bags and other camping equipment will be needed. In Susnguakti forest of Manokwari, we have prepared them for visitors. In Mount Soyti of Arfak range, comfortable guesthouses are available. For traveling to other remote forests, beaches or islands, we can arrange an accommodation inba homestay in a village or we use camping equipment.
I can meet visitors at the airport or hotel in Manokwari and organize their tours to remote places in West Papua.
Please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

Wisata Nonton Cendrawasih Kuning di Papua Barat

Burung Cendrawasih Kuning Kecil atau yang bahasa Inggris dikenal dengan nama Lesser Birds of Paradise adalah salah satu spesies burung surga yang hidup di hutan hujan tropis di Tanah Papua. Burung jantan memiliki warna bulu yang indah sekali yakni kuning keemasan ditambah putih, hitam, coklat, hijau serta sedikit abu-abu kebiruan pada paruh dan kakinya. Cendrawasih betina memiliki warna coklat di punggung, sayap serta ekor. Dadanya putih sedangkan paruh dan kakinya sama dengan yang jantan. Kepalanya kehitaman dengan mata yang berwarna kuning serta bagian iris mata hitam.

Cendrawasih Kuning Kecil (Paradisaea minor) jantan sedang menari
Dua Ekor Cendrawasih Kuning Jantan Sedang Menari

Keberadaan burung-burung Cendrawasih Kuning di hutan menarik perhatian banyak sekali wisatawan domestik maupun manca negara untuk berkunjung ke hutan guna menontonnya. 

Ada sejumlah kawasan hutan di Provinsi Papua Barat yang menjadi lokasi favorit untuk wisata nonton Cendrawasih. Beberapa di antaranya adalah sebagai berikut:

  • Hutan Susnguakti di Kabupaten Manokwari. Dengan kendaraan bermotor, waktu yang dibutuhkan untuk mencapainya adalah sekitar 1 jam. Sesampainya di pinggir hutan, wisatawan perlu dipandu oleh warga kampung untuk masuk ke dalam hutan. Jalan setapak yang harus ditempuh adalah terjal dan pada bagian awal cukup berbahaya. Wisatawan harus mengenakan sepatu hiking atau sepatu olah raga yang baik. Durasi mendaki adalah sekitar 1 jam. Di dalam hutan ada basecamp yang telah disiapkan sebagai tempat istirahat. Piring, gelas, sendok, garpu dan peralatan masak juga tersedia di basecamp itu. Wisatawan bisa menggunakan peralatan itu jika membawa bahan makanan dari kota. Lokasi tempat nonton Cendrawasih Kuning dari basecamp adalah sekitar 5 menit jalan kaki.
  • Pegunungan Wondiboy di Kabupaten Wondama adalah lokasi berikutnya dari wisata nonton burung surga. Sebenarnya ada beberapa lokasi wisata nonton burung surga baik di utara dan selatan semenanjung Wondama. Banyak sekali spesies burung tropis yang bisa diamati oleh wisatawan ketika berkunjung ke Wondama. Beberapa di antaranya adalah Kakaktua Putih, Kakaktua Raja, Eclectus Parrot, Coconut Lorikeet, Burung Kumkum, Raja Udang Paruh Kuning, Mina Muka Kuning, Mina Emas, Jagal Papua Wisatawan bisa ke sana dengan naik kapal penumpang kecil dari kota Manokwari menuju kota Wondama. Ada juga penerbangan beberapa kali seminggu yang dilayani oleh maskapai Susi Air. 
  • Hutan Gunung Sakofsiah dan Lembah Ases di Pegunungan Tambrauw juga merupakan destinasi alternatif bagi wisatawan yang ingin menonton tarian burung Cendrawasih. Pemandangan alam di Tambrauw indah sekali. Sebenarnya, ketika berada di hutan Pegunungan Tambrauw, wisatawan bisa mengamati satwa lainnya seperti kuskus, rusa maupun soa-soa. Daerah pesisir pantai di Kabupaten Tambrauw juga memiliki hutan yang menjadi habitat alami dari Cendrawasih Kuning. Nama hutan itu adalah Weyos. Wisatawan bisa berkunjung ke sana dengan didampingi oleh warga kampung yang menjadi pemilik hak ulayat dari hutan dan pantai Weyos.
Burung Cendrawasih Kuning Kecil atau Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor)
Cendrawasih Kuning Jantan
Umumnya, wisatawan membawa binocular (teropong tabung ganda) yang bisa digantung di dada dan saat hendak menonton burung atau satwa liar lainnya, binocular itu digenggam dan diarahkan ke mata.
Ada juga peralatan pengamatan lainnya yang disebut spotting scope. Alat ini merupakan teropong satu tabung yang membentuk sudut. Spotting scope tidak bisa digunakan sendiri. Alat optik ini biasanya dipasang pada sebuah tripod agar ketika digunakan ia berada pada posisi diam/ statik. Spotting scope statik bisa digunakan oleh beberapa orang secara bergantian untuk mengamati burung yang sedang bertengger di dahan pohon atau yang sedang berada di sarangnya pada posisi yang cukup jauh. 
Nah, jika ada dari pembaca yang berniat untuk berwisata ke Papua Barat untuk nonton burung Cendrawasih dan burung-burung tropis Papua Barat lainnya serta membutuhkan pemandu di lapangan, silahkan menghubungi saya (Charles Roring) lewat email: peace4wp@gmail.com atau whatsapp: +6281332245180.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Wildlife Watching Tour in Ases Valley

International Visitors in Sakofsiah Mountains and Ases Valley

This is the photograph of Ases river which I took several years ago. I did an exploratory trip to Ases valley to see its flora and fauna. I did some birdwatching and saw such birds as Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Yellow-faced Myna, Blyth's Hornbill, Red-flanked Lorikeet, Great Cuckoo Dove, Palm Cockatoo, Eclectus Parrot, New Guinea Vulturine Parrot, Black-browed Triller, Little-pied Cormmorant, and a lot more. 

Riverwalk tour in Tambrauw regency
Ases river in Tambrauw regency
Sakofsiah mountains in Tambrauw regency of Indonesia
Sakofsiah Mountains

A few months later, I returned to Ases valley again and its nearby Sakofsiah mountains with two American tourists. Local villagers guided us in the forest. It was a great destination for visitors who like to see not only birds but also mammals such as deer, cuscus possum and wallaby. A long the river, we could see large frogs especially during night walk.  The water in the river was very clear. There were freshwater fish in the water. Butterflies could also be seen both along the river and roadsides. 

So far, several groups of tourists have visited Sakofsiah Mountains and Ases Valley. They liked their adventure trips in these places.

Sakofsiah Mountains and Ases Valley are definitely important destination for visitors who are interested in birding and wildlife watching.

There are houses in Ases village where visitors can stay during their trip in those places. Due to their remote location, they can only be reached by 4WD car from Sorong city or Manokwari city. 

In the future, after launching vaccination program to the whole population of Indonesia, government plan to open this country again for foreign travelers. It means, visitors will be able to visit West Papua as tourists. 

If you would like to book your trip to West Papua and want me to organize your tour, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Raja Ampat Snorkeling Tours

The tropical islands of Raja Ampat have been considered as the epicenter of marine bio-diversity. It is a must see destination for visitors who want to see pristine marine life, healthy coral reef with thousands of species of fish and other sea creatures. As a tourist guide, I offer snorkeling and freediving tours for nature lovers who are interested in visiting Raja Ampat. Participant can be a single traveler or a group of visitors consisting of 2 to 8 participants or even more.


Snorkeling adventure tour in Raja Ampat islands
Sightseeing Tour in Fish Lagoon of Raja Ampat
There are a lot of coral reef sites which we could explore to see parrotfish, surgeonfish, anemonefish, grouper, boxfish, barracuda, turtles and a lot more. Visitors who join this snorkeling tours will be able to visit some uninhabited islands in the region.

Jungle Adventure in Raja Ampat island

In addition to snorkeling, we will also explore tropical rainforest of Waigeo island to see its butterflies, wild flowers and birds such as Palm Cockatoo, Hook-billed Kingfisher, Common Paradise Kingfisher, Pink-spotted Fruit Dove, Papuan Blyth's Hornbill, Yellow-Billed Kingfisher, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, and etc.
To enjoy birding, a good pair of binoculars manufactured by Leica, Swarovski EL 8.5×42, or Nikon Monarch 5 10×42 is highly recommended. However, there are some Chinese made binoculars such as the 10×42 and the 10×26 Visionking binoculars that are affordable but produce sharp images for birdwatchers. Personally, I take pictures of birds and other wild animals using an old Fujifilm Finepix HS50EXR camera.

Getting to Raja Ampat

  • Take an international flight to Jakarta (the capital of Indonesia)
  • Continue your trip by flying to Sorong city
  • I could meet you at the airport and organize your tour to Raja Ampat
The cost of traveling to Raja Ampat is more affordable if visitors go in a group of 2, 4 to 6 people or more. However, solo traveling visitor can still enjoy the tour in a customized itinerary that is also affordable.

Booking
Please, contact me (Charles Roring) for detailed itinerary and prices to my email: peace4wp@gmail.com or send whatsapp text message to: +6281332245180
Also read:

Full Moon

I have just taken some pictures of the full moon this night. It was a magical moment for me to be able to see the detailed terrains of the moon. I used Kinglux 20-60×60 spotting scope to watch the moon. Fortunately, this simple device can be used for some astronomy works such as watching the moon and Planet Jupiter. This was just an amateur scope that I used to watch birds in the forest. So, it was not powerful enough to see man made structures in outer space such as the International Space Station and any telecommunication satellites. In other words, it was impossible to see any space vehicles or rockets left by the American or Soviet Union on the moon or in the outer space. 

Yesterday, it was impossible to watch and to take some photos of the moon. This night the weather is good. Although there was some cloud passing over it, the strengh of its light could well be captured by my Camera, the Canon 200D with Tamron 150- 600 mm G2 lens. 

full moon photograph taken on 28 March 2021 using Canon D-SLR camera 200D and Tamron 150-600mm G2 lens
Full Moon

image of full moon taken by Leo Charles Roring in Manokwari on 28 March 2021
Full moon photo shot at slightly different hour

I tried several different settings on the camera to get the best result for my pictures. I set my camera to Program  AE mode, and then adjusted the exposure compensation to between -3 and -2. The ISO was 200. Although I took picture at night, I did not use flash. The moon was glowing brightly. I had to reduce the brightly by applying different values of exposure compensation every time I shot the moon. Well, it was a trial and error photography. If the subject that I shot was a paradise bird, he could have flown away seconds after I took my first picture.

Fortunately, the subject was the moon. So, I had plenty of time to adjust the settings of my digital camera. Actually, my photographic device was not an ideal tool to shoot the moon. I did not use tripod either. I used my light tripod to mount my spotting scope for moongazing. There was a car near me, so I leaned on the body of the car with to stabilize the camera. I had to aimed it to an elevation of about 75 degrees. It was guide difficult actually to shoot the moon. So, I held my breath for a few seconds when I pressed the shutter button. 
some youth and children in Manokwari city were watching the full moon
Some youth and children were waiting in line to watch the moon (inset) through a spotting scope

Honestly, the pictures of the fullmoon above were edited in photodirector where I sharpened, darkened and created more contrast to them. After finishing the photo-editing  works, I shared them in facebook and my whatsapp status.

I feel so happy now. I don't need to write lengthy article about it at the moment. I just want to show you how beautiful the full moon is. I hope that you like the pictures. 😊

Sound of Waves

It has been full moon since last night. This afternoon, I am at the beach enjoying the scenery of the sea. The waves are bigger than usual. 

They are generated by the gravity of the moon. When full moon comes, the high and low tides differences are bigger. Although the waves are big, I enjoy the scenery and the sound of waves landing on the beach. It is good to be closer to nature.

Waves play important role in coastal environment. They clean coral reef from dirt and wastes. Broken corals that are washed to the beach are ground or broken to fine sand by the waves. 

Today, experts in renewable energy harness wave energy to generate electricity. 

Waves also attract surfers. Who enjoy wave surfing which is a kind of tourism activity and a sport.

Meditation with Waves

I like doing meditation with waves. Because sea tides are influenced by the moon and wind which are cool, they carry the energy of the moon or "Yin energy." I stand at the water edge waiting for a wave to land on the sand. When it lands and hits my feet, I will take deep breath absorbing the Yin. When the sea water retreats to the sea, I release my breath again. Meditating with waves makes me feel more relaxed. I am able to control my emotion well. 

Wave Season

In the region where I live, wave season starts in late November and finishes in March or maybe a little bit later. It curbs the activity of fishermen at sea. So, actually wave season allows marine environment to recover and rejuvenate itself. Waves often bring jellyfish closer to the beach significantly reducing activity of human in coral reef. However, waves that are too big can cause damages to coral reef. Waves can also uproot sargassum sea algae and wash then ashore. In other words, waves control the population of the sea algae so that it will not become the dominant sea vegetation in certain sea area. 

As we understand more about the roles of sea waves in our environment, we will give more appreciation to their roaring sounds while we stand at the beach admiring their power. 

This is written by Charles Roring

Friday, March 26, 2021

Mandi Bulan

Mandi Bulan atau Moonbathing bisa diartikan sebagai aktivitas "berjemur di cahaya bulan." Cahaya bulan sendiri sebenarnya adalah pantulan dari cahaya matahari. Ada istilah sunbathing atau mandi matahari yang artinya berjemur di sinar matahari. Nah, moonbathing berarti mandi bulan. Tapi cahaya bulan tidak berbahaya bagi mata sehingga bisa dilihat secara langsung. 

foto bulan sehari sebelum purnama
Hampir Purnama

Cahaya bulan yang lembut ini dapat memberikan suasana sejuk dan damai di hati orang yang menatapnya.  Orang yang menikmati mandi cahaya bulan bisa merasakan dirinya terhubung langsung dengan alam semesta. Mandi bulan bisa membantu mengurangi stress atau ketegangan pikiran yang dihadapi di tempat kerja atau selama menghadapi berbagai persoalan hidup yang dialami sehari-hari.

Meskipun dari jauh ukuran bulan nampak kecil, bulan memainkan peranan penting dalam kehidupan manusia. Pasang naik dan surut air laut ditentukan oleh posisi bulan terhadap bumi. 

Di kampung-kampung nelayan pesisir yang terletak di laguna atau teluk sempit, ketika air pasang tiba, ikan-ikan besar dan kecil akan bergerak masuk ke dalam teluk. Mereka akan menunggu sampai air pasang tersebut sudah maksimal. Setelah itu, mereka akan menebar jaring. Ketika air surut, ikan besar akan terperangkap di jaring sedangkan ikan kecil bisa lolos menembus lubang jaring yang sengaja dipilih berukuran besar oleh nelayan. Ini adalah cara menangkap ikan yang murah meriah karena nelayan tidak perlu mengeluarkan biaya bahan bakar untuk perahu motor mereka buat pergi ke laut.

Perahu atau kapal-kapal tradisional yang berlayar, navigasi mereka di lautan sangat terbantu oleh keberadaan cahaya, karena mereka bisa melihat daratan.

Dalam kebudayaan suku-suku di nusantara ada yang menggelar upacara atau pergelaran tari saat bulan purnama tiba. Ada tarian ucapan syukur kepada Sang Pencipta karena telah memberikan hasil panen yang berlimpah, ada juga tarian bagi muda-mudi yang sedang mencari pasangan dan lain-lain.

Para petani gula aren pasti tahu bahwa ketika bulan purnama tiba, nira yang bisa mereka peroleh lebih banyak dari pada hari-hari biasanya. Agar nira memiliki rasa manis, maka tempat untuk menampung nira tersebut (biasanya bambu atau jerigen plastik) perlu dicuci bersih supaya tidak ada sisa-sisa ragi yang dapat mengakibatkan fermentasi. 

Nira itu kemudian dimasak menggunakan peralatan yang sederhana untuk membuat gula aren atau gula merah. Nira yang manis tersebut, di kalangan suku tertentu di nusantara, diminum oleh para ibu yang sedang menyusui bayi dengan maksud untuk meningkatkan jumlah Air Susu Ibu (ASI). 

Karena hampir 60% tubuh manusia mengandung air maka tentunya ketika kita melakukan mandi bulan atau beraktivitas di bawah cahaya bulan purnama, maka tubuh kita akan terpengaruh oleh gravitasi dan cahaya bulan tersebut. Seberapa besar pengaruhnya pada diri kita, tentunya hal ini memerlukan penelitian ilmiah yang lebih mendalam.  

Dalam filosofi timur, bulan dipercaya sebagai bagian dari energi Yin. Orang yang kelebihan energi Yang biasanya merasa badannya panas, emosi tidak tenang. Ia perlu menyeimbangkan energi di dalam tubuh. Oleh karena itu, mandi bulan dipandang sebagai salah satu cara untuk menyerap energi Yin yang bermanfaat bagi dirinya baik secara fisik, emosional dan spiritual. Pendapat ini tentu masih bisa diperdebatkan. 

Yang jelas adalah, ketika kita memandang bulan, kita akan merasakan kekaguman tersendiri pada ciptaan Tuhan yang bercahaya lembut di malam hari tersebut. Cahaya yang tidak merusak mata, cahaya yang dapat membuat perasaan atau hati kita menjadi teduh. Oleh Charles Roring

Natural Attractions in West Papua

West Papua is a very important destination for anyone who is interested in everything about coral reef and rainforest. Every year, before th...