Friday, July 19, 2019

Snorkeling and Birding in Raja Ampat

Palm Cockatoo (Probosciger aterrimus)
Palm Cockatoo in Waigeo island
I often visit Raja Ampat islands to organize snorkeling, birdwatching and sightseeing boat tour for tourists who like to see the nature life of these tropical islands both underwater and above the water. I usually begin my tour by meeting the participants in a hotel or airport of Sorong city. After that I arrange their transfer to harbor and then by fast ferry boat to Waigeo island. 
The choice of accommodation depends on the request of my customers. They may choose to stay in a comfortable beach resort whose rate per night is more than 100 USD or in a simple homestay whose rate per person per night is approximately 50 USD. Food is provided by the resort or homestay owners throughout the tour. The transfer to the guesthouse can be conducted by car or by boat depending on its location. Arriving at their bedrooms, participants of the tour can take a rest for a while. Lunch is usually served.
After having lunch and taking enough rest, the activity that I offer to visitors is birding walk around the guesthouse area. Birds that tour participants can see are Eclectus Parrot, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Rainbow Lorikeet, Willie Wagtail, Palm Cockatoo, Spangled Drongo, Hooded Butcherbird, and such coastal birds as Pacific Swallow and Lesser Frigatebird and Sacred Kingfisher. 
Marine life in Waigeo
Coral reef and marine life in Waigeo island
On the second day, tour participants need to wake up early in the morning at 04.30 to make preparations such as wearing dark color t-shirt and jeans as well as making sure that camera, binoculars and anti-insect lotion are already inside the bag. After eating some biscuits or bread and drinking tea/ coffee, we shall leave the guesthouse by boat to a beach. When we have reached the beach, we will continue our trip by walking up the slopes of Waigeo island to the lek of Red Bird of Paradise. It will take around one and a half hours. Male Red Birds of Paradise usually gather at top branches of a tree to perform courtship dance. They will compete to win the hearts of their female counter parts. If a female Red BOP is impressed with the dance which a male Red BOP performs, she will give green light for mating.  In the forest, tour participants can also watch other birds as well. Some of them include Blyth's Hornbill, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, and Beautiful Fruit Dove. Sometimes, Moluccan King Parrot, and King Bird of Paradise could be seen too. 
sightseeing boat tour in Waigeo and its surrounding karst
Sightseeing boat tour in Raja Ampat
Back to the guesthouse, tour participants can go back to their rooms for sleeping again. They can enjoy snorkeling, at the house reef to see damselfish, butterflyfish, parrotfish, grouper, moorish idol, boxfish and anemonefish. Other marine creatures can be seen too such as Blue Sea Star and Christmas Tree Worm. Taking pictures underwater is quite challenging because of the waves, current and depths of subjects from the surface of the sea. Birding tour to forest a little bit far from the guesthouse can be arranged by car at extra cost. Birds which participants can see are Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Helmetted Friarbird, Pied Imperial Pigeon, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Eastern Osprey, Brahminy Kite, and White-bellied Woodswallow.
The third way is also an important one because we will watch Wilson's Bird of Paradise in the morning. After that during the day we can do tour by boat where we can combine snorkeling, birding and sightseeing. Bringing snorkeling set, underwater camera, binoculars, telephoto camera and spotting scope will greatly enhance the snorkeling and birding experience of tour participants who like the natural beauty of Raja Ampat both above and underwater.
If you are interested in visiting Raja Ampat islands as a tourist and want me to organize your tour, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.
Also read:
Birding in Raja Ampat
Butterflyfish and Angelfish in Raja Ampat

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