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Red Bird of Paradise doing Pole Dance

I have just made more sketches of Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra). The bird can be seen in the forest of Raja Ampat particularly in Waigeo, Gam and Batanta. The male birds like to compete one another by performing courtship dance in top pole-like branches of a tree.
Black and White Sketch Study of Red Bird of Paradise
Paradisaea rubra
Red Bird of Paradise
Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra) an enhanced digital coloring from manual sketch
Further development in Sketchbook
I used pencil and paper as well as colored pencil to study the basic form and colors of the paradise birds. After that, I developed my artwork digitally using Android based Autodesk Sketchbook application, Samsung Galaxy Tab A and its stylus.
I personally like to go back and forth between manual drawing and digital coloring to achieve good result. The final version of this artwork can be seen at this web-page: Red Bird of Paradise.
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Drawing of Red Bird of Paradise
Vector drawing of Red Bird of Paradise
Male Red Bird of Paradise

Lesser Birds of Paradise in Susnguakti Forest

Here are pictures of Lesser Birds of Paradise that live in Susnguakti forest of Manokwari regency. It is part of lower montane forest of Arfak mountains. These Birds of Paradise are active in the mornings and in the afternoons. They become the main attraction for visitors who want to explore the biodiversity of West Papua.
Birding in Manokwari
Male Lesser Birds of Paradise in Susnguakti forest of Manokwari

Lesser Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea minor) in West Papua of Indonesia
Male Lesser Birds of Paradise in Susnguakti forest of Arfak range
The above pictures were made by Andre Aquino. I guided him and his friend Jens Wirth on a 4 day/ 3-night hiking, bird and wildlife watching in Arfak range. Because there was no guesthouse, we stayed in a basecamp.
Birdwatching tourism has become an alternative income generation for local villagers who live near the forest. When they see that they can get positive benefits from the forest through ecotourism, they will preserve their forest.
In addition to the Lesser Birds of Paradise, tourists who go trekking and camping in the forest can watch other birds such as Magnificent Riflebird, King Bird of Paradise, Common Paradise Kingfisher, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Hooded Butcherbird, Mimic Meliphaga, Blyth's Hornbill and a lot more.
The Susnguakti forest of Arfak mountains is the natural habitat of cuscus possum, dragon tree lizard, bandicoot and snakes. 
If you are interested in traveling to Indonesia for watching paradise birds in Susnguakti forest, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.
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Lesser Birds of Paradise Art Drawings
Lesser Paradise Birds
Lesser Birds of Paradise

Traveling to Raja Ampat Islands

Raja Ampat is an important destination for tourists who like tropical islands. They could enjoy swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, freediving, see beautiful seascape of karst islets like Wayag, Piaynemo, Fish Lagoon, Kofiau, and Misool. It is also a highly recommended travel destination for people who like to explore rainforest and see its wildlife. 

Kabui bay in Waigeo island of Raja Ampat
Kabui bay
Getting to Raja Ampat
It is easy to travel to Raja Ampat. First, you need to fly from your country to Jakarta (the capital of Indonesia). After that, you need to take a domestic flight by flying to Sorong city. Airlines such as Garuda, Sriwijaya, and Batik provide regular flights to Sorong.
Arriving at the airport, you need to go by airport taxi to Pelabuhan Rakyat (People's harbor). The cost per taxi is 100,000 rupiahs. Remember, the price is not per passenger but per taxi. You need to spend around 10,000 to 15,000 rupiahs (depending on the number of passengers in the taxi) for entrance fee to the harbor. At the passenger terminal, you could buy tickets there. The price is 100,000 per passenger for regular seat and around 210,000 rupiahs for VIP. It takes around 2 hours to reach Waisai harbor of Raja Ampat.
Accommodation
There are hotels and simple lodges in Waisai town (the capital of Raja Ampat) which you could choose to stay during your holiday in the islands. However, most tourists prefer to stay in beach resorts and homestays in southern area of Waigeo island or in other islands such as Gam, Mansuar, Kri, Arborek of the regency. One that I recommend is Raflow beach resort. It is located in southern coast of Waigeo. The beach resort has got beautiful house reef. 
Observing Marine Life
White sandy beach in Waigeo island
White sandy beach in Raja Ampat
You could enjoy swimming and snorkeling over the coral reef to see a lot of species of fish such as butterflyfish, damselfish, parrotfish, wrasse, moorish idol, blenny,  anemonefish, and even the unique scorpionfish, and even the tasselled wobbegong. There are also Christmas Tree Worms, Sea Stars and Burrowing Clams. Make sure you bring a good underwater camera that can take pictures of the marine life. I personally use Fujifilm XQ2  with waterproof case and Nikon AW130.
Watching Tropical Birds
If you like to watch birds, you can do it in Raflow Resort. The trees around the Raflow resort are frequently visited by Beautiful Fruit Dove, Palm Cockatoo, Sulphur-creasted Cockatoo, Eclectus Parrot, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Claret-breasted Fruit Dove, Willie Wagtail, Red Bird of Paradise, Spangled Drongo, Beach Kingfisher, Brahminy Kite, Mimic Meliphaga, Puff-back Meliphaga, Blyth's Hornbill, Lesser-crested Tern, Sooty Tern, Eastern Reef Egret, Wimbrel. 
Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra)
Red Bird of Paradise
A good pair of binoculars such as the Nikon Monarch 7 10×42, Leica Noctivid, Swarovski EL 50, can greatly enhance the birdwatching experience. I often guide tourists to watch birds in Raja Ampat. I bring my Visionking 20-60×60 spotting scope to watch birds that sit in the branches of high trees. 
Visiting karst islets in Piaynemo, Wayag, Kabui is also a nice thing to do. You could ask other guests who also stay in the Raflow resort to take the tour so that the cost can be shared.
Booking
If you are interested in traveling to Raja Ampat and want me to be your guide and arrange your tour, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

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Digital Sketch of A Wooden Canoe

A few hours ago, I was in a fast passenger ferry traveling from Waisai town of Raja Ampat to Pelabuhan Rakyat (People's Harbor) of Sorong city. The boat was full of people both local and tourists. It took approximately 2 hours to reach Sorong.
I decided to open Autodesk Sketchbook application and began to draw. At first, I did not know what to draw. I just drew lines after lines and then they slowly formed an object that I frequently saw at sea when traveling in Raja Ampat. It was a small canoe. Usually both ends of it were pointed. But here, in this archipelago, people cut one of its end to form a flat stern where they could install a small outboard engine. A 15 horse power engine was the usual prime mover of the boat. However, if the boat was bigger, it could be installed with one or two 40-hp Yamaha outboard engines. This motorized canoe was used by islanders to transport people and goods. They often raised the walls of the canoe by adding wooden planks and reinforced them with wooden ribs.
I continued to draw the background of the boat by adding green vegetation. In thirty minutes, I was able to finish my drawing.
Sketch of wooden boat from Raja Ampat
Dug out Canoe from Raja Ampat islands
After that I took a short brake by trying to lean and sleep on the upright seat of the boat. Well, I could only close my eyes without fully falling asleep. Arriving in Sorong, I continued my trip to KFC fast food resto in Saga Mall to have my late lunch.
Well, I am now in the KFC writing this post about the dug-out canoe that I drew while in the fast ferry boat.
Some children in Numfor island were playing with canoe.
Children in Numfor island were playing with canoes
Several years ago, I guided two Dutch ladies on a vacation trip to Numfor island. We enjoyed swimming and snorkeling as well as birdwatching. We stayed at a small wooden house at a beach. During low tide, we could walk far towards the sea. There were sea stars in the sea grass, small reef fish and other marine creatures that we could see during the low tide. It was a nice trip. We spent around 1 week exploring the island. by Charles Roring.
Reef-fish art
Surgeonfish and coral reef

Snorkelling Tours in Raja Ampat

I organize snorkelling tour for visitors who are interested in seeing coral reef and tropical fish in Raja Ampat islands. The duration of the tour can be 3 days to 1 week covering important coral reef areas in Waigeo, Kabui bay, Mansuar dan Kri islands, Arborek, Piaynemo and Wayag. A motorized boat will be used to explore remote snorkeling sites and small islands around Waigeo. Life jackets will be provided in the boat.
Snorkeling and Sightseeing Tour
There are a lot of fish that live in this region. Some of them include: Raja Ampat Scorpionfish, Tasselled Wobbegong, Freckled Hawkfish, Pink Anemonefish, Orange skunk Clownfish, Moorish Idol, Diagonal Sweetlips, Giant Trevally and a lot more. There are also other marine creatures such as burrowing clam, Christmas Tree Worm and Sea Stars which we can see in shallow waters. 
Orange-skunk Anemonefish
Raja Ampat regency is located in bird's head region of West Papua province of Indonesia. There are 1,577 coral reef fish species that have been recorded by Marine Biologists.

Safety Guidelines for Snorkelers

  • Snorkeling Gear - Every snorkeller has to practice safe snorkeling. The rubber of snorkeling mask has to elastic so that it can provide water-tight seal that prevents sea water from leaking into the eyes. A good snorkel pipe has got valve that closes when a snorkeller freedives into deeper water. Sea water will not flow into his or her mouth while he or she is in the water. When the snorkeller returns to the sea surface again, the valve will open to allow air to flow into the mouth again. Wearing a good pair of swim fins will help snorkeler to swim fast easpecially when there is current. 
  • Most often, snokeller will encounter small jellyfish and stinging hydroid (that looks like sea plants). There are also venomous fish such as lionfish, catfish, and scorpionfish. Snorkeler has to avoid being in direct contact with them! The warm water of Raja Ampat sea makes everyone thinks that a long wet suit as not necessary. Most snorkelers in Raja Ampat wear shortie wet suit, bikini or simple swim trunks. Unfortunately, these snorkeling suits have got their downside. A snorkeler will suffer from skin burns when he or she is stung by, for instance, pink soft coral. I personally used to be stung on my right stomach by stinging hydroid when snorkeling in southern coast of Waigeo. I felt burn and itchy immediately. I stayed at a homestay of villager at that time. Back to my room, I applied kayu putih oil on my skin. It helped reduce the itchiness that lasted for around 3 days. I continued to apply the oil until the itchiness disappeared.

Land Tour

In addition to snorkeling and sightseeing boat tour, I will also include hiking trips in the forest for tourists who want to see tropical birds such as Palm Cockatoo, Eclectus Parrot, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Claret-breasted Fruit Dove, Magnificent Fruit Dove or the beautiful Wilson's Bird of Paradise (Diphyllodes respublica) and Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra).  -written by Charles Roring

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