Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Finding Nemo in Manokwari Waters

I know several coral reef sites in Manokwari  regency which tourists can visit to see nemo and a lot of other species of tropical fish. From my snorkeling trips, I usually see Pink Anemonefish, Red and Black Anemonefish, as well as Spinecheek Anemonefish. They live in coral reef at depths from 1.5 meters to 10 meters below sea level. 
Finding Nemo in Manokwari
Finding Nemo
For visitors who want to enjoy snorkeling tour with me, I suggest that they bring their own snorkeling device that fit on their faces and feet. To take pictures underwater, a pocket camera such as Nikon W300 or Olympus Tough TG-5, or Canon G7X with waterproof case. I personally use Fujifilm XQ2 with its waterproof case. Most of the pictures in this collage plate were made by Fujifilm XQ2 and Canon G1X. 
When I take pictures of the fish, I try my best to be closer or in an eye level position with the fish. However, it cannot always be done because of the waves and current. 
If you are interested in visiting Manokwari city and want me to organize your snorkeling tours to various coral reef places, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by sending whatsapp message to my number +6281332245180 or email to: peace4wp@gmail.com

Wonderful Raja Ampat

Raja Ampat archipelago is a wonderful archipelago in West Papua province of the Republic of Indonesia. It has been famous for its marine life. Its forest is the natural habitat of hundreds of bird species such as parrots, kingfishers, fruit doves and pigeons, and birds of paradise. I organize tours to this regency for visitors who want to see tropical islands that are surrounded by white sandy beaches and coral reef, tropical fish as well as explore rainforest to watch its beautiful paradise birds.
Hiking and Birding, swimming and snorkeling in Raja Ampat
Wonderful Raja Ampat
The usual duration of the tour is 3 days to 1 week covering big and small islands in the archipelago.
For those who like sightseeing, they could go by a speedboat or motorized wooden boat to see the karst in Wayag, Wawiyai of Kabui bay, as well as Fish Lagoon in eastern region of Waigeo.
Every time I guide tourists around Raja Ampat, I always do snorkeling and some freediving to see the wealth of its marine life. There are a lot of species of fish, corals and other marine animals. Fish such as pink anemonefish, sweetlips, wrasse, butterflyfish, moorish idol, and dolphins can easily be seen at depths of around 2 to 5 meters or more below sea level. To identify their species names, I use a field guide book Reef Fish Identification - Tropical Pacific written by Gerald Allen, Roger Steene, Paul Humann, and Ned Deloach.
My camera Fujifilm XQ2 greatly helps me in taking underwater pictures of the coral reef environment. I sometimes use Nikon W300. To take pictures of the fish, most often, I have to freedive and position my body to be on the same level or a little lower than the fish. I also do my best not to make any movements in the water. When I am still, fish will not feel intimidated with my presence. They will swim closer to me. As a result, I make closer photographs of fish and other marine animals.
Birdwatching
Birding is also my favorite activity when I walk in the forest. I bring a pair of Visionking 10×42 mm binoculars and a camera with telephoto lens. Waigeo island is the island that I highly recommend for birdwatchers.
Birdwatching could be done in almost all islands of Raja Ampat. In the coastal area, Radjah Shelduck, Beach Stone Curlew, Willie Wagtail, Beach Kingfisher, White-bellied Sea Eagle, and Spice Imperial Pigeon are the ones that visitors can watch. When they walk deeper into the forest, they will be able to watch Wilson's Bird of Paradise, Red Bird of Paradise, Eclectus Parrot and Western-crowned Pigeon.
Please, contact me by whatsapp to: +6281332245180 or email: peace4wp@gmail.com for booking your tour.

My Freediving Photos from Raja Ampat

I often guide tourist on a snorkeling tours to Raja Ampat. During the tours, I could take a lot of pictures and coral reef. To make high quality photos, I need to be on the same eye level with my subject. It means I have to freedive to deeper water.
Here are some photos that I made in Warduwer beach of Waigeo island in Raja Ampat.
freediving picture from Waigeo island
Freediving Picture from Raja Ampat

Abundant fish in coral reef of Waigeo
Freediving Picture from Raja Ampat archipelago
underwater photo of marine life in Raja Ampat islands of West Papua
Raja Ampat Underwater
If you are looking for a guide for your snorkeling and birding tour in Raja Ampat, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or whatsapp: +6281332245180.

Raja Ampat is Snokelers' Paradise

Coral reef and fish in Waigeo island of Raja Ampat
Abundant Reef-fish in the waters of
Warduwer beach of Raja Ampat
Raja Ampat has got the highest marine biodiversity in the world. It is definitely a paradise for snorkelers. There are a lot of coral reef sites that are suitable for visitors who want to enjoy snorkeling. Some of them are described below:
Warduwer Beach - This beach is located in the southern region of Waigeo island. Its reef flat are is quite wide and suitable for anyone who wants to enjoy snorkeling for the first time. Here visitors can see various kinds of damselfish, surgeonfish, butterflyfish, yellow-tailed blue devil (Chrysiptera cynea). More experienced snorkelers can go to drop off reef of the beach. It is a nice place because the reef slope is a great site to see parrotfish, barracuda, batfish, trevally, tasselled wobbegong, scorpionfish, anemonefish and a lot more.
Yenbuba Strait - This the place where sea current is sometimes strong. Visitors need to make sure that they are accompanied by experienced snorkeling guide. A lot of species of big and small fish can be seen here.
There are still a lot of other snorkeling sites that I want to describe in this post but I will do it later when I update this post.
What to bring?
In general, snorkelers need to bring their own equipment such as mask, snorkel, fins, weights, snorkeling suit, waterproof camera, and sunblock lotion and medicines.


Supermoon 27 April 2021

I am very happy tonight because I am able to watch supermoon at the frontyard of my house. Last month, I did moon watching but the weather was not so clear. It was raining. This month, which is tonight, the weather is very clear.

picture of super full moon in Manokwari city of West Papua
Supermoon above Manokwari city at night from 27 to 28 April 2021
At around 19:30, I installed my spotting scope and invited anyone who was passing by to see it. I used a Kinglux 20-60×60 mm spotting scope but for taking picture, I used Canon 200D with Tamron telephoto lens 150 - 600 mm G2 lens.

Some of my friends, Yansen Saragih and his brother, Matias Rumbruren, came to watch the Super full moon. After that they enjoyed fried banana, hot tea, coffee, and instant noodle soup at the nearby Pasar Kaget (meaning: Surprised Market).

The moon watching activity lasted for a few hours and was finished at around 23.30.

Well, I plan to conduct moon watching again tomorrow night at the same place. And it will be open for anyone who passes by. 

The moon watching gear will still be the same:

  • Kinglux 20-60×60mm spotting scope
  • Visionking Binoculars 10×42 mm 
  • And for photographic device, I will use Canon 200D with Tamron telephoto lens.
  • Well, I will still use the camera of  my cellphone to take picture of the moon watching scene.

Also read: 

Monday, April 26, 2021

Raja Ampat Snorkeling Tour Review

Raja Ampat is considered as the best destination for visitors who like snorkeling, freediving and scubadiving. The marine biodiversity of this archipelago is the richest in the world with thousands of tropical reef fish and marine animals that live in pristine coral reef. As a tourist guide, I often organize tours to Raja Ampat for visitors who want to spend 3 days to 1 week snorkeling and sightseeing around the islands.
Marine environment in coral reef of Waigeo island
Marine Life in the coral reef of Warduwer beach, Waigeo island
Snorkeling Sites
There are a lot of snorkeling sites in the regency that I like. Some of them include the coral reef areas in southern coast of Waigeo, Waim island, Mamiaef island, Friwen wall, Five Rocks, Kabui bay, Yenbuba strait, Cape Kri, western region of Mansuar, Gam island, and an island at the front of Piaynemo. There are a lot of fish in Yenbuba strait but the current is quite strong especially during the transitions between low and high tides. 
From my personal snorkeling experience with tourists, I consider the island in front of Piaynemo is my favorite choice for experienced snorkelers. Big fish including sharks can be seen in coral reef area. 
Arborek island has got snorkeling spots that are quite good but the jetty of the island is often crowded with speedboats that make the island as a rest area before and after visiting Piaynemo.
Coral reef in Sawondarek used to be one of the best snorkeling sites in Mansuar island. Unfortunately, the area around the jetty suffer from serious damaged due to waves and boat activities during low tide.
small rock islands in Raja Ampat archipelago
Karst islets in Raja Ampat
In southern coast of Waigeo, Warduwer beach and Yengkawe beach are my recommended site. However, experienced snorkelers and freedivers will choose Warduwer because of its drop off reef that is scary but rich of marine life. A beach resort will soon be constructed at this site. 
Five rocks are also rich in fish but the visibility is often poor due to constant waves and current that hit the rocks. For visitors who prefer secluded beach and exclusive snorkeling trip, Isanak beach in Waim and southern coast of Mamiaef island are excellent choice. There, snorkelers can enjoy camping for several nights to see the beauty of marine life in the uninhabited islands. Very few local guides know the existence of this beach. 
Snorkeling Device
Although Raja Ampat has been famous as one of the best snorkeling destinations in the world, it does not have local manufacturers that can make various kinds of snorkeling devices. So, visitors who want to go there must bring their own snorkeling mask, snorkel, fins, swimsuit, and underwater camera. 
If you are interested in taking a snorkeling vacation in Raja Ampat and want me to be your snorkeling buddy or guide, please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or whatsapp: +6281332245180.

Freediving Pictures from Waigeo Island of Raja Ampat

Humphead Wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus)
Humphead Wrasse moving away from me.
I frequently travel to Raja Ampat islands to organize snorkeling and freediving tours as well as hiking and birdwatching ones. Because I like taking pictures of marine life, I always allocate time to explore the coral reef of the island that I visit.
My recent trip was to southern part of Waigeo. I guided several tourists in the forest to see various species of birds such as Sacred Kingfisher, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Beach Kingfisher, Radjah Shelduck, Torressian Crow, Lemon-bellied White-Eye, Willie Wagtail, White-breasted Woodswallow. After guiding them in the morning, I continued my adventure by doing solo freediving at the drop off reef in front of Raja Ampat Dive Resort.
Yellow-tailed Damselfish and Moorish Idol
Moorish Idol and Damselfish
The sea surface was quite rough. The visibility under water was not so good, only around 5 to 7 meters. I held my Fujifilm XQ2 camera and slowly immersed myself into the water. There were a lot of fish in the water such as grouper, moorish idol, butterflyfish, damselfish, surgeonfish, parrotfish, and snapper. I also saw a big humphead wrasse. I tried to get closer to her but she swam to deeper water. So, I could only take pictures of fish near me.
In the shallow water, I saw more reef fish but the visibility was so poor. So, I made fewer pictures. There were Christmas tree worms too.
Drop off reef in Waigeo island of Raja Ampat
Drop-reef in southern Waigeo island
The Fujifilm XQ2 camera that I used was not a waterproof camera. I had to put it into its waterproof case if I wanted to take underwater photographs. I was not the best camera either. But, the pictures it produced were good enough for identification of fish and other marine creatures that I saw in Raja Ampat.
The best months for snorkeling in Raja Ampat are October, Nov, Des, Jan, Feb, March, April, May and June. During July, August, and September, strong wind blows from the south. It was not a favorable season to see underwater marine life.
Raja Ampat Dive Resort
A Beach Resort in Raja Ampat
How to get there:
  • Fly from your country to Jakarta (the capital of Indonesia)
  • Fly to Sorong city
  • I will meet you at the airport or at the hotel where you stay and organize your trip to Raja Ampat.
As a tourist guide, I can organize your tour to Raja Ampat where you could enjoy tours for snorkeling, freediving, sightseeing in the islands. Hiking and birding can also be organized. Please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or send text to: +6281332245180 if you want to travel around Raja Ampat and other places in the mainland of West Papua. - written by Charles Roring
Also read:
  • Adventure Tour in the Islands of Raja Ampat
  • Where is Raja Ampat
  • 7 Snorkeling Spots in Raja Ampat

I Like Freediving

Snorkeling and Freediving in Manokwari with Charles Roring
Marine Life in Manokwari
I was born and grew up in Manokwari. When I was a little boy, this was only a little town. The beach was clean and the sea was crystal clear. With that kind of environment, I and my friends liked to go to the nearby harbor to swim. We really enjoyed it.
Now Manokwari has changed. It has turned into a fast growing city. I still like going to the beach. Wearing mask, snorkel and fins, I explore the coral reef and take pictures of the fish, seastar, anemone, and every interesting thing that I usually see in the water. I read in the internet that people call this kind of activity as recreational freediving.
Snorkeling and freediving with Charles Roring
Regal Angelfish
I often guide tourists on adventure tours (hiking, birding, snorkeling and freediving) in Raja Ampat, Tambrauw, Sorong, Manokwari, Numfor and even Triton bay.
The duration of the tour can be as short as 1 day to as long as 2 weeks.
Freediving is a fun but dangerous sport. So, I don't like competition about who can go deeper. Enjoy the fun and the beauty of marine life but don't put yourself into big trouble.

Basics of freediving
  • Every person has his or her own limit in holding his or her own breath.
  • Practice holding your breath, first above the water while you sit at the beach or at home. 
  • You could also practice holding your breath while walking or swimming/ snorkeling.
  • Do horizontal freediving and gradually improve your length of swimming (in feet or meters)
  • Gradually do freediving in vertical or gradient way. 
  • Try to be as relax as possible when you are freediving
  • When you feel relax and safe, you can go down deeper and hold your breath longer.
  • Respect marine life, do not cause any damages in the coral reef.
Visitors who want to come here should bring their own freediving gear plus a good camera. If you are interested in snorkeling and freediving, you could contact me (Charles Roring) by whatsapp: +6281332245180 or by email: peace4wp@gmail.com.

Birding and Riverwalk Tour in Manokwari Lowland

birding in lowland forest of Manokwari
Birding Tour in Manokwari
As an important destination of birdwatching in West Papua, Manokwari has got several sites for birdwatching. One of them is Mesirrokow forest. It is a lowland area in the west of the regency and suitable for tourists who want to see tropical jungle and watch such birds as Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, Hornbill, Rainbow Lorikeet, Dollarbird, Rainbow Bee-eater, Variable Goshawk, Willie Wagtail, Little-ringed Plover, Eclectus Parrot, and a lot more.
Birding in Mesirrokow forest is relatively easy because most of the activities will be done along the riverside. As visitors walk along the banks, they will be able to watch birds that sit on the branches of big trees or fly over the rivers.
Camping
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
Sulphur Crested Cockatoo
I provide tents, sleeping bags, cooking and eating utensils, for tourists who want to take the birding and riverwalk tour with me. We will stay in several different campsites during the trip. The longer we stay, the deeper will be the forest that we are going to explore. 
Birding Optics
Birdwatching tourists usually bring binoculars, spotting scope, and telephoto camera such as Nikon Coolpix P900 or Canon SX60HS. Professional photographers usually bring D-SLR camera with telephoto lens and tripod that are heavy. As a tourist guide, I provide a pair of binoculars for visitors who want to see birds in the jungle if they do not have such devices.
What to bring
Most of our activities will be carried out along the river. Here are some articles that visitors should bring or wear: water shoes, flash light/ torch, bathing suit if you want to swim in the river, anti insect-mosquito lotion, sunscreen lotion, clothing that is suitable for tropical weather.
Flights to Manokwari
birding in lowland forest of West Papua
Birdwatching in Manokwari
Domestic Airlines that fly to Manokwari from Jakarta include Sriwijaya Air, Wings Air/ Lion Air, and Batik Air.
  • Fly from your country to Jakarta or Denpasar in Indonesia
  • After that fly to Manokwari city 
  • I will meet you at the airport or hotel in Manokwari and organize your trip into the jungle. 
Field Guide Book
Birds of New Guinea written by Thane K. Pratt and Bruce Beehler is the most recommended book for visitors who want to go birding in West Papua.
Please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or whatsapp message to +6281332245180 if you are interested in taking this tour.

Traveling to Mansinam island of West Papua Province

My today's travelogue story is about Mansinam island. In my previous post, I mentioned a little about it. If you are interested in visiting it, you can fly from Jakarta, Manado, or Bali or Makassar to Manokwari. Contact your nearest travel agency if they have travel deals or tour package to Papua and Indonesia.
Mansinam is a small tropical island in Manokwari regency of West Papua. Photo: Charles Roring
Mansinam island
Mansinam is famous for its status as the island of Papuan Christian civilization. This was where European evangelists landed for the first time in Papua or formerly known as the Netherlands Nieuw Guinea to preach Gospel to the indigenous people. They were Otto (and his wife Wilhelmine Auguste Ottow (Letz)) and Geisler. They landed on the island on 5 February 1855. Two years later, a famous British naturalist, Alfred Russel Wallace, visited them during his expedition to the Netherlands New Guinea in search of paradise birds or burung Cendrawasih. Every tens of thousands of Christians come to this island to celebrate the Gospel Preaching Day. Pilgrims from every corner of Papua and other islands in Indonesia, as well as from Europe and the Pacific gather in Mansinam island  and Manokwari city for a week long celebration.
Mansinam is only a small island located in the middle of Manokwari bay. It is a very calm island and suitable for tourists who like to relax and stay away for a while from the hectic life of big cities. There are no motorcycles or cars. Most of the inhabitants of Mansinam island come from Numfor island. The surrounding scenery from Mansinam is very beautiful. From the island you can see Arfak mountain, the town of Manokwari and another nearby island called Lemon which is only several hundred meters away from Mansinam.
The natural beauty of the island is balanced by the natural beauty of the underwater coral reef environment. Eastward or at the back of the island there is colorful coral reef inhabited by hundreds of marine species.
During World War II, Papua was the battlefield between the Japanese and the US forces.  Japanese troops built bomb shelters along the island trying to defend Manokwari against the allied forces led by the United States, the UK, Australia and the Netherlands. Many ships were attacked or sunk by both parties. Therefore, scuba divers who like to explore shipwrecks can dive around the island to explore them. by Charles Roring in Manokwari of West Papua - Indonesia

Also read: 
Traveling around Manokwari, 
Traveling to Islands in the Dorey Bay of Manokwari

Scuba Diving in Raja Ampat's Mioskon Island

I had a nice scuba diving experience in Mioskon island yesterday morning. I have guided 2 American visitors, Bruce and Paige Harvey to Raja Ampat for several days now. We went diving with some dive guides from Raja Ampat Dive Resort (RADR).. They were very helpful in explaining the dive plan, the reef and the current condition.
Underwater marine reef in Mioskon island
Scuba Diving in Raja Ampat

divibg photo from Indonesia
Coral reef in Mioskon
We went down into the reef at approximately 08.30. The visibility was very good. I did not feel any current at all. A lot of fish could be seen from small fuselier to big trevally, parrotfish, batfish, and leopard grouper. We really enjoyed the dive and I highly recommend it for any scuba divers who want to explore the coral reef of Raja Ampat.

Raja Ampat Snorkeling Review

Yenbuba strait between Kri and Mansuar islands
Snorkeling site in Yenbuba
I organize snorkeling tours in Raja Ampat especially for tourists who like to see marine life of the islands. Snorkeling is the activity of swimming with the aid of snorkel and snorkeling googles. A snorkel is a pipe that connects the mouth of the swimmer and the air. Wearing swimming googles or snorkeling mask, a snorkeler will be able to see reef fish, sea stars, colorful corals and other marine creatures. 
To prevent fogging on the glass surface of the mask during snorkeling, some drops of liquid soap are applied. When rinsing the mask, a snorkeler has to leave very thin layer of the soap on the surface of the mask. With clear mask, we can see everything underwater clearly. Snorkelers usually wear lifejackets, and fins.
Underwater camera is also needed especially for those who want to take pictures or make videos of the fish and coral reef that they see while snorkeling or freediving.  I use Nikon 130 and Fujifilm XQ2 with waterproof casing. In the past, I used Brica B Pro 5 Alpha Edition.
Striped surgeonfish in the house reef of Yenkawe homestay
Coral reef in southern coast of Waigeo

Snorkeling Sites

Raja Ampat islands have got a lot of snorkeling sites. The ones that are closer to Waisai town and can easily be reached by town dwellers are located along the southern coast of Waigeo. A number of beach resorts are operating at this coast including D'Coral, Gurara, Scuba Republic, Putras and Raja Ampat Dive Resort. A new one is being built near Pantai Saleo. Its name is Raja Ampat Flow (RAFLOW) Resort.
In northeast of Waigeo, there are Mamiaef and Waim islands. They are also very nice snorkeling sites. Kri, Mansuar, and Gam have got a lot of coral reef sites too. Going further to the east, we can also find Batanta and Salawati islands. Arborek is frequently visited by snorkelers because it is a transit point to Piaynemo that also has got coral reef areas. Wayag in the west of Waigeo is the famous icon of Raja Ampat. It has got coral reef sites too. Snorkeling in the islands that face open sea can sometimes be dangerous. Make sure there is a motorized boat near you when you swim in the waters whose current is strong. 
Kofiau and Misool have got pristine coral reef too. Unfortunately, it is located in remote region. 

Combined Activities

Pristine coral reef of Waim island in Raja Ampat
Coral reef in North-east region of Waigeo
Snorkeling is not the only activity which tourists can do while traveling to Raja Ampat. It can be combined with such activities as hiking, bird and wildlife watching. Trips to villages, river areas can also be organized.
Accommodation
There are tens of homestays and beach resorts which visitors can choose while traveling in Raja Ampat. The famous ones such as Papua Explorers Dive Resort, Kri Eco Resort, Misool Eco Resort, Raja Ampat Biodiversity Eco Resort have got their own websites which visitors can read before flying to Indonesia. There are also hotels and lodges inside Waisai town (the capital of Raja Ampat regency). However, most snorkeling visitors prefer to stay in beach resorts and coastal homestays so that they can easily have access to the beaches or house reefs.

Booking

If you are interested in traveling to Raja Ampat and want me to organize and guide you, please, contact me by e-mail to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

Also read:
  • Raja Ampat Snorkeling Review
  • Snorkeling Video from Raja Ampat
  • Raja Ampat Guided Snorkeling Tours
  • Raja Ampat Snorkeling and Birding Tour


Reef Fish Art of Raja Ampat islands

Raja Ampat is a great destination for visitors who like marine life. Its coral reef is home to hundreds of beautiful fish such as anemonefish, moorish idol, striped surgeonfish, parrotfish, butterflyfish, lionfish, and tasselled wobbegong. Sometimes bigger fish such as humphead wrasse and manta can be seen passing by the coral reef.
Global warming and marine polution has triggered massive coral bleaching in various coral reef sites in Great Barrier Reef and Okinawa. Fortunately, Raja Ampat reefs are still in very good condition. It is still the richest marine environment in the world.
Striped surgeonfish and convict surgeonfish
Striped and Convict Surgeonfish

When I guide tourists on a snorkeling tour in Raja Ampat, I always try to take pictures of the fish and other marine creatures that I see. Back at home when I am not busy, I create sketches of these sea animals. I mostly draw them using pencil on paper and added colors using my Derwent watercolour pencils. After that I redraw them digitally using a stylus on my Samsung Galaxy Tab A. I choose Autodesk sketchbook as drawing app. The artworks are later uploaded into my nature art shop in Redbubble. Anyone can see and order the artworks at this link: Reef Fish Art
Moorish idol from coral reef
Moorish Idol

Snorkeling Vacation in Raja Ampat
I offer snorkeling tours for anyone who is interested in taking a vacation in Raja Ampat. The duration of the tour can be as short as 3 days to as long as 1 or 2 weeks. During the tour, we could enjoy snorkeling at Warduwer beach, Mioskon, Friwen, Kabui bay, and even Piaynemo islands.
Tour participants need to bring snorkeling mask, snorkel pipe, and swim fins (flippers). Underwater world of Raja Ampat is very beautiful so, I highly suggest that participants bring camera such as the Nikon W300, or GoPro. After snorkeling, we can try to identify the fish that we photograph. Snorkeling participants who are interested in art can also make drawings of the fish and color them using watercolours.
Clown Anemonefish vector illustration
Anemonefish

Additional Activities
In addition to snorkeling, I can organize hiking tour to the forest for tour participants to watch paradise birds and other tropical birds of Raja Ampat such as Red Bird of Paradise, Claret-breasted Fruit Dove, Blyth's Hornbill, Yellow-faced Myna, Hooded Butcherbird, Eclectus Parrot and Palm Cockatoo, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, and etc. Tourists who want to enjoy snorkeling need to bring binoculars for the purpose.
Cost
I cannot give the price of the tour because it will depend on the number of participants and the duration of the tour. In general the cost is 5,000,000 rupiahs per person for 3 days/ 2 nights for accommodation, food, and transportation between Sorong airport and the guesthouse in Raja Ampat.
The cost does not include airfare,  charterred boat tour for snorkeling trips to remote islands in Raja Ampat.
Booking
If you are interested, please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by sending text message to my cell phone: +6281332245180. Sending text by whatsapp to that number is also possible.
Also read: Snorkeling at Raflow Resort of Raja Ampat

Coral Reef in Raja Ampat Archipelago

From late September to early October, I had an opportunity to visit important islands in Raja Ampat regency from Misool, and Kepulauan Sembian to Kofiau islands and north-east coast of Waigeo.
In general coral reef of this archipelago is still in very good condition. Raja Ampat has not suffered from massive bleaching on its corals like what happened in Okinawa and Great Barrier Reef. The regency is very far from big industrial cities of Indonesia such as Jakarta, Surabaya or Makassar. So, coral reef is still healthy and the density of marine life is very high.
Tropical fish and coral reef in Waigeo island
Coral Reef and Fish in Warduwer beach of Waigeo island
That's why a lot of scuba divers and snorkelers as well as freedivers continue to come to visit Raja Ampat. Coral reef with big fish can be seen in north-east region of Waigeo. It is the one that directly faces the open sea or the Pacific Ocean. Unfortunately because of its remoteness, very few people go there.
The best months to explore the north-east reef of Waigeo island is from June to November. The sea is relatively calm.

Entering the month of December, strong north-east Wind from the Pacific brings in big waves on to the beach. From December to May the weather in North-east coast of Waigeo is in high waves. In the contrary, the central and southern region of Raja Ampat islands are relatively in more favorable weather. The sea is quite calm and is good for snorkeling, sightseeing, and even bird and wildlife watching.
Swimming, snorkeling and freediving in Waigeo island
White sandy beach in southern region of Waigeo island
In areas where human activities are high, I could see significant damages. For instances, the coral reefs under the jetties of Sawondarek in Mansuar island (also called Mansuar eiland by Dutch tourists), Yellu in Misool island, and Arborek.
Because Raja Ampat islands are close to Sorong city and Waisai town, the floating plastic and metal wastes can reach the beaches and the reefs on daily basis. This has to be stopped through education. Massive campaigns to city dwellers and coastal islanders about the importance of not throwing plastics and other domestic and industrial wastes into the sea have become important priorities.
Snorkeling or freediving picture from Waigeo island
Underwater picture of Coral Reef in 
As a tourist guide, I often organize snorkeling, sightseeing and birdwatching tours for visitors who plan to visit Raja Ampat. The cost of the tour will depend on the number of participants, the number of islands that are visited, the duration of the tour and types of activities.
If you are interested in visiting Raja Ampat and want me (Charles Roring) to be your guide, please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.
Also read:
  • Raja Ampat Snorkeling Adventure
  • Raja Ampat Snorkeling and Birding Tour

Raja Ampat in July

July is the month where a lot of travelers want to go to Raja Ampat to spend their vacation. As a matter of fact the sea is full of waves particularly in south and central regions of the archipelago. I used to guide a Dutch lady in July. We went to southern region of Waigeo and stayed at a homestay near the entrance area to Kabui bay. Although the sea was quite protected, we could still experience waves. Snorkeling was possible only in the morning. Sometimes,  We did a tour by a motorized wooden boat around Kabui bay. The waves were quite strong. We used outrigger boat. We went to karst in the bay to see the scenery and enjoyed some birdwatching. Waves hit us from the bow when we were heading back to the homestay. All our clothing was wet. The boat crews was busy taking out water from inside the hull using a small water dipper.
Orange-skunk anemonefish, Three-spots Dascyllus and damselfish
Orange-skunk Anemonefish
Although the wind and the waves were quite strong at the beach, when I did freediving at a depth of 2 to 5 meters, the visibility was quite good. I could still make pictures of coral reef and marine life. I used a small action camera Brica B-Pro 5 Alpha Edition. It was not the best camera for underwater photography but it was good enough for snorkelers who want to have an affordable underwater photographic device.
Karst in Kabui bay of Gam island
Karst inside Kabui bay of Raja Ampat
For those who want to explore the tropical rainforest in Raja Ampat, july is a perfect month. Orchids, tropical plants, reptiles, mammals, birds and insects can be seen while we walk in the jungle. As a tour guide, I organize birdwatching tour to Raja Ampat all year round, even in late June, July and September when the waves are big. There are a lot of birds that we can watch including Palm Cockatoo, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Eclectus Parrot, Great-billed Parrot, Violet-necked Lory, Red-cheeked Parrot, Spice Imperial Pigeon, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Pied Imperial Pigeon, Hooded Butcherbird, Beach Kingfisher, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Common Paradise Kingfisher, Willie Wagtail, Torresian Crow, Pacific Swallow, White-breasted Woodswallow, Wimbrel, Brahminy Kite, White-belly Sea Eagle, and a lot more.
Birdwatching activity can be done using binoculars, and spotting scope.
North coast of Wageo island Photo by Charles Roring
North coast of Wageo
Which places you could visit in July?
You could visit places in Raja Ampat that are not directly exposed to sea current and waves that come from south-east or south-west directions. So, doing land tours in Waigeo, Salawati or Batanta will be ok. However, transport vehicles are not always available especially for big boats that go to Salawati and Batanta. Regular passenger ferry go to Misool, and Waigeo. There are also ships that go to Kofiau. Coastal villages in northern region of Waigeo have got calm waters in July, August and September. It is a suitable place for swimming, fishing, and wildlife watching in the forest.
Booking
The spread of Covid-19 around the world is still going on. If the threat of this virus has been curbed or stopped, and tourism activities can be continued again, anyone will be allowed to visit Indonesia.
If you are interested in traveling to West Papua province, and want me to organize your tour and accompany you, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by e-mail to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180

Also read:
  • Raja Ampat Birds
  • Snorkeling and Watching Birds of Paradise in Raja Ampat
  • Raja Ampat beach

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Snorkeling in Mansinam island of Manokwari Regency

Mansinam is a small island that is located near Manokwari city (the capital of Papua Barat province) in West Papua. It has been a famous destination among Christian pilgrims because it was the first place in New Guinea where Christianity was preached to the indigenous people. Every year on 5 February, thousands of people gather on the island to celebrate the event.
The tropical island of Mansinam is also surrounded by coral reef that hosts thousands of species of marine animals.
tropical fish and coral reef in Manokwari sea
Marine Life in Mansinam Island
Early this month, I went snorkeling at the southern part of the island. I brought a Canon G1X with its housing to take pictures of the marine life. There were a lot of fish that I saw during my 2 hours snorkeling activity. Some of them were Striped Surgeon Fish, parrotfish, damselfish, convict surgeonfish, butterflyfish, Moorish Idol, Clark's anemone fish, several species of Christmas tree worms, and a lot more. There were blue sea stars and black urchins and sea cucumber too.
Here are some pictures that I made during the trip:

Cross Monument of C.W. Ottow and C.G. Geissler in Mansinam of former Netherlands New Guinea
Cross Monument in Mansinam island

Snorkeling photo from Manokwari sea
Clark's Anemonefish
snorkeling photo from Manokwari
Underwater World of Mansinam Island
Snorkeling Tour and Rainforest Tour
As a tour guide, I can organize a Snorkeling Tour and Rainforest Tour for anybody who is interested in taking a vacation in Manokwari and other parts of West Papua province. 
I suggest that you come here in a group of at least 2 to 4 people. More is better because all of you can share the cost. I can organize such trip for a solo traveler too.

Where is Mansinam Island
Mansinam island is located in Dore bay near Manokwari city.  It is only a ten-minute ride by water taxi.
Manokwari is the capital of West Papua province
Manokwari - the capital of Papua Barat province

Manokwari is a city inside Dore bay with Mansinam and Lemon islands
Mansinam island Dore bay of Manokwari regency

How to get there?

  • It is easy to go to Mansinam island or Manokwari city (both are located very close to each other).
  • Fly from your country to Jakarta city
  • Take a domestic flight to Manokwari city. Garuda, Sriwijaya, Batik, Nam Air, and Wings Air (member of Lion Air group)
  • We will meet you at the airport and organize your trip to see coral reef in Mansinam island and other parts in Dore bay and the tropical rainforest in Arfak mountains.
For further information, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180
Also read:
Raja Ampat guided snorkeling tour
Snorkeling Pictures from Raja Ampat
Snorkeling at the beach of Raja Ampat Paradise Resort

A Short Visit to Mansinam Island

Christian pilgrims visit Mansinam island every day.
Mansinam Island
This is Mansinam island in Dorey bay of Manokwari. Every day, it is visited by Christian pilgrims who want to see the sites where German and Dutch missionaries lived between 1800s and early 1900s to preach Gospel for the first time to the indigenous Papuan people.
More than half of the island is still covered by green forest that is the habitat of birds, butterflies and reptiles. The coastal areas of Mansinam, especially its southern and northeast regions, are good for swimming, snorkeling and other water sports activities. I have guided tourists to this tropical island numerous times. We went there to see its villagers, hiked to the top of Mansinam to see Jesus statue, and also went to the beach to see its coral reef.
In the book The Malay Archipelago, Alfred Russel Wallace wrote that he landed on this island and met three German missionaries, Ottow, his wife and Geissler who had been there since 5 February 1855. They were preaching Gospel. Wallace did his research on flora, fauna and natural history of Netherlands New Guinea at that time.
Snorkeling site in Manokwari
Mansinam island
Mansinam now is still attractive for tourists who love marine sports. I often guide tourists to enjoy snorkeling in the coral reef area for visitors who want to see such fish as grouper, boxfish, damselfish, striped surgeonfish, convict surgeonfish, yellow-tail blue devil, three-spots dascyllus, and butterflyfish.
Tourists are highly recommended to bring their own masks, snorkels and fins.

How to go to Mansinam island
  • Fly from your country to Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia.
  • After that fly from Jakarta to Manokwari - the capital of Papua Barat province. Domestic airlines such as Garuda, Sriwijaya Air, and Batik Air offer regular flights to this city.
  • I can meet you at the airport or hotel where you stay and organize your tour to the island.
Other Snorkeling Spots
As a matter of fact, there are coral reef areas in Manokwari which tourists can visit to enjoy snorkeling. In the northern region, visitors can swim over the coral reef to see Red and Black anemonefish, wrasse, parrotfish and etc. 
Land Tour
In addition to visiting Mansinam island, I also offer hiking, and sightseeing tour to  forests and remote places in West Papua for tourists who like to see birds, butterflies, reptiles, mammals, and visit villages to meet local people in their daily activities. Birdwatching can also be arranged if tourists bring their own binoculars.

Booking
Please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or whatapp: +6281332245180, if you plan to visit Mansinam island or explore other places in West Papua.

Brahminy Kite

Birdwatching is an interesting activity which I offer to tourists when I organize an adventure tour to regencies such as Raja Ampat, Sorong, Manokwari, Arfak Mountains, Tambrauw and Wondama. To enhance the birding experience, I bring my binoculars - Visionking 10×42 mm and spotting scope - Kinglux 20-60×60. Waigeo, and Gam islands are two important sites for birdwatching. There are a lot of species of coastal birds that visitors can watch. One of them is Brahminy Kite.
Brahminy Kite
Brahminy Kite
From my recent trip to the archipelago, I saw the bird in the southern region of Waigeo island. It was sitting on the branch of a big tree around 40 meters away from me. I was at Warduwer beach at that time. Slowly I walked towards the bird. Because the bird had known my presence, I decided to stop walking.
I turned on my camera and carefully aimed it at the bird. The weather was hot that day. The sun was above my head and its light made the surrounding trees looked brighter. I pressed the shutter button once. Seconds later, the bird flew away. In the previous day, I saw a couple Brahminy Kite in north-east region of Waisai town. I also made a picture of them.
Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus)
Brahminy Kite
Actually, there were a lot of birds that I saw during the trip such as White-bellied Sea Eagle, Torresian Crow, Singing Starling, Moluccan Starling, Lesser-crested Tern, Eclectus Parrot, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Spangled Drongo, Red-cheeked Parrot, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Puff-backed Meliphaga, Palm Cockatoo, Spice Imperial Pigeon, Stephan's Emerald Dove, Beach Kingfisher, and a lot more.
Raja Ampat is beautiful both above and underwater. I and the visitors whom I guided enjoyed snorkeling in several places of the regency. I brought Nikon W300. It was an underwater camera. So, I had the opportunity of taking pictures of coral reef and tropical fish that I saw during our snorkeling sessions. It was a nice adventure. They wanted to visit Raja Ampat again in the future.
snorkeling picture from Waigeo
Coral Reef and Fish in Raja Ampat
If you are interested in taking an adventure tour to Raja Ampat or other parts of West Papua such as Sorong, Manokwari, Wondama; and want me to organize your tour, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.
Also read:
  • Raja Ampat Birds
  • Birding and Snorkeling in Raja Ampat Karst

Mansinam

Adventure tour in Manokwari of West Papua
Mansinam island
Mansinam is a small island close to Manokwari city of West Papua that is good for snorkeling and free diving. The island has got coral reef sites which tourists can swim over to see butterflyfish, damselfish, grouper, moorish idol, anemonefish, parrotfish, sea star, urchin, and even turtles. To enjoy snorkeling and freediving, visitors need to bring their own snorkeling mask, snorkel and fins. Don't forget to bring an underwater camera if you have such as GoPro action camera or Nikon W300
There are unique vegetation in the coastal area of Mansinam. There are kersen (also called Singapore cherry) trees, cattapa, pandanus and beach hibiscus. In addition to snorkeling and freediving, visitors can explore the island by hiking to its highest point where there is the statue of Jesus. German missionaries Carl Wilhelm Ottow, his wife Wilhelmine Auguste Ottow, and J.G. Geissler for the first time began introducing Christianity to the indigenous Papuan people on 5 February 1855. That's why Mansinam is called the island of civilization. Every year, on that date, thousands of people from all corners of the world gather on the island to celebrate the event. They also conduct cultural street parade on the streets of Manokwari city the next day.

Other Tourist Attractions in Manokwari

Birding tour with Charles Roring in Susnguakti forest of Manokwari
King Bird of Paradise (Cicinnurus regius)
Besides guiding tourists to Mansinam, I also guide tourists to Susnguakti forest of Arfak mountains for visitors who want to watch Lesser Birds of Paradise, King Bird of Paradise and Cuscus Possum. Usually, the duration is 3 days/ 2 nights. Hiking and birding are carried out in the mornings, and in the afternoons whereas night walks to find cuscus possum, Papua Dragon Tree Lizard are conducted between 20:30 and 23:00 local time. There is a base camp that is provided for tourists. Mattrasses, pillows, tents, cooking and eating utensils are available too. So, tourists do not need to carry those heavy things to enjoy hiking and wildlife watching in the Susnguakti forest.
As a tour guide, I organize tours to several different places in West Papua such as eastern region in Waigeo island of Raja Ampat, Klabolo forest of Sorong regency, Tambrauw mountains, and Susnguakti forest of Manokwari. The activities are multi-sports. They involve hiking, riverwalk, birding, swimming, snorkeling and freediving.
Booking
Please, contact me (Charles Roring) by whatsapp to: +81332245180 or by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com to book your adventure tours in Manokwari or other parts of West Papua.

Mansinam Island and its Marine Life

Mansinam island white sandy beach
White Sandy Beach in Mansinam island
Mansinam is the name of a small island in Dore bay of Manokwari city. I often guide tourists to enjoy swimming, snorkeling and freediving in the island to see its coral reef and tropical fish. The marine life along the coastal area may not be the best but is quite good to see.
To enjoy snorkeling, visitors must bring their own mask and flippers so that they could enjoy the view of the coral reef. Tropical fish such as damselfish, grouper, surgeonfish, and butterflyfish can be seen from shallow to deeper waters. I highly recommend that visitors bring an underwater camera such as the Gopro one to take pictures of the marine life. I like to take pictures of the fish too. First, I used a small action camera, a Brica B-Pro5 Alpha Editon but later I used a Fujifilm XQ2 with its waterproof case to get better quality photographs.
Fish and Coral Reef in Mansinam island
Coral reef and fish in Mansinam island
During my freediving trips in Mansinam, I was able to see pink anemonefish, and Spinecheek Anemonefish as well as Banded Sea Krait (snake). Yes, I often see the sea snakes but they are not aggressive.
There are also several coastal areas in Manokwari. I also like to visit those places when I organize snorkeling tours with tourists.
In addition to guiding tourists on sightseeing and snorkeling trip to Mansinam, I often organize tour to the jungle in lower montane forest of Arfak mountains, especially in Susnguakti forest. There is a base-camp in the jungle for visitors to stay for an average of 3 days. While in the tropical rainforest, visitors will be able to go hiking in the mornings, in the afternoons and in the evening to watch birds of paradise, and other tropical birds. For night walk, the main target is to watch cuscus possum.
Mansinam - the island where European missionaries landed to preach Christianity
A beach in Mansinam Island
Visitors who are interested in going to Susnguakti forest have to be physically fit because the slopes are very steep. This forest is not suitable for senior travelers.
For sightseeing, Mansinam still has got good forest especially on its southeastern region.
If you are interested in visiting Manokwari and want me to organize your tour, please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.
Also read:
Snorkeling tours in Raja Ampat islands
Snorkeling and Birding in Raja Ampat
Tourist Attractions in Mansinam Island
Snorkeling in Mansinam Island
Traveling to Mansinam

Snorkeling Season in Manokwari

Manokwari city is a nice destination visitors who like snorkeling, sightseeing, hiking, and wildlife watching. I have guided a lot of tourists from various European, North American and Asian countries to enjoy swimming, snorkeling and sightseeing in West Papua. There are several coral reef sites in around Manokwari which are the natural habitat of hundreds of species of reef fish.
My favorite sites are Mansinam, North Coast of Manokwari, and South Coast of Manokwari. While swimming over the reef, I and the visitors could see parrotfish, butterflyfish, lionfish, moorish idol, anemonefish, boxfish, wrasse, surgeonfish, grouper and a lot more.
Because Manokwari city is located inside Dore bay, the snorkeling activity can be done almost all year round.
coral reef and fish in Manokwari
Snorkeling Pictures from Manokwari
In my recent trip, I guided some British, German and Italian tourists to Mansinam and the north coast of Manokwari. We enjoyed swimming over the reef flat and drop off area. The visibility was very good especially in the mornings. I brought my point and shoot camera Fujifilm XQ2 that I had put inside its waterproof case. With that photographic device, I was able to take pictures of marine creatures that I saw during the snorkeling trips.
Manokwari is the capital of West Papua province in the Republic of Indonesia. It can easily be reached by plane from major cities in Indonesia. If you want to come here, you need to take an international flight from your country to Jakarta (the capital of the Republic of Indonesia). After that you one choose one of the airlines in this country that provide regular flights to Manokwari such as Sriwijaya, Batik Air and Lion/ Wings Air.
For avid snorkelers, I highly suggest that they bring their own device such as mask, snorkel, and fins. Bringing a good underwater camera is highly recommended. A small one like Olympus Tough TG-5, or Nikon W300 will give significantly enhance your snorkeling experience.
In addition to snorkeling, I also offer a trip to the forest where visitors can enjoy hiking, bird and wildlife watching.
If you are interested in visiting Manokwari and want me (Charles Roring) to be your guide, please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or you could also send text message to my number: +6281332245180.

Freediving in Warduwer Beach of Raja Ampat

Before the Covid-19 pandemic hit Indonesia, I used to go freediving at Warduwer beach of Waigeo island. My aim was to take pictures of fish,...