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Thursday, May 27, 2021

Snorkeling in Manokwari

Mansinam island and Arfak mountains
Mansinam island
Do you like snorkeling? Have you ever snorkeled in Manokwari? If not, then you should try it. This city is located in the bird's head region of New Guinea - the largest tropical island in the world. It is not difficult to go to Manokwari.
  • First, you need to fly from your country to the capital of Indonesia which is Jakarta. 
  • If you don't like the huzzle and buzzle of the metropolitan city, you can check the airlines in your country whether they have flights to Bali or Manado (two tourist destinations in Indonesia).
  • From one of these city, you can take a domestic flight served by Express Air, Lion Air or Sriwijaya Air to Manokwari - the capital of West Papua province. This city stretches along the Dorey bay with the magnificent view of Arfak mountains in the south and three small tropical coral islands in the bay.
When I mention coral islands, you know that there must be coral reef thriving around these islands. To enjoy snorkeling, you need to bring your own snorkel, mask, and fins. Don't forget to bring your underwater camera. As a snorkeling guide, I have accompanied  tourists who are interested in seeing the underwater world of Manokwari where coral reefs thrive. When you descend yourself to the reef, you will see hundreds of species of marine animals and plants. When you are in the water, I and the boat driver will continue monitoring your movements to make sure that everything is OK. Sometimes, we will ask you to avoid swimming too close to the beach because big waves may push you to the hard corals.
snorkeling picture from bakaro beach
The Underwater World of Manokwari
In addition to the Doreh bay of Manokwari, another snorkeling location that is highly recommended to tourists is its northern coast area or also called Pantura. The best snorkeling time is between May and October. After that the waves here will be bigger and more suitable for wave surfing. In addition to snorkeling and other water sports activities, visitors can enjoy hiking in the jungle to watch paradise birds. 

Birds at Raja Ampat Flow Resort

Yesterday I did some birding walk again at the surrounding area of Raja Ampat Flow (RAFLOW) Resort. The weather was nice towards the sunset time. Birds were flying in the air and hopping in the branches of trees. I saw one male Eclectus Parrot landing on the branch of a tree near me. It was close enough for my telephoto camera.
birding in Waigeo island of Indonesia
Eclectus Parrot
I made a few shots of him and then gave attention to Willie Wagtail that was sitting on a small twig of a shrub plant. He was quite far from me. Fortunately, y camera could still reach him. Warduwer beach where RAFLOW Resort was located is a great site for tourists who like birdwatching. During my several days of birdwalk around the beach, I was able to take pictures of Palm Cockatoo, Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, Mimic Honeyeater, Lesser-crested Tern, Red Bird of Paradise, Brahminy Kite, White-breasted Wood Swallow, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Black Sunbird, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Spangled Drongo
I also saw Beach Kingfisher but was not able to shoot it by my camera. I used Canon 200D with Tamron 150-600 mm.
birdwatching in Waigeo island of Raja Ampat
Palm Cockatoo

In addition to birding, I also enjoyed snorkeling at the beach. I saw a lot of species of fish and coral reef. There were wobbegong, butterflyfish, stonefish, Striped Surgeonfish, anemonefish, and other marine creatures like burrowing clam, christmas tree worm and crab.
Willie Wagtail at Raflow Beach Resort
Willie Wagtail
Raja Ampat Flow  (RAFLOW) is a nice beach resort for visitors who want to enjoy snorkeling, birding, sightseeing.
birding in Waigeo island of Raja Ampat
Mimic Honeyeater
If you are interested in traveling to Indonesia for visiting Raja Ampat, and want me to organize your tour, please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

Raja Ampat Birding

2 Red Birds of Paradise in Waigeo
Red Bird of Paradise
I have just returned from an early morning birding walk in the forest of Waigeo island. I guided two American tourists Paige and Bruce. We left Raja Ampat Dive Resort at 04.50 for a coast in the southern area of Waigeo by a small motorized boat. After that we continued our trip on foot to the lek of Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra). It was still dark and we were walking under the trees of Raja Ampat's rainforest. We used some flashlights. A long the path, we saw millipede and toad. It took around 1 hour 30 minutes for us to reach our birding ground. The sun began to appear in the east providing more light for us.
Courtship dance of a male paradise bird
Male Red Bird of Paradise was performing courtship dance
We heard the sounds of thunders above us. Soon the rain started to fall. Because we were determined to watch the paradise birds, we decided to stay at the birding platform. After waiting for around 30 minutes we could see the male birds of paradise jumped to the dry branches and danced up and down the near vertical branches of a tree in front of us. Sometimes they only sat on the horizontal branches or flew to palm trees in the surrounding area.
The rain fell again for another 30 minutes and the birds stopped dancing. Because they did not leave their tree, we did not leave our benches either. Soon after the rain stopped, two female Red Bird of Paradise showed up. The male ones jumped to their "poles" and began performing their courtship dance again. The cloudy weather made it dificult for me to capture this important moment by camera. I was able to take some pictures of the paradise birds. Some were quite sharp but the rest were blurry.
Palm Cockatoo in Raja Ampat regency
Palm Cockatoo
After watching birds of paradise, we walked down the slope again to the beach. We saw Moluccan King Parrot, Beautiful Fruit Dove, Claret-breasted Fruit Dove, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Mimic Meliphaga, Hooded Butcherbird, and Blyth's Hornbill. We heard the sounds of Common Paradise Kingfisher but we did not see the birds.
When we set our foot again on the beach of Raja Ampat Dive Resort, we saw some leftovers of catappa fruits falling on to the ground in front of us. When we looked up, there was a Goliath Palm Cockatoo in the tree. He walked on the branch of the tree trying to find delicious fruits for his breakfast.
If you are interested in taking a birding tour in Raja Ampat, and Sorong regency of West Papua, please, contact me by whatsapp to: +6281332245180 or by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com
 -written by Charles Roring
Also read:
Birds in Raja Ampat
Birdwatching in Raja Ampat Karst

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Snorkeling Video from Raja Ampat

I had a wonderful tour in Raja Ampat early this month. I focused my activity in Warduwer beach. Here, I spent my time snorkeling over its very nice coral reef. White sand strecthed along the southern region of Waigeo island making it an ideal site for snorkeling and freediving. I brought two cameras, i.e. the waterproof Nikon AW 130 and Fujifilm XQ2 (which I put inside a waterproof case). I went snorkeling and freediving during high tide e ofspecially in drop off area of the beach. The drop off is around 50 meters (164 feet) from the beach.
As a matter of fact, the beach is very flat and shallow. So, it is safe for visitors who bring their children to Warduwer beach. They can learn how to swim st Warduwer beach.
Marine life in Warduwer beach
Marine Life in Raja Ampat



When I was in the water, I saw hundreds of species of fish and other marine creatures. There were parrotfish, surgeonfish, butterflyfish, blenny, anemonefish, moorish idol, hawkfish, lemon damsel, wobbegong, scorpionfish, and a lot more.
To make videos, I dived to a depth of 2 to 7 meters and recorded anything that I saw. I did not scuba dive. I only used mask, snorkel and fins. It was a freediving. So, I could not stay longer in the water. I spent between one and one and a half minutes during each dive. Underwater swimming is a fun thing to do.
Map location of Raja Ampat islands
Location of Raja Ampat
What to bring
Raja Ampat was a nice place for anyone who wants to see beautiful fish and coral reef in its natural habitat - and not in aquarium. Visitors who want to go snorkeling at this beach need to bring:
  • Clothing that is suitable for tropical climate, and for swimming
  • Sun-block lotion, 
  • Snorkeling device such as mask, snorkel and fins
  • Underwater camera

How to get there?

It is easy to visit Raja Ampat.
  • First, you need to take international flight from your country to Jakarta - the capital of Indonesia.
  • Second, you need to continue your trip by taking a domestic flight provided by Garuda, Sriwijaya, or Batik Air to Sorong city.
  • When you arrive in Sorong, I could meet you at the airport and then organize your tour to Raja Ampat islands.
A beach resort is being built at the beach. Its name is Raja Ampat Flow (RAFLOW) Resort. Soon, there will be 15 bungalows for visitors to stay. 
As a tourist guide, I often organize tours to Raja Ampat for visitors who like snorkeling, sightseeing and birdwatching. If you are interested in visiting Raja Ampat to enjoy snorkeling and want me to be your guide, please, contact me by whatsapp to: +6281332245180 or by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com

Snorkeling Pictures from Raja Ampat Islands of Indonesia

Recently I visited Waigeo island of Raja Ampat to enjoy snorkeling and birding. I spent 4 days/ 3 nights exploring the reef and rainforest of the tropical island. It was a nice experience because I could see a lot of fish such as surgeonfish, damselfish, yellow tail blue devil, pink anemonefish, parrotfish, moorish idol, wrasse, butterflyfish and a lot more.
Snorkeling photo from Waigeo island
Marine Life in Raja Ampat
The coral reef that I explored was located in the south of Waigeo island particularly at Warduwer beach. The length of the beach was around 200 meters with fine white sand covering it. To avoid stepping on the reef flat areas, I went to the drop off side by an outrigger canoe. A villager paddled the small boat for me.
Freediving photo from drop off reef of Waigeo island
Underwater picture from Raja Ampat

My snorkeling gear was a pair of swimfins, a snorkeling mask and snorkel. All of them had Whale logo as the brand name. They were comfortable to wear on my feet, face and mouth.
Hard coral at the drop off edge of Warduwer beach of Waigeo island
Coral Reef in Waigeo
For taking pictures underwater, I used Nikon Coolpix W300 and Fujifilm XQ2. I did not bring dive watch to measure how deep I went into the water. The visibility was very good and the reef was abundant with fish.
I preferred drop off to reef flat because in deeper water, I had more freedom of moving in the water. I could also see big fish in drop off reef. Actually, the pictures in this blog post were made when I was around 2 to 7 meters below the sea surface. So, it could be considered as freediving.
If you are interested in snorkeling in Raja Ampat and want me to organize your tour, please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by text to my whatsapp: +6281332245180.
Related Post:

Threats to Coral Reef in Manokwari waters

Nature tourism in Manokwari
Manokwari city
As a tourist guide, I often organize snorkeling tours to coral reef areas around Manolwari city. I have run marine tours since 2010. So, I could see how the marine environments declines as the city is growing rapidly.
When the small town Manokwari was chosen by central government to become the capital of the newly formed Papua Barat Province, its population is growing rapidly. Government and businesses started to build office buildings and shops in every part of the town. As the result of the rapid growth of population and development, Manokwari city produces more trash and liquids that are harmful to the environment.
Marine snorkeling tour in Manokwari
Coral Reef in Manokwari regency
From my personal observation, coral reef areas in the bay of Manokwari have declined to a worrying level. A lot of trash such as plastic bags, baby diaper,  empty bottles of mineral water and cooking oil, as well as cans of softdrinks cover the coral reef areas in Lemon, Mansinam, Pasir Putih as well as Raimuti.
Coral reefs outside the bay of Manokwari also face similar threat. The trash follows the sea current and then land on the remote beaches of the regency.
This phenomenon has to be stopped. City dwellers in Manokwari as well as other areas around the world have to stop using plastics. Regular beach clean up has to be carried out too. With more trashes are added to the streets and drainage channels and with the lack of trash management system in the city, I am afraid that we will lose our coral reef in the near future. written by Charles Roring
Also read:
Wooden Boats in Dore bay
Plastic Wastes Pose Real Threat to Marine Ecosystem

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Raja Ampat Guided Snorkeling Tours

guided snorkeling tour in Indonesia
Snorkeling in Kabui Bay of Raja Ampat
Raja Ampat has become my favorite destination when I guide visitors on various snorkeling tours in the regency. I usually go to the archipelago with some tourists and stay in one of the resorts or homestays. From that place, we will visit islands where coral reefs are in very good condition to enjoy snorkeling, sightseeing and even birdwatching. We usually spend between 3 to 5 days to see a lot of species of tropical fish and other marine animals. Some of them were Pink-Anemonefish, Striped Surgeonfish, Butterflyfish, Sweetlips, Blacktip Shark, Moorish Idol, Three-spots Dascyllus, Sweetlips, and grouper.
A special trip by motorized boat could also be arranged for visitors who want to enjoy sightseeing in Kabui bay, Piaynemo or Wayag, Sandbank, and Mansuar, Friwen wall, and the passage between Waigeo and Gam island.
tropical fish and underwater marine life in Indonesia
Marine Life in Raja Ampat
Visitors need to bring their own masks, snorkel and fins if they want to enjoy the beautiful underwater scenery of Raja Ampat.
The marine tours are usually carried out by speed boat or motorized wooden boat to islands that are located within one or two hours trips from the resort or guesthouse where we stay.
Marine Environment in Raja Ampat
Raja Ampat reef and Fish
The number of participants of the tours are from 1 or 2 to 6 or 8 people. Sometimes I guide more tourists. For safety reason, tourists are advised to wear snorkeling jackets that we provide. Snorkelers will be able to keep afloat on the coral reef that is a fragile environment.
In addition to snorkeling, freediving, and sightseeing, your trip to these islands can be combined with birdwatching. Birds such as Red Bird of Paradise, and Wilson's Bird of Paradise are important targets. There are also other interesting birds which visitors can see during the tour including Eclectus Parrot, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Palm Cockatoo, Eastern Osprey, and Brahminy Kite, Pied Imperial Pigeon, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Red-cheeked Parrot, Hooded Butcherbird, Beach Kingfisher, Coconut Lorikeet and a lot more. Most birdwatchers bring their own binoculars.

Getting to Raja Ampat

You need to take international flight from your country to Jakarta (the capital of Indonesia). After that you could continue your trip to Sorong city. Most Domestic airlines in Indonesia such as Garuda, Sriwijaya, Nam Air, Batik Air and Lion Air provide regular flights to Sorong.
Alternative route: You could fly to Singapore. After that, by Silk Air you could fly to Manado city (the capital of the Province of North Sulawesi). There are regular flights by one of the above airlines to Sorong city. I could organize your trip from Sorong to Raja Ampat islands.
If you are interested in visiting Raja Ampat and want me to organize your trip, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.
Also read:

Raja Ampat Reef

Raja Ampat islands have been famous internationally because their marine biodiversity is the highest in the world. From my personal observations when I run snorkeling tours in the archipelago with foreign tourists, I could say that high density of fish and other marine animals can be seen in coral reef area whose sea current is strong. Such reefs are located in Yenbuba strait, Cape Kri, and in a small island near the entrance site of Kabui bay.
Raja Ampat seascape
Beautiful Raja Ampat
When I organize the snorkeling tour, I also bring visitors to beaches that are calm but also have got high marine life such as South-West Mansuar, Cape Kri, Five Rocks, and Isanak beach in Waigeo island. Uninhabited islands often have got more coral reef in pristine condition.
Here, we could see tropical fish and other marine creatures including lobster, burrowing clam, sea star, sea urchin, christmas tree worm, and etc. Bigger fish such as trevally, parrotfish, black tip reef shark can be seen in drop off areas.
Swimming, snorkeling and freediving at this steep reef slope or wall may look  scarry but for experienced snorkelers and freedivers, this area is the place where more fish and better reef can be seen easily.
Coral reef is similar to tropical rainforest. It is the natural habitat of a lot of species of marine creatures from tiny pygmy seahorse to giant trevally. It is the source of food for a lot of people and it is an important natural resource for researches in marine science. Because of this important status, we need to preserve it forever.
Visitors who enjoy snorkeling and freediving over the coral reef must not stand on the corals.
I usually combine this coral reef snorkeling trip with hiking, birding and rainforest tour. My email is: peace4wp@gmail.com. You could also contact me by whatsapp message to my number: +6281332245180.

Where is Raja Ampat

Raja Ampat is a regency in West Papua province of Indonesia
Location of Raja Ampat
Raja Ampat is a group of large and small islands in the western most region of West Papua province of Indonesia. There are more than 1,500 big and small islands as well as karst islets in the archipelago. Four big islands consist of Waigeo, Misool, Salawati and Batanta. Raja Ampat is considered as the center of marine biodiversity in the world because its waters and coral reef environment have got the highest number of fish species. The archipelago has got groups of karst islets that exhibit magnificent view of marine landscape. Some of them include Wayag, Piaynemo (Fam islands), Kofiau, Kabui bay and Fish Lagoon. Every year tens of thousands of visitors go to Raja Ampat to enjoy swimming, sunbathing, snorkeling, free diving, scuba diving and sightseeing. In addition to marine tours, Raja Ampat islands attract significant number of birders who travel to the regency to watch the endemic Wilson's Bird of Paradise (Diphyllodes respublica) and Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra).

How to go to Raja Ampat?
Raja Ampat is a highly recommended destination for marine tourism
Raja Ampat islands
Visitors who want to go to Raja Ampat need to fly to one of the major cities in Indonesia such as Jakarta, Denpasar, Makassar and Manado.
There is direct flight service by Garuda that connects Jakarta and Sorong city (the main gate to Raja Ampat). Regular flights between these cities are also offered by Sriwijaya, Batik, Nam, and Lion via Makassar city.
Tourists who land in Denpasar Bali can continue their trip to Raja Ampat by flying to Makassar and then to Sorong. Asian tourists can fly to Singapore and then fly to Manado by Silk Air. Regular direct flights to Sorong city are available from Manado by Garuda, Lion Air and Nam Air.
PELNI Ships
Besides going by airplanes, visitors can also go by ships to Sorong city. PELNI passenger ships connects Sorong and major coastal cities in West Papua as well as in Maluku, Sulawesi and Java islands.

Snorkeling freediving and birding Tours
I offer snorkeling and free diving tours for visitors who are interested in exploring the islands of Raja Ampat. The usual duration is 3 to 5 days. The tours will be combined with hiking and birdwatching tours to find such birds as palm cockatoo, pinon imperial pigeon, pink-spotted fruit dove, sulphur crested cockatoo, eclectus parrot and rufous-bellied kookburra. Please, bring your own snorkeling mask and fins as well as binoculars if you want to take the tour.
Booking
If you are interested in traveling to Raja Ampat and need a guide, I can be your guide and organize your tours from airport or hotel in Sorong city to Raja Ampat islands. Please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp: +6281332245180.

Also read: Snorkeling Tours in Raja Ampat

Travel to Raja Ampat Archipelago in Easter Region of Indonesia

Every year the number of visitors who travel to Raja Ampat increases. People go there to see beautiful landscape of the islands, do snorkeling or scubadiving over pristine coral reef and walk inside the forest to watch birds of paradise. There are hundreds of islands in Raja Ampat from the big four: Waigeo, Salawati, Misool and Batanta to the famous Kri, Mansuar, Gam and Arborek. There are also beautiful karsts such as Piaynemo, Wayag and Fish Lagoon.
Drone picture of Raja Ampat
Islands in Raja Ampat
Diving and Snorkeling
Liveaboard diving boats offer diving and sightseeing tour package for visitors who are interested in exploring the remote islands of Raja Ampat. This kind of service is similar to a small floating hotels that provide a relatively comfortable accommodation close to nature. Most of the diving boats are built using wooden materials with designs that have been adapted from the Phinisi sail boat. The cost of traveling with liveaboard boats is expensive.

Staying in Local Guesthouses or beach resorts and Exploring Raja Ampat using small boats

There is also a more affordable way which tourists can choose if they want to explore Raja Ampat. There are tens of guesthouses and beach resorts operating in most of the big islands in Raja Ampat. Visitors can go there and stay at one of them. To enjoy snorkeling, visitors can explore the house reef in front of the guesthouse or hire a boat that can bring them to coral reef areas in other islands. My favorite choice is Isanak beach. It is located in the eastern region of Raja Ampat. I used to guide tourists on snorkeling tour to coral reef areas in Sawondarek, Yenbuba Strait, Five Rocks, West Mansuar, Mamiaef, Kabui, Friwen, and Arborek. They were very good places for snorkeling.

Hiking and Birding

Tourists who like rainforest can explore Raja Ampat to see Palm Cockatoo, Eclectus Parrot, Violet-necked Lory, Great-billed Parrot, Eclectus Parrot, Beach Kingfisher, Hooked Bill Kingfisher, Red Bird of Paradise, and Wilson's Bird of Paradise. To enjoy birding and wildlife watching, tourists need to bring their own binoculars and spotting scope. A good hiking boots is also needed especially if the birding activity is done in the forest. I like birding in Raja Ampat because I can see both coastal birds and rainforest birds. For identifying bird, I highly recommend that tourists buy a field guide book: Birds of New Guinea written by Thane K. Pratt, Bruce Beehler.
Beach Kingfisher (Todiramphus saurophagus)
Beach Kingfisher
There are a lot of species of trees, shrubs, creeping plants, and other vegetation that we can see in Raja Ampat. There are also insects, reptiles and mammals which we can photograph. Rainforest is an interesting site to explore. There are orchid flower plants that grow in the forest including the Tiger orchid or also called Queen of the Orchids (Grammatophyllum spesiosum).
Tiger Orchid(Grammatophyllum spesiosum)
Tiger Orchid
Traveling to uninhabited islands
I offer customized tour for visitors who like adventure. I can organize tour to uninhabited islands whose beaches are in very good condition and ideal for snorkeling. Camping in these uninhabited islands can also be organized. The coral reef is very good. It is located in a place where visitors do not go because of the lack of transportation and information about it on the internet. We could enjoy swimming, camping and snorkeling as well as hiking, birding and wildlife watching. There are some coastal villages which we can visit too.

How to go to Raja Ampat
  • Fly from your country to Jakarta (the capital of Indonesia)
  • Fly from Jakarta to Sorong city. Batik Air and Lion Air operate Airbus 320 on a regular flights to Sorong. Garuda operates Boeing 737 and Bombardier CRJ 1000. Usually, the planes leave Jakarta at night and land in Sorong city early in the morning.
  • I can meet you at the airport and organize your trip to Raja Ampat

Booking

If you plan to travel to Raja Ampat and want me to organize your trip and guide you around the islands, please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp: +6281332245180.

Also read:

One Day Tour to Mansinam Island

tropical island of Mansinam
Mansinam island
After the Hiking and Caving Tour in Table Mountain, the next morning, we continued our trip to Mansinam island. We bought mineral water, biscuits and a bunch of bananas fruits at a shop near the Ketapang boat station of Manokwari. We went by water taxi crossing the blue sea of Dorey bay to the white sandy beach of the small tropical island. There was a concrete path that led us to the southern area of the island. We just followed it. Along the way, we could see coconut, catappa and barringtonia trees on both sides of the path. As we left the village, the forest at the back of the island looked more pristine. We continued walking until we saw a narrow path that was leading us to the beach. We just followed it. We arrived at the beach. There were some fishing boats at sea. We also saw butterflies and wild flowers. We were not too far from the city but we were close to nature.
dog at the beach
a dog at Mansinam island
We found a rock at the beach. We sat there under the shades of the trees to enjoy the surrounding scenery of this beautiful tropical island.
The southern underwater area of Mansinam island is covered by coral reef. It is a good snorkeling and diving site.
It was a busy day for local people. They were catching fish, collecting firewood and transporting school children to the city. There was a dog that was trying his luck on catching fish at the beach. He tried many times but he failed. Perhaps, he needed more practice. I thought wild dogs prefer to hunt animals in the forest. It was a new sighting for me to see dog trying to catch fish. It was a nice experience traveling to Mansinam island. At around 15.00, we returned to Billy Jaya hotel. We were really excited with the trip.
Besides organising and guiding tourists in Manokwari, I also organize snorkeling and birding tours in Raja Ampat especially to Waigeo, Mansuar, Kri, Arborek and Pianemo islands. -written by Charles Roring
Also read:
Snorkeling Tour in Raja Ampat
Raja Ampat Snorkeling and Birding
Visiting Fish Lagoon of Raja Ampat

Boat Trip to North of Raja Ampat

I visited Yenbekaki village of Raja Ampat last week. It was located in north-east region of Waigeo island. I went there with Rani and two villagers by a small wooden boat powered by two 15 HP outboard engines. We went there to see turtle conservation innitiatives at Warebar beach.
At Pasir Timbul (sandbar) of Raja Ampat
The weather was very nice. We made several stops along the way. First, at the Pasir Timbul (meaning: sandbar), Second: at Yenandau beach, Third: Warebar Beach, and Finally: Arrived at the beach of Yenbekaki. Although the weather was very hot, we really enjoyed the view, the fresh air and the crystal clear blue sea of Raja Ampat.
When we stopped at Yenandau beach, it was around 14.00. Rani took out cake for our lunch. There were also two packages of lunch wrapped in paper. The ingredients were rice, fried fish and some vegetables. Sitting at a big stone by the beach, we had our lunch. Yusuf, one of the villagers whom picked some green leaves which we used as our "plates." The sea was calm and the sun was brightly shining from above. It was a very beautiful beach. Minutes after lunch, we left the beach for Warebar beach.
Yenandau beach in Waigeo island of Raja Ampat
Children were playing at the beach when we arrived. They were happy to see us. When our boat landed on the beach, they welcomed us and helped us pushing the boat to the land. There was a small house at the beach which was used by villagers as a post for their Turtle Conservation Works. There are three rooms in it. There was a big table in front of the house facing the beach.
Children were helping us push the boat when we landed at Warebar beach
The sand was black. It was the location of turtle conservation works conducted by Yusup and his friends from Yenbekaki village. There were two plastic containers with with baby turtles in them. They planned to release them at night. We also checked the relocated nests. Eggs of the turtles were given labels about the species and time when their mothers landed on the beach to lay them. In the relocated nests, special net was installed to protect the eggs from predators such as soa-soa lizard, and dogs.
Relicated nests of Olive-ridley turtles and hawksbill turtles in Raja Ampat
Relocated and Protected Turtle Nests in Raja Ampat
We continued our boat trip to Yenbekaki village. The waves at the beach were quite big. We had to wait for the right moment to leave it. Still, one of us fell back into the bottom of the boat when a big wave hit us from the front. Everything back to normal again when we had reach deeper water. In around five minutes we landed at Yenbekaki village. Here, the sand had a cream whitish look. We brought our bags into Yusup's house and took a rest at the bench across from his house. Sweet hot coffee was brought to us. We drank the coffee and then decided to do a short walking tour around the village. The village was quite big. The houses were neatly arranged, some were decorated with flower plants or motif paintings. At the beach, we saw some people were building a wooden boat. They were happy to see us. Some children were playing at the beach.
We also had a long beach walk to see the beautiful scenery of Yenbekaki village. At night I and some villagers left the village for the Turtle Conservation Post by small motorized boat. At was only a short trip but we had to be very careful when entering the beach. The waves were big. We decided to enter it through Warebar river. The villager at the front of the boat used torch to find the entrance of the river.With the push from a big wave, we entered the river and slowly turned left to a big pool. We landed near the relocated nests. We still needed to walk for a few minutes to the post. I did not want to wait for long to see the release of the turtle. When everybody has arrived at the post, I asked them if it was ok to see them releasing the baby turtles. They said yes. 
Release of Baby Turtles at Warebar beach of Raja Ampat
Two big containers with baby turtles in them were released. Villagers released the turtles at night to prevent predators from attacking them. We still did night patrol to see whether there were mother turtles that landed on the beach to lay eggs but we did not see any. Back to the post, at the table in front of it, I enjoyed having good conversation with the villagers and a university student who was doing researches on turtles. This is written by Charles Roring
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Thursday, May 6, 2021

Snorkeling and Watching Birds of Paradise in Raja Ampat

Raja Ampat islands are important destination in Southeast Asia for marine tourism. Visitors who go there usually like to enjoy snorkeling and scuba diving in a lot of coral reef areas of the archipelago. The number of reef fish species is the highest in the world.
Scuba diving photo in Raja Ampay
Marine Life in Raja Ampat
Raja Ampat is also an important site for birding particularly for those who want to watch Wilson's Bird of Paradise (Diphyllodes respublica) and Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra) and a lot of other birds such as Pink-spotted Fruit Dove, Pacific Swallow, Hook-billed Kingfisher or Radjah Shelduck.
Wilson's Bird of Paradise (Diphyllodes respublica)
Wilson's Bird of Paradise

Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra)
Red Bird of Paradise
As a tourist guide, I offer private tours for visitors who want to enjoy snorkeling and birding in Raja Ampat. There are several sites that tourists can visit depending on how many days they want to stay in Raja Ampat. In general, visitors stay for 3 to 5 days. To join the trip, visitors need to bring their own masks, and fins for snorkeling, binoculars and camera for watching paradise birds.
The trip in Raja Ampat can be extended to the mainland of West Papua, if visitors want to watch more birds in the forest such as the Lesser Birds of Paradise, King Bird of Paradise and Twelve-wired Bird of Paradise.
For birding in Raja Ampat and mainland New Guinea, I highly recommend that visitors bring field guide book: Birds of New Guinea written by Thane K. Pratt and Bruce Beehler whereas for identifying fish after snorkeling, I recommend a book entitled: Reef Fish Identification-  TROPICAL PACIFIC by Gerald Allen, Roger Steene, Paul Humann and Ned Deloach.
To book your trip in Raja Ampat, please, contact me by e-mail to: peace4wp@gmail.com or send text message to my whatsapp number: +6281332245180.
ecotourism in Raja Ampat
Scenery of Raja Ampat


Camping Tour for Nature Lover in the Rainforest of Tambrauw Mountains

camping tour in tropical jungle
Our dome tents at the bank of a river in Tambrauw regency

Jungle Walk:
I offer a 4-day/3-night camping tour in the rainforest of Tambrauw regency.
During the tour, participants will be able to see the bio-diversity of rainforest ecosystem. There are tourists who said that it is their first experience of camping in the jungle. So, it becomes an unforgetable journey. I seems scary to stay in the jungle but for most nature lovers, it is a great opportunity to see rainforest ecosystem by their own eyes.
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
Suphur crested cockatoo in the jungle of Tambrauw mountains
The sounds of water flowing in the river, the singing of birds and insects, the swaying of branches and twigs blown by the wind were our natural music during the tour. There were several indigenous Papuan people from the nearby village who will accompany us. They will carry our logistics that we need during our tour in the jungle. They usually catch shrimp and fish in the river, pick some vegetables in the garden and jungle. Some women will also cook food for us. 
We will build 3 to 4 tents at a bank of a river in the tropical forest which is the natural habitat of birds, insects, reptiles and mammals. Tourists can swim in the river. We will walk deeper into the jungle. The land on both sides of the river is flat so, it is not difficult for tourists to walk in the jungle. 
rainforest wildlife watching tour in Indonesia - eupholus beetle
Eupholus schoenherri beetle from the forest of Tambrauw mountains
Most of the land of Tambrauw regency is still covered by pristine tropical rainforest which is the natural habitat of various species of animals and plants. During our previous camping tour, we saw a lot of birds including sulphur crested cockatoo, Blyth's hornbill, friarbird, egrets, eagles, and pigeons. 
I also took some nice pictures of Eupholus schoenherri's beetle. I saw it on the walking path. I thought it was dead so, I picked it up and put it on the leaf of a plant. Seconds later it started to walk slowly. The beetle had beautiful turquoise, black banded, and blue colors.


Where is Sausapor and How to there?
If you look at the map, Sausapor is located in the northern coast of West Papua between Sorong city and Manokwari city.
  • To get there, you need to fly from your country to Jakarta - the capital of Indonesia. 
  • And then you need to continue your trip by taking a domestic flight from Jakarta to Sorong city. 
  • I will meet you at the airport in Sorong city or at the hotel where you stay and organize your trip to Tambrauw regency
If you are interested in taking this rainforest camping tour, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Cameras for Adventure Travelers

Naturetourism with Charles Roring
My cameras for traveling
When I guide tourists on adventure trips in West Papua, I always bring at least one camera. The type of the photographic device that I choose depends on the destination that I plan to go to. For instance, if I want to guide birding visitors in Klabolo forest, I will bring my Fujifilm Finepix HS 50 EXR. I will use it to take pictures of birds of paradise and other tropical birds in the forest. I am very satisfied with this camera. It was small enough to carry but it has got super zoom lens that is equivalent to 1,000 mm lens that is usually used in D-SLR cameras. In the past I used Nikon P500 and Nikon P600. The quality of pictures that Fujifilm HS50EXR creates is better than them. Unfortunately, Fujifilm does not manufacture that camera anymore.
Lesser Birds of Paradise picture created using Fujifilm HS50EXR
Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor)
If I plan to go to the beach for snorkeling over coral reef in Raja Ampat, Tambrauw regency or Manokwari, I will bring my action camera Brica B-Pro5 Alpha Edition. In the past I brought Nikon Coolpix AW 120. Now the camera has broken. I used to take pictures of coral reef using ordinary Sony cybershot pocket camera that I put inside a dicapac waterproof case. I have just replaced them with the B-Pro5.
Nature tourism with Charles Roring in Manokwari
Manokwari underwater
As a matter of fact, the pictures that Nikon produces are much better than the Brica B-Pro5. However, the action camera is equipped with a waterproof housing that makes B-Pro5 more resistant to water pressure. In the long run, I will use the action camera more frequently until I can save enough money to buy a better camera that performs well underwater.
The pictures that I make during my adventure trips in the forest and at sea are important materials for my writing works. I always write trip reports or posts in my blogs and website. I add pictures in the articles to make them look more attractive to readers.
If you are interested in taking a snorkeling trip or birding tour in West Papua with me and want me as your guide, please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or whatsapp: +6281332245180.

Also read:
Photograph of Phinisi boat
Underwater Photographs of Coral Reef in Mansinam

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Birds in Minahasa

Chestnut munia
Chestnut Munia
I was traveling in the highland of Minahasa last week. I visited Tomohon, Sonder, Kawangkoan, and Langowan to explore their surrounding forests. I planned to bring birding visitors to the region. During my birding tours, I saw several species such as Sulawesi Drongo, Scaly-breasted Kingfisher, Collared Kingfisher, Olive-backed Sunbird, Yellow-sided Flowerpecker, Sooty-headed Bulbul, Slender-billed Crow, Chestnut Munia, Scaly-breasted Munia, Grey-cheeked Green Pigeon, Sulawesi Scops Owl, Cattle Egret, and a lot more.
Great-billed Kingfisher
Great-billed Kingfisher
I also had the opportunity to speak with local farmers who make palm sugar, and with ones who own fish, and pig farms.
For birding tour that I offer in North Sulawesi, I can include some additional trips to the volcanic crater of Mount Mahawu or to Lake Tondano. I can organize scenic and cultural trips to places where local farmers in North Sulawesi traditionally make palm sugar, farm tools, and earthenware.

Visitors who are interested in taking the tour could come as a solo traveler or as a group of 2, 4 and up to 8 participants to share the cost of traveling. For further info about the trip, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: leororing@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

Birding in North Sulawesi

I recently visited the highland and lowland of North Sulawesi from Kotamobagu to Minahasa and then to Tangkoko. This province has got beautiful landscape that attracts a lot of tourists every year. Early this month I was traveling in this region with several tourists from Republic of China or also called Taiwan. 
Red-backed Trush

We visited several places including Tomohon, Sonder, Amurang, and Tangkoko. Most of our activities were focused on birding and wildlife watching.
 
Female Sahul Sunbird in District Sonder of Minahasa
Female Olive-backed Sunbird
 We enjoyed birding in Mount Mahawu, Lake Linow, Temboan and the rainforest of Mount Dua Sudara Nature Reserve (famously called Tangkoko). Each tour participant whom I guided brought his or her own binoculars and camera with telephoto lens. So, taking pictures of birds in tall trees or far in a pond was an easy thing to do for each of them.
Grey-cheeked Green Pigeon
Grey-cheeked Green Pigeon
There were a lot of birds that we saw such as Maleo, Knobbed Hornbill, Pale Blue Monarch (Hypotimis puella), Grossbeak Starling (Scissirostrum dubium), Chestnut Munia (Lonchura atricapilla), Scaly-breasted Munia (Lonchura punctulata), Olive-backed Sunbird, Yellow-billed Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus calyorhynchus), Purple-winged Roller, Green-backed Kingfisher, Gross-beak Starling, Golden-mantled Racket Tail, Slender-billed Cuckoo Dove, Slender-billed Crow, Barred Rail, Lilac-cheeked Kingfisher, Great-billed Kingfisher, Scaly-breasted Kingfisher, Sooty-headed Bulbul, Black-naped Oriol,  Ashy Woodpecker, Collared Kingfisher, Sunda Teal, Black-winged Stilt, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Sulawesi Scops Owl, Ochre-bellied Boobok, and a lot more.
We also saw a lot of butterflies, and dragonflies. In addition to birds and insects, we saw squirrels, Celebes-crested Macaque monkeys, Snake and Cuscus Possum in the forest.
Cultural Tour
ecotourism attractions in Indonesia
Farmland in Minahasa Highland
As a tourist guide, I can combine birding tour with special culture tour for visitors who are also interested in seeing Minahasan people in their daily life. We could visit farmland and see how villagers work in their garden, work in ricefield and fishpond. We could also see the traditional market and see agricultural produce and other products which local people sell and buy.  A trip to see farmers who make traditional liquor from palm sap or palm sugar can be organized too.
If you are interested in visiting North Sulawesi and want me to be your guide, please, contact me by email to: leororing@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180

Exploring the Natural Beauty of North Sulawesi

A long journey I finally arrived in Manado. The homestay was close to the airport, within 10 minutes I was there. The owner took me to the room. Actually it was more like an apartment. There was even a roof terrace. From here I had a nice view. It's been a long day for me. To start the journey through North Sulawesi the next day in a relaxed way,  I slept very nice that night. I could fully relax and my fatigue disappeared as snow in summer.
The morning started well with room service. The owner brought a delicious breakfast. With enough energy in my body the day could start. Today I went to visit a waterfall.
The path to the waterfall was beautiful. Along the way I was able to take a lot of pictures. There was much to see. It was a careful walk because the path was slippery.  
Waterfall in Minahasa regency
Waterfall in North Minahasa
After a while we reached the waterfall, very impressive. From a height of approximately 40 meters the water came down. After taking some pictures we went back. Along the way we were attacked by a tropical rain shower. We spent more than half an hour hiding under the trees with a poncho like a tent on top of us.  Afterwards we saw that a few meters further there was a house where we could have taken shelter. But that is not nearly as adventurous.
After the shower we continued our walk. The road to the village was still long. The chance of a new shower was very high, so we hoped that we would meet a car or motorcyclist who would like to give us a lift. We didn't have to wait long. A car arrived and the friendly gentleman brought us to the village. From there we took public transport back to the hotel. What I find striking is how helpful the people here are. Very nice to experience.
roadside birding in Manado
Birding in North Minahasa regency

After our visit to the waterfall we move to the other side of the road. There is our new base. The homestay and the hotel are outside the city. Yet there is still a lot to see here. There are plenty of restaurants where you can enjoy a delicious meal. There were also souvenir shops. It is nice to see them.

What is also worth a visit is the traditional market. This market is just off the main road to Manado. It is located in a quiet neighborhood. They sell fruit and vegetables.  I have also been to Manado. I visited the museum and found out more about North Sulawesi.

After these days Bunaken was on the program. With the taxi boat I made the crossing. The homestay where I stayed was close to the "harbour". It is not really a port, but you dock on the beach. Not far from this beach is the homestay where I will stay for a few nights. Vano took me there. I was kindly received by his family. She made you feel at home. The meals she cooked were very tasty.  
sightseeing, swimming and snorkeling in Manado Tua
Passengers were going out of the Stella Maris boat that had just arrived in Bunaken
The view from the homestay is great. When the weather is clear you can see Manado lying there. Furthermore, there were many birds and crabs to see.
traveling to Indonesia
I was in Bunaken island

The next morning Vano took me on a motorcycle trip across the island. Our final destination was the beach on the other side of the island. A beautiful beach. From here boats leave for the drop off place where you can dive and snorkel.

Because it is still rainy season, there was a lot of rain from time to time. Luckily I was back at the homestay.

Unfortunately it rained the next day. I was going to snorkel this day, but due to the weather conditions I didn't do this. Because it didn't look like it would clear up, we went back to the mainland. From there we drove to the terminal to take the bus to Doluduo, a 6 hour ride. The road to Doluduo is very varied. The ride was not comfortable, but I thought it was an experience and wouldn't have missed it.

At the beginning of the evening we arrived at the homestay. Also here we were warmly welcomed. Aunt Mien, the owner had made us a nice meal.

Nature tour sightseeing and birding in North Sulawesi
Ricefield in North Sulawesi

The next day we would go into the woods. With the bike we drove to the national park. To get into the woods you need a local guide. Unfortunately there was no one present. After half an hour we decided to walk back. We then walked back to the village. A varied walk. We saw several birds, farmland, villages with rice fields and beautiful views. Enough photo material. In the afternoon we explored the surrounding area.
The next day we would go into the rainforest in search of the bird Maleo. Unfortunately the rain threw a spanner in the works. We decided it was better to leave. At the end of the day we arrived back in Manado.
After a nice night's sleep we went to our next destination, Tangkoko. Here you can find tarsiers and I really wanted to see them.
By bus we travelled to Tangkoko. We arrived at the end of the morning. The room was simple. I was still shocked by a 2 large cockroaches that walked over the ground. Charles tried to catch them, but they flee into an inaccessible corner.

Tarsier in Tangkoko Nature reserve
Spectral Tarsier

In the afternoon we went with a local guide into the national park. We were able to spot different kinds of birds. And we also found the tarsiers. Very small cute looking animals.
After the walk we had some tea in the restaurant. Suddenly I was called because a snake had fallen from the tree.
The next morning I woke up early. We are going to make a morning walk. It is very nice to see how the rainforest awakens. There are many different sounds to be heard. We have been able to see several birds and have also been able to take good pictures. It was a nice experience.
After lunch we left for Tomohon. This place is situated in the mountains. The temperature is pleasant. We were in a hotel just outside the city. You can walk well here and spot birds. We went by bus. On the way we got a blowout. It does happen that a few meters further the tire repair shop was. Luckily the tire was quickly changed and we continued our trip.
The hotel where we stayed was in a quiet neighborhood. The room was clean. Only breakfast was not included. In the evening we had dinner in the neighborhood.
The next morning we got up early. We are going to visit a crater. On the other side of the hotel we bought some biscuits and water. With a grab car we went to the foot of the mountain. There we walked up. Because it is so early the clouds are still low. In the beginning there was nothing to see, but over time nature drew the curtain further and further. Little by little the crater came into view. Eventually the sun broke through and I was able to enjoy the view to the fullest.


traveling to Minahasa highland

We were supposed to walk all the way back, but we were able to charter a motorbike. It was still a long walk. The three of us got on the bike and drove to Tomohon.
There we visited the traditional market. Besides the standard vegetables, fruit and trinkets they also sell dogs, meat mice, mice and snakes. It is very special to see.
tourist attractions in Minahasa regency
Meat and wings of fruit bats

We had lunch at the KFC. Then we went to a crater lake. Also with a grab car. We agreed with the driver that he would pick us up 2 hours later.
The lake is beautiful to see. Every now and then the smell of sulfur meets you. At several places you can see the steam coming out of the earth. We have also been able to spot several birds. I enjoyed the view.
After resting for a while we walked to the city in the evening to eat somewhere. After dinner we explored the city further. At a sandwich shop we bought some sandwiches for breakfast. The next morning we would get up early to spot birds.
That morning we saw different kinds of birds. It was a nice relaxing walk. After the walk we took a crab car back to Manado.
On the way Charles bought me dodol. This is a delicacy consisting of rice flour, palm sugar and coconut milk. It is a coffee-like cake. It is quite sweet. It was packed in palm leaf. It is very laborious to make this.

rice cake from North Sulawesi
Dodol - sweet rice cake made with palm sugar, coconut milk and peanuts

The last few days of my trip I stay in Manado. I have been to Airmandidi for 1 day. I have family there. Unfortunately they were not at home. I did meet the neighbors. A very hospitable family.
The last day we went to the most beautiful beach of Manado. It was a long drive, but it was more than worth it. A beautiful white beach and an azure blue sea.

Paal beach in North Sulawesi
Paal Beach in North Sulawesi

After 14 days my adventure in North Sulawesi came to an end. The program that Charles had set up was very varied. He showed me a lot, so I got an impression of the area. Everything was well taken care of and I am very happy that Charles accompanied me during my trip. Full of great memories I got on the plane to start a long trip to the Netherlands.  

Guest post by Astrid from the Netherlands.

Doves and Pigeons in Rainforest of West Papua

Before the covid pandemic reached Indonesia, I frequently guided visitors to watch birds and wild animals in rainforest. We traveled across ...