Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Trip to Arfak Mountains with Rhett Butler

A few days ago I was in Syioubri village of Mokwam area in the Arfak mountains. I was a tour guide for Rhett Butler - the founder of mongabay.com. We went there on 30th of July and returned to Manokwari city again on 1 August 2010. 
 Our trip to Arfak mountains, besides to see magnificent birds of paradise and bower birds and other wildlife, was carried out to assess whether the tropical rainforest there is still in good condition or not. We arrived in the morning by Hilux - a 4WD car that is manufactured by Toyota. The car was especially designed to overcome extreme road condition such as the last two kilometers that we experienced before entering the Syioubri village.
When the car was about to enter the village, I saw Zeth Wonggor with other villagers were preparing the road. I got off the car and had a small conversation with Zeth. I introduced Rhett Butler to him and let them talk a little before continuing our trip to the tourist base camp. Zeth is a famous birdman in Arfak Mountains.
I had to cook lunch fast because after that I and Rhett had planned to make a little tour around the village and along the river that passes through the Syioubri village. The view of Arfak mountains was amazing. I liked the scenery and the fresh air. Breathing the cool air in Arfak mountains was a fascinating experience.
We did not find a lot of wild animals during the day tour along the road that divides the village into two part and along the river whose stream flows down from one of the summits of the Arfak mountains.
We decided to carry out night walk after dinner accompanied by one local field guide, Elyakim. He was a nice and friendly person. It is surprising to see that although he did not finish elementary school, he could mention the English names of most of the birds in the Arfak mountains just by hearing  their voices or looking at them. I personally am not a birder that's why I am not familiar with the names of most New Guinea birds.
From that night walk, Rhett Butler and I could take a lot of pictures of insects and frogs. Most big black frogs live near the water of the rivers whereas green and light brown frogs live on the branches and leaves of the plants that grow on both sides of the river banks. Although the weather was cold, I really enjoyed the night trip. I and Rhett was tired when we returned to the base camp. We slept early because we had  to wake up before dawn to climb the mountain to see bower bids. I will write about it in my later post. If you are interested in traveling to Arfak Mountains and need a tour guide, please, contact me Charles Roring at peace4wp@gmail.com or call me via my cell phone 081332245180
Also read: Traveling to the Northern Coast of Manokwari

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