Saturday, September 17, 2011

Rainforest Tour in the North Coast of Manokwari

When travelers plan a hiking tour to Manokwari, they always put Arfak mountains in the list of their destination. It is true that the mountain range is rich of wild life. However, I want to introduce another destination in the north coast of this regency which is called Pantura (meaning literally Beach North). North Coast of Manokwari is still covered with low elevation rainforest that is also home to various species of birds, butterflies and nocturnal - marsupial animals such as kuskus and kangaroo (locally called Lao-lao). The wild life in West Papua is different from the one that can be seen in other islands of Indonesian archipelago. Animals and plants in West Papua have more resemblence to the ones that can be found in other Pacific islands and Australia.
The Pantura area is also a nice place for snorkeling. Coral reef areas in Asai bach and around Kaki island are rich of various species of tropical fish. If you want to enjoy snorkeling in Pantura of Manokwari, bring your own snorkeling mask and fins. You cannot rent them here.
Recommended Underwater Camera
Also don't forget to bring an underwater camera. If you don't have one, I recommend you to buy Panasonic Lumix DMC FT3 or the Nikon Coolpix AW100. Equipped with GPS and compass, these cameras are versatile tool for anybody who wants to capture the beautiful corals that are home to colorful fish and other marine animals. For photo quality, from the official website of Panasonic, the company claims that the Panasonic Lumix DMC FT3 can create 12.1 megapixel images whereas from the official website of Nikon, the digital camera manufacturer claims that its Coolpix AW100 can produce 16 MP photographs.
I personally had tried the Panasonic Lumix DMC FT3 once for snorkeling and after that it was broken! The photograph that I made can be seen above. It's quite clear even though it was taken in low light condition - the weather was cloudy at that time. Unfortunately, it leaked and water entered through its door. Before using it, I had checked its door and locked it. Even though the company claims that it can withstand water pressure up to 12 meters below sea level, my Panasonic DMC FT3 is now broken. So, if I want to buy a digital waterproof camera, I will buy Nikon Coolpix AW 100 for its better pixel quality and, perhaps, its claimed waterproof endurance.  
In my last trip to the north coast region, I accompanied three European tourists. we walked up stream the Asai river. We saw sandpiper, pigeon, and hornbills. I shot the sandpiper bird below from a distance of around 60 meters using my super zoom camera - Nikon Coolpix P500. With its 36 x optical zoom capability, I could enlarge the image of the bird in the LCD screen at the back side of the camera before pressing the shutter button. The bird was walking on the bank of the river when I shot it using my digital camera. I suggest that tourists bring telephoto camera, digiscope or binoculars if they want to go hiking in the rainforest of Manokwari. Also, don't forget to buy extra batteries for the electronic devices.
I have visited this river several times but I feel that it is still an interesting destination for anybody who is interested in exploring the rainforest of New Guinea - the largest tropical island in the world. So, if you plan to fly to Manokwari, don't forget to contact me via my email:
Also read: Tropical rainforest of Asai river

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Rainforest Tour in Manokwari regency of Indonesia

I often accompany foreign tourists on various rainforest tours in Manokwari regency. Manokwari is the capital of West Papua province of Indonesia. Today, the number of tourists who want to go hiking and wildlife watching in the forest is increasing. Most of them choose the rainforest of New Guinea because they want to see the wealth of its bio-diversity. There are hundreds of species of birds, nocturnal animals, mammals, reptiles, insects, flowers, and green plants in the jungles of Manokwari.
As a tourist guide, I opened a new tourist destination in the middle of the forest of Inggramui village last month. From my recent trip with 2 Dutch tourists there, I was able to make some pictures of flowers, butterflies, rivers and tropical trees. For example, the photograph of white petal flowers below was shot by me using a pocket camera - Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT3. These flowers are called Glory Vine (Faradaya splendida).
Another new picture was taken from my rainforest hiking tour along a river in the north coast of Manokwari. I made it using Nikon Coolpix P500 - telephoto digital camera that is suitable for shooting distant subjects. My main intention of buying that camera is to make promotional photographs for my ecotourism project in West Papua. I believe that ecotourism can help the indigenous Papuan people improve their living standard and at the same time preserve their environment.
The Nikon Coolpix P500 is also good for macro shooting. The close-up picture of the eupholus beetle looks sharp and beautiful among the green leaves of the surrounding plants. I didn't use any macro lenses to create this picture. This rainforest insect did not run or fly away when I shot it from close distance.
The tour to tropical rainforest can help the indigenous Papuan people preserve their forest because they will be able to make some extra money from their natural resources without having to cut trees or hunt wild animals.
To visit Manokwari city, first you need to fly from your country to one of the major cities in Indonesia such as Jakarta, Surabaya, Denpasar, Makassar or Manado. After that take a domestic flight served by Batik Air, Lion Air, and Sriwijaya Air to Manokwari. Check or their respective websites for further information about the flight schedules and ticket prices.
If you are interested in taking a tour inside the tropical rainforest of Manokwari, please contact me (Charles Roring) via email at
Also read:
Birding in Raja Ampat
Morning Bird Tour in Waigeo island
Hiking, Camping and Wildlife Watching in Arfak mountains
Flowers in the Rainforest of West Papua
Traveling around Anggi Lakes
Traveling around Arfak mountains

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Converting Hunters to Birding and Wildlife Guides

On the 30 July 2011, I went cycling to the rainforest behind Inggramui village. After exploring the track inside the jungle, I arrived at a bridge near Zona Papua housing area. There I met someone named Elia Kambu. He was carrying an air gun. From my conversation with him, I knew that he was going to go hunting in the forest. He said that to reach the hunting ground, he needed to walk for around 4 hours. As a tourist guide, I wanted to explore the rainforest which had been the hunting ground of Elia. So, I told him that I was interested in making a survey trip to "his jungle." One or two days after our conversation, I met him again in his house in Inggramui village. After some discussions with him, we decided to go hiking several days later. On 4 August 2011 I, Elia and Yunus went to the forest. My goal was to make an assessment whether the rainforest could become a new tourist destination in Manokwari.
After making one day survey trip, I decided to open a new ecotourism post in the rainforest of Inggramui. With the help of Elia and his friends, we constructed a new hut for tourists. This hut would be used by tourists who are interested in the wildlife of New Guinea. On 9 August 2011 I brought two Dutch tourists (Herman Van Der Hart and Elizabeth Pot) to this new ecotourism post. Elia, Melianus and Abner did their best to serve the tourists. The weather was not so friendly to us. We experienced a lot of rain during our 3 days hiking trips in the tropical rainforest of Inggramui. 
Herman is a professional photographer. While hiking in the forest, he was able to shoot Western Crown Pigeon. Even though the bird is protected by Indonesian law, local people continue to hunt it and other big birds such as the horn bill for their meat. The western crown pigeon, together with the lesser bird of paradise, is facing extinction right now. Through this ecotourism project, I hope that I can convert Elia Kambu and his friends from being hunters to become tourist guides. Converting them to become nature lovers is not an easy task because the number of tourists is still low. I still need money to build a small tourist house inside the jungle.  by Charles Roring
Also read:
Birds in Raja Ampat
Birdwatching and Snorkeling in Raja Ampat and Sorong
Watching Birds in Waigeo island of Raja Ampat

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Snorkeling in Manokwari bay and Coral Reef Preservation

A few days ago I went snorkeling with four Dutch tourists. Our destination was the coral reef of Anggresi beach. It was around one hour boat ride from Arfai - the boat station where I usually bring the tourists to. I consider snorkeling as an alternative way for local fishermen to make money besides catching fish. I hope that through the interaction between the tourists and the fishermen, both sides can share information and experiences about the importance of coral reef preservation. 
Coral reef is a marine ecosystem that is rich of biodiversity. There are thousands of species of fish and corals in the reef. So, the preservation of coral reef is important not only for the development of sustainable tourism but also for the many functions the coral reef has both for human life and the whole environment as well.
Unfortunately, the coral reef along the shores of the Dorey bay is being destroyed by city dwellers who just throw their wastes on to the streets of Manokwari. When rain comes, these wastes will flow into the sea. They are the main threats to coral reef besides the sand mining activities that are now going on along the Maruni and Anggresi beaches.
Coral reef in southern area of Dore bay

Truck was carrying sand and gravel to be used construction materials
Angresi beach
Underwater picture such as the one that you can see above was taken using Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT3 which is able to produce high quality photographs of coral reef and ornamental fish at sea. Another waterproof camera that I recommend is the newest one that has just been released by Nikon. It is a Nikon Coolpix W300. The camera can withstand water pressure of up to 10 meters below the sea surface and produce crystal clear photographs with its  5x optical zoom, Nikor lens. by Charles Roring

Also read: 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Bird watching picture from Arfak mountains of Manokwari - the Magnificent Birds of Paradise

I have just returned to Manokwari from a 3-day hiking and birdwatching trip in Arfak mountains with 2 tourists and 1 researcher from the Netherlands. We  saw various species of birds including the magnificent birds of paradise (cincinnurus magnificus). This morning, before leaving for Manokwari, I went to the birdwatching hut again (usually called blind) to see whether I could make some pictures of the paradise birds. I was in the hut for around 2 hours. When some sunlight hit the ground, the male birds landed and began clearing the ground from the fallen leaves. He has yellow and brown feather at his wings. His underpart is covered with dark green and black plume. Two blue antennas decorate his tail. After that he called the female birds. It was quite difficult to get sharp photographs early in the morning. Fortunately, with my new digital camera - a Nikon Coolpix P500, I was able to shoot the birds. Here are some of the best photographs that I made this morning.

Male Magnificent Birds of Paradise 

Female magnificent birds of paradise has white patch behind her eyes. Her bill is pale blue. I shot this bird while she was eating the grains of the red fruits (pandanus connoideus lam). The Papuan put the fruit in front of the birdwatching hut to attract the birds for tourists.

Female Magnificent Birds of Paradise
If you are interested in bird watching in Arfak mountains, you can contact me via my email: Cell Phone: +6281332245180. I will be happy to prepare your itinerary and guide you.

Also read:
Bird watching tour in Manokwari