Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Night Hiking in the Jungle of Arfak mountains

Two days ago I guided two Spanish tourists (Expedito and Maria) on 1 night/ 1 day hiking tour in the forest of Arfak mountains. We left Manokwari city by car at 21.30 for the jungle of Arfak mountains in the territory of Warmarway village. When we arrived in the village, my smartphone clock showed 22.30 so I offered an overnight stay in our guesthouse that was being built at the beach. They said that they preferred to stay in the jungle. Maria wanted to see cuscus possum. So, we continued our trip to the stop point where we would go hiking in the jungle. Night hiking was more dangerous because the slopes were very steep. We walked slowly. I held my battery powerd LED lamp higher to give light to all of us. Each of us carried heavy bag on our back.
After passing the steep slope, we stopped for a while. Yunus, the villager from Warmarway village, who guided us in the jungle would try to call Cuscus Possum. All of the flash lights and my LED lamp had to be turned off. Yunus began to imitate the sound of female cuscus to attract the male one. We sat on the ground for approximately fifteen minutes waiting for the cuscus to come. He did not come.
Cuscus possum in the jungle of Arfak mountains of Manokwari
I told Yunus to continue walking again. We stood, turned on the flashlight, pick up our bags and then continued our night hiking again. It was getting late. The dark forest around us was full with the sounds of insects. They became our natural music that sooth our minds. So relaxing music. We made the second stop in the jungle and turned our lights again. Yunus made his second call imitating the sound of femail cuscus. The jungle was very dark but we could still see some light at tree tops. The light from starry nights. After calling for 10 minutes, we began to hear the sounds of braking twigs and the movement of tree branches. The sounds were getting closer above our heads. Suddenly, Yunus asked me to turned my lamp on. I did it and there it was - the cuscus possum in the branch of a tree. I opened my waist bag and took my camera out of it. It was a Fujifilm HS50EXR. I aimed it at the cuscus and made several pictures. Maria, one of the tourists, looked very exited to see the cuscus. She turned on her camera and took some pictures of the cuscus. Then we walked again deeper into the jungle.
Yunus still made another call but no cuscus came. We finally arrived in our base camp. We boiled water and had some hot chocolate drinks. We went to bed at 02.20. All of us were happy with the night hiking trip that we had just done. written by Charles Roring

If you are interested in visiting Arfak mountains to see butterflies, cuscus and the forest environment and need me as your guide, please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Hiking and Camping in Arfak mountains

A few days ago, I guided an American girl to the coastal area of Arfak mountains approximately one hour by public transportation from Manokwari city. Her name was Rachel. Our destination was Warmarway - a small coastal village in the eastern region of Arfak. We spent 3 days/ 2 nights swimming, camping, hiking, birdwatching and butterfly watching and doing night walk in the jungle.
As a tourist guide I have guided a lot of single traveler girl or lady on various hiking, camping, birdwatching, swimming, snorkeling, and motorcycle tours around Manokwari.
Here is the scenery of the place that I and Rachel visited a few days ago.
Coastal area of Arfak mountains
There was an unfinished wooden house at the beach. I and Rachel, accompanied by local villagers (Yunus, Magdalena, and Susi) stayed at the house for one night and then continued our trip for another night in a tourist camp site located deeper in the forest of Arfak mountains.
On the first day, we enjoyed swimming. Unfortunately, there was rain and strong wind at the time when we were there causing only zero visibility in the coral reef area. So, we did not enjoy snorkeling. We went swimming instead. Villagers showed us the beach with fine black sand that was good for swimmers. We really enjoyed swimming and spent a few hours in the water.
Eating Fresh Fried Fish
Magdalena, one of the villagers, went fishing before we came back to the house. She caught a snapper and proudly showed it to us that afternoon. Yunus cleaned and washed the fish and cut them in smaller pieces so that I could fry them. I also made stir fried kangkung vegetables and fried tempe.  Rachel, the American girl from Connecticut who came alone all the way to West Papua, liked the simple meal that we had that day.
The unfinished wooden house where we stayed had been installed with corrugated metal roof. Its floor was made of iron wood planks. Only the walls that had not been constructed. For bathroom and toilet, we used the river. The guesthouse was far from the village. So, we had a private beach, private forest, and a simple but good accommodation. I brought a dome tent and a mattress. I set the tent up and put the mattress inside ready for Reachel to sleep in it. I also brought an army standard sleeping bag for her. At night she could sleep well without having to fear the swarming mosquitoes. The sea breeze keep the mosquitoes  and sandflies away from the guesthouse. The sound of insects became our natural music during our time in the coastal and mountainous region of Arfak. We had a night walk in the jungle to find cuscus but could only see a bandicoot.
Hiking in the jungle of Arfak mountains
The next morning, we continued our trip into the forest. We had to carefully walk up the steep slope of Arfak mountains. Yunus (a local villager that we hired built a shelter for tourist near a small creek in the jungle. We arrived at the shelter on the afternoon. I quickly set the dome tent again before dark came.
Cruiser butterfly (Vindula arsinoe)

A lot of colorful butterflies flew around us. Some landed on the ground. Some even landed on our smelly clothes that were soaked in our sweat. Some species that we saw including Amathusiid butterfly (Taenari catops); Cruiser butterfly (Vindula arsinoe), Cairns birdwing butterfly (Ornithoptera priamus). There were still more butterflies that we saw but could not identify.
Our dinner that night was rice, spinach vegetables, fried tempe and scrambled eggs prepared by Magdalena. After dinner, we still had a short night walk in the jungle to find cuscus. Unfortunately, we were not so successful.
Feeling exhausted, we walked back to our camp and sleep earlier than the previous night. Again the sounds of insects and water flowing in the river became the natural music that surrounds us during our sleeping time.
Watching Lesser Birds of Paradise
I checked the clock on my cell phone. It was 05.00 a.m. Time to get ready. I woke Rachel up. Yunus had already boiled some water for us. We had some biscuits and coffee before leaving for the birding ground approximately 45 minutes walk from our campsite. It was still dark when we walked again. I turned on my head flash light. The male birds of paradise were calling their female birds when we arrived. It was difficult to see them because they were perching on the twigs in the canopy of the trees. Rachel could only see a male paradise bird with his beautiful yellow plumes in a few seconds. But she said it was ok, she really enjoyed the singing of the birds while sitting on the ground under the tree. It's a relaxing experience.
We still enjoyed some swimming at the beach near Warmarway village before going back to Manokwari city again.
If you are interested in exploring the natural beauty of the coastal and mountainous areas of West Papua and want to hire me as your guide, please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or send text message to my cell phone: 006281332245180.
I can prepare a customized itinerary and cost that is suitable for you.

I don't know why many single traveler girls or ladies like to hire me when they want to explore the natural beauty of Manokwari and Sorong regencies. Is it because of my cooking skill, or fluency in English or is it because of my massage skill? :-)