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Thursday, January 14, 2021

Sea Art

Over the years I have created artworks which are inspired from the sea. They can be drawings or watercolour paintings of children swimming at a pier, an abundant shipwreck or the scene of a father and a son at a beach launching a boat toy. Sea has become an important source of inspirations for art creation. 

drawings and paintings from marine and coastal life
Sea Art

In recent years I also have drawn artworks digitally using Autodesk Sketchbook with tablet or cell phone and stylus as my tools. The use of digital tools have revolutionized the creativity of artists who are trying to make a living from the digital drawings or illustration. 

The artworks can now be sold repeatedly as printed works on t-shirts, mugs, spiral notebook, pillow and a lot more. Actually, the availability of drawing software such as the Autodesk Sketchbook for artist greatly helps digital artists in trying to earn a living from their art.

Back to the sea again - in time of the Covid Pandemic, most marine tourism activities such as in Raja Ampat, Cendrawasih Bay and other parts of the world have dropped significantly. Its impact to marine life is actually good. Big fish such as manta, dolphins and blue whales can now swim on the surface of the sea. Coral reef ecosystem can thrive without many disturbances from human. 

I don't say that marine tourism is bad for the sea. Responsible marine tourism helps preserve marine environment. But before you could go back to the beach to enjoy swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving, you could visit my redbubble artshop: SEA ART to get some of the artworks which are suitable for you.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Raja Ampat Snorkeling Season

This is now a good time for snorkeling in Raja Ampat. Starting from October, November, December, January until June, the waters in southern, and western region of Waigeo are relatively calm. The sea around Kri, Mansuar, Arborek and Batanta as well as Misool is calm. Local people can enjoy swimming and snorkeling in the coral reef of the islands.

tropical reef fish in Mansuar and Kri island
Diagonal Sweetlips (the ones with yellow tail) in Yenbuba strait of Raja Ampat

Domestic tourists from cities and towns can now travel to Raja Ampat to enjoy snorkeling. However, they have to take rapid test. Laboratories or hospitals that provide the tests will issue letters which state that their holders are not infected with Covid-19 virus. 

In general, the number of visitors traveling to Raja Ampat is still low. Foreign tourists are still banned from visiting Indonesia. We are hopeful that in 2021 this country will be opened to international travelers again.

Snorkeling sites in eastern region of Waigeo such as the Waim and Mamiaef islands are great places for those who want to enjoy snorkeling in islands that are not crowded with a lot of tourists. This can also be seen in coral reef areas inside Kabui bay. 

Most of the beach resorts, and homestays in Raja Ampat are empty or do not operate in full capacity. I highly recommend that visitors bring their own snorkeling equipment such as snorkel, mask, and fins as well as underwater camera if they can enjoy their holiday in Raja Ampat or other places in West Papua. 

traveling to Waigeo island
Wilson's Homestay in Raja Ampat

As a tourist guide, I organize a combined snorkeling and rainforest tour to Raja Ampat and mainland West Papua. Because I was born and grew up here, I know this province well. If you are interested in taking such tour in 2021, and want me (Charles Roring) to organize your trip, please, contact me by e-mail to: or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Dive Resorts in Raja Ampat are trying hard to survive

Dive resorts in Raja Ampat are trying hard to survive during the Covid-19 pandemic. Indonesian government have not allowed foreign tourists to travel across this country to prevent more infections among its citizens. Local government of Raja Ampat regency opened their territory for domestic visitors again on 22 August 2020. The number of visitors traveling to this archipelago is still lower than before the pandemic. Owners of dive resorts and homestays in Raja Ampat are facing difficulties in paying monthly wages of their workers and in doing maintenance of their accommodation and other service facilities. 

Raja Ampat archipelago is one of the most important destination in the world for marine tourism because its waters have got the highest marine biodiversity.

The lack of tourists in Raja Ampat waters, according to reports from workers who decide to stay in beach resorts during the Covid-19 pandemic, actually brings positive impacts to the marine environments. More big marine animals such as manta, and dolphins can now be seen on the surface of the sea closer to islands. However, some people who see the phenomenon says that ecotourism brings positive impacts to the environment because local people can generate income. They will preserve coral reef and rainforest. 

Also read: Dive Resort in Raja Ampat

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Birds of Paradise Raja Ampat

Paradise birds such as Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra) and Wilson's Bird of Paradise (Diphyllodes respublica) can be watched in Waigeo, Gam and Batanta islands. Glossy Manucode (Manucodia ater), another species of bird of paradise whose feather is plain black, lives in the whole territory of Raja Ampat. They are not considered as important target by birdwatchers. Visitors usually choose Waigeo because they can easily go by fast passenger ferry that go back and forth between Sorong city and Waisai town twice a day. 
Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra) is watched in the coastal area. I often see the male and female birds at Warduwer beach where they eat fruits especially in the mornings and late afternoons (before sunset). For Wilson's Bird of Paradise (Diphyllodes respublica), it lives deeper in the rainforest. We must wake up early in the morning, usually at 04.00, and do long trip into the forest to reach its dancing site or display ground.
Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra) in southern region of Waigeo island
Red Bird of Paradise
Wilson's Bird of Paradise in Waigeo island
Wilson's Bird of Paradise (Diphyllodes respublica)
Several places have become an important birdwatching destinations in Raja Ampat. Saporkren is the famous one. For me, personally, I organize my tours to rainforest close to Kabui bay. I combine this rainforest birding trip to this site with snorkeling and sightseeing tours by boat. There is no road that we can use to reach the birding ground. So, we use motorized boats. I also organize birding trips to eastern and north-eastern regions of Waigeo. Usually, the birdwatching trips to this places are combined with village tour, riverwalk tour, swimming, and turtle watching activities. Tourists like them because they could  meet local people, watch birds and enjoy the beautiful nature of Raja Ampat.
Dutch lady was enjoying snorkeling to see coral reef and tropical fish.
Snorkeling in Raja Ampat
For other species such as Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor); Twelve-wired Bird of Paradise (Seleucidis melanoleucus); and King Bird of Paradise (Cicinnurus regius), they can be found in Salawati and Misool islands. However, because these birds can be found in mainland West Papua, most tourists watch them in the mainland. 

Birdwatching in Mainland West Papua
From Sorong city, tourists can take a 4WD car to Klasow valley and enjoy birdwatching in the villages of Klatomok, and Malagufuk. Klatomok is more suitable for elderly people or those who cannot walk for hours in the jungle because it is a roadside village. Because birding activity is carried out in rainforest, I cannot fully guarantee that visitors will be able to see all the target birds that I mention above. There are other birds that live in Klasow valley including Palm Cockatoo, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Eclectus Parrot, Northern Cassowary, Lowland Peltop, Wompoo Fruit Dove, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Blyth's Hornbill, and a lot more.
Another alternative is Tambrauw regency which is located further to the east. It takes around 5 hours to reach Fef which is the capital of the regency. I highly recommend that tourists go birding accompanied by birding guides who really know the areas. Ayapokiar village located deeper in Tambrauw mountains is the destination for avid birders.

Tambrauw is a great destination for birdwatching. Visitors should travel in a group of three to four people to share the cost of transportation.  Another alternative of traveling to Ayapokiar is by plane from Manokwari city to Kebar, tourists need to continue overland to District Senopi and then by 4wd car from Senopi to Ayapokiar. Susi Air operates Cessna Caravan 208 between Manokwari and Kebar several times a week. Tickets can be bought at the airport. There is a good guesthouse in Ayapokiar so visitors could stay in the village for several days and do day tours to the forest. The road in this remote mountainous region is empty. It is a very nice birdwatching site.

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