Sunday, October 10, 2010

Wasior Before the Flood

Wasior is the capital of Wondama Bay Regency. This was a small transit town for foreign travelers who want to enjoy snorkeling and scuba diving in the coral reef of the National Park of Cendrawasih Bay. Well, during the Dutch colonial period, the bay had been called Geelvink bay. The recent flood that hit Wasior greatly changed the town and affect the whole population in the regency.
Two weeks before the disaster, two Dutch tourists visited the islands around the Wondama regency by boat. They were Pieter Wieringa and his wife. They took a lot of photographs of the tropical islands in the Cendrawasih bay. Before leaving for the Netherlands, they gave me the pictures and asked me to promote Wasior for eco-tourism scheme that is related to marine recreational activities. They gave me the photographs before leaving for the Netherlands. Today it is impossible to arrange boat for snorkeling or diving trip from the harbor of Wasior. PELNI ferry boats or passenger ships still visit Wasior after the flood but I am not sure whether they will continue to serve the town that is now almost empty.
Mud still covers much of the town with hundreds of people have become victims of the flood. If you still plan to visit the bay, you can change your flight plan to Manokwari, the capital city of West Papua province in Indonesia. I know that Susi Air, a domestic airline company in Indonesia provides daily flights from Manokwari to Wasior. I think today they still provide such service due to the increasing demand from the people and the government to distribute supplies to and rescue refugees from the town.  From Manokwari, everything can be arrange for your diving trip in the marine park of Cendrawasih bay. You might not be able to visit Wasior at the moment because the whole town has been crippled by the flood.
As a tourist guide, I suggest that you go to Manokwari or Nabire if you still want to snorkel or scuba dive in the region. Other alternative places for you are Mansinam, Lemon, Raimuti and Kaki islands. They still have beautiful underwater world that is worth exploring.
Through this post I want to express my condolences to all the victims of the October 2010 flood and their relatives. I pray that God will strengthen and bless them through this difficult times. by Charles Roring

Friday, October 8, 2010

Underwater photographs of Coral Reef in Mansinam island

I have been snorkeling around the coral reefs in the tropical islands around Manokwari regency of Indonesia since early this 2010. I have seen beautiful underwater world including high biodiversity of marine species that live among the corals. But I had not been able to present the beauty of the marine ecosystem in the waters of Dorey bay of Papua until 4 days ago. Last month I bought a waterproof case to protect my digital camera Sony Cybershot while I am in the water taking pictures of the beautiful marine environment. I was not sure whether the case was good enough to keep my camera dry when I moved in the water.

When I tested the water housing a few days ago while snorkeling in Mansinam island, I was happy to see that it worked really well. The light from the sun was bright enough to show the ornamental fish such as the zebra fish and the yellow tailed blue fish that were moving among the healthy corals.
They were not afraid of me when I was taking the underwater photographs of them. I was really excited to see the first photos taken from the Mansinam island that morning. Actually my camera is an ordinary camera which does not have waterproof capability. I only changed it into an underwater camera by inserting it into a digital camera waterproof case manufactured by Dicapac - a Korean company specializing in producing underwater equipment.
Beatiful coral reef and marine fish can be seen easily if we travel to the southern part of Mansinam island - around 2 kilometers from the village that is facing the Manokwari city.
The cheapest way to enjoy snorkeling in the tropical island is going by boat or water taxi. The rate is Rp. 3,000 per passenger. Every boat can carry passengers up to 16 or 20 passengers. If you travel in group of ten then leasing a boat is a wise choice. You can ask him to bring you to any part of the island. The normal rate for boat rent is Rp. 350,000. The boatman will standby you if the water current is strong. He will drive his outboard engine boat to you and ask you to hold the outrigger of the boat which is made of bamboo. Once you hold the bamboo, he will drag you back to the beach.
I am really concerned about the marine pollution in the Dorey bay of Manokwari city. Every day, people throw plastic bottles to the streets of the city. When rain comes, they will be swept away and end up at sea.
I decide to put pictures of the beautiful coral fish and coral reef hoping that the city dwellers will be amazed by them and stop throwing wastes into the sea anymore. Although I am not an underwater photographer, I believe that the quality of the pictures is good enough to present how beautiful the underwater world of Mansinam island is.
If you are interested in traveling to Mansinam island, you can contact me - Charles Roring - via email, I will be happy to guide you around the islands and forest in this regency.
Also read:
Coral reef preservation and Ecotourism in Kaki island
Coral reef preservation in Dorey bay of Manokwari