Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Greening the Desert

Israel is the leader in water conservation efforts due to its successful works in recycling high percentage of sewage water for reuse in agricultural sector and for curbing the intrusion of seawater. I have just watched some videos in Youtube which show how farmers in Israel turn the desert of Negev into vegetable and fruit gardens. Israeli farmers create drip irrigation technology to supply water to every crop that they have planted in the arid land. Rainwater is insufficient to them. To support their farmers, the government of Israel treat their sewage water from big cities in the country and pump it to the farming lands. Israel is the only state in the world that has successfully recycled almost all of its waste water. Today 75% of sewage water has been recycled. But Israel plans to increase the percentage up to 90%. This is the highest among all developed countries. Because the recycled water cannot be used for drinking water, it is fed into farmlands to produce fruits, vegetables and flowers that are now their main agricultural produce. These commodities are exported to European market. To supply drinking water, Israel built 39 desalination plants along its 230 km coastline. Hadera is the location of the largest and the most advanced desalination plant in the world with pumping capacity of 23,000 cubic meters of water per hour.
Israel also builds water reservoirs in the desert to collect water during rainy season so that it can be reused for farming, drinking and other industrial needs. Today, Israel farmers share their success with their "cousins" - the Palestinian farmers to help them increase their agricultural production both for domestic consumption and export market. In recent years, students and farmers from such developing countries as Kenya and India visit Israel to learn their water engineering technology. 
Israel is not the only country in the world that is covered with desert. Most of the Middle East, some parts of Africa, China, Australia and the United States have got arid lands and desserts. However, Israel is the leader in water engineering technology that is now seen as an example and inspiration for other countries that are interested in improving their agricultural sector and the quantity and quality of their drinking water. Although more than half of its land is dessert, the Israeli is very successful in greening lands.
This tiny country whose size is approximately equivalent to New Jersey also develops alternative energy generated from solar photovoltaic and concentrated panels and wind farms. These are positive achievements that can inspire the world. by Charles Roring

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Unique Wooden House in Asai village of Manokwari

There is a unique wooden house in Asai - a small village that is located in the northern coast of Manokwari. It was built on a slope facing the Pacific Ocean with tropical rainforest as its background. It has got unique design that is not rectangular. From outside, we see it as a hexagonal structure but when we entered the house, it is just like any other homes that are composed of rectangular rooms. Asai is a nice destinations for tourists who want to go hiking in the jungle along Asai river or snorkeling over coral reef of Asai bay.

Almost all of the frames, and walls are made of iron wood. Only the roof that is made of corrugated metal sheet. The owner of the house designed the house by himself. He also constructed some parts of the house by himself. One thing that I really like about the house is its open space on the second floor. From this area, we can see the magnificent view of the Asai bay and the tropical seas of Pacific ocean. Visitors may stay in the house for a few nights. Mr. Munneke, intends to sell it to anybody who is interested in buying it.
The design of this house is totally different from the wooden houses in Minahasa. Mr. Munneke, as the owner of the house, put the living room as an open space. It was a smart decision because it would create a cool atmosphere for the tropical house. He and his wife grow flower plants around their house. To block or reduce direct sunlight, he placed rattan screen in the north and east parts of the house. by Charles Roring

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Ships and Steam Engines

In the 19th century, reciprocating steam engines were used to replace sails. Today most of the ships and boats use marine diesel engines as their driving power. The introduction of the marine internal combustion engine in 20th century quickly replaced steam engines that consumed a lot of spaces but only produced less power. In addition to more efficient use of rooms, diesel engines give higher power with less fuel consumption compared to steam engines. As a result, ships whose steam engines had been replaced by diesel engines could carry more cargoes and passengers with higher speed. Reciprocating steam engines were popular during 19 century only. In 20th century, they were progressively replaced by steam turbines. The application of steam engines on marine vehicles may become attractive again if the price of conventional fossil fuel rises uncontrollably.
 As a matter of fact, steam engines were more flexible in terms of their fuel needs. Because the combustion is done externally i.e. separated from the working fluid, it could be operated with coal, wood or liquid fuel such as diesel fuel. I remember reading a book entitled The Malay Archipelago by Alfred Russel Wallace. On a chapter about Dorey bay in New Guinea island, he said that a Dutch patrol boat ran out of coal when she arrived in the bay. The coal that the crews were waiting from Ambon had not arrived. So, they went to shore and started cutting trees. Then they loaded her holds with wood. The ship would use it go sail back to Ambon. Unfortunately, the efficiency of steam engines are lower than diesel engines or steam turbines. However, some steam boats still operate as tourist vessels.
Another reason for the abandonment of steam engines application in maritime sector was the air pollution created from the burning of coal. During World War I and II, ships could easily be spotted by their enemies from the smoke that they released into the air. Modern fast patrol boats that are driven by diesel engines have got exhaust pipes below the water line. The hot gas released by main engine could not be detected by heat seeking missiles.
Nowadays a lot of traditional wooden boats still use sails as their driving power whereas steam engines have disappeared from marine application for nearly a century. Hobbyists are still studying the engines and constructing them for their boat. They do it for its application in marine tourism. Many people who still use steam engines that burn wood do so just because they do not want to depend on fossil fuel. by Charles Roring

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Coral Reef in Dorey bay of Manokwari

Coral reef in the Dorey bay is now facing more pressures than ever before from human activities due to the increase of human population in Manokwari city. In recent years, housings for city dwellers, buildings for markets and offices are being constructed along the coastal areas. Such development directly deteriorates water quality in Dorey bay. More sediments and plastic wastes are now formed in the bay which was once a pristine marine environment in the bird's head region of West Papua. Whales and dolphins used to live in the bay but now they are gone. The construction of office buildings, including the drainage tunnel to the beach, in Arfai hills for the Provincial Government of West Papua is now underway.

In recent years, liveaboard diving operators from Bali and the nearby Sorong town make Dorey bay as their port of embarkation for tourists who want to see shipwrecks in the bay or watch whale sharks in Cendrawasih bay. Underwater pictures of the shipwrecks and coral reef in the Dorey bay made by the tourists greatly help us tell the city dwellers and the local government of West Papua about how important the Dorey bay is for maintaining the fish stock of Manokwari. The Dorey bay is also one of the few coastal areas in the northern New Guinea that has got mangrove forest. Most of the mangrove ecosystems in this tropical island can be found in its southern coast.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Birds of Paradise in Tropical Island of New Guinea

Birds of paradise are the icon of New Guinea - the largest tropical island in the world. They live in the rainforests but now their natural habitats are being destroyed by massive deforestation. The rise of fuel prices has triggered the search for alternative fuel oil other than petroleum. When processed palm oil is believed to be the alternative fuel for diesel engine that drive cars and trucks, massive monoculture sawit palm plantations are now being opened in West Papua and Papua New Guinea. With the approval of local governments, hundreds of thousands of hectares rainforest are now being cut for the development of the sawit plantations. Tropical rainforests that are rich in bio-diversity are now shrinking every minute.
Birds of paradise have also been hunted since hundreds of years ago. They are traded life and dead to collectors who are happy to hang them on the walls of their houses or to put them in glass boxes.
Birdwatching is an alternative income generation scheme that I try to introduce to local people in Manokwari regency at the moment. Birdwathers from Europe, the United States have come to see the birds of paradise in their natural habitat. There are three locations in this regency where tourists can go to watch birds of paradise.
They are Camp Mawowi, Camp Dopi and Aiwatar hill. The nearest on to the town is Camp Dopi. Birdwatchers who want to see the birds of paradise in Camp Dopi need to hiking through the jungle for three hours to reach the birding site. I deliberately do not put the GPS coordinates of the site in website to prevent hunters from visiting the jungle and shooting the birds.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Bali Tropical Lifestyle

Bali is perhaps the most famous tropical island in the world. It is a tourist hub of Indonesia. Every year millions of visitors come to Bali. They want to enjoy swimming and sunbathing at Kuta and Legian beach or explore the beauty of terraces of rice fields in the inland areas. Although agriculture still provides the the largest employment, tourism is the driving power of the economy. Bali is also the center of art. Art lovers will feel that Ubud town is more suitable for them. Art galleries and museums present the superior craftsmanship of Balinese woodcarvers and painters.
Some businessmen make Bali as their trading hub. They import carvings, furniture, or even wooden houses for their clients in Europe, South America or Australia. Balinese carpenters can build timber frame houses that are decorated with artistic reliefs on the walls and carvings on the pillars. For Balinese, art is an integral part of their daily life.
In Bali - the island of the gods, everyday is a holiday. There are plenty of attractions which travelers can see, and enjoy. From hiking the mount Batur to watching dolphins at Lovina, travelers may choose activities and adventure packages which they want to experience in this tropical island. Lovers come to Bali to enjoy their honeymoon too. Feeling stressed with office works? Don't worry, Bali has got endless rows of tropical beach resorts and spas where you can stay to book for massage service or taking some yoga classes.
I have visited Bali several times. My last visit this year lasted for 3 months. I stayed in a nice tropical house in Ubud on Jalan Sukma. I ate Balinese nasi campur, I rode a mountain bike to explore the slopes of Ubud. I visited Neka and Anthony Blanco art galleries and Museum Puri Lukisan to see traditional and modern paintings. Drawing is my hobby. When I was on the second floor or Neka art gallery, I saw pastel paintings of Gerard Hofker. Such fantastic artworks from Western painters depict the traditional Balinese lifestyle that are slowly being mixed with cultures from all corners of the world.
Balinese are a religious society. Hinduism is the main religion here. However, the Balinese are tolerant to other cultures and religions. Temples are every where even in business centers such as Ubud market or the shopping center at Kuta main street. Yet, the Balinese culture will not be eliminated. It continues to exist side by side with other cultures that have entered this beautiful tropical island. So, culturally Bali does not belong to Indonesia anymore. It belongs to the world. It is a cosmopolitan. Come to Bali and you will feel as if you are at home. by Charles Roring

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Long Beach of Maluku

Long beach (also called Ngurbloat beach) in the Ngilngof village is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Unfortunately it is relatively unknown among the holiday makers due to the lack of promotion. I have a friend who is from Ngilngof village. His name is Rudi Fofid. He works as a journalist and is now trying to promote this beautiful beach by sharing his photos in facebook. I try to help him by writing this short post on this blog. Whether you like sunbathing, swimming, snorkeling, or fishing, this Ngurbloat beach of Kei Kecil island is a recommended destination for you.

Aerial view of Pasir Panjang Beach in Kei Kecil island of Maluku

If you are a birder, you can bring your binoculars and telephoto D-SLR camera to watch various species coastal birds such as kingfishers both in Kei Kecil and Kei Besar islands. Also, bring your own mask if you want to enjoy snorkeling over the pristine coral reef of Kei islands. Avoid walking on the corals. Coral reef is the tropical rainforest of the sea. It absorbs CO2 gases and release Oxygen during photosynthesis. So, it is important for all of us to protect this precious underwater environment.

It's not difficult to reach Kei Kecil island where the Long Beach or Ngurbloat beach is. Just fly from Jakarta to Ambon city - the capital of Maluku province. After that, you can continue your trip to Tual town by airplane or passenger ship. Then you can continue your trip to the Ngurbloat beach by public transportation or a rented car. Need a guide? Contact my friend Rudi Fofid by email: Rudi speaks English and can guide you on an adventure trip throughout the Mollucan islands.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Phinisi Liveboard for Diving Trips

Liveaboard is a common term in marine tourism where travelers stay in a boat for several days on a diving tour to several islands whose underwater world is still in pristine condition. The invention of  steel and welding eliminated the use of wood in the construction of big ships. Today the hulls of giant cruise ships, tankers and cargo vessels are completely made of steel. Only some part of decking and significant portion of the interior that still use wood. Naval architecture still use wood in big ships because of aesthetic reason. A lot of modern ships still have tables, beds and wardrobe that are made of wood.
The operation of liveaboards in coral reef areas such as the ones in Raja Ampat and Iris Strait of Kaimana regency must not harm the marine environment that thrive underwater. Boat operators must not release their anchors on the reef. 
liveaboard diving boats in Sorong waters for trips to Raja Ampat
FRP (Fiber Reinforced Plastics) and GRP (Glass Reinforced Plastics) as composite material for boatbuilding are mostly used in small to medium size boats. In tourism industry where speed and time is not an important issue, the use of wood in cruise boats is very high. Wood gives more classic look and beauty to cruise boats. Liveaboards, for example, are mostly built from wood. Liveboards are boat that are designed and built for tourists. In Indonesia, liveaboards are mostly used in diving tours. Scuba divers stay in the wooden boats for around 1 week during the dive tour that brings them to several remote islands whose coral reefs are still in pristine condition. The most famous type of wooden boats in the liveaboard tours is the phinisi boat. FRP is still used to improve the watertight property of deck, and hulls in wooden boats.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Traveling in Maluku

Also read:
Maluku, also called the spice archipelago, is nice tourist destination in Indonesia. Today the region consists of two provinces, i.e. the North Maluku with Sofifi as its capital and the (South) Maluku with Ambon as its capital. It is not difficult to reach Ambon. There are regular flights from Jakarta, Surabaya, Makassar, and Manado to Ambon served by Lion Air, Sriwijaya, Batavia Air, Express Air, and Garuda. Maluku with hundreds of small islands are surrounded with pristine coral reef. Several passenger ships operated by PELNI lines make Ambon as their port of call. Some liveaboard operators in Sorong and Bali provide diving trips to Maluku. A famous destination is Kei regency whose Pantai Pasir Panjang beach at Ngilngof village is perhaps the finest beach in the world.
During the spice trade between 1500s and 1800s, many European explorers came to Maluku to buy clove, nutmeg, cajuput oil, and enjoy sailing through the crystal blue water to the coral islands whose underwater world is one of the finest marine ecosystems in the world. Scientists like George Everard Rumphius, Alfred Russel Wallace also visited Maluku to carry out research on the flora and fauna of the tropical islands.
children at sea with their boat

Leitimor peninsula in Moluccan islands
The view of Leitimor peninsula in Ambon island
In my recent trip to Maluku, I took a Perintis boat called Sabuk Nusantara 32, from Sorong city in West Papua to Harapan Jaya village in Misool islands of Raja Ampat. In the afternoon the passenger boat that was carrying around two hundred passengers arrived in Bula - the capital of East Seram regency. Then I continued my trip to Ambon by trans-Seram bus. We passed through the Manusela National Park which is a nice hiking, birding site. In general, the road condition, from Bula to Waipirit harbor, was good. Its an ideal route for cyclists and mountain bikers who want to see or explore the nature of Seram and the unique culture of the Moluccan by cycling.
Alex, an American who has been traveling for more than 1 year around Indonesia, and is now in West Papua, told me that he plans to ride from Bula to Ambon. Perhaps, he may do that in July or August 2012. Maluku between 1999 and 2004 was a dangerous destination. All countries issued travel warning to their citizens who wanted to travel in Indonesia. Now the situation in the region is safe. Contact my friend if you need a guided tour in Moluccan islands with a customized itinerary. by Charles Roring

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Purple Naped Lory

On the way to Ambon from Bula - the capital of East Seram regency, I met a bird vendor in the Transmigrasi area. That afternoon, the rain had just stopped and the driver stopped the car near a shop to load several sacks of rice. The farmers in the transmigrasi area of East Seram have turned the island into the center of rice production. 
Slowly and surely, sago and tuber roots as the staple food of the Moluccan people are being replaced by rice. It is one thing that should not have happened. The tropical rainforest of Seram that is rich of various species of plants and animals is now getting smaller due to the conversion of thousands of hectares of the forest area into monoculture palm oil plantations. I am really concerned about it. But this is a general phenomenon that occurs not only in the Moluccas but also in many islands in Indonesia that are rich of precious bio-diversity.
I got off from the busto straighten my aching legs. I took the chance from this short stop to urinate at the nearby bush. When I walked out of the bush, I saw the bird seller was standing in front of the bus carrying an arch cane where a black head lory was perching. A passenger approached the bird seller and asked its price. The seller said that it was 1 million rupiahs. 
This price is considered high for local standards. But as someone who has been working in the world eco-tourism business, I consider the price as relatively small or cheap. I can only hope that there will be birdwatching tour operators who are willing to help this bird trader by providing birding trips to the natural habitat of this bird. When writing this article, I try to find the name of this bird on the internet. After searching on the internet for around 2 hours, I managed to get some accurate information about the endangered bird. Its name is Purple-naped Lory (Lorious Domicella). According to CITES, the bird has been put in the Endangered status. It means that this bird may become extinct. Why is it endangered or threatened? Because birds are hunted and traded as cage pets.
Purple-naped Lory in Seram Island
It is sad to see that these birds of Seram island are continuously captured and sold to buyers outside Maluku. Moluccan birds will face extinction soon. 
It's a pity to loose all these important birds of Maluku. Although they look small and weak, they play important role in maintaining the balance of the environment. Birds spread the seeds of fruits that they eat to all corners of the forest. This function as seed dispersers makes Moluccan forests remain green. In addition, coastal birds that eat fish have directly provide natural fertilizer to forests in Seram, Ambon, Buru and other islands in Maluku that were formed from the coral reefs that came out of the sea water due to tectonic pressures. As a result, these rocky islands can now become fertile islands covered by tropical green vegetation.

Birding Tour in Sorong regency of West Papua
Golden Myna (Mino anais)
There is a birding site in Sorong regency called Klasow valley. It is covered by lowland tropical rainforest. Birds such as Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, Eclectus Parrot, Papuan hornbill, Large Fig Parrot, Black Lory, Magnificent Riflebird, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Lesser Birds of Paradise, Pink-spotted Fruit Dove, Brahminy Kite, Friarbird, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, Dwarf Kingfisher make the forest as their natural habitat.
As a tourist guide, I often organize birding trips to the valley where visitors stay for 3 to 4 days to explore the wealth of avifauna of the forest. However, it is not only birds that we can see while walking in the jungle. There are butterflies such as the Silky Owl (Taenaris catops), Blue Mountain Swallowtail (Papilio ulysses).
Visitors, guided by local vilagers, can also do night walk to see wallaby (a kind of small kangaroo).

How to get there?
  • Fly from your country to Jakarta (the capital of Indonesia)
  • Fly to Sorong city
  • I will meet you at the airport to organize your trip and guide you into the valley.
Cost: Please, contact me by email to: or send your message by whatsapp to my number +6281332245180 for customized itinerary and budget calculation.
by Charles Roring.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Ambon is now safe for foreign travelers

I visited Ambon last week. It was a beautiful coastal city. As the capital and gate of Maluku province, Ambon can be reached by airplanes and by PELNI passenger ships. Daily flights served by Lion, Batavia, Sriwijaya connect Ambon with major cities in Indonesia. Open if you want to find ferry that goes to Ambon that is match with your itinerary. From Ambon, you can explore the nearby Seram and Buru islands or fly to Banda to snorkel over the pristine coral reef. As a matter of fact, you can enjoy snorkeling in some small islets near Ambon such as Pulau Tiga (consisting of three islets) and Pulau Pombo. The most famous beach is Natsepa but Liang is the one that is covered with white sandy beach. Those who like hiking will find Mount Salahutu as a nice destination. In Indonesia, Ambonese are known as good singers. You can easily buy CDs of Ambonese songs at music stores in Ambon. 
Ambon is a small but very crowded town. Town dwellers build their houses from coastal areas up to steep slopes in Batu Gantong, Air Salobar and Kuda Mati.

Most of the villages in Ambon are located in the coastal area. Fish are consumed every day. Go to Paradise Resto if you want to eat traditional Moluccan cuisines. If you need a guide to show you interesting places in Ambon city and other places in Central, North and South East Maluku, I recommend that you meet Rudi Fofid. You can contact him by email:

Monday, June 25, 2012

Traveling to Misool islands in Raja Ampat

Most of the visitors who go to Raja Ampat complain about the cost of traveling which they think is very expensive. There are 40 liveaboards (wooden sailing boats) that provide dive services to scuba divers who want to explore the beauty of the underwater world of Raja Ampat. These liveaboards sail throughout Raja Ampat to many of its best dive sites that are located in remote islands of the regency where their coral reefs are still in pristine condition with high marine biodiversity. Most of these liveboards are equipped with satellite phones which tourists can use in emergency situation to contact their loved ones. Each guest room is Air Conditioned. At the stern of the boat, modern dive equipment has been prepared by dive masters and boat crews ready to be used by guests. Meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and snacks are served regularly. That's the main reason why the cost of traveling with liveaboards is considered very high. However, you will get what you have paid for.
If you are a person who are adventurous and want to see the islands backpacking, I can provide you with some  simple explanation. 
The cheapest way to explore Raja Ampat
Traveling to Waisai (the capital of Raja Ampat regency) can easily be done by fast boat from Sorong. The usual rate is Rp. 120,000 (one hundred twenty thousand rupiahs). Another destination that I highly recommend is the Misool islands that are located in the south of the regency. KM Sabuk Nusantara 32 sails regularly from Sorong to Yellu/ Harapan Jaya in Misool. After that the ship passes through tens of small islands of Misool to Bula in East Seram. This vessel connects the Sourthern areas of Raja Ampat regency with East Seram. In East Seram, KM Sabuk Nusantara 32 visits Bula, Geser, Gorom, and Kesui. Then she will continue her trip to Fakfak, Kaimana and Timika. Go to Pelabuhan Rakyat in Sorong to find boats that go to other islands in Raja Ampat. So, don't be sad if you cannot afford for a diving package offered by various liveaboards on the internet. You can still see the natural beauty of Raja Ampat in a much cheaper price that is more suitable to your pocket.

Because the vessel goes only to Harapan Jaya in Misool islands, you will not be able to go to remote islands that have been famous as diving destinations. You can still enjoy snorkeling in the coral reef in the islands near Yellu or Harapan Jaya. Contact local fishermen to help you find the reefs.
Another world class travel destination in West Papua is the Iris strait and Triton bay of Kaimana. The underwater environment of the Iris strait is unique because it is mostly covered by soft coral. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Best Snorkeling Spots in Manokwari

Snorkeling is a healthy water sport that can improve your body metabolism and widen your knowledge about the marine environment. Manokwari, the capital of West Papua province of Indonesia, has got several  snorkeling spots that are suitable for anybody who wants to explore the natural beauty of the underwater world of tropical sea. As a tour guide, I frequently accompany tourists who want to enjoy snorkeling along the coastal areas of this town. Here are some of my best spots:
Anggresi - located at the foot of Arfak mountains, the coral reef of Anggresi is a world class snorkeling and diving destination. It takes around 40 minutes to reach the spot by a motorized outrigger boat. The marine environment in this spot is still in its pristine condition. Because of its remoteness, very few people have snorkeled in Anggresi. Hard corals and ornamental fish such as the striped surgeon fish, butterfly fish and parrot fish can be seen at depths between 1.5 to 7 meters. If you do the snorkeling or diving in this spot, you need to equip your camera with flashlight. Flashlight can improve the quality of your underwater photographs. Don't snorkel too close to the beach or high swell will push you into the hard and sharp rocks of the corals.
Asai - Go to this place if you want to relax for several days or weeks in Manokwari. Here, the sea is your front yard where as tropical rainforest is your back yard. From hiking in the jungle to snorkeling in the coral reef, you  can enjoy them both in Asai. I really like this place because its seascape is really beautiful. There is a wooden house overlooking the blue sea.
A Dutch family who owns the house has provided two rooms for visitors who want to rent them. The rate per night for two people is Rp. 300,000. The owner plants a lot of tropical flowers around the house including hibiscus, heliconia golden torch. In the morning, when the sky is clear and the sunlight hits the fresh flowers which have just bloomed, butterflies, and bees come to collect the nectar. Visitors who are interested in taking a hiking tour in the jungle will be able to see dendrobium orchids and other tropical flowers along banks of the Asai river.
Raimuti - this is also a nice spot for snorkelers who want to see colorful reef fish that thrive just outside Manokwari town. The reef extends from north to south for around 500 meters from Raimuti island parallel with the beach of Arfai towards Arfak mountains. Pristine coral reef can only be accessed by boat.
Mansinam Island - this is relatively a nice snorkeling spot for travelers who are traveling on a budget. Bring your own snorkeling mask and fins. To go to the island, just take a water taxi in Ketapang boat harbor of Kwawi. The normal rate for each passenger of the boat is Rp. 3,000. The best snorkeling spot in Mansinam is along the southern area of the island. Coconut trees, pandanus and beach hibiscus flower plant grown near the white sandy beach of Mansinam. I also see some flower plants that look like canna.
Manim islet - you need more efforts to reach this spot. First, you have to go to Numfor island (by airplane 20 minutes or by ferry boat 5 hours). Then you need to continue your trip to Warido village where you can rent a boat to bring you to Manim. From Numfor to Manim, you will spend 1 hour. Bring extra batteries if you want to take as many pictures of fish and coral reef in the island as you like. Beautiful tropical birds like to perch on the branches of trees that grow in this tiny island.
Manim's waters are rich of marine life. by Charles Roring

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Snorkeling over the coral reef for the first time

Last week, I accompanied Georgie - a Biologist from England on a snorkeling trip to Mansinam island. This is a small tropical island located in the middle of Dorey bay. The southern coast of the island was surrounded by coral reef. We walked for around 30 minutes along the concrete path that led us to a newly built hatchery. We passed by it and continued walking for around 15 minutes. We arrived at a point where the beach was relatively clean. The high tide was going down I could feel its current when I was swimming to the coral reef area which was around 100 meters away from the beach.
It was Georgie's first experience snorkeling over the coral reef. She looked really excited.
Also read: Snorkeling along the shore of Arfak mountains

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Coral reef of Manokwari a nice snorkeling destination

As a tour guide, I have accompanied a lot of tourists on various snorkeling trips in Dorey bay and the Northern Coast of Manokwari. Geographically, the regency is located within the coral triangle that extends from the Philipines to Indonesian archipelago. Last year, I accompanied 4 guests from Jakarta. They were the participants of Aci.Detik.Com - a program from one of the most popular news sites in Indonesia that sent 60 youths throughout the country for free to promote the tourism potentials of Indonesia. The Dorey bay attracted the attention of scientists in Europe after Alfred Russel Wallace conducted a research trip in 1858.
The hard coral reef of Dorey bay is the natural habitat of hundreds of species of marine animals including the striped surgeon fish, and parrot fish as well as scorpion fish.

The above underwater photographs created by Ms. Audrey Jiwajennie show how diverse and how beautiful the corals are. I have been providing snorkeling tours to tourists since 2010 to raise awareness among city dwellers about the importance of coral reef to human life from the economic, and environmental perspectives. As the tropical rainforest of the ocean, coral reef is able to provide food and absorbs CO2 gases.
When Manokwari became the capital of the newly formed West Papua province by the Government of Indonesia, the population of the city is rising rapidly. This causes increasing pressures on coral reef. Fishing activities are rising as well as the drifting of plastic wastes from the city to the corals after rainy days. I hope that the introduction of ecotourism scheme to the coral reef areas in Manokwari will attract more attention from the local government to give more attention to the management of wastes.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Snorkeling in Manokwari

Mansinam island
Do you like snorkeling? Have you ever snorkeled in Manokwari? If not, then you should try it. This city is located in the bird's head region of New Guinea - the largest tropical island in the world. It is not difficult to go to Manokwari.
  • First, you need to fly from your country to the capital of Indonesia which is Jakarta. 
  • If you don't like the huzzle and buzzle of the metropolitan city, you can check the airlines in your country whether they have flights to Bali or Manado (two tourist destinations in Indonesia).
  • From one of these city, you can take a domestic flight served by Express Air, Lion Air or Sriwijaya Air to Manokwari - the capital of West Papua province. This city stretches along the Dorey bay with the magnificent view of Arfak mountains in the south and three small tropical coral islands in the bay.
When I mention coral islands, you know that there must be coral reef thriving around these islands. To enjoy snorkeling, you need to bring your own snorkel, mask, and fins. Don't forget to bring your underwater camera. As a snorkeling guide, I have accompanied  tourists who are interested in seeing the underwater world of Manokwari where coral reefs thrive. When you descend yourself to the reef, you will see hundreds of species of marine animals and plants. When you are in the water, I and the boat driver will continue monitoring your movements to make sure that everything is OK. Sometimes, we will ask you to avoid swimming too close to the beach because big waves may push you to the hard corals.
The Underwater World of Manokwari
In addition to the Doreh bay of Manokwari, another snorkeling location that is highly recommended to tourists is its northern coast area or also called Pantura. The best snorkeling time is between May and October. After that the waves here will be bigger and more suitable for wave surfing. In addition to snorkeling and other water sports activities, visitors can enjoy hiking in the jungle to watch paradise birds. 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Passenger Ship KM Dorolonda

Traveling by ship is one of my favorite ways to explore new places and towns in Indonesia. My trip to Bali from Manokwari started on Christmas day 2011. I went to Surabaya by passenger ship KM. Dorolonda. After arriving in the city, I would continue my trip by car to Bali island where at Ketapang Port of East Java, I had to cross the Bali strait by a ferry boat to Gilimanuk. My destination at that time was Ubud - the center of art and culture of the Balinese people. This vessel is operated by PELNI - a state owned passenger lines in Indonesia. The vessel was constructed in Germany at Jos Meyer shipyard. Indonesia as the largest archipelago needs a lot of ferries to transport people and goods from one island to another. That's why PELNI lines have ordered tens of passenger ships and ferries from Meyer Werft.
Even though all of the PELNI passenger ships are not considered as luxurious cruise ships, they have been equipped with advanced navigational system and GPS tracking system.
In Indonesia, millions of people travel by ships because it is cheap. Most of the modern passenger ferries and cruise ships are powered by diesel engines. In the past, steam turbines were the preferred choice because they were relatively calmer than marine diesel engines that produce more vibrations. With more improvements in the design of marine internal combustion engines, they become smaller but can deliver higher power.
My personal reason for traveling by ships is more on my educational background. I studied Naval Architecture in Pattimura University of Ambon city. I always want to study the interior of ships that I travel with. So, I took the opportunity of going to Surabaya with KM Dorolonda by taking a lot of pictures of this vessel. I also made a lot of pictures of traditional wooden boats, container ships and pontoons that I saw at every port that KM Dorolonda made as her ports of call.
Although more Indonesian people now prefer to travel by airplanes, there are more people in the country who still choose ships and boats as their preferred mode of transportation. More often the capacity of the ships is too small to accommodate thousands of people who use them. For instance, when I was traveling by this KM Dorolonda, I saw hundreds of people staying for a few nights at the outer decks of the vessel. I was really concerned about this situation because of safety concerns. As a naval architect, I know that as long as the waterline does not exceed the plimsoll mark, the ship is still safe enough to cross the ocean. However, PELNI as the operator of tens of ferries that carry thousands of passengers - often in over capacity condition, must give more attention on providing life saving equipment in the passenger ships. In addtion, the addition of surveillance cameras and security personnel in the vessels are a must to ensure that frequent criminality incidents can be stopped in the ships.  There are a lot of incidents in Indonesian passenger ships where passengers lost their belongings. Pickpocket is also a common criminal case that frequently occurs during the embarkation and de-embarkation of passengers in every port of Indonesia.
As a matter of fact, PELNI ships have got the potentials to be promoted as affordable transport vehicles for foreign tourists who want to travel around Indonesia in cheaper cost. This can only be realized if the ships are cleaned regularly and criminality during the sea voyage as well as during the loading and unloading of passengers at ports have been eliminated. by Charles Roring

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Balinese House in Watercolor painting

This is a sketch drawing of a varandah of a Balinese house. This is a watercolor painting of an outdoor view that I made during my stay in Bali.. Watercolor is one of the most difficult painting medias yet it was frequently used by architects to visualize their design concept to clients. Today there are a number of BIM softwares that can render a 3D model of a house or a big building.
The use of watercolor as a manual rendering tool is decreasing with the development of more sophisticated BIM software that can visualize design ideas in 3D and render them in more realistic views.

Balinese Architecture
I created the above drawing only as an artistic expression not for architectural purposes. But if you are really interested in Balinese style houses, please, related books on the internet both in Amazon and in Google Books.
Manual Drawing
However, the use of drawing pencils and watercolor painting are still being used by some designers due to their flexibility and ease of use particularly on models that have unique forms and complicated 3D curves that cannot easily be drawn in CAD software. Such curved models include wooden statues, carvings or relief on the legs of chairs and pillars of houses, or hull form of a ship. Although most of the BIM softwares can be used to create models in 3D environments, only CAD software with NURBS features that can visualize such complicated curved forms easily.
For architectural design, the most recommended software is Google Sketchup. Google has provided the free version of the software that can be downloaded from the official website of sketchup. In addition to the free edition, the Google Sketchup Pro 8 which can be obtained for 495 US dollars has got more features that designers and architects can use to model their design concepts in 3D environment. In version 8, Google introduced solid tools that greatly enhance Sketchup as a powerful BIM software. Google Sketchup can be used by naval architects to model ships and boats in 3D if special plugins such as the bezier lines are installed into the software. by Charles Roring

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Cruise Ship Costa Concordia Defueling Process

The defueling of cruise ship Costa Concordia is being carried out at the moment. Around 2,380 tonnes of fuel were still inside the fuel tanks of the cruise ship when the accident occurred. Fuel has to be pumped out of the sunken ship to minimize possible marine pollution that may happen anytime. The ship capsized on 13 January 2012 after running aground a rock close to Giglio island of Italy. The removal of fuel from the sunken capsized cruise ship is being done by Neri/Smith salvage team. If the weather is good, it can be completed in March.
Even though the official report about the real cause of the accident has not been released. Experts say that it was caused by human error. The ship had deviated from her usual route when she hit a rock near the island of Giglio. Many lifeboats and life rafts could not be launched because the cruise ship capsized so fast.  This accident has raised concerns among naval architects and marine engineers whether the current IMO or SOLAS regulations are safe enough or should be reviewed for further improvements.
The Costa Concordia accident reminds us to similar accident that happened nearly 100 years ago to passenger liner RMS Titanic that sank after hitting an iceberg. Following the Titanic accident that took more than 1500 lives, the first SOLAS convention was introduced in 1914. Today the amended version of SOLAS 1974 that is used by ship designers, builders and operators regarding the safety of life at sea.
All efforts have been done to ensure that all ships are built in accordance to rules and regulations from classification societies and IMO. The Costa Concordia incident should be reviewed from all aspects of the operation of ship. Even though the rules have been considered safe and adequate for the operation of ships, the factor of human error must not be ignored.
We still don't know what the Costa Cruises are going to do with the ship once the fuel oil has been pumped off from tanks of the Costa Concordia. by Charles Roring

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Yacht Design in 3D View Modelling

Sailing yacht model that is presented below is a boat that is propelled by wind and to certain extend by a small diesel engine. Today, ship and boat design software can be used to visualize the hull form of a yacht in 3D view. Ship designers or naval architects can use the available hull forms and modify them according to the principal dimension of the new hull which they want to design or create from scratch. Please check the official website of to get download the demo version of the software.
In fastship software, the visualization of the hull of yacht initially is given in half-breadth view. It can be confusing for the customer who has ordered the design. First time user of Fastship can easily present a complete hull form of the yacht by pressing Reflected Image button in the toolbars to show both sides of the hull form.
Another naval architecture software that is available for free is Delfship. Ship or yacht designers can download the fully functional free version from its official website at Although designing yacht can now be done by computer software, a comprehensive knowledge about hydrostatic and hydrodynamic principles of yacht have to be studied by designers to ensure that the marine vehicles which they design are safe and stable. Yacht Design According to Perry is a recommended book for anybody who wants to design, build or buy a yacht.
To see the effect of the reflected image, we can rotate the hull of the sailing yacht by pressing the spin button and then with the computer mouse we bring the cursor to the hull and begin dragging it to left or right and up or down. Now, look at the above picture of the yacht that I have rotated to the left. The main deck covers the whole top area of the hull. This sailing yacht model has got a long vertical keel or fin to balance the wind force on the sails and mast of the yacht. by Charles Roring
Also read:
  • Yacht Design with Delftship
  • Phinisi - a wooden sailing boat from Indonesia

Monday, January 2, 2012

Ganesha Bookshop in Ubud town of Bali

On my first day arriving in Ubud town of Bali island, the first place that I visited was Ganesha bookstore. It was located on the corner of Tjokorda Putra street and Jembawan street. This small bookstore has a good collection of books about Bali and Indonesia. When I explored every shelf of the bookshop, I found some interesting titles such as the Ecology of New Guinea Volume 1 and 2, and Diving Indonesia's Bird's Head Seascape.
Unfortunately, when I asked one of the staffs of the bookshop whether she has "Birds of New Guinea," she said that she didn't have it. There are some Japanese and European tourists in the Ganesha bookshop. Most of them were interested in books about Bali that are written in English language.
Besides selling books, Ganesha bookshop also sells postcards, and maps. All of us know that every trade has its tools. Since I also work as a tourist guide in West Papua, I really need a good map to show the locations of places both in the mountains and coastal areas in Manokwari regency to tourists who want to go hiking, camping and birdwatching, snorkeling. I bought a tourist map for West Papua for Rp. 95,000.
Ubud is a small town which has been a culture center for Balinese people for hundreds of years. I really enjoy traveling around Ubud and I will miss this town so much when I have to leave it. by Charles Roring
Also read: Oil Painting Gallery in Ubud

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Watching Monkey in Ubud Forest of Bali island

Bali is the most popular travel destination in Indonesia. It is located between Java and Lombok islands. One of the most favorite tourist attractions in this tropical island is the monkey forest in Padangtegal village of Ubud. Here, you can see hundreds of monkeys (macaca fascicularis) sitting in the trees or walking on the pathways. If you go there, don't bring a big bag filled with food with you while walking through the jungle. Monkeys may chase you and jump to grab the bag particularly when you walk alone. There are a lot of villas, hotels and homestay rooms in Ubud. So, you can easily find a room for you to stay when you go to Bali - the island of the gods.
Besides visiting the monkey forest, you can also see paintings, carvings, or enjoy spa and massage services provided by various galleries and resorts in Ubud. The number of tourists going to Bali has risen significantly after the release of Eat, Pray, Love (EPL) film starred by Julia Roberts in August 2010. by Charles Roring
Also read:
  • Air Asia Promotion in Ubud Bali
  • Birds of Paradise in the Rainforest of Papua

Old and New Year Night 2012 Celebration in Kuta and Jimbaran Bali

Several hours before the Old 2011 and New Year Night 2012, Kuta beach was crowded with domestic and international tourists. Most of them would celebrate New Year by watching fireworks, eating and drinking with friends along the beach or dancing on the streets while listening to disco music. Beach hotels in Kuta provide live music concerts to their guests. Kuta beach is located in the south west of Bali. It has been a must see destination for beach goers who want to enjoy sunbathing, swimming, wave surfing and watching sunset.
After spending one hour in Kuta beach, we continued our trip to Jimbaran for dinner. While waiting for the grilled fish, and squid, I walked around to take the night landscape pictures of Bali. I used Nikon Coolpix P500 to shoot the landscapes of Kuta beach and the Ngurah Rai airport. I had to try several settings of the camera to find the best one for night shooting. Finally, I knew that the "aperture priority auto" as the best setting for the camera to shoot the beautiful night landscape of Jimbaran, Kuta beach and the airport areas. There were not many people eating in Jimbaran area during the old and new year night 2012 celebration. That's why we could enjoy the delicious sea food dinner that was served at around 7.30 p.m. While I am writing this short article inside a bungalow in Ubud, the sounds of fireworks are exploding in the air. Ubud is the town where a novel portrayed Elizabeth Gilbert personal life and movie Eat Pray and Love which starred Julia Robert were written and filmed. The computer clock on the bottom right corner of this laptop indicates that it is 23.58 Bali time. From the bottom of my heart, I wish you Merry Christmas 25 Dec 2011 and Happy New Year 1 January 2012. A healthy and beautiful life are waiting for you in the coming days. by Charles Roring
Also read: Where is Bali?