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Saturday, December 29, 2018

Snorkeling and Freediving in Drop-off Reef of Mansinam Island

I have just completed a snorkeling tour in Mansinam island for 2 tourists. They were two girls from United Kingdom and New Zealand. We enjoyed snorkeling and recreational freediving in the drop-off reef. We were accompanied by a student who studied Marine Biology. It was a great experience because we could see a lot of fish and hard corals. Reef flat was around 1 to 2 meters deep. The drop off area was from 2 to 25 meters deep. It was a site that was good for freediving.
New Zealander girl was freediving in Mansinam island of West Papua
New Zealander girl was freediving in Mansinam island
To take pictures I had to freedive to a depth of around 5 meters so that I could be closer to the fish. One of girls, Leyla, practiced her freediving skill too. She descended to a depth of 5 meters. When she was going down to deeper waters, I took some pictures of her. This snorkeling and freediving trip were special experience for them.
Coral reef and fish at sea
Marine Life in Mansinam island
Black-backed Butterflyfish
After exploring the coral reef, we did some hiking tour to Jesus statue located at the top of Mansinam island. We met some pilgrims who were walking up the slopes to see it too.
In the previous day, we went hiking to a hill forest in the north of Manokwari ciry. We saw a lot of millipede, spiders, butterflies, lizard and bats. I saw a terrestrial snake New Guinea Ground Boa - also called Viper Boa (Candoia aspera).
Hiking tour in Manokwari hill forest with two British and New Zealander girls.
Rainforest Tour in Manokwari hill
Direct flight route to Manokwari
Flying route to Manokwari city from Jakarta (the capital of Indonesia)
How to fly to Manokwari city
The adventure tour that I describe above is concentrated in Manokwari - the capital of Papua Barat province in the Republic of Indonesia. You could also take the tour here. What you need is flying to Manokwari city.

  • First, fly from your state to Jakarta, the capital of the Republic of Indonesia.
  • Second, take a domestic flight from Jakarta to Manokwari city. Airlines such as Garuda, Sriwijaya Air, Batik Air provide regular flights to Manokwari. 
  • There are hotels such as Aston Niu, Swissbel, Oriestom Hotel that you could choose to stay.
  • Tickets for your flights and rooms in the hotel can be ordered through traveloka.com
  • I will be happy to meet you at the airport or at the hotel where you stay in Manokwari and then organize your trip both to the forest and to the coral reef areas.

If you are interested in visiting Manokwari to see its coral reef and rainforest, and want me to organise your tour, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by e-mail to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Mansinam Island

Christian pilgrims visit Mansinam island every day.
Mansinam Island
This is Mansinam island in Dorey bay of Manokwari. Every day, it is visited by Christian pilgrims who want to see the sites where German and Dutch missionaries lived between 1800s and early 1900s to preach Gospel for the first time to the indigenous Papuan people.
Approximately half of the island is still covered by green forest that is the habitat of birds, butterflies and reptiles. The coastal areas of Mansinam, especially its southern region, are good for swimming, snorkeling and other water sports activities. I have guided tourists to this tropical island numerous times. We went there to see its villagers, hiked to the top of Mansinam to see Jesus statue, and also went to the beach to see its coral reef.
In the book the Malay Archipelago, Alfred Russel Wallace wrote that he landed on this island and met three German missionaries, Ottow, his wife and Geissler who had been there since 5 February 1855. They were preaching Gospel. Wallace did his research on flora, fauna and natural history of Netherlands New Guinea at that time.
Snorkeling site in Manokwari
Mansinam island
Mansinam now is still attractive for tourists who love marine sports. I often guide tourists to enjoy snorkeling in the coral reef area for visitors who want to see such fish as grouper, boxfish, damselfish, striped surgeonfish, convict surgeonfish, yellow-tail blue devil, three-spots dascyllus, and butterflyfish.
Tourists are highly recommended to bring their own masks, snorkels and fins.

How to go to Mansinam island
  • Fly from your country to Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia.
  • After that fly from Jakarta to Manokwari - the capital of Papua Barat province. Domestic airlines such as Garuda, Sriwijaya Air, and Batik Air offer regular flights to this city.
  • I can meet you at the airport or hotel where you stay and organize your tour to the island.
Other Snorkeling Spots
As a matter of fact, there are coral reef areas in Manokwari which tourists can visit to enjoy snorkeling. In the northern region, visitors can swim over the coral reef to see Red and Black anemonefish, wrasse, parrotfish and etc. 
Land Tour
In addition to visiting Mansinam island, I also offer hiking, and sightseeing tour to the forest for tourists who like to see birds, butterflies, reptiles, and suburban area of Manokwari. Birdwatching can also be arranged if tourists bring their own binoculars.

Booking
Please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or whatapp: +6281332245180, if you plan to visit Mansinam island or explore other places in West Papua.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Travel to Raja Ampat

Every year the number of visitors who travel to Raja Ampat increases. People go there to see beautiful landscape of the islands, do snorkeling or scubadiving over pristine coral reef and walk inside the forest to watch birds of paradise. There are hundreds of islands in Raja Ampat from the big four: Waigeo, Salawati, Misool and Batanta to the famous Kri, Mansuar, Gam and Arborek. There are also beautiful karsts such as Piaynemo, Wayag and Fish Lagoon.
Drone picture of Raja Ampat
Islands in Raja Ampat
Diving and Snorkeling
Liveaboard diving boats offer diving and sightseeing tour package for visitors who are interested in exploring the remote islands of Raja Ampat. This kind of service is similar to a small floating hotels that provide a relatively comfortable accommodation close to nature. Most of the diving boats are built using wooden materials with designs that have been adapted from the Phinisi sail boat. The cost of traveling with liveaboard boats is expensive.

Staying in Local Guesthouses or beach resorts and Exploring Raja Ampat using small boats

There is also a more affordable way which tourists can choose if they want to explore Raja Ampat. There are tens of guesthouses and beach resorts operating in most of the big islands in Raja Ampat. Visitors can go there and stay at one of them. To enjoy snorkeling, visitors can explore the house reef in front of the guesthouse or hire a boat that can bring them to coral reef areas in other islands. My favorite choice is Isanak beach. It is located in the eastern region of Raja Ampat. I used to guide tourists on snorkeling tour to coral reef areas in Sawondarek, Yenbuba Strait, Five Rocks, West Mansuar, Mamiaef, Kabui, Friwen, and Arborek. They were very good places for snorkeling.

Hiking and Birding

Tourists who like rainforest can explore Raja Ampat to see Palm Cockatoo, Eclectus Parrot, Violet-necked Lory, Great-billed Parrot, Eclectus Parrot, Beach Kingfisher, Hooked Bill Kingfisher, Red Bird of Paradise, and Wilson's Bird of Paradise. To enjoy birding and wildlife watching, tourists need to bring their own binoculars and spotting scope. A good hiking boots is also needed especially if the birding activity is done in the forest. I like birding in Raja Ampat because I can see both coastal birds and rainforest birds. For identifying bird, I highly recommend that tourists buy a field guide book: Birds of New Guinea written by Thane K. Pratt, Bruce Beehler.
Beach Kingfisher (Todiramphus saurophagus)
Beach Kingfisher
There are a lot of species of trees, shrubs, creeping plants, and other vegetation that we can see in Raja Ampat. There are also insects, reptiles and mammals which we can photograph. Rainforest is an interesting site to explore. There are orchid flower plants that grow in the forest including the Tiger orchid or also called Queen of the Orchids (Grammatophyllum spesiosum).
Tiger Orchid(Grammatophyllum spesiosum)
Tiger Orchid
Traveling to uninhabited islands
I offer customized tour for visitors who like adventure. I can organize tour to uninhabited islands whose beaches are in very good condition and ideal for snorkeling. Camping in these uninhabited islands can also be organized. The coral reef is very good. It is located in a place where visitors do not go because of the lack of transportation and information about it on the internet. We could enjoy swimming, camping and snorkeling as well as hiking, birding and wildlife watching. There are some coastal villages which we can visit too.

How to go to Raja Ampat
  • Fly from your country to Jakarta (the capital of Indonesia)
  • Fly from Jakarta to Sorong city. Batik Air and Lion Air operate Airbus 320 on a regular flights to Sorong. Garuda operates Boeing 737 and Bombardier CRJ 1000. Usually, the planes leave Jakarta at night and land in Sorong city early in the morning.
  • I can meet you at the airport and organize your trip to Raja Ampat

Booking

If you plan to travel to Raja Ampat and want me to organize your trip and guide you around the islands, please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp: +6281332245180.

Also read:

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Adventure in Raja Ampat

Adventure tour for snorkeling and birding as well as sightseeing in Raja Ampat
Adventure in Raja Ampat
As a tourist guide, I offer adventure tours for tourists who are interested in exploring the islands, beaches, coral reef, karst and rainforest of Raja Ampat. The tour will be started from Sorong city which is the gate to the islands. We will cross the sea by fast boat, first, to Waisai town (the capital of Raja Ampat regency). It takes around 2 hours to reach it. After that we will go to a guesthouse located at the beach.
After the long boat trip, we could take a rest for 1 hour to refresh our body. We can enjoy snorkeling and freediving at the house reef of the guesthouse. Participants of this tour need to bring their own mask, snorkel and fins.

Snorkeling, freediving and Taking Pictures and Videos Underwater

Sweetlips and reef fish in Raja Ampat
Diagonal Sweetlips
A good underwater camera or action camera is also useful for taking pictures of the coral reef, fish, blue sea star and other marine creatures in the water. I personally use Nikon Coolpix W300 or Fujifilm XQ2 with waterproof housing. In the past, I used an action camera, Brica B-Pro5 Alpha Edition. Taking pictures underwater is quite challenging especially for those who do freedive for the first time. There are waves, water current. The light in coral reef is less than on land. Freedivers usually use weights to help them go into deeper water. I don't use weights. The maintain a stable position while taking pictures in the water, I hold my breath for a little bit more than one minute and then hold a hard coral with my left hand. My right hand will be then one that holds the camera and press the shutter button.
There are a lot of species of fish which snorkelers and freedivers can see in the coral reef including damselfish, goatfish, black-tip reef shark, trevally, wrasse, parrotfish, blenny, gobby, dottyback, puffer, frogfish, and a lot more. To take pictures of them, I position myself as lower or flat as possible in the water so that I will be on the same eye level with the fish. This is quite difficult because of the buoyant force that pushes me to the surface. Holding rock, and making my body as calm as possible will help me to attract fish. When fish are closer and within a good shooting distance, I will aim my camera and shoot them. After spending around 1 hour snorkeling and freediving, we will go back to the beach and take a rest.

Birding

Male Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra)
Red Bird of Paradise
In the evening, just before the sun disappears in the west, we can see more activity of birds in the forest edge. Birds such as Eclectus Parrot, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Palm Cockatoo, Red-cheeked Parrot, Great-billed Parrot, Violet-necked Lory, Pied Imperial Pigeon, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Sacred Kingfisher, and Willie Wagtail are quite active along the forest edge and coastal area.
Visitors need a good pair of binoculars to watch them. I personally use Visionking 10×42mm to watch birds. The famous brands that birdwatchers use are Swarovski, Leica, Nikon. Bringing a spotting scope with a tripod will also enhance the birdwatching experience.

Sightseeing Tour

Adventure trip to Piaynemo karst
Piaynemo Karst
The next few days will be spent in various parts of Raja Ampat. We will go by boat to karst islets that are quite far from the guesthouse where we stay. We will also visit sand bank located at sea, and swim at the beach of tropical islands. A trip to a coastal village can also be organized. Because most of this trip will be conducted by boat, participants of the tour must bring waterproof bags that can protect their cameras and other electronic devices during the trip.
Raja Ampat islands and Papua as a whole are beautiful. There is a pop song in Indonesia whose lyrics say: Surga Kecil yang Jatuh ke Bumi meaning Little Heaven that falls on earth.
It is important for us to preserve its rainforest and marine environment. Ecotourism is one of the solutions that can generate alternative income to the local people. When people get positive benefits from this environment, they will protect it.

Booking
If you are interested in traveling to Raja Ampat and want me (Charles Roring) to organize your tour in these islands, please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.
Also read:
Tour to Uninhabited islands of Raja Ampat
Raja Ampat Adventure Tour for Nature Lovers
Raja Ampat Adventure Tour

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Raja Ampat Snorkeling Review

Raja Ampat is considered as the best destination for visitors who like snorkeling, freediving and scubadiving. The marine biodiversity of this archipelago is the richest in the world with thousands of tropical reef fish and marine animals that live in pristine coral reef. As a tourist guide, I often organize tours to Raja Ampat for visitors who want to spend 3 days to 1 week snorkeling and sightseeing around the islands.
Marine environment in coral reef of Waigeo island
Marine Life in the coral reef of Warduwer beach, Waigeo island
Snorkeling Sites
There are a lot of snorkeling sites in the regency that I like. Some of them include the coral reef areas in southern coast of Waigeo, Waim island, Mamiaef island, Friwen wall, Five Rocks, Kabui bay, Yenbuba strait, Cape Kri, western region of Mansuar, Gam island, and an island at the front of Piaynemo. There are a lot of fish in Yenbuba strait but the current is quite strong especially during the transitions between low and high tides. 
From my personal snorkeling experience with tourists, I consider the island in front of Piaynemo is my favorite choice for experienced snorkelers. Big fish including sharks can be seen in coral reef area. 
Arborek island has got snorkeling spots that are quite good but the jetty of the island is often crowded with speedboats that make the island as a rest area before and after visiting Piaynemo.
Coral reef in Sawondarek used to be one of the best snorkeling sites in Mansuar island. Unfortunately, the area around the jetty suffer from serious damaged due to waves and boat activities during low tide.
small rock islands in Raja Ampat archipelago
Karst islets in Raja Ampat
In southern coast of Waigeo, Warduwer beach and Yengkawe beach are my recommended site. However, experienced snorkelers and freedivers will choose Warduwer because of its drop off reef that is scary but rich of marine life. A beach resort will soon be constructed at this site. 
Five rocks are also rich in fish but the visibility is often poor due to constant waves and current that hit the rocks. For visitors who prefer secluded beach and exclusive snorkeling trip, Isanak beach in Waim and southern coast of Mamiaef island are excellent choice. There, snorkelers can enjoy camping for several nights to see the beauty of marine life in the uninhabited islands. Very few local guides know the existence of this beach. 
Snorkeling Device
Although Raja Ampat has been famous as one of the best snorkeling destinations in the world, it does not have local manufacturers that can make various kinds of snorkeling devices. So, visitors who want to go there must bring their own snorkeling mask, snorkel, fins, swimsuit, and underwater camera. 
If you are interested in taking a snorkeling vacation in Raja Ampat and want me to be your snorkeling buddy or guide, please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or whatsapp: +6281332245180.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Raja Ampat Guided Snorkeling Tours

Karst islets in Raja Ampat archipelago of Indonesia
Raja Ampat has become my favorite destination when I guide visitors on various snorkeling tours in the regency. I usually go to the archipelago with some tourists and stay in one of the resorts or homestays. From that place, we will visit islands where coral reefs are in very good condition to enjoy snorkeling, sightseeing and even birdwatching. We usually spend between 3 to 5 days to see a lot of species of tropical fish and other marine animals. Some of them were Pink-Anemonefish, Striped Surgeonfish, Butterflyfish, Sweetlips, Blacktip Shark, Moorish Idol, Three-spots Dascyllus, Sweetlips, and grouper.
A special trip by motorized boat could also be arranged for visitors who want to enjoy sightseeing in Kabui bay, Piaynemo or Wayag, Sandbank, and Mansuar, Friwen wall, and the passage between Waigeo and Gam island.
Tropical Fish
Marine Life in Raja Ampat
Visitors need to bring their own masks, snorkel and fins if they want to enjoy the beautiful underwater scenery of Raja Ampat.
The marine tours are usually carried out by speed boat or motorized wooden boat to islands that are located within one or two hours trips from the resort or guesthouse where we stay.
Marine Environment in Raja Ampat
Raja Ampat reef and Fish
The number of participants of the tours are from 1 or 2 to 6 or 8 people. Sometimes I guide more tourists. For safety reason, tourists are advised to wear snorkeling jackets that we provide. Snorkelers will be able to keep afloat on the coral reef that is a fragile environment.
In addition to snorkeling, freediving, and sightseeing, your trip to these islands can be combined with birdwatching. Birds such as Red Bird of Paradise, and Wilson's Bird of Paradise are important targets. There are also other interesting birds which visitors can see during the tour including Eclectus Parrot, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Palm Cockatoo, Eastern Osprey, and Brahminy Kite, Pied Imperial Pigeon, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Red-cheeked Parrot, Hooded Butcherbird, Beach Kingfisher, Coconut Lorikeet and a lot more. Most birdwatchers bring their own binoculars.

Getting to Raja Ampat

You need to take international flight from your country to Jakarta (the capital of Indonesia). After that you could continue your trip to Sorong city. Most Domestic airlines in Indonesia such as Garuda, Sriwijaya, Nam Air, Batik Air and Lion Air provide regular flights to Sorong.
Alternative route: You could fly to Singapore. After that, by Silk Air you could fly to Manado city (the capital of the Province of North Sulawesi). There are regular flights by one of the above airlines to Sorong city. I could organize your trip from Sorong to Raja Ampat islands.
If you are interested in visiting Raja Ampat and want me to organize your trip, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.
Also read:

Friday, November 23, 2018

Snorkeling Pictures from Raja Ampat

Recently I visited Waigeo island of Raja Ampat to enjoy snorkeling and birding. I spent 4 days/ 3 nights exploring the reef and rainforest of the tropical island. It was a nice experience because I could see a lot of fish such as surgeonfish, damselfish, yellow tail blue devil, pink anemonefish, parrotfish, moorish idol, wrasse, butterflyfish and a lot more.
Snorkeling photo from Waigeo island
Marine Life in Raja Ampat
The coral reef that I explored was located in the south of Waigeo island particularly at Warduwer beach. The length of the beach was around 200 meters with fine white sand covering it. To avoid stepping on the reef flat areas, I went to the drop off side by an outrigger canoe. A villager paddled the small boat for me.
Freediving photo from drop off reef of Waigeo island
Underwater picture from Raja Ampat

My snorkeling gear was a pair of swimfins, a snorkeling mask and snorkel. All of them had Whale logo as the brand name. They were comfortable to wear on my feet, face and mouth.
Hard coral at the drop off edge of Warduwer beach of Waigeo island
Coral Reef in Waigeo
For taking pictures underwater, I used Nikon Coolpix W300 and Fujifilm XQ2. I did not bring dive watch to measure how deep I went into the water. The visibility was very good and the reef was abundant with fish.
I preferred drop off to reef flat because in deeper water, I had more freedom of moving in the water. I could also see big fish in drop off reef. Actually, the pictures in this blog post were made when I was around 2 to 7 meters below the sea surface. So, it could be considered as freediving.
If you are interested in snorkeling in Raja Ampat and want me to organize your tour, please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by text to my whatsapp: +6281332245180.
Related Post:
Snorkeling and Hiking Tour in Raja Ampat
Tour to Raja Ampat Karst
Raja Ampat is the best snorkeling destination

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Snorkeling at Raja Ampat Paradise Resort

Coral reef and fish in Raja Ampat islands of West Papua.
House Reef at Raja Ampat Paradise Resort
A beach resort is being prepared in Raja Ampat. It will be ready in 2019. It has got house reef that is very good for visitors who are interested in snorkeling, and scuba diving.

Please, support this blog by buying affordable products such as t-shirts, mugs, cell phone cases, stickers, totebags, spiral notebooks that are printed with drawings or illustration of reef fish, manta, nemo, whaleshark and other marine creatures at this link: Marine Art Online Shop.

I went there yesterday to enjoy freediving at the drop-off area of the house reef. I was accompanied by a villager who provided his canoe as a floating platform for me. It was approximately 10.00 A.M. when we pushed the outrigger canoe into the sea. We moved slowly to the reef whose distance was only 60 meters from the beach. After we were on a safe depth, I got into the boat and sat on the forward bench.  I began to wear the swimfins and snorkeling mask. The brand of snorkeling gear (mask, snorkel, and swimfin) was Whale. It was not the best in town but it was a very good quality brand whose prices were more affordable.
Marine Life at Raja Ampat Paradise Resort
We paddled too fast. I did not realize that we had been in deep water. I told the canoe driver to move back. When I saw the drop-off reef, I slowly got off the canoe and immersed my body into the water. The visibility was very good. I could see the marine life up to around twenty meters. Fish were everywhere thriving among hard corals.
I used Nikon W300 to take pictures of the coral reef. Its shooting mode had been set into fish one. I did my first dive to a depth of around 7 meters. There were surgeonfish, wrasse, parrotfish, butterflyfish, moorish idol, soldierfish, sweepers, anemonefish, staghorn damsel, and a lot more.
After freediving for about fifteen minutes, I returned to the canoe to take a brake and tried another camera the Fujifilm XQ2. I also applied some shampoo on the surface of my snorkeling mask to eliminate the fog that covers the glass. After that I rinsed it with fresh water. I wore the mask again and returned to the coral reef. This time the mask became clearer again. I helped me a lot in finding my target fish.
I wanted to compare the results of my underwater photos taken by two different cameras. The ones taken by Nikon W300 had higher contrast whereas the ones taken by Fujifilm XQ2 were less contrast but had more details.
If you are interested in snorkeling in Raja Ampat and want me to organize your trip, please, contact me by e-mail to: peace4wp@gmail.com or whatsapp: +6281332245180.
Where is Raja Ampat?
Freediving Pictures from Waigeo island
Snorkeling and Birding in Raja Ampat Karst

Friday, November 16, 2018

Birdwatching in Waigeo island of Raja Ampat

Haliastur indus is also called Brahminy Kite
Brahminy Kite
I am now in Waigeo island of Raja Ampat. I have been exploring forests in the outskirts of Waisai town for 2 days from Saporkren, to harbor and airport and to Mayalibit bay. It was a fascinating trip. I was able to see a lot of birds including Female Red Bird of Paradise, Torresian Crow, Yellow-faced Myna, Red-cheeked Parrot, Palm Cockatoo, Eclectus Parrot, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Hooded Butcherbird, Dusky Scrubfowl, Willie Wagtail, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Beach Kingfisher, Brahminy Kite, and Eastern Osprey.
The population of Eclectus Parrot in Waigeo is quite high. I saw a lot of them along the road in the east of the airport. They were very active during sunset time. Some were flying low and then landed on the branches of tall trees near the road.
Papuan Hornbill (Rhyticeros plicatus) was sitting in the forest near Mayalibit bay
Blyth's Hornbill
Doing a bird tour in Waigeo is relatively easy. Hiring a car to travel along the road to remote villages in the mornings and in the afternoons is the best way to see a lot of birds of Raja Ampat.
This afternoon, when I was looking for a Beach Kingfisher along the coastal road of airport area, I saw a female Red Bird of Paradise landed on a tree just a few meters from me. I carefully raised my camera and aimed it at the bird. She was busy eating fruits, jumping from one twig to another to find fruits among the green leaves of the tree. I shot her several times trying to control my excitement so that the camera would be more stable in my hands. I saw some Willie Wagtail jumping and flying around too but I just ignored them.
Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra) was eating fruits in a tree
Red Bird of Paradise
When I made some forward steps to get closer to the bird, she flew away. Well, I was quite happy with my shots that afternoon.
Tomorrow I will still do some birdwatching trip. But I also plan to enjoy snorkeling in the southern coral reef area of Waigeo. I hope that the weather will be better.
If you are interested in taking a birdwatching trip in Waigeo and several other islands in Raja Ampat and want me (Charles Roring) to be your guide, please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or send whatsapp message to: +6281332245180.
Raja Ampat Birds
Coastal Birds of Raja Ampat
Freediving Pictures from Waigeo island of Raja Ampat

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Mansinam Island and its Marine Life

Mansinam island white sandy beach
White Sandy Beach in Mansinam island
Mansinam is the name of a small island in Dore bay of Manokwari city. I often guide tourists to enjoy swimming, snorkeling and freediving in the island to see its coral reef and tropical fish. The marine life along the coastal area may not be the best but is quite good to see.
To enjoy snorkeling, visitors must bring their own mask and flippers so that they could enjoy the view of the coral reef. Tropical fish such as damselfish, grouper, surgeonfish, and butterflyfish can be seen from shallow to deeper waters. I highly recommend that visitors bring an underwater camera such as the Gopro one to take pictures of the marine life. I like to take pictures of the fish too. First, I used a small action camera, a Brica B-Pro5 Alpha Editon but later I used a Fujifilm XQ2 with its waterproof case to get better quality photographs.
Fish and Coral Reef in Mansinam island
Coral reef and fish in Mansinam island
During my freediving trips in Mansinam, I was able to see pink anemonefish, and Spinecheek Anemonefish as well as Banded Sea Krait (snake). Yes, I often see the sea snakes but they are not aggressive.
There are also several coastal areas in Manokwari. I also like to visit those places when I organize snorkeling tours with tourists.
In addition to guiding tourists on sightseeing and snorkeling trip to Mansinam, I often organize tour to the jungle in lower montane forest of Arfak mountains, especially in Susnguakti forest. There is a base-camp in the jungle for visitors to stay for an average of 3 days. While in the tropical rainforest, visitors will be able to go hiking in the mornings, in the afternoons and in the evening to watch birds of paradise, and other tropical birds. For night walk, the main target is to watch cuscus possum.
Mansinam - the island where European missionaries landed to preach Christianity
A beach in Mansinam Island
Visitors who are interested in going to Susnguakti forest have to be physically fit because the slopes are very steep. This forest is not suitable for senior travelers.
For sightseeing, Mansinam still has got good forest especially on its southeastern region.
If you are interested in visiting Manokwari and want me to organize your tour, please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.
Also read:
Snorkeling tours in Raja Ampat islands
Snorkeling and Birding in Raja Ampat
Tourist Attractions in Mansinam Island
Snorkeling in Mansinam Island
Traveling to Mansinam

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Freediving Pictures from Waigeo Island of Raja Ampat

Humphead Wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus)
Humphead Wrasse moving away from me.
I frequently travel to Raja Ampat islands to organize snorkeling and freediving tours as well as hiking and birdwatching ones. Because I like taking pictures of marine life, I always allocate time to explore the coral reef of the island that I visit.
My recent trip was to southern part of Waigeo. I guided several tourists in the forest to see various species of birds such as Sacred Kingfisher, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Beach Kingfisher, Radjah Shelduck, Torressian Crow, Lemon-bellied White-Eye, Willie Wagtail, White-breasted Woodswallow. After guiding them in the morning, I continued my adventure by doing solo freediving at the drop off reef in front of Raja Ampat Dive Resort.
Yellow-tailed Damselfish and Moorish Idol
Moorish Idol and Damselfish
The sea surface was quite rough. The visibility under water was not so good, only around 5 to 7 meters. I held my Fujifilm XQ2 camera and slowly immersed myself into the water. There were a lot of fish in the water such as grouper, moorish idol, butterflyfish, damselfish, surgeonfish, parrotfish, and snapper. I also saw a big humphead wrasse. I tried to get closer to her but she swam to deeper water. So, I could only take pictures of fish near me.
In the shallow water, I saw more reef fish but the visibility was so poor. So, I made fewer pictures. There were Christmas tree worms too.
Drop off reef in Waigeo island of Raja Ampat
Drop-reef in southern Waigeo island
The Fujifilm XQ2 camera that I used was not a waterproof camera. I had to put it into its waterproof case if I wanted to take underwater photographs. I was not the best camera either. But, the pictures it produced were good enough for identification of fish and other marine creatures that I saw in Raja Ampat.
The best months for snorkeling in Raja Ampat are October, Nov, Des, Jan, Feb, March, April, May and June. During July, August, and September, strong wind blows from the south. It was not a favorable season to see underwater marine life.
Raja Ampat Dive Resort
A Beach Resort in Raja Ampat

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 or at the hotel where you stay and organize your trip to Raja Ampat.
As a tourist guide, I can organize your tour to Raja Ampat where you could enjoy tours for snorkeling, freediving, sightseeing in the islands. Hiking and birding can also be organized. Please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or send text to: +6281332245180 if you want to travel around Raja Ampat and other places in the mainland of West Papua. - written by Charles Roring
Also read:
Adventure Tour in the Islands of Raja Ampat
Where is Raja Ampat
7 Snorkeling Spots in Raja Ampat

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Nature Tour in North Sulawesi

Purple-winged Roller
Purple-winged Roller
As a touris guide, I offer tours to North Sulawesi for visitors who are interested in seeing nature, watching birds, butterflies, and other animals in the forest. The duration of the tour can be as short as 7 to 9 days covering most of the important forest areas from Kotamobagu to Minahasa and then to Bitung.
The tour that I offer is not only for birding and wildlife watching but also for seeing beautiful natural places of Minahasa such as Pine Forest in Lahendong, Lake Tondano, Mount Mahawu, and Lake Linow, terraces of rice fields, and farmlands in the towns of Tomohon and Sonder that surround traditional villages of North Celebes.
All inclusive Nature Tour in Indonesia
Farmland in the highland of Minahasa
From my previous trips I and my clients saw various species of birds such as:
  • Sooty-headed Bulbul
  • Chestnut Munia
  • Scaly-breasted Munia
  • Black-faced Munia
  • Sahul Sunbird
  • Crimson Sunbird
  • Grey-sided Flowerpecker
  • Yellow-sided Flowerpecker
  • Sulawesi Cuckoo Dove
  • White-faced Cuckoo Dove
  • Grey-cheeked Green Pigeon
  • Black-naped Fruit Dove
  • Sulawesi Hanging Parrot
  • Pale Blue Monarch
  • Black-crowned White-eye
  • Mountain (Warbling) White-eye
  • White-necked Myna
  • Purple-winged Roller
  • Citrine Cannary Flycatcher
  • Turquoise Flycatcher
  • Finch-billed Myna
  • Sulawesi Serpent Eagle
  • Knobbed Hornbill
  • Sulawesi Scops Owl
  • Speckled Boobok
  • Green-backed Kingfisher
  • Large-billed Kingfisher
  • Lilac Cheeked Kingfisher
  • Ruddy Kingfisher
  • Sulawesi Dwarf Kingfisher
  • Collared Kingfisher
  • Hair-crested (White-eyed) Drongo
  • Sulawesi Drongo
  • Black-naped Oriole
  • Sunda Teal
  • Little Egret
  • Cattle Egret
  • Barred Rail
  • Finch-billed Myna
  • Barn Swallow
  • Sulawesi Scops Owl
  • Brush Cuckoo
  • Slender-billed Crow
  • White-browed Crake
  • Eastern Yellow Wagtail
  • White-breasted Woodswallow
  • and etc.
Black-naped Oriole, Mountain White-eye, White-breasted Woodswallow, Collared Kingfisher, Sooty-headed Bulbul, Pale Blue Monarch, Crimson Sunbird
Some birds in Minahasa highland
In addition to birds, while walking in the forest, we saw Crested-Macaque Monkeys, Gliding Lizard, snake, and Sulawesi bear Cuscus.
Sulawesi has got a lot of endemic animals. This tropical island is located in the transition zone between the continents of Asia and Australia.
Besides birding and wildlife watching, I also did trips to traditional eating houses of the region. We ate some traditional cakes, and spicy cuisine of Minahasa.
Lake Tondano, photo by Charles Roring
Visitors who plan to take this tour with me have to bring their own binoculars and if possible, camera with telephoto lens such as Nikon or Canon D-SLR with 400 or even 600 mm lenses. Sigma and Tamron manufacture 150-600 mm lenses that are suitable for bird and wildlife photography. Those who do not want to carry heavy photographic devices can bring Nikon P900 or Nikon P1000 that is very powerful in shooting birds and wild animals in distant trees.
Booking
To book your tour in Minahasa, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Sonder's Birdwatching and Butterflywatching Sites and Other Cultural Attractions

Sonder town in Minahasa highland of Indonesia
This is Sonder, a small town in Minahasa. I like to spend my time here exploring its villages, farmlands, roads and forest areas. Most of the town dwellers work as farmers. There are those who work as carpenters, construction workers, traders of agricultural produce, and government employees. 
Farmers plant rice, vegetables, and other agricultural crops. While in Sonder, I like to do exploratory trips to clove plantation areas, rice fields, fish farm and to chicken farm. 
In the past, people from Sonder were famous in North Sulawesi for their clove commodity. Clove was the raw material for making the Indonesian cigarette called Rokok Kretek. In 1970s and early 1980s, the price of clove was very high. A lot of farmers in Sonder became very rich.

Now, clove is not the only commodity that they rely on. Farmers in Minahasa have diversified their business by planting other crops. They also raise pigs and run chicken farms. When we walk along the farmland, we can see terraces of rice fields, vegetable gardens and fish ponds along the sides of rivers. 
Farmland in District Sonder of Minahasa regency
Palm Sugar
There is a village in District Sonder that produces palm sugar from the sap of aren tree. Its name is Rambunan village. Visitors who are interested in traveling to the village can see how the villagers collect the sap of the aren tree and how farmers boil the sap until it is thick enough to become palm sugar caramel which is used in various kinds of Minahasan foods.  The road between Sonder town and Rambunan village is a good site for birdwatching and butterflywatching. Visitors could see Chestnut Munia, Sooty-headed Bulbul, Black-naped Oriole, Sahul Sunbird and a lot of other birds while walking between this small town and the village. Manado Yellow Tiger and Blanchard's Tree Nymph butterflies are some of the many butterflies visitors could watch in Sonder. 
Aren palm tree (Arenga pinnata)
Aren Tree

solid palm sugar made of Aren tree
Palm Sugar from Rambunan village

Hot spring
There are a few villages in District Sonder that have got hot springs. Visitors can go there for sightseeing or for enjoying the warm water from the hotspring. The stream that flows from the hot springs emits steam that causes the surrounding atmosphere to smell sulphur. 
hot spring in Leilem village of District Sonder in Minahasa highland
Hot spring in Leilem village of District Sonder
Birding
The hills and farmlands in and around Sonder are the habitat of a lot of species of birds such as:
  • Sulawesi Hanging Parrot
  • Sulawesi Pygmy Woodpecker
  • Sooty-headed Bulbul
  • Chestnut Munia
  • Scaly-breasted Munia
  • Black-faced Munia
  • Little Egret
  • Cattle Egret
  • Sahul Sunbird
  • Black Sunbird
  • Crimson Sunbird
  • Gray-sided Flowerpecker
  • Yellow-sided Flowerpecker
  • Sulawesi Cuckoo Dove
  • White-faced Cuckoo Dove
  • Gray-cheeked Green Pigeon
  • Green Imperial Pigeon
  • Black-naped Fruit Dove
  • Black-naped Oriole
  • Hair-crested (White-eyed) Drongo
  • Sulawesi Drongo
  • Yellow-billed Malkoha
  • Collared Kingfisher
  • Scaly-breasted Kingfisher
  • Brush Cuckoo
  • White-breasted Woodswallow
  • White-browed Crake
  • Eastern Yellow Wagtail
  • Mountain White-eye
  • Black-crowned White-eye
  • Barn Swallow
  • Edible-nest (White-nest) Swiftlet
  • and etc.
birding in Sonder
Some birds from Sonder's forest of Minahasa highland
In addition to Sonder, I also like to visit several other towns in Minahasa highland such as Tomohon, Kawangkoan, Tondano, and Langowan. These towns are surrounded by villages.
Blanchard's Tree Nymph butterfly
Blanchard's Tree Nymph Butterfly
There are various species of butterflies too including Helena Birdwing (Troides helena), Manado Yellow Tiger Butterfly (Parantica menadensis), Clipper, Tree Nymph (Idea blanchardii), Blanchard's Wood Nymph (Ideopsis vitrea), and Sylvia's Clipper  (Parthenos sylvia) butterflies. 

Where is Sonder and how to get there?
Sonder is a small district town in Minahasa regency of the Province of North Sulawesi, Indonesia. The main gate to this region is Manado city. It is easy to reach Manado. You could fly from your country to Singapore and other major cities in Indonesia such as Jakarta, Surabaya, Denpasar, Makassar, Balikpapan and Sorong. There are daily flights to Manado city that are served by domestic airlines such as Garuda, Citilink, Lion Air, Batik Air and etc.
Visitors can spend their holiday time by combining visits to Raja Ampat and Sonder. 

flying to Manado city
Flight routes to Manado city from Singapore, Jakarta, Surabaya, Denpasar, Makassar and Sorong

Landing in Manado city, you could continue your trip to Sonder town in Minahasa highland by car. It takes around 1 hour 30 minutes for the trip. 
vacation tour in Minahasa
It takes around 1 hour 30 minutes by car from the airport in Manado city to Sonder town
Manado city flight destination
Sam Ratulangi International Airport of Manado city

As a guide, I offer cultural tours for tourists who want to visit the highland of Minahasa. I can organize trips to see villages, and meet farmers, or have sightseeing tours to beatiful places such as Mount Mahawu, Lake Tondano, Lake Linow or terraces of rice-fields and waterfalls in Tincep village.
If you are interested in visiting Minahasa, please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180

Also read:


Thursday, November 1, 2018

Minahasa Beach and Great-billed Kingfisher

Minahasa beach
I visited the coastal area of Minahasa in its northern region to find Great-billed Kingfisher. It was a nice experience because I could enjoy the view of the blue sea, fishermen's boats, mountain, and water birds.
Great-billed Kingfisher usually lived in mangrove forest. To reach it, I organized a trip by boat through a river in Likupang area. I was with 4 Taiwanese tourists. They were bird watchers.
Our boat moved slowly into the river, we saw some water birds flying over the river such as Little Egret, Great-billed Heron, but they were not our target. There were Slender-billed Crow, and pigeon too.
When we were deep in the mangrove forest, we saw a Great-billed Kingfisher flying fast through the river. We asked the boat driver to chase him. It looked that the bird had disappeared behind in the forest. We decided to look for another one. Several minutes later we saw another Great-billed Kingfisher.
Great-billed Kingfisher
This time I asked the boat driver to turn off the engine. I and my friend took turn in paddling the boat. We approached the bird slowly and silently. I asked the tourists to take pictures when the kingfisher was within shooting range. They were so happy because they could watch it for a few minutes. The kingfisher dived to catch fish and then returned to its roosting place again.
When the tourists had taken pictures, I pulled my camera and shot the bird several times. I used Canon 200D with Tamron 150-600 mm G2 lens. It was quite powerful to shoot distant animals.
After shooting the bird, we returned to the beach and enjoyed the beautiful evening of Minahasan coast. We returned to Tangkoko with happy face.
If you are interested in traveling to North Sulawesi to see its beautiful landscape, beach, people, culture, birds and wildlife, and want me to organize your tour, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: leororing@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.