Monday, July 30, 2018

Raja Ampat Trip Review

Guest Post by Astrid de Wilde
Peaceful Morning in Raja Ampat
Raja Ampat is known as a diving and snorkeling paradise, but do you know that it has more to offer? I spent 3 days on raja ampat, in a guesthouse that was run by a Papuan family on Waigeo island. It was a small-scale complex. The location was by the sea with a beautiful view. We ate local food that was super-cooked.
My guide Charles Roring had chosen this place because in addition to snorkeling you could spot the Red birds of paradise here. To be able to see this you have to get up early. We left at about 6 o'clock. The walk to the observation point takes about 45 minutes. I thought it was pretty tough. It was still dark. The path was difficult to walk on and it went up steeply. But it was worth it. At the observation point you could already hear the bird of paradise. It took a while before they appeared. I thought they would not come soon. But my concerns were for nothing. Not much later I could see the dance of these animals up close. It was beautiful. You must have seen this. The spectacle took about 90 minutes. Then they disappeared into the jungle again.
Coral reef and fish in Raja Ampat
Another trip that I made there was a tour along the deserted islands. Very special, so beautiful and pristine. Along the way we could spot several birds. The journey lasted about 4-5 hours but I did not realize that we had been at sea for such a time.
Finally, I must call the underwater world because it was really special. As soon as you put your head under water you could admire this world. You could see coral and lots of colored fish in all shapes and sizes, really super nice.
If you want to dive or snorkel, bring mask, snorkel, and fins, as well as underwater camera. The recommended months are October to June. Then there are no waves and you can enjoy even more. If you come during July to Sept, you could still enjoy the beautiful scenery, swim near the guesthouse where you stay and do sight seeing tour to the karst islets.

It was nice to have some fun while traveling to Raja Ampat and rainforest of Tambrauw, please contact Charles Roring to his email: He arranges it all. With him you are in good hands.

To support his works on the empowerment of local people and preservation of marine and rainforest environment, please, buy some of his artworks in the form of printed t-shirts, studio pouch, or even duvet cover by clicking the following link:

Tour to Raja Ampat Karst

Everytime I guide tourists to Raja Ampat, I always organize tour to the karst islets. Most visitors go there to see its magnificent landscape scenery. Yes, the view is very beautiful when we travel through the small islands that look like mushrooms on the surface of the sea.
Karst islets in Raja Ampat
While in the King's karst of Raja Ampat, we do birdwatching. I usually ask our boat driver to reduce the engine of the boat so that we can watch birds easily. I use 10×42 Visionking binoculars to watch birds. Raja Ampat is rich of sea and coastal birds such as Eastern Reef Egret, Striated Heron, Plover, Radjah Shelduck, Beach Kingfisher, Beach Stone Curlew, Crested Tern, Brahminy Kite, Eastern Osprey and Frigatebird.
For Frigatebirds, they are often seen soaring in groups of 2, 3, or even up to 20 birds in the sky looking for fish on the surface of the sea. They may look small while flying high in the sky but their sizes are actually big. The wing span could reach more than 1.55 meters (61 inches).
In addition to sightseeing tour to the karst, I also offer birding tour to the main island Waigeo where visitors can watch Red Bird of Paradise and Wilson's Bird of Paradise as well as other tropical birds of New Guinea such as Large-billed Parrot, Eclectus Parrot, Hooded Butcherbird, and Hook-billed Kingfisher.
If you are interested in traveling to Raja Ampat and want a private guide, you could contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

Here is a drawing of Frigatebirds that I made after visiting Raja Ampat. If you like it, you can order it as T-shirt on the following link:

Monday, July 16, 2018

Birding and Snorkeling in Raja Ampat Karst

Red Bird of Paradise in Raja Ampat
I have just completed another birding, snorkeling, and sightseeing tour for a Dutch visitor in Raja Ampat karst islets. The way we did birding was quite different from my other birding trips in Klabolo forest, Arfak mountains and Syugrar river.
In Raja Ampat, we had a special day where we just sat in a motorized outrigger boat and did a birding tour throughout the karst formation of the archipelago. It was a fascinating trip because we were able to see a lot of species of birds without having to walk up and down the steep slopes of Waigeo or Batanta islands. Some of the birds that we saw were: Spice Imperial Pigeon, Rainbow Bee-eater, Eastern Reef Egret, Brahminy Kite, Black-capped Lory, Eclectus Parrot, Lesser Frigatebird, Pacific Swallow, Striated Heron, Palm Cockatoo, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, White-bellied Seaeagle, and etc.
Spice Imperial Pigeon
Most of the birding visitors who go to Raja Ampat want to watch Red Bird of Paradise and Wilson's Bird of Paradise.
To watch them, we had to wake up early in the morning and did hiking to the lek of the Red Bird of Paradise for around 45 minutes. We watched them from 06.30 to 09.00. I used a pair of Visionking 10×42 mm binoculars. I also brought a 20 -60×60 mm spotting scope to watch birds in distant trees. Camera with telephoto lens such as D-SLR camera with 600 mm lens, bridge camera Nikon Coolpix B700 or Fujifilm HS50EXR could enhance the birding experience of every visitor who wants to take picture of the paradise birds. For identification of the birds, I brought a field-guide book Birds of New Guinea written by Thane K. Pratt and Bruce Beehler.
Birding in the karst region of Raja Ampat by boat is something that I consider unique. It was a nice experience for most of the participants of the birding tours that I have organized and guided in the last few months.
White-breasted Woodswallow
I am also an avid snorkeler and freediver. So, after guiding birders in hundreds of coral islets, I like to spend my relax time by taking pictures of marine life of Raja Ampat. I don't use a professional underwater camera. My photographic device was only an action camera Brica Pro5 Alpha Edition. With this small tool, I could take pictures of coral reef and colorful fish. At depths of 2 to 7 meters, I saw Striped Surgeonfish, Convict Surgeonfish, Diagonal Sweetlips, Parrotfish, Wrasse, Grouper, Anemonefish, and Blacktip Shark. July is not the best season for snorkeling and freediving in Raja Ampat. But there are places in the islands where the waters are calm and suitable for marine tour.
Marine Life in Raja Ampat
For visitors who can't swim but want to enjoy snorkeling, they can do that easily by wearing a lifejacket and a snorkeling set (mask, snorkel and water shoes). I suggest that every visitor bring his or her own snorkeling and birding equipment (binoculars, field guidebook, laser pointer, and sound recording)
If you are interested in taking a birding, snorekeling tour to the karst of Raja Ampat and want me to be your guide, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to:  or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Freediving Photos from Raja Ampat

I am guiding a Dutch lady this week on a snorkeling and freediving trip in Raja Ampat. We stayed at a guesthouse in Waigeo island run by a Papuan family. The coral reef at the front of the guesthouse is very beautiful and is the natural habitat of a lot of species of fish and other marine creatures.
This morning I gave an introductory snorkeling lesson to her. It was the first time for her to learn snorkeling. She practiced snorkeling in shallow water at depths of 1 to 1.5 meters. Wearing a life-jacket, mask, snorkel and water shoes, she started swimming to deeper area to see such fish as moorish idol, goatfish, striped surgeonfish, convict surgeonfish, damselfish, longfin spadefish, and butterflyfish. She was very happy to see the marine life.
Marine Life in Raja Ampat
After giving her a short snorkeling lesson that morning, I continued my exploration of the coral reef alone. With an action camera in my hand, I enjoyed freediving for approximately 45 minutes. I descended to a depth of 5 to 7 meters to find anemonefish, sea-star, Christmas tree worm, and grouper. I was able to take some good pictures of the underwater world of this beautiful marine environment.
In the afternoon, we had a tour around the King's karst, a tidal cave and a lagoon in Gam island. We really liked this adventure especially this July. The wind was strong and the sea surface was rough. During July, very few tourists come to Raja Ampat because weather is bad and the sea is mostly covered by whitish big waves. During the adventure tour by boat, we did some birding. From that afternoon trip, we saw Lesser Frigatebird, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Spice Imperial Pigeon, Beach Kingfisher, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Brahminy Kite, Eclectus Parrot, Hooded Butcherbird, Pacific Swallow, Crested Tern, Brown Cuckoo Dove, and White-breasted Woodswallow.
Blue Sea Star and white Sea Worm
To watch birds, we used 10×42 mm binoculars. For taking pictures of them, we used Canon SX430. For underwater photographs, I used Brica B-Pro 5 Alpha Edition.
As a tourist guide, I offer a combined snorkeling, sightseeing, island hopping and birding tour to Raja Ampat for tourists who are interested in seeing the birdlife, marinelife and beautiful landscape of this tropical islands. If you want me to be your guide, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180. I will be happy to organize your trip and guide you around this marine paradise.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Birding in Raja Ampat's Miracle Islets

Birding by boat in Miracle islets
I have just returned from Raja Ampat islands in the western most region of West Papua. I went there to guide a few American visitors on a birding, snorkeling and sightseeing tour for 3 days. This tour was different from my previous trips because I added a new birding site in the itinerary. I call its name Miracle islets.
Accompanied by local villagers, I and three visitors went to the islets by a motorized boat to enjoy sightseeing of the beautiful marine landscape and to watch various species of birds that live in there. It was approximately 03.00 p.m when we entered the Miracle islets.  Most of them looked like mushrooms with trees growing out from their steep slopes and vertical walls. The waters were calm but the visibility was zero. We could not see the bottom of the sea.
Wilson's Bird of Paradise
We were welcomed by a Streated Heron that was sitting on a small rock and Eastern Osprey soaring in the sky. He flew away as we moved closer into the interior waters of the islets. We saw Beach Kingfisher flying fast to a small tree and then landed on its higher branch.
I also saw a pigeon whose wings looked green. He had got a knob on his bill. The tops of the islets were noisy with the sounds of lorikeet. I could not identify them because they were to far from me. There were Olive-backed Sunbird, Little Frigatebird, Brahminy Kite, Crested Tern, Pacific Swallow, Rainbow Bee-eater, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Black-capped Lory, Singing Starling, Red-cheeked Parrot, and Great-billed Parrot. I saw a hooded butherbird sitting on the top of a small island very far from us. Using my Fujifilm HS50EXR, I shot the bird. The picture was not so sharp but it was good enough for identification.
We were surprized by the birding experience in these small islets. It was more than our expectation.
Hooded Butcherbird in Miracle islets of Raja Ampat
Unfortunately, the weather changed so fast. The thick clouds were gathering so fast. We felt that it was going to rain soon. So, we decided to return to our guesthouse. The next two days, we continued our birding trips in the forest of Waigeo where we watched Wilson's Bird of Paradise and Red Bird of Paradise. Eclectus Parrots, Torresian Crow, Hook-billed Kingfisher, Little Kingfisher, and Great Cuckoo Dove were active in the mornings after we left the beach by boat.
During the days, I and the visitors enjoyed snorkeling to see various colorful fish and coral reef. Some that I recognize were Striped Surgeonfish, Damselfish, Grouper, Moorish Idol, Butterflyfish. There were blue Sea Stars too.
This journey to Raja Ampat was part of a 2-week birding tour in West Papua covering Arfak mountains, Klasow valley, Sorong, and Raja Ampat.
If you are interested in taking a birding tour in Raja Ampat and other places in West Papua province of the Republic of Indonesia and want me to be your guide, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180. I will be happy to organize your trip and guide you to this beautiful archipelago.