Dear Readers,
This website provides information about traveling in Raja Ampat and West Papua as a whole. Tourism sector has collapsed due to the limitations of people's movements during this covid pandemic. A lot of guides have become unemployed.
Please, support me in continuing these works by sending your donation through Western Union to my address:
Leo Charles Roring
Jl. Brawijaya, samping SD Padma 1
Kompleks Missi, Manokwari 98311
Provinsi Papua Barat
Indonesia
After that, you could send the MTCN (Money Transfer Code Number) to my email: peace4wp@gmail.com or to my whatsapp: +6281332245180.

Thank you,


Charles Roring
rajaampat.club

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.
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
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 Lake Tondano and Lake Linow, terraces of rice fields, and farmlands that surround traditional villages of North Celebes.
From my previous trips I and my clients saw Maleo, White-necked Myna, Purple-winged Roller, Citrine Cannary Flycatcher, Gross-beaked Starling, Sooty-headed Bulbul, Sulawesi Serpent Eagle, Knobbed Hornbill, Sulawesi Scops Owl, Speckled Boobok, Green-backed Kingfisher, Large-billed Kingfisher, Lilac Cheeked Kingfisher, Slender-billed Cuckoo Dove, Hair-crested Drongo, Black-naped Oriole, Sunda Teal, Little Egret, Cattle Egret.
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. I did them to taste 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.
To share the cost, visitors can travel in a group of 4 to 8 people. For more information on itinerary and cost, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: leororing@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Sonder

Sonder town in of Minahasa highland
This was Sonder, a small town in Minahasa. I spent several days here exploring its farmland. Most of the town dwellers were farmers. They planted rice, vegetables, and other agricultural crops. While in Sonder, I did some exploration to clove plantation areas, to rice fields, to fish farm and to chicken farm. 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.
In addition to Sonder, I also visited several other towns in Minahasa highland such as Tomohon, Kawangkoan, Tondano, and Langowan. These towns were surrounded by villages.
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: leororing@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180

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.

Lake Tondano

Lake Tondano
In my last tour around Minahasa, I visited Lake Tondano. There was a road that connected Tomohon and Tondano. However, we did not go through that one. We went there through Leilem. It was a big lake in North Sulawesi. I went there by car and had a tour around the lake. The scenery of the lake was very beautiful. Villages and Tondano town surrounded the edge of the lake. There were restaurants too. I had lunch in the town near the campus of State University of Manado. The temperature in Tondano was quite cool especially at nights.
When traveling in the area, I saw a tall tower. I heard that it was the replica of Moraya fortress which was the battle ground between Dutch colonial troops and the Minahasan people in early 1800s. It was a sad story because during the war, a lot of people were killed including women and children.
During that time Tondano and other Minahasan villages were important rice and spice producers in the region. So, it was not surprising to see how Western Colonial powers of that era such as the Spaniards and the Dutch used their military and economic might to conquer the region.
Until now, farmlands around Lake Tondano still produce rice but farmers have run other businesses too such as running eating houses, and shops.
For tours in North Sulawesi, please, contact me by email to: leororing@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.
Also read:
Sonder
Birding in Minahasa