Friday, December 9, 2011

Reforestation of Arfai coastal area

One of the fishermen in Manokwari who works with me in developing the eco-tourism program is Kosal Welerubun. He lives in Arfai area which has been a tourist destination since early 2010. I have been promoting Arfai as the place for snorkeling for tourists. Here, coral reef extends for 2 kilometers from north to south across the Raimuti islet. On the northern part of Arfai beach, there is a small mangrove forest whose size is getting smaller day by day due to the expansion of human settlement along the shore line. As a fisherman, Mr. Welerubun knows that the mangrove forest and the coral reef are an integrated marine ecosystem. If the mangrove forest is healthy, more fish can be found living among the coral reef. In addition, the existence of the mangrove forest will protect the shore line of Arfai from erosion caused by big waves or even tsunami. So, Mr. Welerubun made a personal initiative to plant seedlings of mangrove trees at the beach near his house. When I saw where he planted the seedlings, I felt that it would be very difficult for the mangrove seedlings to grow because they have to grow on in thick layers of dead hard corals. But Mr. Welerubun knows that beneath the layers of the hard coral is soft soil. So, the planted the seedling between the cracks of the coral layer. Cracks in the coral layers are created when there are big earthquakes.
One year after he planted the seedlings, I see that they are now growing. They give us some hope that the reforestation of the coastal area of Arfai with mangrove trees is possible to be done. I hope that these mangrove seedlings will one day become a tropical rainforest that protects the marine ecosystem of the Manokwari. Without the mangrove forest, the number of fish in Dorey bay will decrease. If this happens, fishermen will have to spend more fuel to go out to the sea for catching fish. As a result, the price of fish will be more expensive than now.
Coral reef is the tropical rainforest of the sea. Coral reef absorbs CO2 gases during photosynthesis and releases Oxygen. According to Bert Harris (a biologist from the USA who conducted a snorkeling trip in 2010) the coral reef in Arfai area of Manokwari is home to around two hundred species of fish. This is considered very high for the coral reef that is located near a coastal city.
Both coral reef and rainforest are needed to absorb CO2 gas emissions that have been the major cause of global warming. The effort of Mr. Kosal Welerubun in reforesting the coastal area of Arfai with mangrove trees should be considered as a positive step from the fisherman in fighting global warming. The climate change has caused the melting of glaciers in the Alps. The melting of the ice is a very big problem for ski resorts that operate there. The lack of ice forces them to close their businesses. In tropical region, global warming also causes coral bleaching. The phenomenon could easily be seen during the el-nino, the long dry season. As a result the number of fish in bleached corals decreased significantly. Every body should participate in reducing the CO2 emissions through his or her own ways. The simplest thing that we can do to protect our environment is by treating our plastic, chemical and metal wastes responsibly.
Manokwari city has a population of around 200 thousand people. The Arfai hill is now being filled with big buildings that will become the administration center of the provincial government of West Papua. by Charles Roring
Related article: Mangrove forest of Numfor island

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Mountain biking in the rainforest near Manokwari

There are several mountain bike groups in Manokwari. They regularly meet and have trips around the city or to the rainforest. One day, I joined some mountain bikers for a cycling tour in the rainforest behind Rendani and Wosi areas. The track there was very good although it is not covered with asphalt pavement. Mountain bikers who like traveling around this track come from various government and private institutions in Manokwari.
When I was mountain biking with them, we went to the Table Mountain and did some caving. When we ride our bicycles together, we often discuss things related to the maintenance of our bikes and the preservation of our nature especially the rainforest. These discussions often led to other cycling activities such as the cycling tour from Bintuni to Manokwari and cycling tour from Minyambouw to Manokwari. Because most of the routes that we go through are close to the rainforest, they are not hot. While we ride our mountain bikes through dense tropical jungle, we breath the fresh air which the forest produces. As a result, after the mountain bike tours, we feel more refreshed and healthy.
So, if you have not decided where you will go for this season's holiday, why don't you fly to Manokwari city for cycling with us? You will not only have the opportunities to enjoy the beauty of our rainforest but also the colorful life of the coral reef in the Dorey bay of this city. The tropical rainforest of Manokwari is rich of animals and plants. After enjoying mountain biking with the mountain bike clubs in Manokwari, I can guide you to Arfak mountains for 2 or 3 nights camping in the jungle. You will be able to see tree kangaroo, kuskus or watch the magnificent birds of paradise. Your trip to Manokwari will be a lifetime experience that you will never forget. by Charles Roring
Mountain bike tour from Bintuni to Manokwari
Mountain bike tour to Cape Bakaro

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Snorkeling and Birdwatching Vacation in Numfor

Have you decided where you want to spend your time this Christmas? I recommend that you go to Numfor island in the Geelvink bay of New Guinea. Fly to Jakarta or Denpasar of the Republic of Indonesia and then take a domestic flight to Manokwari - the capital of West Papua province. From this city, you can go to Numfor by airplane (20 minutes) or by ferry boat (5 hours).
Coral reef in Numfor is a marine environment that is high in bio-diversity. If you go snorkeling off the coastal area of this island, you will be able to see various species of fish, sea star and corals. Don't forget to bring your own snorkeling mask, fins, weights, and underwater camera if you want to explore the beauty of the underwater world of Numfor.
Another snorkeling spot near Numfor is the Manem islet. This tiny coral island is just one hour boat ride from Numfor. When the sea is calm and the weather is good, traveling to Manem islet is highly recommended.
If you are a person who likes land and forest more than the sea, then you will be able to watch various species of tropical birds in this island. From kingfisher to parrots and from blyth's hornbill to sea eagles, you can see them flying over you in the morning and in the afternoons.
Private Guided Tour
As a tour guide, I provide private guided tour services for you to explore the Numfor island that has got beautiful nature, and meet the indigenous Papuan people who have unique culture.
I also can escort you on a hiking trip to Arfak mountains of Manokwari regency where you can spend one or two nights camping in the jungle that is the natural habitat of the birds of paradise and cuscus possum. I will make sure that you will enjoy your trip with me in a more affordable cost. If you are interested, please contact me via email: peace4wp@gmail.com by Charles Roring
Related articles:
Mangrove Forest of Numfor island
Traveling to Numfor island

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Pretty Rainforest Flowers

Here are some pretty flowers that I found in the rainforest while hiking with tourists. Unfortunately, I don't know their English and Latin names. If you know, please e-mail me. As a matter of fact, the main attraction that I offer to tourists who travel with me around the tropical rainforest in West Papua is not flower watching but bird and wildlife watching. There are a lot of birds and wild animals that are endemic to New Guinea that tourists like to see. Most often, when the tourists see beautiful flowers in the jungle, they will stop for a while to take some close up pictures using the macro setting of their cameras.
I shot the following rainforest flowers using Nikon Coolpix P500. The tropical rainforest in West Papua is rich of colorful flowers including orchids.
Saturday 12 May 2012 Update
Today I am able to identify the above flowers. After searching in Google for a few hours on the internet using such keywords as rainforest tree flowers, or tree flower from tropical rainforest, finally, I got several web-pages that provide its name. In Latin, it is called Spathodea campanulata whereas in English, it is called Fountain Tree, African Tulip Tree and Flame of the Forest. This flower tree can easily be seen when we go hiking in the low elevation forest around Manokwari. The height of this tree can reach up to 25 meters. I still have to find the names of the flowers below. 

Most of the flowers that I shot were not far from me but the pink ones on the third picture above were  hanging on a vine some 5 meters above my head on a slope under a big tree. I had to walk through shrubs, and thorny vines to shoot them. After nearly 15 minutes shooting those trumpet like flowers, I finally was able to shoot them using the super zoom feature of my Nikon P500 camera. The result was a little bit blurred because I was shooting them in low light condition. Nikon has improved the capability of its point and shoot camera by increasing the super telephoto capability to 42 x in its newest product the Nikon Coolpix P510. This bridge camera is suitable for anybody who is interested in taking pictures of distant subjects. I recommend the Nikon Coolpix P510 to you if you need compact superzoom camera. With its 42x optical zoom (equivalent to 1,000 mm in 35 mm lens format), the Nikon Coolpix P510 now is a bridge camera with the highest super zoom capability.  
If you are interested in seeing flowers in the tropical rainforest of West Papua, and need a guide to accompany you around, please, contact me via my email: peace4wp@gmail.com.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Snorkeling in Manokwari with ACI 2011 participants

A few days ago, I went snorkeling with some participants of ACI 2011 of Detik.com near Anggresi beach. They were Audrey, Diana, Suasti (trip coordinator), and Regi.
We went there at around 3 p.m. Manokwari time. The weather was not really good in Anggresi when we were going there by boat. Fortunately, it suddenly changed. The wind blew the clouds and the rain to the south. According to them the coral reef of Anggresi beach at the foot of Arfak mountains is not only worth snorkeling but scuba diving. They made a lot of pictures about this precious marine environment. Because each of the participants was required by detik.com to write at least 3 articles per day during their trip in West Papua, I think Manokwari and Raja Ampat will become more familiar in front of Indonesian people who know little about tourist destination in New Guinea.
Most of the tourists who visit Manokwari are from Europe, Australia and North America. Very few Indonesian tourists have come to enjoy snorkeling here. I hope that Regi, Audrey and Diana, through their articles that are posted in aci.detik.com, will be able to promote eco-tourism destination in Manokwari and Raja Ampat to readers of detik.com who are mostly Indonesian so that more domestic tourists will visit this tropical paradise. by Charles Roring
Related article:
Snorkeling along the shore off Arfak mountains
Snorkeling picture of marine fish from Manokwari bay

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Traditional Dancers and Musicians from Numfor island of West Papua

I have just reviewed the photographs that I made in the past about my trip in Numfor island. I find some that look interesting.  The first one is the Papuan musicians who play their instruments to accompany the dancers. The second picture shows how the Papuan boys and girls were performing their traditional dance called Yospan. I made these pictures using Sony Cybershot DSC-W310, a pocket camera that tourists like to bring while traveling in foreign countries. This performance can be seen by tourists upon special arrangement with local dance club in Numfor island. The cost of one hour show is Rp. 500,000. Besides watching the traditional dance, tourists who go to Numfor island can enjoy swimming at many of the island's white sandy beaches and snorkeling over the coral reef that thrive around the island.
Flying from Manokwari city to Numfor island takes around 20 minutes. The passenger airplane operated by Susi air that takes you to this tropical island will land on a small airport in Yemburwo village. The price of the ticket is Rp. 260,000 not including the airport tax (Rp. 11,000), and the cost of transportation to airport which is Rp. 100,000. It is quite cheap if you compare to the rupiah - US dollars exchange rate that is around Rp. 8,600 for 1 US dollars. However, the cheapest way to go to Numfor is by ferry boat. You will have the chance to chat with local people, see their daily activities selling and buying fish and vegetables at Numfor harbor or even watching dolphins in the middle of the blue sea of Geelvink bay.
Numfor has been a favorite destination for tourists who are interested in bird watching. If you plan to make some birdwatching trips inside the tropical rainforest of the island, you need to bring a good telephoto digital camera. I recommend Nikon Coolpix P500, Canon Powershot SX30 IS or SX40 Is and Panasonic Lumix FZ100 and FZ150. Bringing digiscoping system devices and binoculars will make your birding trips more enjoyful because you can see such birds as kingfisher, dove, cockatoo, and lorry in close up look and with greater details. Fishermen catching fish along the shore of the island is also a nice attraction and worth watching.
While in Numfor, you can stay at a small "hotel"  called Losmen Indaismurem. The rate per person per night is Rp. 75,000. Before flying to Numfor island, you need to get a "surat jalan" or travel permit from the local police station in Manokwari city. Bring photocopy of your passport, visa and 2 pieces of face photographs. Numfor is a small tropical island located between Manokwari and Biak of West Papua.
If you need an interpreter to help you communicate with local people and guide you along your trip both in Manokwari and Numfor island, you can hire me. Please, contact me via my email peace4wp@gmail.com
Related posts:
Birdwatching in the tropical rainforest of Numfor island
Traveling to Numfor island and snorkeling in Manem islet
Mangrove forest in Numfor island
Tropical rainforest of Numfor island

Friday, October 21, 2011

Beautiful Fruit Dove from the rainforest of Manokwari

The lowland rainforest in Inggramui is a must see destination for anybody who is interested in bird watching. It is a three hour walk from Inggramui village in the sub-urban area of Manokwari city. When I guided Thomas and her daughter Sandra (two tourists from the Netherlands) to this forest area from 16 to 19 October 2011, we had a chance of seeing a dove from very close distance. I even held it in my hands. A trap made by Papuan hunters near a fruit tree had caught it. When the hunters told us that they had just got this dove, we had just returned to Camp 1 after walking for a few hours from Camp 2 that was located deep in the jungle of the north coast region of Manokwari.
I immediately called Sandra if she was interested in taking some pictures of this beautiful bird. She came with her Nikon D4 - a small D-SLR camera that was light - suitable for travelers who like walking in the jungle and do not want to carry heavy photographic devices. I shot the bird using my Nikon Coolpix P500.
During our tours in the rainforest of Arfak mountains and the North Coast of Manokwari, I brought with me a copy of Birds of New Guinea - a very good book written by Beehler and Zimmerman. We opened the book and got some information about this fruit dove. Its name was "Beautiful Fruit Dove." In Latin, it was called Ptilinopus pulchellus. The bird had pink cap on her head. Sandra released the bird at a river near our Camp. Fruit doves, birds of paradise, cockatoos, hornbills and various other birds in this mountain range help trees by dispersing their seeds thus expanding their growth coverage area in the rainforest.
The eco-tour to rainforest of Inggramui village in Manokwari that I am now promoting will help provide alternative jobs to hunters that are more friendly to the environment. If more tourists visit this rainforest, we can effectively preserve this precious environment and raise the awareness of the Papuan people that they can still survive in this modern world without having to irresponsibly exploit the wood from their rainforest or catch wild animals for trading.
Recommended Bird Watching Destinations in Manokwari
In addition to the rainforest of Inggramui, other wildlife watching destinations that I recommend to tourists are District Senopi, lowland rainforest of Arfak mountains and Numfor island.
Optical Devices that you need for bird watching
If you want to travel to Manokwari for watching birds, don't forget to bring binoculars, telephoto camera or if possible a powerful digiscoping device. Also prepare some plastic sheets or bags to cover your equipment during rainy days.
Cost of Hiking in the Rainforest of Inggramui
In general, for 1 week tour in the lowland rainforest of Inggramui, you may spend between 500 to 700 US dollars. It includes the payments for transportation, accommodation, food, porters and guide or interpreter. If you travel with one or some friends, you can share the cost.
Why rainforest in Inggramui is highly recommended for birding
I can say that when you travel to the rainforest of Inggramui, you will see a lot of birds that are endemic to New Guinea island - the largest tropical island in the world. I have been trying to convert local hunters to become wildlife guide. Since they are expert in catching animals, they can still set up traps to catch the animals but after shooting them with digital cameras and making scientific identification of the wild animals, tourists can have them released to their natural habitat again. We all know that tropical rainforest is a very important ecosystem that effectively absorbs CO2 gases that we emit every day. Thus the preservation of the rainforest through eco-tour program that I am now promoting in Manokwari regency of West Papua will give positive contribution in fighting global warming. Because this eco-tourism program heavily depends on the visitation of tourists, anyone who is willing to visit our rainforest and gives some financial contribution to the creation of jobs for these hunters will always be welcomed. For further information about traveling in Manokwari, please contact me via my email: peace4wp@gmail.com.
by Charles Roring
Also read:
Converting hunters to birding and wildlife guides
Rainforest flowers in Inggramui village of Manokwari
Rainforest insects in Inggramui village of Manokwari

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Rainforest flower that looks like passion fruit flower in lowland of Manokwari

I saw a flower in an open area near the lowland rainforest of Manokwari that looks like passion fruit flower this morning. I was guiding 4 polish tourists who wanted to spend three days camping in the middle of the lowland rainforest of Arfak mountains. This beautiful flower was blooming out of its vine that grows on the green grass. I still do not know the species name of this flower but I strongly believe that it is still related to passion fruit. Both of them are vines. Even though they - perhaps - from the same family, this rainforest flower is five times smaller than the passion fruit flower.
I turned on my bridge camera - Nikon Coolpix P500 to shoot the flower. To create crisp details of its leaves, and petals, I pressed its macro button to activate it. From very close distance, I shot the flower. I was glad to see that this super zoom camera could also be used for macro photography. Tropical flowers and insects such as butterflies are inseparable components of rainforest ecosystem. They depend on each other. Insects need flowers for their nectar whereas flowers need insects for pollination. Upon closer inspection on this flower, I found out that it was not a butterfly that did the pollination but ants. The fruit from this vine is small. When it is ripe, its taste is a combination of sweet and sour. In Manokwari, we call it "buah putri" or "fruit of princess." Children like to eat the buah putri because of the taste. The vine of this plant is a common vegetation in areas whose trees have just been cut. by Charles Roring
Also read: Rainforest Flower from Passion Fruit

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Traveling with 4 Polish Tourists in Mansinam and Lemon

Mansinam is still an attractive destination for tourists. This tiny tropical island in the Dorey bay of Manokwari is covered with tropical rainforest. Its southern coast where coral reefs thrive is a nice place for snorkeling. I went to Mansinam and Lemon islands several days ago. While in Mansinam island, we had the opportunity to see cassowary bird, and pigeon. After that we had coconuts as our lunch.
In Lemon island, an old Papuan man named Om Jordan has got a wooden house that can be used by travelers. Posters of famous football clubs in Europe decorate the walls of his cottage. Tourists can sleep here if they want to enjoy the relax and quiet atmosphere of the island. It is not difficult to visit the islands. Just go to Ketapang boat station located in Kwawi area and wait for a water taxi there.
If you are more interested in traveling around the interior region of West Papua to see birds of paradise, insects, and other wild animals, you can go to Senopi village. It's Aiwatar hill is a world class birding destination. Don't forget to bring a good telephoto camera with its extra batteries. by Charles Roring

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Rainforest Insects in Inggramui village of Manokwari

When hiking through the jungle of Inggramui village, I saw beetles, butterflies, grasshoppers, and various other rainforest insects near the bank of a river. They have got unique colors. One of them is a beetle whose skin consists of black, yellow and striped red colors.
 According to some experts, insects whose colors are bright are usually poisonous. I personally do not know whether the above beetle is poisonous or not. Insects are nice subjects in photography. I shot this beetle using the macro feature of my pocket camera Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT3. by Charles Roring

Rainforest flowers in Inggramui village of Manokwari

Tropical rainforest in New Guinea is home for various species of flowers that have got beautiful forms and colors. For example an orange flower that I saw while hiking with 2 Dutch tourists last August 2011 in the jungle of Inggramui village. This tropical rainforest flower is unique because it looks like a flame that is burning from a torch. Unfortunately, I don't know the name of this species both in English or Latin. If you know it, please contact me.
I shot it using my pocket camera - Panasonic Lumix DMC FT3. It is an ideal photographic equipment for someone like me who likes traveling in the rainforest. Its waterproof construction is useful when I want to take pictures of subjects in environment that is wet or whose humidity is very high. Besides this orange flower, I also saw some beautiful white flowers that bloom out from hanging vines near a river. They are so beautiful and fragrant. I believe that these fragrant flowers can be cultivated for making perfume or other cosmetic products.
Post Update on 6 May 2012:
A girl from Surrey, Georgina Darroch, sent me an email last week and told me that the above flowers could be the Faradaya splendida (commonly known as the Glory Vine) or something similar to it. Because this flower plant grows near the river, I conclude that it needs plenty of water to survive. I also did type the Latin name plant which she gave me in Google to verify its name. The results showed that this flower plant looks the same as the one described as faradaya splendida. I am quite happy with the success of this identification effort. Thank you Georgie :)
In addition to orange and white flowers, I also saw purple flowers in the forest. They were much smaller than the white flowers but they were beautiful. Butterfly and bee like to come to these flowers for harvesting their nectar. These rainforest insects help the pollination process of the flowers before they produce fruits and seeds that are important for the regeneration of most of the plants in the forest. Birds will eat the fruits and drop the seeds around the forest. This is a beautiful thing that we can learn from the complex ecosystem of the tropical rainforest. Therefore, we have to preserve this precious environment. There are a lot of things that we can see and study inside a tropical rainforest.

Because this kind of flower can only grow in the tropical rainforest, taking its seeds or roots and planting them in environments that are dry and cold will not be successful. As a tourist guide in Manokwari, I provide tours to travelers who want to go hiking and camping inside tropical rainforest of West Papua. If you are interested, you can contact me via my email peace4wp@gmail.com
Also read:
Flowers from the rainforest of Arfak mountains

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Rainforest Tour in the North Coast of Manokwari

When travelers plan a hiking tour to Manokwari, they always put Arfak mountains in the list of their destination. It is true that the mountain range is rich of wild life. However, I want to introduce another destination in the north coast of this regency which is called Pantura (meaning literally Beach North). North Coast of Manokwari is still covered with low elevation rainforest that is also home to various species of birds, butterflies and nocturnal - marsupial animals such as kuskus and kangaroo (locally called Lao-lao). The wild life in West Papua is different from the one that can be seen in other islands of Indonesian archipelago. Animals and plants in West Papua have more resemblence to the ones that can be found in other Pacific islands and Australia.
The Pantura area is also a nice place for snorkeling. Coral reef areas in Asai bach and around Kaki island are rich of various species of tropical fish. If you want to enjoy snorkeling in Pantura of Manokwari, bring your own snorkeling mask and fins. You cannot rent them here.
Recommended Underwater Camera
Also don't forget to bring an underwater camera. If you don't have one, I recommend you to buy Panasonic Lumix DMC FT3 or the Nikon Coolpix AW100. Equipped with GPS and compass, these cameras are versatile tool for anybody who wants to capture the beautiful corals that are home to colorful fish and other marine animals. For photo quality, from the official website of Panasonic, the company claims that the Panasonic Lumix DMC FT3 can create 12.1 megapixel images whereas from the official website of Nikon, the digital camera manufacturer claims that its Coolpix AW100 can produce 16 MP photographs.
I personally had tried the Panasonic Lumix DMC FT3 once for snorkeling and after that it was broken! The photograph that I made can be seen above. It's quite clear even though it was taken in low light condition - the weather was cloudy at that time. Unfortunately, it leaked and water entered through its door. Before using it, I had checked its door and locked it. Even though the company claims that it can withstand water pressure up to 12 meters below sea level, my Panasonic DMC FT3 is now broken. So, if I want to buy a digital waterproof camera, I will buy Nikon Coolpix AW 100 for its better pixel quality and, perhaps, its claimed waterproof endurance.  
In my last trip to the north coast region, I accompanied three European tourists. we walked up stream the Asai river. We saw sandpiper, pigeon, and hornbills. I shot the sandpiper bird below from a distance of around 60 meters using my super zoom camera - Nikon Coolpix P500. With its 36 x optical zoom capability, I could enlarge the image of the bird in the LCD screen at the back side of the camera before pressing the shutter button. The bird was walking on the bank of the river when I shot it using my digital camera. I suggest that tourists bring telephoto camera, digiscope or binoculars if they want to go hiking in the rainforest of Manokwari. Also, don't forget to buy extra batteries for the electronic devices.
I have visited this river several times but I feel that it is still an interesting destination for anybody who is interested in exploring the rainforest of New Guinea - the largest tropical island in the world. So, if you plan to fly to Manokwari, don't forget to contact me via my email: peace4wp@gmail.com.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Rainforest Tour in Manokwari regency of Indonesia

I often accompany foreign tourists on various rainforest tours in Manokwari regency. Manokwari is the capital of West Papua province of Indonesia. Today, the number of tourists who want to go hiking and wildlife watching in the forest is increasing. Most of them choose the rainforest of New Guinea because they want to see the wealth of its bio-diversity. There are hundreds of species of birds, nocturnal animals, mammals, reptiles, insects, flowers, and green plants in the jungles of Manokwari.
As a tourist guide, I opened a new tourist destination in the middle of the forest of Inggramui village last month. From my recent trip with 2 Dutch tourists there, I was able to make some pictures of flowers, butterflies, rivers and tropical trees. For example, the photograph of white petal flowers below was shot by me using a pocket camera - Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT3. These flowers are called Glory Vine (Faradaya splendida).
Another new picture was taken from my rainforest hiking tour along a river in the north coast of Manokwari. I made it using Nikon Coolpix P500 - telephoto digital camera that is suitable for nature photography. My main intention of buying that camera is to make promotional photographs for my ecotourism project in West Papua. I believe that ecotourism can help the indigenous Papuan people improve their living standard and at the same time preserve their environment.
The Nikon Coolpix P500 is also good for macro shooting.The close-up picture of the eupholus beetle looks sharp and beautiful among the green leaves of the surrounding plants. I didn't use any macro lenses to create this picture. This rainforest insect did not run or fly away when I shot it from close distance.
The tour to tropical rainforest can help the indigenous Papuan people preserve their forest because they will be able to make some extra money from their natural resources without having to cut trees or hunt wild animals.
To visit Manokwari city, first you need to fly from your country to one of the major cities in Indonesia such as Jakarta, Surabaya, Denpasar, Makassar or Manado. After that take a domestic flight served by Batavia Air, Express Air, Merpati Air, Lion Air, or Sriwijaya Air to Manokwari. Check their respective websites for further information about the flight schedules and ticket prices.
If you are interested in taking a tour inside the tropical rainforest of Manokwari, please contact me (Charles Roring) via email at peace4wp@gmail@gmail.com
Also read: Rainforest of Arfak mountains - a nice birdwatching destination

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Converting Hunters to Birding and Wildlife Guides

On the 30 July 2011, I went cycling to the rainforest behind Inggramui village. After exploring the track inside the jungle, I arrived at a bridge near Zona Papua housing area. There I met someone named Elia Kambu. He was carrying an air gun. From my conversation with him, I knew that he was going to go hunting in the forest. He said that to reach the hunting ground, he needed to walk for around 4 hours. As a tourist guide, I wanted to explore the rainforest which had been the hunting ground of Elia. So, I told him that I was interested in making a survey trip to "his jungle." One or two days after our conversation, I met him again in his house in Inggramui village. After some discussions with him, we decided to go hiking several days later. On 4 August 2011 I, Elia and Yunus went to the forest. My goal was to make an assessment whether the rainforest could become a new tourist destination in Manokwari.
After making one day survey trip, I decided to open a new ecotourism post in the rainforest of Inggramui. With the help of Elia and his friends, we constructed a new hut for tourists. This hut would be used by tourists who are interested in the wildlife of New Guinea. On 9 August 2011 I brought two Dutch tourists (Herman Van Der Hart and Elizabeth Pot) to this new ecotourism post. Elia, Melianus and Abner did their best to serve the tourists. The weather was not so friendly to us. We experienced a lot of rain during our 3 days hiking trips in the tropical rainforest of Inggramui. 
Herman is a professional photographer. While hiking in the forest, he was able to shoot Western Crown Pigeon. Even though the bird is protected by Indonesian law, local people continue to hunt it and other big birds such as the horn bill for their meat. The western crown pigeon, together with the lesser bird of paradise, is facing extinction right now. Through this ecotourism project, I hope that I can convert Elia Kambu and his friends from being hunters to become tourist guides. Converting them to become nature lovers is not an easy task because the number of tourists is still low. I still need money to build a small tourist house inside the jungle.  by Charles Roring
Also read:
Birdwatching in tropical rainforest of Manokwari

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Snorkeling in Manokwari bay and Coral Reef Preservation

A few days ago I went snorkeling with four Dutch tourists. Our destination was the coral reef of Anggresi beach. It was around one hour boat ride from Arfai - the boat station where I usually bring the tourists to. I consider snorkeling as an alternative way for local fishermen to make money besides catching fish. I hope that through the interaction between the tourists and the fishermen, both sides can share information and experiences about the importance of coral reef preservation. 
Coral reef is a marine ecosystem that is rich of biodiversity. There are thousands of species of fish and corals in the reef. So, the preservation of coral reef is important not only for the development of sustainable tourism but also for the many functions the coral reef has both for human life and the whole environment as well.
Unfortunately, the coral reef along the shores of the Dorey bay is being destroyed by city dwellers who just throw their wastes on to the streets of Manokwari. When rain comes, these wastes will flow into the sea. They are the main threats to coral reef besides the sand mining activities that are now going on along the Maruni and Anggresi beaches.

 
Underwater picture such as the one that you can see above was taken using Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT3 which is able to produce high quality photographs of coral reef and ornamental fish at sea. Another waterproof camera that I recommend is the newest one that has just been released by Nikon. It is a Nikon Coolpix AW100. The camera can withstand water pressure of up to 10 meters below the sea surface and produce crystal clear photographs with its  5x optical zoom, Nikor lens. by Charles Roring.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Bird watching picture from Arfak mountains of Manokwari - the Magnificent Birds of Paradise

I have just returned to Manokwari from a 3-day hiking and birdwatching trip in Arfak mountains with 2 tourists and 1 researcher from the Netherlands. We  saw various species of birds including the magnificent birds of paradise (cincinnurus magnificus). This morning, before leaving for Manokwari, I went to the birdwatching hut again (usually called blind) to see whether I could make some pictures of the paradise birds. I was in the hut for around 2 hours. When some sunlight hit the ground, the male birds landed and began clearing the ground from the fallen leaves. He has yellow and brown feather at his wings. His underpart is covered with dark green and black plume. Two blue antennas decorate his tail. After that he called the female birds. It was quite difficult to get sharp photographs early in the morning. Fortunately, with my new digital camera - a Nikon Coolpix P500, I was able to shoot the birds. Here are some of the best photographs that I made this morning.

Male Magnificent Birds of Paradise 

Female magnificent birds of paradise has white patch behind her eyes. Her bill is pale blue. I shot this bird while she was eating the grains of the red fruits (pandanus connoideus lam). The Papuan put the fruit in front of the birdwatching hut to attract the birds for tourists.

Female Magnificent Birds of Paradise
Booking
If you are interested in bird watching in Arfak mountains, you can contact me via my email: peace4wp@gmail.com. Cell Phone: +6281332245180. I will be happy to prepare your itinerary and guide you.

Also read:
Bird watching tour in Manokwari

Monday, August 29, 2011

Birdwatching Picture - Collared Kingfisher from Manokwari bay

The photograph of the collared kingfisher which you see on this page was taken in Lemon island in Manokwari bay. I shot the bird using my digital camera Nikon Coolpix P500. The bird was sitting on a trunk of tree whose top part had been broken near the beach when I saw it. Although my camera was able to zoom the bird up optically 36 times, it was not able to give me high quality photograph. It was not an SLR camera. Today, Nikon as a world leading digital camera manufacturer has improved its product by launching the Nikon Coolpix P510.
In addition, the bird is around 50 meters from me. I walked slowly toward it while holding my camera. I did not bring tripod at that time because I don't have it. I am not a photographer. I am a tourist guide. I use most of my photographs on my blogs and website. For those who want to buy a compact superzoom camera, I recommend them to buy Nikon Coolpix P510. It has got a significant superzoom capability of up to 42 times (from 24 mm to 1000 mm equivalent. According to the USAtoday.com, the Nikon Coolpix P510 digital camera will be available on the shelves in March 2012.
I was walking with three Dutch tourists in Lemon island in Dore bay of Manokwari when I saw the bird. After moving quite close to the bird, I saw it flying away.  There was another bird standing on a rock near the sea water. I tried to take a picture of the bird again. I made several shots of the kingfisher. The first kingfisher has yellow feather on its body but the second bird doesn't.
A few minutes ago, I tried to identify it using a printed copy of Birds of New Guinea. I was not able to find it. Then I opened my computer and log on to the internet. I typed white neck kingfisher. From some results in the search engine, I can finally identify it. This collared kingfisher consists of 50 sub-species. I don't know which one it belongs to. It has blue feather at her back, with noticeable white collar around its neck. Manokwari bay is not only a nice destination for birdwatching but also snorkeling. Coral reefs cover the shallow shores of Lemon, Mansinam and Raimuti islands, as well as the shores near the foot of Arfak mountains. Every month tourists come to Manokwari to enjoy snorkeling, hiking and birdwatching. They like Manokwari because it provides a complete list of eco-tourism activities both in the forest and at sea.
Arfak mountains located in the south of Manokwari city have been a popular hiking destination for tourists who want to see birds of paradise, birdwing butterflies and various other species of animals while walking under the canopy of the trees.
If you are interested in doing hiking trips and birdwatching tour in Manokwari's rainforests particularly in the Arfak mountains and along the lowland jungle in the north coast of New Guinea, please, contact me via email peace4wp@gmail.com. I can prepare a customized itinerary and an affordable cost for you. by Charles Roring
Also read: Birdwatching in Tropical Rainforest of Manokwari

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Snorkeling picture from Manokwari bay

Coral reef is home to various species of marine fish and other marine animals. This can be seen while we go snorkeling in Manokwari. As snorkeling guide, I know some locations in this regency where the coral reefs are still in pristine condition. To reach them, we need to use outrigger boat. Bring your own snorkeling mask and fins if you want to see the beauty of the underwater paradise. The beaches are located at the foot of Arfak mountains - a world class birding and wildlife watching destination in New Guinea. The following picture shows the corals in the Dorey bay of Manokwari with some reef fish such as the butterfly fish and the white cheek surgeonfish (acanthurus nigricans).
The coral reef in Anggresi beach of Manokwari bay is still in pristine condition. It has never been listed in any travel guide book as snorkeling destination. I came to the area in 17 August with 2 Dutch tourists. When I explored the corals, and took some pictures of them, I immediately conclude that the coast of Anggresi is a nice destination for snorkeling.
Every time I go snorkeling, I will bring my waterproof camera Panasonic DMC FT3 so that I will be able to take pictures of the coral reef and the tropical fish. When I have returned home, I transfer the underwater photographs to my computer and use them for my writing project. As a matter of fact, Panasonic DMC FT3 is not the only waterproof camera that is available on the market. There are other cameras that offer similar capability too. Some of them are the Nikon Coolpix AW100 and Pentax Optio WG-1 GPS. You can buy one of them in your local camera store or order it from an online store such as the Amazon.comTo identify the names of the fish, I use a book entitled Reef Fish Identification - Tropical Pacific. We don't need to be a marine biologist to identify the tropical fish. We can easily use the book to find the English and Latin names of the fish which we have shot while snorkeling.
Because the bio-diversity in coral reef is enormously high, more often we need some time to identify the fish. Coral reef is similar to tropical rainforest in terms of its function in absorbing CO2 emissions and in providing shelter or protection to various marine animals. Therefore, we need to preserve it. With snorkeling tour package, I hope that local fishermen can improve their living standard and at the same time respect the reef. by Charles Roring
Also read: New Snorkeling Location in Manokwari bay

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Snorkeling Picture of Marine Fish from Manokwari bay

Everytime I go snorkeling in the Dore bay of Manokwari, I will always bring a camera with me. From my last trip with two Dutch tourists, I was able to shoot some marine fish that live in the coral reef area near the shore of Arfak mountains. Some of them are striped surgeonfish (Acanthurus lineatus), lined bristletooth (Ctenochaetus striatus), chromis, and wrasse. From the Reef fish Identification book, I found that the lined bristletooth picture does not have bright spot at its tail (see the red arrow). So, I call the fish - Arfak lined bristletooth.
The marine fish whose pictures are shown in this post were made by using Panasonic Lumix FT3 - a good underwater camera that is suitable for snorkelers. Before buying this camera, I used ordinary pocket camera that was protected by underwater waterproof case manufactured by Dicapac. In places where the reefs such as staghorn coral and table coral are still in their pristine conditions, we usually will see more fish there. Marine fish eat algae that grows on the surface of the hard corals. In order to grow well, the sea water has to be clean and free from pollution. In tropical waters where mangrove trees live, more fish will be found. As a snorkeling tour guide, I often bring tourists to several coral reef areas in Manokwari bay.
In addition to snorkeling, Manokwari is also a nice place for travelers who want to go hiking in the rainforest of Arfak mountains. This mountain range is home to birds of paradise, sulfur crested cockatoo, goliath cockatoo, blyth's hornbill, ground and tree kangaroo,  and various species of butterflies. Birdwatching is a great activities that nature lovers can do while traveling in Manokwari. Binoculars, and telephoto camera are needed for birding in the mountains. by Charles Roring
Also read:
Papua Snorkeling
Snorkeling Picture from New Guinea of Indonesia

New Snorkeling Location in Manokwari bay

I have just found a new snorkeling place in Manokwari bay. It's a 30-minute boat ride from Manokwari city. Yesterday, I guided two Dutch snorkelers to the area. They were the first tourists whom I brought to the snorkeling site. We left Arfai in the morning by an outrigger wooden boat. The boat driver was Kosal. He is a fisherman. His daughter - acted as navigator. She informs her father about floating woods or plastic wastes that can be harmful to the hull or the propeller of the boat. The surface of the sea was quite calm that morning.
The coral reef is still in pristine condition. I didn't see any broken reefs caused by dynamite fishing or fishing net. According to the fisherman, no tourists had ever been there. So, Herman and Elizabeth were the first tourists to snorkel in the area. They looked happy to know about it. They came to Manokwari for hiking, birdwatching in Arfak mountains and snorkeling in this Dore bay. Various colors of tropical fish such as wrasse, yellow tail demoiselle, blue and yellow fusilier were seen  there especially because the weather was really good. The beach is clean and protected by green tropical trees. To give you the impression of how beautiful the coral reef of this new snorkeling destination was, I add some underwater snorkeling pictures of the reef in this post. I used waterproof camera Panasonic Lumix FT3 to shoot the reef fish and the corals. For snorkeling in the bay, I wear snorkeling mask Reef Tourer that was manufactured by Tabata. It's a nice gear both for snorkelers or even scuba divers.

So far, very few tourists have visited this site. Last year, I guided four Indonesian youth on a snorkeling tour to this area. They brought underwater camera to take pictures of the fish and the corals. They were some of the participants of aci.detik.com Indonesian tour competition program. Although they didn't win the competition, their photographs about this pristine coral reef is very important in creating awareness among the city dwellers of Manokwari to stop throwing plastic wastes into the sea.
As a tourist guide, I provide (please click the link) snorkeling tour package to anybody who is interested in snorkeling in this bay. Please, contact me if you still need more information about it. by Charles Roring

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Birdwatching in the tropical rainforest of Manokwari

I have just guided 2 Dutch tourists on a 3-day hiking and birding tour in the lowland rainforest of Manokwari. It is located between the northern coast of Manokwari (usually called Pantura) and the Prafi valley.
These Dutch travelers were the first European tourists who visited the forests. While walking through the tropical jungle, they saw various species of birds that are endemic to New Guinea island. Some of them are kingfisher, lorikeet, blyths hornbill (rhyticeros plicatus), goliath/ palm cockatoo (probosciger aterrimus), white hawk, shrimp catcher, western crown pigeon, parrots, and fruit dove. I was happy to see that Mr. Herman Van Der Hart was able to shoot the Western Crown Pigeon (Goura Cristata) which was standing on the branch of a tall tree.
On the last day of the hiking dan birdwatching tour, we saw female birds of paradise (paradisaea minor), and sulphur crested cockatoo (cacatua galerita). When I saw the cockatoo, I immediately borrowed the binoculars that belong to Mrs. Elizabeth Pot and used it to shoot the bird. Although the result is not as sharp as a photograph taken with an SLR camera, it is quite good for identification purposes. When he saw the above picture of the cockatoo, he said that the technique that I used in shooting the bird was called digiscoping. That was the first time I was introduced to the terminology of digiscoping.
The tropical rainforest of Manokwari is a world class birding destination for those who want to watch tropical birds in their natural habitat. I have been guiding visitors from many countries on various birdwatching tours both in the rainforest near Manokwari, the Arfak mountains, and the Numfor island.
Birds play very important roles on the survivability of forest. As seed dispersers, they spread seeds of fruits which they eat to all directions where they fly. These seeds will later grow to replace the old trees that naturally fall or cut by people.
In addition to watching tropical birds, tourists who come to Manokwari can also enjoy snorkeling over beautiful coral reef in Dorey bay or Manim islet of Numfor. If you are interested in coming to Manokwari, for birdwatching in the rainforest, please, contact me at charlesroring@gmail.com
Also read:
Hiking and Birdwatching in Arfak mountains
Bird watching in tropical rainforest of Numfor island
Magnificent birds of paradise

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