Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Swedish Girls in Manokwari

Last Sunday (12 Oct. 2014) I was called by two Swedish girls who had just arrived in Manokwari by Sriwijaya Air. They were Catarina and Cait. They wanted to meet me to ask for information about tourist attractions in Papua. From our conversations that afternoon, I suggested that they go to Raja Ampat. They said that their plan was to go to Asmat. I made a few phone calls to my friends in Jayapura and Mapi regency to get more info about flights to Asmat.
Catarina and Cait - two Swedish girls were tasting red fruit paste in Manokwari
While waiting for their detailed information, I brought them to West Papua Art and Culture Festival in Valeria area. It was the final day of the festival. Fortunately there were still some stands open for visitors.
Most of the participants of the festival were happy to receive these Swedish girls. They showed them how the tradional Papuan cloth was made. There were several stands that exhibit Papuan food. Catarina and Cait were given the opportunity to taste some of the foods.
When they were offered to taste the red fruite paste, I quickly turned my smartphone camera on and took some pictures of them. The women who served these Swedish visitors explained that the paste was good for their skin because it contains a lot of vitamins and other nutrients that were good for human health.
The tour to the festival was only as short trip but Catarina and Cait looked happy about it. The next day, they continued their trip to Sorong and then to Raja Ampat. Perhaps, they would fly to Asmat after spending one week holiday in Raja Ampat. I hope that they will return to West Papua again to explore the Arfak mountains or enjoy snorkeling in Bitsyari bay of Kaimana where they will be able to see whaleshark. Written by Charles Roring/ E-mail: peace4wp@gmail.com

Monday, October 13, 2014

Cruise Ships in Manokwari

Several cruise ships have visited Manokwari this year. They are guided by Oswald from Cruise Asia. The first one was Caledonian Sky. It entered Dore bay in August and was in the harbor of Manokwari from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m..Guests from the ship watched traditional dance at Abasi beach and enjoyed lunch prepared by the indigenous people who cooked the food using traditional barapen style. The villagers burn stones first and then with the hot stones they cooked the food.
Then, they continued their trip to Table Mountain where they walked through and under the canopy of tropical rainforest.
Cruise ship Discovery Explorer in the Dore bay of Manokwari
The second cruise ship that entered Manokwari was Discovery Explorer. This was a small cruise ship that visited Mansinam island on 11 October 2014. It anchored some 200 meters off the coast of the island from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Using a small boat, the crew of the vessel transfered around 50 passengers to the pier of Mansinam for a welcome ceremony. They were received by the village chief, priests from the local church and the villagers.
After that some of the guests went snorkeling and scuba diving around the waters of Mansinam. There are several shipwrecks in the bay of Manokwari. Because the weather was not really good that morning, they could only dive in front of Cross Monument of Mansinam island.
Traditional Dance Performance by people from Arfak Mountains
Most of the guests from the ship was later transferred to Manokwari town to see the West Papua Art and Culture Festival. There they watched traditional dance performance, and handicrafts made by Papuan men and women artists.
We hope that more cruise ships will visit Manokwari in the future and we will do our best to serve the guests who come with the ships.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Rainforest Tour in Sorong Regency

Sorong regency is the "entrance gate" for tourists who want to visit Raja Ampat islands. Many people consider it only as a transit point. As a matter of fact, the regency has got a number of tourist attractions that visitors can see. Most of the suburban areas of Sorong consists of mountains, lowland and swamps. They are still covered with tropical rainforest.
Warsumsum river in Sorong regency
Klasow valley
There is a huge area of lowland rainforest in Klasow valley approximately 1.5 hours by 4WD pick-up car to the east from Sorong city. There is a village in the valley. Its name is Malakutuk village. Various species of tropical trees such as ficus, African tulip, matoa and merbau can be found in the region. It is also the natural habitat of Blyth's hornbill, Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, Kingfishers and Casuari birds.
Ficus tree in the rainforest of Klasow Valley - Sorong regency

Logging Activities and Eco-tourism Initiave
As of today, the rainforest that covers the valley is being threatened by logging activities. To stop them, the villagers take the initiative to introduce ecotourism as an alternative income generation for villagers of Malakutuk village. Their will to stop logging activities is considered positive for the future of the people who live in the valley.
Sulphur Crested Cockatoo in the rainforest of Klasow valley
A local guide in Sorong, Nico Nauw, supports the initiative. He visited me last month and ask me to develop eco-tourism program for Klasow valley. I immediately responded the request by contacting  Rufus Timmermans - a volunteer from SDSP foundation to make a field survey in the valley. In the late of September 2014, Rufus, together with Nico Nauw and the villagers of Malakutuk conducted a survey in the forest of the valley near the village.
They walk through the logging tracks to see animals and plants in the forest. Because much of the land is flat, they did not find any difficulties in exploring the forest.
They took pictures of Blyth's hornbill, cockatoos, butterflies, terrestrial orchids, cuscus possum, snake, riverscape and wild vines that they saw during the jungle walk.
Blyth's hornbill in the rainforest of Klasow valley - Sorong regency

Where is Klasow valley?
Please look at the following map to see where the valley is located.
Map of West Papua Province

How to get there?
  • If you are still in your country, fly to Jakarta
  • Then continue your trip to Sorong city by a domestic flight. Check the websites of Garuda Air, Sriwijaya Air, Express Air, and Lion Air for flight schedule between Jakarta and Sorong city.
  • When you have arrive in Sorong city, please contact Nico Nauw by sending calling or sending text message to his cell phone number +6282399985681. He will arrange a 4WD pick up truck, prepare the logistics, and contacting local villagers for your trip in Klasow valley.
What you need to prepare
Because you are going to have a tour in the rainforest, do not expect to stay in a comfortable hotel. You will stay in a tent or a camp. Bring a thin sleeping back that will cover your body from insect bites. Buy a bottle of insect repellent lotion and apply it on your skin. Buy food for you and some local guide who accompany you - talk to Nico Nauw about the kind of food and the amount that you should buy.
Terrestrial orchids in the forest of Klasow valley - Sorong regency
The villagers of Malakutuk are still in the very early stage of developing their eco-tourism. So, visitors are advised to be more tolerant to their lack of skills and experience when serving you as visitors. We greatly hope that the villagers of Malakutuk in the Klasow valley will stop logging activities and preserve their precious environment for future generation of Papua. You could do the rainforest tour in this valley alone or with your friends before or after visiting Raja Ampat.
If you are interested in visiting Klasow valley for a tour in the rainforest and still need my help in providing more info or in arranging your trip, please, contact me by e-mail to: peace4wp@gmail.com

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Watching Tree Kangaroo in Arfak Mountains

According to reports from the indigenous Papuan people who live in Mupi Gunung, there are three species of tree kangaroos in Arfak mountains of Manokwari regency. Their population is decreasing rapidly due to hunting by villagers for their meat, the conversion of forest into agricultural land and logging activities. The prevent these animals from extinction in their own habitat, I and some villagers in Arfak range offer hiking tours into the jungle where tourists can watch tree kangaroo and birds of paradise.
Ursine Tree Kangaroo in Arfak Range (Dendrolagus ursinus)
Gray Tree Kangaroo (Dendrolagus inustus)
There are 2 villages that can be visited by tourists, i.e. Warmarway and Mupi Gunung (also called Bray). But the "kangaroo watching" itself has to be done far into the forest. For instance, in Mupi Gunung area, visitors have to walk through dense tropical rainforest for 9 hours to reach the watching site.
Arfak range
Arfak range is a nature reserve with a total area of 68,325 hectares. It is also the natural habitat of birds of paradise, birdwing butterflies, cuscus, wild pigs, deers and various species of reptiles.
If you are interested in watching tree kangaroo in Arfak mountains, please contact me by e-mail to: peace4wp@gmail.com
by Charles Roring

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Arfak mountains

Here is the picture of Arfak mountains that I took from Mansinam island two days ago.
Arfak range - photo by Charles Roring Sept. 2015

Please contact me by email to:  peace4wp@gmail.com if you plan to go trekking to see various vegetation, insects, birds, of tropical rainforest of the range.

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