Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Night Hiking in the Jungle of Arfak mountains

Two days ago I guided two Spanish tourists (Expedito and Maria) on 1 night/ 1 day hiking tour in the forest of Arfak mountains. We left Manokwari city by car at 21.30 for the jungle of Arfak mountains in the territory of Warmarway village. When we arrived in the village, my smartphone clock showed 22.30 so I offered an overnight stay in our guesthouse that was being built at the beach. They said that they preferred to stay in the jungle. Maria wanted to see cuscus possum. So, we continued our trip to the stop point where we would go hiking in the jungle. Night hiking was more dangerous because the slopes were very steep. We walked slowly. I held my battery powerd LED lamp higher to give light to all of us. Each of us carried heavy bag on our back.
After passing the steep slope, we stopped for a while. Yunus, the villager from Warmarway village, who guided us in the jungle would try to call Cuscus Possum. All of the flash lights and my LED lamp had to be turned off. Yunus began to imitate the sound of female cuscus to attract the male one. We sat on the ground for approximately fifteen minutes waiting for the cuscus to come. He did not come.
Cuscus possum in the jungle of Arfak mountains of Manokwari
I told Yunus to continue walking again. We stood, turned on the flashlight, pick up our bags and then continued our night hiking again. It was getting late. The dark forest around us was full with the sounds of insects. They became our natural music that sooth our minds. So relaxing music. We made the second stop in the jungle and turned our lights again. Yunus made his second call imitating the sound of femail cuscus. The jungle was very dark but we could still see some light at tree tops. The light from starry nights. After calling for 10 minutes, we began to hear the sounds of braking twigs and the movement of tree branches. The sounds were getting closer above our heads. Suddenly, Yunus asked me to turned my lamp on. I did it and there it was - the cuscus possum in the branch of a tree. I opened my waist bag and took my camera out of it. It was a Fujifilm HS50EXR. I aimed it at the cuscus and made several pictures. Maria, one of the tourists, looked very exited to see the cuscus. She turned on her camera and took some pictures of the cuscus. Then we walked again deeper into the jungle.
Yunus still made another call but no cuscus came. We finally arrived in our base camp. We boiled water and had some hot chocolate drinks. We went to bed at 02.20. All of us were happy with the night hiking trip that we had just done. written by Charles Roring

If you are interested in visiting Arfak mountains to see butterflies, cuscus and the forest environment and need me as your guide, please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Hiking and Camping in Arfak mountains

A few days ago, I guided an American girl to the coastal area of Arfak mountains approximately one hour by public transportation from Manokwari city. Her name was Rachel. Our destination was Warmarway - a small coastal village in the eastern region of Arfak. We spent 3 days/ 2 nights swimming, camping, hiking, birdwatching and butterfly watching and doing night walk in the jungle.
As a tourist guide I have guided a lot of single traveler girl or lady on various hiking, camping, birdwatching, swimming, snorkeling, and motorcycle tours around Manokwari.
Here is the scenery of the place that I and Rachel visited a few days ago.
Coastal area of Arfak mountains
There was an unfinished wooden house at the beach. I and Rachel, accompanied by local villagers (Yunus, Magdalena, and Susi) stayed at the house for one night and then continued our trip for another night in a tourist camp site located deeper in the forest of Arfak mountains.
On the first day, we enjoyed swimming. Unfortunately, there was rain and strong wind at the time when we were there causing only zero visibility in the coral reef area. So, we did not enjoy snorkeling. We went swimming instead. Villagers showed us the beach with fine black sand that was good for swimmers. We really enjoyed swimming and spent a few hours in the water.
Eating Fresh Fried Fish
Magdalena, one of the villagers, went fishing before we came back to the house. She caught a snapper and proudly showed it to us that afternoon. Yunus cleaned and washed the fish and cut them in smaller pieces so that I could fry them. I also made stir fried kangkung vegetables and fried tempe.  Rachel, the American girl from Connecticut who came alone all the way to West Papua, liked the simple meal that we had that day.
The unfinished wooden house where we stayed had been installed with corrugated metal roof. Its floor was made of iron wood planks. Only the walls that had not been constructed. For bathroom and toilet, we used the river. The guesthouse was far from the village. So, we had a private beach, private forest, and a simple but good accommodation. I brought a dome tent and a mattress. I set the tent up and put the mattress inside ready for Reachel to sleep in it. I also brought an army standard sleeping bag for her. At night she could sleep well without having to fear the swarming mosquitoes. The sea breeze keep the mosquitoes  and sandflies away from the guesthouse. The sound of insects became our natural music during our time in the coastal and mountainous region of Arfak. We had a night walk in the jungle to find cuscus but could only see a bandicoot.
Hiking in the jungle of Arfak mountains
The next morning, we continued our trip into the forest. We had to carefully walk up the steep slope of Arfak mountains. Yunus (a local villager that we hired built a shelter for tourist near a small creek in the jungle. We arrived at the shelter on the afternoon. I quickly set the dome tent again before dark came.
Cruiser butterfly (Vindula arsinoe)

A lot of colorful butterflies flew around us. Some landed on the ground. Some even landed on our smelly clothes that were soaked in our sweat. Some species that we saw including Amathusiid butterfly (Taenari catops); Cruiser butterfly (Vindula arsinoe), Cairns birdwing butterfly (Ornithoptera priamus). There were still more butterflies that we saw but could not identify.
Our dinner that night was rice, spinach vegetables, fried tempe and scrambled eggs prepared by Magdalena. After dinner, we still had a short night walk in the jungle to find cuscus. Unfortunately, we were not so successful.
Feeling exhausted, we walked back to our camp and sleep earlier than the previous night. Again the sounds of insects and water flowing in the river became the natural music that surrounds us during our sleeping time.
Watching Lesser Birds of Paradise
I checked the clock on my cell phone. It was 05.00 a.m. Time to get ready. I woke Rachel up. Yunus had already boiled some water for us. We had some biscuits and coffee before leaving for the birding ground approximately 45 minutes walk from our campsite. It was still dark when we walked again. I turned on my head flash light. The male birds of paradise were calling their female birds when we arrived. It was difficult to see them because they were perching on the twigs in the canopy of the trees. Rachel could only see a male paradise bird with his beautiful yellow plumes in a few seconds. But she said it was ok, she really enjoyed the singing of the birds while sitting on the ground under the tree. It's a relaxing experience.
We still enjoyed some swimming at the beach near Warmarway village before going back to Manokwari city again.
If you are interested in exploring the natural beauty of the coastal and mountainous areas of West Papua and want to hire me as your guide, please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or send text message to my cell phone: 006281332245180.
I can prepare a customized itinerary and cost that is suitable for you.

I don't know why many single traveler girls or ladies like to hire me when they want to explore the natural beauty of Manokwari and Sorong regencies. Is it because of my cooking skill, or fluency in English or is it because of my massage skill? :-)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Turtle Calling Ritual in Tambrauw Regency

Leatherback turtle landed at Jen Womom beach of Tambrauw regency in West Papua to lay eggs
Leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)  is the largest turtle species in the whole sea world. This marine animal is facing extinction due to continuous hunting for its eggs by human, choking from drifting plastic bag that it considers as jelly fish and other natural predators (soa-soa lizard and wild pigs), sharks in its early age.
To raise awareness about the importance of protecting turtles, local community leaders with the support of volunteers from WWF, Dept. of Maritime and Fishery Affairs and local government authorities of Tambrauw regency will conduct The Traditional Ritual for the Calling of Leatherback Turtles  on 25 June 2015. The traditional ritual is open to everybody who is interested in watching the turtles at Jen Womom beach lay their eggs.

Batu Kapal beach near Sausapor town of Tambrauw regency
Please, study the following map for the location of Sausapor town and Jen Womom beach
Sausapor town is the capital of Tambrauw regency and Jen Womom beach is the site where leatherback turtles land to lay their eggs.
Location of Sausapor townrelative to the map of Indonesia
How to get there?
  • First fly from your country to Jakarta city.
  • After getting Visa On Arrival, continue your trip to Sorong city by flying with Garuda, or Sriwijaya Air, or Express Air
  • When you have arrived in Sorong city, continue your trip to Sausapor town by passenger boats KMSunlia and KMAve Maria (ticket price is 100,000 to 150,000 rupiahs for economy class rupiahs or approximately 8 to 12 US dollars per person). The boat leaves Sorong city (from Pelabuhan Rakyat) for Sausapor town on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Sausapor town is located in the northern coast of the bird's head region of West Papua.
  • Make sure that you arrive in Sausapor town before 25 June 2015 so that you will get free transport to Jen Womom beach during the festival. 
  • Accommodation is free (just go to the office of WWF in Sausapor town and meet Ronny Tethool or Anis Sundoi and say that you get the info from Charles Roring's blog on the internet).
Batu Kapal beach near Sausapor town during sunset time
Leatherback and other turtles species land along the beach of Tambrauw regency from May to December so, you can still go there to see the turtles during those months.
Tropical Rainforest Ecosystem
Tambrauw regency has got a lot of places that are potential to be developed for tourism. Some of them are numerous world class surf spots, pristine rainforest ecosystem, wreckages left by US troops after World War II.
Birdwatching in Viem
Viem is a local term for a site located deep in the jungle of Tambrauw mountains where warm salty water comes out of the ground. Every morning and before sunset, various species of birds land on the ground to drink until they get drunk. Birds are not the only animals that can be seen in the Viem. When I visited several Viems in Aiwatar hill of District Senopi, I saw a lot of deers, kangaroo and wild cows in the vicinity. I highly recommend the site for all avid birdwatchers who want to see the wealth of New Guinea's avifauna
If you are interested in visiting Tambrauw regency, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or cell phone: 006281332245180

FYI: During World War II, US forces landed on Sansapor and its nearby coastal area and islands as part of their campaign in fighting the Japanese forces in the Pacific. Today, the town's spelling has experienced slight change from Sansapor to Sausapor.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Recommended Trekking and Birding Sites in Arfak Mountains

Arfak range is located in the south of Manokwari city. It has been a famous destination for naturalist who wants to see the beauty of Papua's nature.
I often receive emails from tourists and researchers who want to go to Arfak mountains of Manokwari. They ask for a good trekking and birding site. From my personal experience, I highly recommend such villages as Mupi Gunung, Warmarway, and Kwau. These villages have got large rainforest areas that are suitable for anybody who is interested in exploring the biodiversity of Arfak range.
Birds of Paradise
There are tens of species of birds of paradise that visitors can see in the jungle. Some of them are western parotia, lesser birds of paradise, black sickle bill, king birds of paradise, and the magnificent birds of paradise.
Tropical birds
In addition to paradise birds, other species that can be watched include sulphur crested cockatoo, pasquet parrots, pinon imperial pigeon, blyth's hornbill, pygmy parrots, vogelkop bowerbirds and flame bowerbirds.
Marsupial Animals
West Papua and Australia are the natural habitat of various species of marsupial animals. Some that visitors can see in Arfak mountains are tree kangaroo, cuscus, and bandicoot.
Recommended Trekking Site in Bird's head region
There are several locations of trekking sites in Vogelkop or bird's head region. Some of them are as follows:

  • Aiwatar hill of District Senopi in Tambrauw mountains (whic is also the best birdwatching site I have ever seen in my life); 
  • Rainforest of Warmarway village in the eastern region of Arfak mountains,
  • Klasow valley in Sorong regency (where you can see wallaby, cuscus, birds of paradise)
  • Mupi Gunung hamlet whose trails are very steep and are only suitable for visitors who are physically fit.

Visitors need to make certain preparations prior to their trip to Arfak range. Here are some of them:
- Bring only clothes you really need. These include some T-shirts, long trousers, underwear, running shoes or trekking boots.
- Bring mosquito net, and some insect repellent lotion.
- Extra batteries, telephoto lens for your photographic activities.
- Buy food in Manokwari city.
If you want to visit it and need my guiding service, please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Visiting Koroway Tribe

by Charles Roring
Early this month, I made an exploratory trip to the land of Koroway tribe in South Papua. I went there because I heard that this tribe builds houses in high trees. I took nearly two weeks to do the trip. I was really happy to see the river scenery where the indigenous Papuan people rowing their boats while standing. The southern region of Papua is flat land. Most of the land consists of swamps, rivers and dense tropical rainforest.

I had the chance to visit several dusuns of Koroway tribe and met the indigenous people who live in their traditional wooden houses deep in the jungle.
In order to survive, they build their houses on high poles so that mosquitoes will not reach them, they hunt wild pigs, catch fish in the river, and extract flour from sago trees and work in their farmland. They are very simple people but I see that they are happy with their modest lifestyle. They wear traditional clothing that is very minimum or almost naked. Forest is their home, their playground and their fortress. They know their forest very well and could tell when the right time to hunt for pigs or cut sago trees.

I stayed in their traditional houses for several nights and had the chance to eat grilled pork, and sago worm. The taste of sago worm is delicious. Every visitor should try it.

I met with Daud, their village head and talked to him several times. He said that Koroway tribe in his village is open to tourists. He hopes that eco-tourism can bring positive impact to his people. They can generate some income to buy salt, farming and cooking tools. So, if you are interested in visiting Koroway tribe, please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com



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