Sunday, December 30, 2018

Hiking Snorkeling and Freediving in Manokwari

I have just completed a 3 day-tour for British, New Zealander, Italian, and Indonesian tourists in the forest and coral reef of Manokwari. We did hiking trip in the hill forest to see such animals as millipede, spiders, butterflies, and birds. We also explored a natural cave to see its bats, frogs, and snake. The sounds of Black-capped Lory, Hooded Butcherbird, Helmetted Friarbird, Olive-backed Sunbird, Yellow-faced Myna, and Sulphur-crested Cockatoo could be heard while we were walking under the canopy of the tropical trees.
Visiting a natural cave in Manokwari of West Papua
Italian tourist was taking a tour to natural cave in Manokwari
The next day, we had another trip to coral reef area of Mansinam island. The sea was quite calm and the visibility was good enough for me to take pictures of the marine life especially the colorful fish. The two British girls, Jess and Leila, whom I guided were very good swimmers. I asked Leila to do a freedive so that I could take a picture of her underwater. She said,"yes." So, I dived first to a depth of a round 5 meters below the surface to wait for her. When  she dived, I took some pictures of her in the blue water. One of them is presented below. It is a nice photo.
Recreational Freediving in Manokwari waters
I brought my camera Fujifilm XQ2 that I had inserted into its waterproof case. The morning sunlight allow me to take pictures of Black-backed Butterflyfish with greater details.
Black-backed Butterflyfish (Chaetodon melannotus)
Black-backed Butterflyfish (Chaetodon melannotus)
However, for fast loading of this article on the internet, I have to resize the photograph and only present its smaller version on this blog.
On the third day, I guided an Italian and Indonesian couple on a trip to the same forest, and then to two small lakes in the southern suburb of Manokwari city to enjoy its beautiful view.
Striped Surgeonfish (Acanthurus lineatus) in coral reef of Manokwari of West Papua province of Indonesia.
Striped Surgeonfish (Acanthurus lineatus)
In the afternoon, at approximately 15.00, we continued our trip to the north coast of Manokwari to enjoy snorkeling and freediving again. The waves were quite big in late December but we could still enjoy the view of the coral reef, particularly the fish the live in the rocks that were close to the shore. I was able to take pictures of the Striped Surgeonfish (Acanthurus lineatus), Three-spots Dascyllus, Yellow-tailed Blue Damsel (Chrysiptera cyanea) and Cinnamon Clownfish (Amphiprion melanopus).
If you are interested in taking a hiking tour in the forest as well as snorkeling trip in Manokwari city and want me (Charles Roring) to organize your trip, please, contact me by e-mail to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Raja Ampat Snorkeling

Raja Ampat is considered as the best and the richest in the world for the wealth of its marine bio-diversity. There are thousands of species of fish and other sea creatures that live in the coral reef sites of the islands. They are the natural habitat of a lot of marine animals from the tiny pygmy seahorse to the beautiful sea star and colorful lionfish and diagonal sweetlips. As a tourist guide I organize snorkeling tours to the archipelago for tourists who want to visit small uninhabited and remote islands where not many visitors go.
Piaynemo Karst in Raja Ampat
Pianemo Karst in Raja Ampat
Batu Pensil karst in Raja Ampat
Karst islets in Raja Ampat
Snorkeling and recreational freediving can easily be done in Raja Ampat. I can guide solo traveling tourist up to a group of snorkelers who want to swim over pristine corals to see surgeonfish, moorish idol, butterflyfish or crabs that live in the shallow reef flat or deeper reef slopes of Raja Ampat islands. Here is the typical program:

Raja Ampat Snorkeling Tour

ITINERARY
Activities: snorkeling, hiking, birdwatching, sightseeing tour
Day 1
  • I will meet you at the airport or at a hotel in Sorong city
  • I will organize your transfer to Raja Ampat by fast passenger boat
  • We need two hours to reach Waisai harbor
  • Transfer to homestay (breakfast, lunch, dinner are provided). Food is mostly Indonesian style with rice, fried fish, fruits, vegetables and chilli plus tomato and onion sauce as the main ingredients. Bread, peanut jam, snacks, biscuits and syrups or juice can be bought in supermarkets in Sorong city.
  • Take a rest for 1 or 2 hours
  • We can enjoy snorkeling at the house reef at the front waters of the homestay.
  • Make sure that you do not step on the corals. 
During the whole trip, plastic and other non-biodegradable wastes must not be thrown to the environment. Just put them into the trash bins.
Day 2
  • Early in the morning we could wake up at 04.45 to make preparations for watching Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra). We could drink some tea and eat some biscuit first. After that at 05.15, we can start walking up the slope to the tree where the paradise birds usually gather to dance. It takes around 1 hour of hiking to reach the birding site. We can enjoy watching the paradise birds until 09.00. When we walk back to the guesthouse, we can stop for a while at the view point on a hill that overlooks the sea and the Kabui bay. We can spend some time there to enjoy the scenery and watch the birds.
  • Arriving at the guesthouse, we can enjoy breakfast. After that we can do a tour to enjoy sightseeing tour in the island inside Kabui bay.
  • We can also stop at a small island to enjoy snorkeling, beach walking and birding.
Day 3
We need to wake up at 04.00. By a small boat, we will go to a place where we need to go hiking for watching Wilson's Bird of Paradise (Cicinnurus respublica).
Day 4
We can go further to visit  sand banks that are located in the middle of the sea near Kri islands. A snorkeling trip to places like Friwen or Mansuar island or Gam island can be organized. Upon special request, I can organize a trip to Piaynemo for visitors to see the beautiful landscape of the karst islets.
Day 5
We still have time to enjoy snorkeling in the morning. After an early lunch we can leave our guesthouse to the harbor of Waisai. There, we will go by fast passenger boat to return to Sorong city.
Day 6
We could do another hiking trip to a hill in Sorong so that we could watch the view of the city and also watch birds. At the end of the day, we will bring you back to your hotel where you will stay for one night. After that, the next day, you could go to Domine Eduard Osok (DEO) airport by car to fly back to your country.
End of the trip.
Please, consider the above itinerary as reference only. It can be modified according to your length of holiday and interest.
Coral reef and tropical fish in Waigeo island
Coral Reef Life
What you need to bring
Clothes: For your trip to this tropical region, t-shirts, shorts, jeans (for traveling in the city), swimming suit, hat.
Equipment: Snorkeling gear (mask, snorkel, fins), camera that can be used for underwater such as GoPro or Nikon W300, Super Zoom camera for bird photography such as Nikon P1000, or Canon SX60HS or D-SLR camera with Sigma 150-600 mm sport (optional), head torch, watch, extra baterries and their charger.
Medicine: Anti insect lotion, sunblock lotion and any medicine that you need while you are traveling.

Destination for visitors who like snorkeling
Map Location of Raja Ampat
How to go to Raja Ampat
  • It is very easy to go to Raja Ampat. First, fly from your country to Jakarta (the capital of Indonesia)
  • When you have arrived, you could continue to Sorong by regular daily flights served by Garuda, or Batik or Sriwijaya or Lion Air.
  • I could meet you in Sorong and organize your trip to the the islands. 
Booking
If you are interested in taking the trip to Raja Ampat and want me to organize your tour, you could contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

Related Posts:
Snorkeling and Birding in Waigeo island of Raja Ampat
Snorkeling Vacation in Raja Ampat Archipelago
Snorkeling and Sightseeing Tour in Raja Ampat

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Watching Red and Black Anemonefish

I like swimming, snorkeling and freediving very much. I frequently organize snorkeling trips in Manokwari for tourists who want to see coral reef and tropical fish. There are a lot of species of fish that we can see such as surgeonfish, damselfish, parrotfish, butterflyfish, grouper, moorish idol, and etc.
Red and Black Anemonefish (Amphiprion melanopus)
Red and Black Anemonefish
To do snorkeling, I need to make some preparations. I will wash my mask, snorkel and fins to check if they are in good condition or not. I also recharge the battery of my underwater camera the Fujifilm XQ2 and clean its waterproof housing. In the past, I used Nikon AW120 and an action camera Brica B-Pro5 Alpha Edition. To prevent fogging on the glass lens of the camera and the housing, I insert several minipacs of silica gel. I also bring shampoo and a jar of fresh water to wash my mask before snorkeling. A thin film of shampoo of my mask will prevent fogging when I do snorkeling and freediving. Snorkeling sites are located in the islands and outside of Manokwari city. The coral reef is around 30 to 100 meters from the beach. To see the Red and Black Anemonefish (Amphiprion melanopus) we need to swim to its habitat. The nearest site for seeing the fish is only a 2-minute swimming from the beach. It is located around 1.5 meters below the surface.
Red and Black Anemonefish, Yellow-tailed Blue Damsel and Three-spots Dascyllus
Red-Black Anemonefish in
the waters of Manokwari
Huge colony of the Red and Black Anemonefish can be seen at depths of around 2 to 3 meters below the surface.
We need to do a short freedive to take pictures of them. Taking pictures from the surface is also possible if our camera has got zoom. We need to maintain stable position in the water to get sharper pictures.
For tourists who like snorkeling, we can do it for 1, 2 or even 3 days in several locations around Manokwari. The best time to enjoy snorkeling is in the mornings and in the afternoons.
Mansinam island
How to go to Manokwari
You need to fly to Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. After that, you need to fly to Manokwari. Airlines such as Garuda, Sriwijaya Air, NAM Air, Batik Air have got regular flights between Jakarta and Manokwari.
If you are interested in snorkeling in Manokwari and other parts of West Papua such as Raja Ampat, please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.
Visitors need to bring their own snorkeling mask if they want to see marine life in the suburban coastal area of Manokwari.
Also read:

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Parrots in Waigeo Island of Raja Ampat

Waigeo island of Raja Ampat is a great place to watch parrots. I have organized numerous trips to the island for birdwatchers or nature lovers who want to see parrots and other birds. We usually explore the forest on foot in the mornings and in the afternoons. There are several places that I visit with tourists to enjoy birdwatching. Some of them include Warduwer beach, Yengkawe forest, Fish Lagoon and Sopen forests. All of them are located in Waigeo. In the forest south of Waigeo, I saw Red-cheeked Parrot, Eclectus Parrot, as well as Violet-necked Lory, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, and Palm Cockatoo. There was a wooden platform on the hill where tourists can sit in the mornings to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Kabui bay as well as watching parrots, starlings, kingfishers and paradise birds. In the forest near the runway of the airport of Waisai, I saw Great-billed Parrot, and Coconut Lorikeet. They were very beautiful.
Palm Cockatoo
The best site to watch Palm Cockatoo is Warduwer beach. This black feather bird likes to eat fruits in catappa tree. One afternoon, after enjoying snorkeling at the beach, I saw the Black-Palm Cockatoo landed on a small tree in front of me. I took out my camera to shoot him. Unfortunately, he flew away to a higher tree still in the nearby area. I walked slowly closer to the tree. It was a catappa tree. There were several Palm Cockatoos in the tree. Local people called them Kakaktua Raja meaning literally King Cockatoo.
Eclectus Parrot are sexually dimorphic. The male has got green and red feather whereas the female one has got red, and blue feather with black beak. The eclectus parrot can be seen in most part of Raja Ampat. Female likes to wait in the nest of high ironwood tree. To watch parrots, birdwatchers need a good pair of binoculars such as the 10×42 mm Swarovski, Nikon or Leica binoculars. A camera with tele-photo lens is also good.
Eclectus Parrot
In addition to parrots, visitors can watch a lot of tropical birds in Raja Ampat including Pied Imperial Pigeon, Puff-back Meliphaga, Hooded Butcherbird, Pinon Imperial Pigeon. Red Bird of Paradise, Wilson's Bird of Paradise, Hooded Butcherbird, Beach Kingfisher, Hooked Bill Kingfisher, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, Sacred Kingfisher, Papuan Blyth's Hornbill, and a lot more.

Field Guide

I use Birds of New Guinea as my reference in identifying birds. The Second Edition field guide book was written by Thane K. Pratt, Bruce Beehler and some other ornithologists.

Birding in the Karst islets of Raja Ampat

Karst islets in Raja Ampat
There are several karst formations in Raja Ampat which tourists can visit to enjoy birding and wildlife watching. Some of them were Fish Lagoon, Piaynemo, Wayag and Kabui. Because of their remote locations, bird life in these karsts is relatively rich. Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, and Great-billed Parrot are the ones that I often see. Other birds that I saw in my previous trips were Spice Imperial Pigeon, Lemon-bellied White-eye, Hooded Butcherbird, White-breasted Woodswallow, Rainbow Bee-eater, and Striated Heron. Sea birds such as Pacific Swallow, Eastern Osprey, White-bellied Sea Eagle, starlings, lesser crested tern, Torresian Crow, and Lesser Frigatebird,  can also be seen in the karst
Snorkeling
In addition to organizing birding trip, I also run snorkeling trips to Raja Ampat. Tourists who want to join the tours need to bring their own masks, snorkels and fins as well as underwater (action) camera such as Go Pro, Nikon W300. We will enjoy snorkeling over the coral reef of Waigeo, Gam, Mansuar, Kri, Friwen Wall, Arborek to see such fish as Grouper, Jackfish, Surgeonfish, Anemonefish, Parrotfish, and, etc.

Booking

If you are interested in taking a birdwatching, snorkeling and sightseeing tour in Raja Ampat and want me to organize your trip in the archipelago, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or whatsapp: +6281332245180.
Also read:
Coastal Birds of Raja Ampat
Snorkeling and Birding in Waigeo island of Raja Ampat
Snorkeling and Sightseeing Tour in Raja Ampat




Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Birding in Waigeo island of Raja Ampat

Palm Cockatoo in Raja Ampat
I had a great birding experience in Waigeo island last week. I spent 4 days/ 3 nights exploring its forest to watch and take pictures of a lot of tropical birds. However, I did not walk into deep forest area. I only did birdwatching along the main road of the island. I carried with me a good pair of 10×42 binoculars, and a Canon camera with a telephoto lens. I did not bring sound recorder and player. I relied on my eyes and my friend's eyes to find birds among the dense tropical trees of Waigeo.
Puff-backed Meliphaga in Waigeo island
My real birding trip occured on the second day of my tour when I went towards the northeast road of the island. I left Waisai town at around 09.30. It was late for a real birder. I did not expect to see many birds that morning.  First, I saw several Sulphur-crested Cockatoos sitting in a tree near a waterfall. I immediately aimed my camera at the birds. After making several shots, I continued my trip. There was a cattle egret on a hill near the place where people make terrakota bricks. I did not get out of the car. I only lowered the side window and shoot the bird. Some parts of the road near a river had collapsed due to heavy rain. Twenty minutes later we reached a village near the entance of Mayalibit bay. I walked to the jetty to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the bay. There were repeating calls of Beach Kingfisher from magrove trees that stood the edge of the strait. I was there for around half an hour and decided to return to Waisai. Around five minutes after leaving the village, I saw Brahminy Kite, Male and Female Eclectus Parrots. They were quite common in this eastern region of Waigeo. Blyth's hornbill were sitting on the branch of tall tree on the left side. There was Red Bird of Paradise too. I made some good photos of these beautiful birds. I arrived in Waisai at around 11.00. I decided to continue my bird trip to coastal area near the airport.
Red-cheeked Parrot in Waigeo of Raja Ampat
There, I saw a female Red Bird of Paradise eating fruits in a tree at the roadside. There were also some Willie Wagtail birds. A juvenile Brahminy Kite was flying over me. At 11.30, I returned to Waisai for lunch and than took a rest until 16.00 where I went birding again to the road that goes to airport area. Hooded Butcherbird, Red-cheeked Parrot, Brown-headed Crow, and Pinon Imperial Pigeon  were added into my list.
Pied-Imperial Pigeon

Snorkeling

The next morning, I enjoyed snorkeling at a beach in the south of Waigeo. I saw a lot of reef-fish such as Anemonefish, Striped Surgeonfish, Parrotfish, Grouper, Damselfish and a lot more. My snorkeling gear was simple: mask, snorkel, and fins. I did not wear weights. To take pictures of fish, I used Fujifilm XQ2 with a waterproof housing. There were some big trees that surrounded the beach. In this secondary forest I added my list with such birds as Palm Cockatoo, Dusky Scrubfowl, Lesser Frigatebird, Eastern Osprey, and Pied-Imperial Pigeon. Birding in Waigeo was a nice experience for me. I really enjoyed it.
If you are interested in birding and snorkeling in Waigeo island of Raja Ampat and want me to be your guide, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.
Also read:
Birding and Snorkeling in Raja Ampat
Birds of Paradise watching trip in Raja Ampat

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Wompoo Fruit Dove

Wompoo Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus magnificus)
This is the photograph of Wompoo Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus magnificus) that I saw in the forest of Vogelkop region of West Papua last week. The bird can be seen from lowland to medium elevation forest of New Guinea. I like the bird because it has got beautiful colors such as green, purple, yellow, grey, and black.
Several days ago I visited a village at the foot of Mount Sikor. While I was walking along the road, I saw the Wompoo Fruit Dove sitting on her nest. Perhaps, she was incubating egg. The nest was around 2 meters above the ground under the branches full of thick leaf. I approached the nest carefully until I was around 5 meters from the bird. Slowly I raised my Canon 200D with Tamron 150-600mm at the bird and then shot her several times.
According to a report from NSW Scientific Committee, the Wompoo Fruit Dove also lives in Australia particularly in areas that have tropical forest. Both male and female share the responsibility of incubating the egg. They build the nest, and also raise their chick together.
During my recent tour in Vogelkop region, I also saw a lot of other birds such as Blyth's hornbill, Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo, Vulturine Parrot, Eclectus Parrot, Palm Cockatoo, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Yellow-faced Myna, and Pinon Imperial Pigeon, and a lot more.
If you are interested in traveling to Manokwari city and enjoy birding in this region, please, contact me by e-mail to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.
Also read: Birding in Aibogiar of Tambrauw mountains

Friday, November 9, 2018

Vulturine Parrot

Vulturine Parrot in West Papua
Vulturine Parrot or also called Pesquet's Parrot is a species of bird that is endemic to New Guinea. Continuous hunting by local people, massive logging and conversion of forest into huge monoculture plantation has significantly reduced the population of this bird. That's why IUCN put the bird into the status of vulnerable.
For me, as a birdwatcher, the bird has always been in my target list. I am lucky because I have seen him several times in its natural habitat. The first was in the lower montane forest of Vogelkop region when I was guiding two Swedish tourists. The location of the high population of Vulturine Parrot was very far from Manokwari and Sorong.  To reach it, we need to go by 4wd car. Because the cost of chartering 4wd car during the tour is very high, I highly recommend that visitors travel in a group of 3 to 4 people to share it.
I have just returned from a hiking and wildlife watching tour in the Andaer forest of Vogelkop region of West Papua. I spent 5 days-4 nights exploring its pristine tropical rainforest both along the ridges and valleys. My exploration of the forest allowed me to watch several important species of tropical birds including the Vulturine Parrot (Psittrichas fulgidus).
A couple of Vulturine Parrot in West Papua
My daily rituals during the trip would be waking up early in the morning, having some coffee and fried sweet potatoes and then leaving the village for the forest on foot.
I carried a small D-SLR camera, Canon 200D equipped with a telephoto lens - the Tamron 150-600 mm G2. I also carried my 10×42 mm Visionking binocular. With these devices, I was able to see and take pictures of such birds as Lesser Birds of Paradise, Magnificent Riflebird, Magnificent Birds of Paradise, Mountain Peltop, Wompoo Fruit Dove, Brahminy Kite, Long-tailed Buzzard, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, and Black-capped Lory.
It was early November 2018, we were entering rainy season. For a lot of birdwatchers, it could be seen as a bad sign. In the contrary, it was a good time to watch birds and other wild animals. There were flowers and fruits in the forest. They attracted birds to fruiting and flowering trees. Rain began to fall in the afternoon. But later it stopped at around 15.00 local time. That's the time when a lot of birds flying out of their nest and hiding place.
I offer hiking tour in the Vogelkop region of West Papua to visitors who are interested in seeing rainforest environment from closer look. During the tour, visitors will have the chance to see plants; watch birds, butterflies, dragonflies, as well as other animals in the jungle.
If you are interested in taking the tour, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by e-mail to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Hiking and Wildlife Watching in Susnguakti Forest

Cuscus Possum
Arfak mountains have been a very popular destination among visitors who want to watch wild animals. One of the places in the range is Susnguakti forest. It is a nice place for those who like to spend a few nights exploring the plants and animals of tropical rainforest.
Usually, visitors spend between 3 to 4 days in the forest to watch Lesser Birds of Paradise, King Bird of Paradise, Common Paradise Kingfisher, and Magnificent Riflebird. These birds of paradise can be watched in the mornings and in the afternoons. For that purpose, a pair of binoculars and spotting scope will significantly enhance the birdwatching experience of every visitor.
Paradise Birds
In addition to birdwatching, at nights, visitors can enjoy night walks to find cuscus possum. After dinner, I and local villager usually organize a night walk for visitors in the forest. Stopping at certain spots where there are hanging vines, local villagers will immitate the sound of female cuscus to attract male cuscus possum. If there are cuscus possum in the vicinity, they will come closer.
The tropical rainforest of Susnguakti is the natural habitat of a lot of species of butterflies, and other insects too.

Very Basic Accommodation
There is no guesthouse or hotel in Susnguakti forest. I and local villagers built basecamps for tourists. There is no toilet either. Visitors can use a small river to wash. Our basecamp is located deep in the forest. There are three huts, eating and cooking utensils as well as mattrasses and pillows. Visitors have to walk up steep slopes to reach the basecamp. So, they need to be physically fit to do this trip.
Simple Base Camp in Susnguakti Forest for Tourists
How to get to Susnguakti forest
  • Fly from your country to Jakarta - the capital of West Papua province
  • After that, please, take a domestic flight to Manokwari city. Airlines such as Garuda, Sriwijaya, Lion Air-Wings Air, Batik Air provide regular flight services to this city.
  • I could meet you at the airport or at the hotel where you stay and then organize your trip to Susnguakti forest of Arfak mountains.
Please, book your hiking, camping, and wildlife watching tour in Susnguakti forest by contacting me (Charles Roring) through this email: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp: +6281332245180.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Marine Life Photos from West Papua

by Charles Roring
I have just uploaded several videos in my youtube account this week. They are about marine life in Raja Ampat and Manokwari. I hope that I could upload more videos covering the coastal region of Tambrauw regency too.
I often organize marine and birding tours to Vogelkop (bird's head) region of West Papua for tourists who are interested in swimming and snorkeling over coral reef and watching birds and other wild animals in rainforest environments of this province.
For swimming and snorkeling, I recommend that visitors bring their own snorkeling gear such as mask, snorkel, and flippers. A small action camera such as Gopro or a waterproof Nikon W300 is good for taking pictures of fish and other marine creatures at sea.
For rainforest tour, I suggest that visitors bring a good pair of binoculars. I personally use a pair of Visionking 10×42 mm binoculars and a Kinglux 20-60×60 mm spotting scope. For taking pictures of birds, I used Fujifilm HS50EXR. It was a powerful super-zoom point and shoot camera. Unfortunately, it stopped functioning more than one month ago.
Yesterday, I went snorkeling to test my "new camera" Fujifilm XQ2. Its size was quite small. The manufacturer put a 2/3-type X-trans CMOS sensor II and an EXR processor II inside its body. It looked like a promising specifications.
It was sunny when I arrived at the beach outside of Manokwari city. The sea surface was a little rough. The visibility in shallow water was poor. So, I decided to swim further to drop off area of the reef. There, sea water was quite clear and the visibility for coral reef was good.
I was not familiar with all the features of the camera. It was my first time to use the Fujifilm XQ2 underwater. To simplify everything, I set its shooting mode dial to automatic. Because of small waves and current, I could not easily maintain stable position in the water. I did my best by holding hard rocks near me while taking pictures. There were Blue Devil, Anemonefish, Surgeonfish, Parrotfish, Moorish Idol, Wrasse, and a lot more. I saw a sea snake was going up to sea surface when I was shooting the anemonefish. Perhaps, it was taking fresh air. Green sea grass, green hard corals and sea star could also be seen in the water.
Damselfish in Coral Reef
The coral reef and marine life was in good condition and good for snorkeling and freediving. The photos that I made that day were quite good. I hope I could make better ones when I go freediving in the near future, perhaps in Raja Ampat or Tambrauw coastal area. I will read its manual book and see the best settings for underwater photography.
If you are interested in taking a sightseeing, swimming, snorkeling, hiking and birding tour with me to Sorong and Raja Ampat, Tambrauw and Manokwari, and want me as your guide, please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Clownfish and Anemone

Everytime I go snorkeling and freediving in the waters of Raja Ampat, Tambrauw or Manokwari, I often see clownfish or anemonefish. Usually there are one, two or three clownfish in a small anemone colony. They can be found in coral reef areas up to 15 meters below sea level. There are several species of them such as Clown Anemonefish, False Clownfish, Spinecheek Anemonefish, Tomato Anemonefish, Pink Anemonefish, Orange Anemonefish, Clark's Anemonefish, Scientifically, they are grouped into Damselfish.
Anemonefish 
Some of them were very territorial. When I dived to take pictures of them, they gave different responses. There were clownfish that chased me when I approach their "house" but there were anemonefish that hid inside the anemone or hole in a nearby rock.
I tried drawing a couple of clownfish today using my usual tool, i.e. Autodesk Sketchbook in Samsung Tab A with S-pen. It took several hours for me to make a sketch and then colored it. The surface of the tablet was small and there were some cracks on its glass surface. My tablet used to fall on the floor several times.
I hope you like the drawing and become interested in buying some products such as pillow, mug, laptop skin or iPhone case.
Coral reef is the source of food for local people. They also give significant economic contribution especially from tourism sector. Therefore, we must protect this important marine environment.
Well, if you are interested in taking a snorkeling tour to Manokwari, Tambrauw and Raja Ampat islands, as well as hiking, birding and wildlife watching tour to Tambrauw mountains with me as your guide, please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Watching Magnificent Riflebird in Susnguakti Forest

Magnificent Riflebird (Ptiloris magnificus)
Magnificent Riflebird (Ptiloris magnificus) is a species of birds of paradise that live in lowland and lower montane forest of New Guinea. The male one has got black feather all over its body that is decorated with triangular blue breast. There is a narrow yellow line feather below the blue breast. Because of these physical characteristics I like to call him Blue-breasted Paradise Bird. The birds are active in the mornings, and in the afternoons at his display or dancing site - usually a big hanging vine or a clean branch. He likes to perform courtship dance to attract his female bird.
Magnificent Riflebird makes calling sounds throughout the day. We can hear the sounds of this bird almost every where in the forest but it is very difficult to find him. Fortunately, I have seen the birds in Susnguakti forest of Manokwari.
Simple but comfortable tent
Early this month, I organized a birding tour for an Austrian couple who spent several days birding and wildlife watching with me.
We stayed in a basecamp in the middle of the jungle. There is no toilet. We used a small river near our basecamp to wash and clean our body. I prepared dome tents, mattrasses, towels, and pillows for them so that they could sleep comfortably in the forest. There were cooking and eating utensils that I and local villagers provided in the forest. All that my clients needed to bring were some dark clothing, anti-insect lotion, food, binoculars, and camera.
At night, we did some night walk to find cuscus possum, soa-soa lizard as well as birds that were sleeping on lower branches of trees. We saw Lesser Birds of Paradise and King Bird of Paradise during the day. Susnguakti forest of Manokwari is the natural habitat of butterflies, beetles, wild flowers, and a lot of unique plants.
I provide tours to Susnguakti forest for visitors who want to watch birds and wild animals. The duration in the forest is usually 3 days/ 2 nights. This rainforest tour can be combined with snorkeling tour at the beach of Manokwari.
Here is how to get here:
  • Find an international flight that will bring you from your country to Jakarta (the capital of Indonesia)
  • After that buy plane ticket that will bring you to Manokwari city (the capital of West Papua province of Indonesia)
  • I will meet you at the airport or at the hotel where you stay and bring you to the forest.
If you want me to guide you traveling to Manokwari to watch birds, wild animals and also see coral reef environment, please, contact (Charles Roring) by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or send text message to: +6281332245180.

I am now trying to raise money so that I could buy binoculars which I could donate to villagers who will guide tourists in the forest. You could support this effort by clicking and buying the following illustration printed on various products such as t-shirt, cell phone case, tote bags, spiral notebook, and etc.
Vector Art created by Charles Roring

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Birding in Aibogiar forest of Tambrauw Mountains

Tambrauw Mountains
I went to Tambrauw mountains last week to enjoy birding with Ashley - a lady from the United States in Aibogiar forest for 3 days. We went there by a small plane from Manokwari to Kebar and then continued our trip by a 4WD car to Aibogiar. It was a unique experience for me because I could watch Lesser Birds of Paradise and Magnificent Bird of Paradise in the same birding site. Tropical rainforest that covers the range is the natural habitat of a lot of species of birds such as Magnificent Riflebird, New Guinea Vulturine Parrot (which is an endangered species), Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Palm Cockatoo, Rainbow Lorikeet, Pink-spotted Fruit Dove, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, Brown Cuckoo Dove, Mountain Peltop, Moustached Tree Swift, Red-billed Brushturkey, Long-tailed Buzzard, Rainbow Bee-eater, and a lot more.
Birding in Aibogiar forest
To watch these birds, I brought two pairs of 10×42mm binoculars, and 20-60×60 spotting scope. I also brought with me a small wireless loudspeaker for calling birds. I had tens of sound records of New Guinea birds in my Android tablet. However, I did not often use this calling device.
Birding in Aibogiar was very easy. We mostly spent our time birding along the mainroad that connects the village with other nearby villages and towns in bird's head region of West Papua. Birds were very active in the mornings and in the evenings.
If we walk deeper into the forest, we will find a drinking site of animals. It was a small salt pond that was located around 4 hours walk from Aibogiar village. To increase the chance of seeing big animals in that area, visitors need to camp near that pond for at least 2 nights.
Aibogiar village is a great destination for tourists who are nature lovers. There is a guesthouse in the village which can accommodate tens of visitors. Because the trip to Aibogiar is quite long, I suggest that visitors go there with some friends to share the cost.
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
How to get there:
  • Fly from your country to Jakarta
  • Continue your trip to Manokwari by such airlines as Garuda, Sriwijaya, Batik, or Nam Air.
  • I could meet you at the airport and organize your trip to Aibogiar either by 4wd car or by plane.
Please, note that if visitors go by a small airplane, there is a limit on the maximum weight of luggage which a passenger can carry. Every passenger is allowed to carry free luggage of 10 kg. Going by 4wd car to Aibogiar village takes longer time - approximately 7 hours. But visitors could bring more logistical supplies such as photographic equipment and food.
What to bring
Visitors who want to go birding in Aibogiar need to bring a good pair of binoculars, spotting scope, some clothes, torch/ flashlight, anti-insect lotion, field guide book: Birds of New Guinea. Coffee, tea, sugar and biscuits are also necessary as contact materials with local villagers.
Booking
If you are interested in taking a rainforest birding and wildlife watching tour in Aibogiar, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com. I could also be contacted by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

Related Post:
Birding in Lower Montane Forest of Tambrauw range
Birding Tour in Tambrauw Mountains

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Hiking and Camping in Susnguakti Forest of Arfak Mountains

Dutch students camping in Susnguakti forest
Guest Post by Eline
We went with Charles to the Manokwari jungle hills in the summer of 2018. All in all it was an amazing experience that I would recommend to any nature lover. In the end of the afternoon we left from Manokwari. Charles, who is fluent in English and Indonesian, took us to a local market first to buy our food for in the jungle. Afterwards, we spent about 1 hour in the car on a road along the coastline. In the middle of nowhere you get out and take off. Don't expect a grant-maintained path, signs or other people. From the coastal road you just have a 1-hour, steep climb up straight into the jungle hills. This climb often involves pulling yourself up by your hands and can be a bit thrilling. Not to the locals though, they guide you barefoot effortlessly. When we arrived at the base camp in the midst of the jungle, some wooden platforms with tents awaited us. No shower, toilet or beds. Instead a little stream, some tarantula's and the most beautiful sound of hundreds of animals. Together with some locals, Charles prepares a nice meal on a camp-fire.
Afterwards, a night-hike is scheduled. After holding our breath and sitting in the dark for 20 minutes three times, our patience was rewarded. One of the local guides had lured a Koeskoes Oppossum (Australian marsupial) straight to our location. Furthermore we saw lizards, birds, many big spiders, frogs and many more animals. Be prepared to get very dirty and walk through many spider webs. Part of the experience! In the morning we went to look for the famous Birds of Paradise, which was an amazing experience. The local guides know how to get you really close to the birds and have an amazing eye for spotting them. After a good lunch we went back to civilization. Seeing the jungle in sunlight was amazing and the trip resulted in many beautiful pictures and even more unforgettable memories. A must-do for anyone who is not scared to go back to basic and Charles become one of the best friends we made in West-Papua

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Birding Tour in Tambrauw Mountains

Palm Cockatoo in Tambrauw mountains
As a tourist guide, I offer tours for tourists who are interested in watching tropical birds and other wild animals that live in the forest of Tambrauw mountains. The duration of the tour is at least 4 days to 1 week. During the tour, visitors can watch such birds as Singing Starling, Pacific Swallow, Sunbird, and Frigatebird in the coastal area to Lesser Birds of Paradise, King Birds of Paradise, Magnificent Riflebird, Palm Cockatoo, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Eclectus Parrot, Large Fig Parrot, Double-eyed Fig Parrot, and Mimic Meliphaga in the montane forest of the regency.
Tambrauw mountains are the natural habitat of deer, cuscus possum, cassowary bird, wild pigs, snakes, and a lot of butterflies.
Singing Starling at the beach of Tambrauw
I suggest that visitors bring a good pair of 10×42 mm binoculars, spotting scope, and laser pointer, sound player for bird sounds and field guide book: Birds of New Guinea by Thane K. Pratt and Bruce Beehler.
The trails in Tambrauw are clean and suitable for young as well as elderly tourists. To visit the forest, tourists need to go by 4wd car from Sorong city. The carrying capacity of the car is 4 people.
I have organized numerous trips to Tambrauw for solo travelers and visitors traveling in a group of 3 to 8 participants. We explored both the coastal and the mountaineous region of Tambrauw. Sometimes, we go to remote places where there are no guesthouses for tourists. To handle this type of tours, I have to bring tents, mattrasses, pillows, cooking and eating utensils, and rechargeable lights.
Mimic Meliphaga
This adventure birding trip to Tambrauw can be combined with tours to coastal area of the regency where visitors could enjoy swimming, snorkeling and fishing at the beach. The coral reef of Tambrauw is the natural habitat of humphead wrasse, striped surgeonfish, moorish idol, anemonefish, butterflyfish, boxfish, and a lot of marine creatures. Visitors need to bring their own snorkeling devices, and underwater camera if they want to see the marine life of Tambrauw.
If you are interested in traveling to Tambrauw range, please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or send text message to my whatsapp: +6281332245180.

Please, also support our works in the preservation of rainforest and marine environment as well as empowerment of local people by buying some of our merchandise (t-shirt, mugs, spiral note book, iPhone case/ skin) at the following link: Frigatebird Flying Free

Friday, July 27, 2018

Birding in Lower Montane Forest of Tambrauw

Moluccan King Parrot
in Tambrauw mountains
In my previous post about my trip with a Dutch lady to enjoy snorkeling and birding in Raja Ampat and Tambrauw, I described about how beautiful the karst islets and the rainforest were. However, we spent most of our time in the coastal region of Tambrauw to do hiking, birding and some snorkeling. The lower montane rainforest that we visited was the natural habitat of hundreds of species of birds. Some of them include the Lesser Birds of Paradise, King Bird of Paradise, Magnificent Riflebird, Glossy Manucode, Common Paradise Kingfisher, Eclectus Parrot, Palm Cockatoo, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Large Fig Parrot, Double-eyed Fig Parrot, Moluccan King Parrot, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Wompoo Fruit Dove, Yellow-faced Myna, Golden Myna, Rusty Pitohui, Hooded Butcherbird, Black Butcherbird, Blyth's Hornbill, Azure Kingfisher, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, Oriental Dollarbird, and a lot more.
Intermediate Egret in Tambrauw farmland
We brought three pairs of 10×42 binoculars, a 20-60×60 binoculars. I also had a field guide book: Birds of New Guinea in my bag as our main reference for identifying birds.
From my birding trips throughout West Papua, I consider the tropical rainforest of Tambrauw as one of the best destinations for all birdwatchers and anybody who is interested in everything about rainforest.
We saw a lot of animals including birds, butterflies, lizards, deer and snake. The forest is also the habitat of wild flowers, and unique tropical vegetation.
Oriental Dollarbird
We also enjoyed swimming and snorkeling in coral reef area of Tambrauw waters. We saw a lot of fish.
We were having fun and really like the beauty of the surrounding nature. Local people are very friendly too. Visitors need around 5 to 7 days to travel the rainforest and the coastal area of Tambrauw.
How to go birding to Tambrauw Forest
  • Take an international flight from your country to Jakarta (the capital of Indonesia)
  • After arriving in Jakarta, please, continue your trip by taking a domestic flight (served by Garuda, Batik Air, Nam Air or Sriwijaya Air to Sorong city.
  • I will meet you at the airport and organize your trip to Tambrauw.
If you are interested in taking a birding and snorkeling trip to Tambrauw, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or send message by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

Please, support our works in promoting ecotourism, preservation of rainforest and empowerment of local people by buying our merchandise (iPhone case/ skin, mug, tote bag, hard cover journal etc. at this link: Frigatebird Flying Free
Lesser Frigatebird

Birding Trips to Raja Ampat and Tambrauw Mountains with a Dutch Lady

A lady was hiking and birding with me
in Tambrauw mountains
I have just completed a long birding trip to Raja Ampat and Tambrauw Mountains with a Dutch lady for two weeks. We stayed at a simple homestay in Waigeo island that was run by a Papuan family and explored karst islands by a motorized boat to watch birds. Early in the morning, we woke up at 05.00 and did a forty-minute walk to the lek of Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra). July actually was not the best month to visit the Raja Ampat because south wind was strong. The sea was rough and boat could not travel easily to islands in the open sea. So, we decided to explore karst islets in more protected waters. When we visited the King's Karst of Raja Ampat we were amazed by the beauty of its landscape and the wealth of its avifauna. From our trips to the larst, we saw Lesser Frigatebird, Brahminy Kite, Rainbow Bee-eater, Lesser-crested Tern, Great-billed Parrot (Tanygnathus megalorynchos), Palm Cockatoo (Probosciger aterrimus), Eclectus Parrot  (Eclectus Roratus), Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Eastern Reef Egret (Egretta sacra), Striated Heron (Butorides striata), Spice Imperial Pigeon (Ducula myristicivora),  Beach Kingfisher (Todiramphus saurophagus), Hook-billed Kingfisher (Melidora macrorrhina).
Palm Cockatoo
As a matter of fact I have got quite a long list of birds that we saw in the forest and karst islets of Raja Ampat. I only mention the ones in this post that I remember.
Besides hiking and birding, we also enjoyed snorkeling at the reef in front of the homestay. I used my little action camera Brica B-Pro5 Alpha Edition to capture the marine life of this beautiful archipelago. When I was doing freediving at depths of 2 to 7 meters, I saw several species of fish such as Black-tipped Shark, Convict Surgeonfish, Striped Surgeonfish, Moorish Idol, Parrotfish, and Anemonefish.
We continued our trip to Tambrauw to lower montane forest of the region. We watched several species of birds such as Nankeen Kestrel, Grey-headed Goshawk, Wompoo Fruit Dove, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Double-eyed Fig Parrot, Large Fig Parrot, Blyth's hornbill, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, Common Paradise Kingfisher, Azure Kingfisher, as well as Lesser Birds of Paradise and King Bird of Paradise. I thought that the steep slopes of the mountains were difficult to be explored. In the contrary, it was very easy. The are roads in the mountains which birdwatchers could use to enjoy hiking, birding and wildlife watching.
Snorkeling in Raja Ampat
Because the mountains, the forest and the coastal area were beautiful, we decided to extend our stay in the regency for more than one week.
We really enjoyed the adventure trip both in Raja Ampat and Tambrauw. We saw birds, butterflies, mammals, and reptiles. We also explored the coastal area of Tambrauw and swam over its beautiful coral reef. We really like the trip and enjoyed a lot of fun.
If you are interested in traveling with me as your guide to West Papua to enjoy hiking, birding, snorkeling and island hopping tour, please, contact me by whatsapp to: +6281332245180 or by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com
Also read:
Birding in Lower Montane Forest of Tambrauw
Please, support our efforts on promoting preservation of marine environment by buying t-shirt and other products

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Birding in Klabolo Forest

Forest Bittern
This is the picture of Forest Bittern (Zonerodius heliosylus) that I took in Klabolo forest two days ago when I guided 3 Dutch birders. It was quite difficult to shoot the bird because he was sitting on the top of a tree. There were a lot of leaves and branches between I and the bird. After patiently looking for a small window among the green leaves, finally, I found one. I immediately turned on my camera and aimed it at the bird. I made some photos of the bird. I was happy because it was the first time I saw the Forest Bittern.
Western-crowned Pigeon
Another interesting bird that I saw was the Western-crowned Pigeon. When I and the Dutch birders were walking in the forest, suddenly we heard a heavy wing beat of a big bird. I recognized that it was the bird that had become our target. We looked for the bird among higher branches of the trees and were able to spot it in less than 2 minutes. Behind the bird was a bright sunlight. Taking picture of the bird in such back light condition was difficult. I tried several times but the result was not very good. At least it was good enough for identification purposes.
During our 3 days of exploring the rainforest of Klabolo, we were also able to see King Bird of Paradise, Twelve-wired Bird of Paradise, Lesser Bird of Paradise, Red-breasted Paradise Kingfisher, Common Paradise Kingfisher, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, White-bellied Cuckooshrike, Northern Cassowary, Golden Myna, Yellow-faced Myna, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Large Fig Parrot, Red-bellied Pita, Orange-bellied Fruit Dove, Beautiful Fruit Dove, Black-capped Lory, Black Lory.
In addition to birds, we saw wallaby, soa-soa monitor lizard, butterflies. The rainforest of Klabolo is a good site for nature lovers who want to see the wealth of biodiversity of West Papua.
Birding is a fascinating activity but one must make adequate preparations before going to West Papua. The lowland rainforest is the natural habitat of insects such as mosquito. There are also the tiny ones that are locally called agas and kutu maleo. When they bite our skin, we may not know about it. We will suddenly feel itchy on our skin and begin to scratch it. The insect bites will leave a lot of very itchy red dots on our skin. To prevent it, we need to wear long pants, spray anti insect lotion all over our body. We also must protect our legs, and arms from leeches that try to suck our blood. If we prepare well, we will enjoy birding easily in this harsh environment.
If you are interested in birding and want me to be your guide, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by whatsapp to: +6281332245180 or send email to: peace4wp@gmail.com if you are interested in birding in Klabolo forest of West Papua.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Festival of Arfak in Manokwari

One thousand leg house of Arfak mountains
One of the tribes in Arfak mountains
The local government of Arfak Mountains regency are going to conduct Festival of Arfak from 8 - 12 October 2018. The tribes who live in the mountains will show their dance performance, songs, traditional costumes, food, kaki seribu houses, and other interesting cultural activities.
Visitors who are interested in seeing the festival can fly to Manokwari city and continue their trip by 4WD cars to the mountains. There are cars that go back and forth between Manokwari city and Anggi lakes every day.
traditional clothing of women from Arfak tribes
Traditional Costumes of Arfak tribes
Visitors can stay in the kaki seribu houses of the villagers who live along the Anggi lakes area. Kaki means legs and seribu means one thousand. So, kaki seribu house means a house that has got one thousand pillars that support it. In reality the pillars are fewer.
Arfak mountains have been famous around the world as a must see destination for birdwatchers. There are a lot of species of tropical birds including such endemic paradise birds as Western Parotia, Magnificent Bird of Paradise, Black Sicklebill and Cinnamon Ground Dove. There is also Vogelkop Bowerbird that can build a bower and  decorat it with beautiful flowers and other colorful articles to attract his female counterpart.
Magnificent view of Anggi lakes
Tourists at one of the tops of Arfak range
admiring the beauty of Anggi lakes
Tourists who go to Arfak mountains during this festival can go hiking to the tops of the mountains and see the wonderful view of the lakes and its surrounding area. There are a lot of species of flowers on the slopes of the mountains that surround the lake such as Rhododendron konori, rhododendron laetum and terrestrial orchid. There are also myrmecodia and other unique plants in the mountains.
Your trip to Arfak mountains during this cultural festival will be an unforgetable memory for you who wants to see the natural beauty of West Papua's nature and unique cultre of the indigenous people of Manokwari. Written by Chales Roring

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Snorkeling Vacation Trips in Manokwari

Snorkeling tours with Charles Roring
Marine Life in Manokwari Waters
I offer snorkeling trips for visitors who are interested in spending their vacation in Manokwari. There are several coral reef areas which we can visit to see a lot of species of fish such as Surgeonfish, Spadefish, Angelfish, Butterflyfish, Anemonefish, Rabbitfish, Parrotfish, Coris, Wrasse and Grouper. There are also sea urchin, sea star, sea cucumber, sea grass and sometimes sea turtle which we could see during the snorkeling trips.
Visitors need to bring their own snorkeling mask, snorkel and flippers in order to see the underwater marine life that thrive in the coral reef. Those who want to take pictures of the fish and other marine creatures can bring underwater camera. I provide lifejackets especially for tourists who want to wear them. This will prevent visitors from standing on reef. We all know that coral reef is a beautiful, very rich but fragile marine environment. During the snorkeling trips, participants need practice positive buoyancy. The duration of the snorkeling trips can be as short as one day to as long as three days. The snorkeling trip can be done in other areas such as Tambrauw or Raja Ampat.
Coral Reef Environment in Manokwari
Rainforest Tour
In addition to marine tour, I also offer rainforest tour that usually lasts for 3 days. During the tour, visitors will go hiking in he forest to watch paradise birds, see cuscus possum and butterflies and various tropical plants. I and local villagers have built huts in the forest which tourists use for several days. There are mattrasses and cooking equipment. To watch cuscus possum, we usually do night walk in the jungle usually after dinner.
Accommodation
There are a lot of hotels which visitors can choose to stay for several days during the snorkeling tour. When visitors decide to take rainforest trip, they will stay in the huts for several days to maximize their chance to see more wildlife. I suggest that visitors also bring their camera with telephoto lens and binoculars.
Booking
If you are interested in taking a vacation in Manokwari, or other areas in West Papua and want me to be your guide, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by e-mail to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180

Translate