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 and Birdwatching 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.
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




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