Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Birding and Snorkeling Tours in Raja Ampat islands

Red Bird of Paradise
As a tourist guide I organize birding and snorkeling tour adventure for tourists who want to visit Raja Ampat islands. The duration of the tour is between 3 to 5 days depending on the length of the holiday that tourists have. The tour can be organized based on the following itinerary:
Day 1
Arriving in Sorong town
Transfer by boat to Waisai town of Raja Ampat
Arriving in Waisai, transfer to homestay. (A stay in a Beach resort can be organized depending on the request of customers)
Take a rest
We could start birding around the homestay to find Pacific Swallow, Torresian Crow, Lesser Frigatebird, and etc.
Day 2
Coral Reef in Waigeo
Early morning trip to watch Wilson's Bird of Paradise after that visitors could return to homestay to take a rest. Birding around the area of the homestay. There are birds such as Blyth's hornbill, Eclectus Parrot, Yellow-faced Myna, Beach Kingfisher, Willie Wagtail, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, and etc.
Lunch time. Rest
At 15.00, another birding trip can be done to watch Red Bird of Paradise. After that visitors could return to homestay. Tour participants can enjoy snorkeling or freediving at the beach in front of the homestay. Reef fish such as Striped Surgeonfish, Convict Surgeonfish, Anemonefish, and Parrotfish can be seen in the water.
Day 3
We will go to the beach. There, we can slowly walk along the area to watch Beach Kingfisher, Sacred Kingfisher, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Brahminy Kite, Violet-necked Lory or Great-billed Parrot. In the afternoon, after lunch, we could check-out from the hotel and then transfer to ferry harbor before leaving for Sorong city.
End of the Tour
The above itinerary should be seen as a referens only. However, it can be customized according to the needs of tour participants. For booking, please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com

Monday, September 17, 2018

Adventure Tour in the Islands of Raja Ampat

Last week, I went to Raja Ampat to work as a guide for a group of birding tourists. We enjoyed birding in Waigeo and Merpati island. We saw a lot of birds including the Great-billed Parrot, Arafura fantail, Lemon-bellied White Eye, Red Bird of Paradise, Wilson's Bird of Paradise, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Beach Kingfisher, Sacred Kingfisher. On an extra trip to Sorong, we watched Orange-fronted Fruit Dove, King Birds of Paradise, Frilled Monarch, Red-breasted Paradise Kingfisher.
I often go to Raja Ampat islands to organize tours both for solo traveling visitor or for a group of tourists. During the trips in this archipelago, I combine various activities such as hiking and birding, snorkeling and freediving, island hopping and sightseeing tours. To enhance the adventure experience, I suggest that every visitor brings his or her own binoculars, birding/ telephoto lens camera, underwater/ action camera, as well as snorkeling gear.
Raja Ampat karst
My favorite snorkeling and freediving sites are Isanak beach and Mamiaef in the east of Waigeo, Yenbuba strait, Sawondarek jetty, West Mansuar, Kri island, Fam, Five Rocks and Friwen. There are also a lot of coral reef sites around Gam islands that are very good.
The duration of the trip is usually 3 days to 5 days. I usually bring field guide books such as Birds of New Guinea written by Thane K. Pratt and Bruce Beehler; and Reef Fish Identification Tropical Pacific by Gerald Allen and his friends. These books are important for identifying fish and birds that we will see during the tours in Raja Ampat islands.
I know that there are tourists who go to Raja Ampat just to enjoy the scenery and see the beauty of the marine life without feeling the need to identify wildlife. For me, I am find with that kind of trip. 
Most of my tours are supported by local villagers whose homestay we use as an affordable accommodation. When we go on a tour to karst islets, we will use an outrigger motorized wooden boat. This small marine vehicle will allow us to visit remote islets that are locate inside Kabui bay. If the weather is good, I could organize trip to islands located in the south west of Kri and Mansuar to enjoy swimming and birding.
Courtship Dance of a male Red Bird of Paradise
Red Bird of Paradise is the vocal point of the birding activity in Waigeo island. The watch them we need to go hiking in the mornings and in the afternoons. More birds activity can be seen during those time periods. However, there are also other beautiful birds that we could watch such as the Eclectus Parrot, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, or Palm Cockatoo.
Most of the trip can be customized according to the needs of visitors. Please, contact me (Charles Roring) by e-mail to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Freediving photos from the beach of Raja Ampat Dive Resort

Marine Fish in Raja Ampat
I stayed in Raja Ampat Dive Resort for a few days from 9 to 11 September 2018. I helped some friends guiding birdwatchers in southern region of Waigeo island. We explored the forest deep in the nearby hill, and along the coastal forest areas near the airport. We also visited Ik island. We saw a lot of birds there including Great-billed Parrot, Palm Cockatoo, Yellow-faced Myna, Beach Kingfisher, Sacred Kingfisher, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, and etc. I used a pair of 10×42 binoculars. For identification of birds, I brought afieldguide book: Birds of New Guinea, written by Thane K. Pratt, and Bruce Beehler and sound records of tens of birds that live in this region.
Blue Seastar
When the birding tour was finished, I borrowed a set of snorkeling mask from the resort to see the underwater life in the coral reef. I like snorkeling and freediving. To take pictures, I often go down to a depths of 3 to 10 meters or even more -below sea level. I could get closer to the fish or other marine animals that I want to photograph. There was a jetty in front of the restaurant of the dive resort. I walked on it towards the sea and then down the stairs to the water. After setting on my camera and mask, I slowly immersed myself into the sea. The visibility was very poor because of the waves. To find clear water, I swam further to deeper area. As I entered the reef crest and then to the reef wall areas, the coral reefs looked better. However, due to the strong south wind, the underwater scenery was not fully clear. I chosed the subjects that I wanted to photographs and then dived on to them. I could hold my breath for tens of seconds to a little more than 1 minute.
Christmas tree worm
My camera was a Fujifilm XQ2. I made tens of pictures from butterflyfish to giant humphead wrasse and tiny Christmas tree worm. I know the results were not maximum because of the weather.
As I become more familiar with the different settings of this photographic device, I hope that I could make better photographs in the future.
I like birding, freediving, snorkeling when I accompany tourists around Raja Ampat, Tambrauw and Manokwari.
If you are interested in taking a holiday in West Papua province of Indonesia and want me to be your guide, please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp: +6281332245180.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Raja Ampat Trip Review

Guest Post by Astrid de Wilde
Peaceful Morning in Raja Ampat
Raja Ampat is known as a diving and snorkeling paradise, but do you know that it has more to offer? I spent 3 days on raja ampat, in a guesthouse that was run by a Papuan family on Waigeo island. It was a small-scale complex. The location was by the sea with a beautiful view. We ate local food that was super-cooked.
My guide Charles Roring had chosen this place because in addition to snorkeling you could spot the Red birds of paradise here. To be able to see this you have to get up early. We left at about 6 o'clock. The walk to the observation point takes about 45 minutes. I thought it was pretty tough. It was still dark. The path was difficult to walk on and it went up steeply. But it was worth it. At the observation point you could already hear the bird of paradise. It took a while before they appeared. I thought they would not come soon. But my concerns were for nothing. Not much later I could see the dance of these animals up close. It was beautiful. You must have seen this. The spectacle took about 90 minutes. Then they disappeared into the jungle again.
Coral reef and fish in Raja Ampat
Another trip that I made there was a tour along the deserted islands. Very special, so beautiful and pristine. Along the way we could spot several birds. The journey lasted about 4-5 hours but I did not realize that we had been at sea for such a time.
Finally, I must call the underwater world because it was really special. As soon as you put your head under water you could admire this world. You could see coral and lots of colored fish in all shapes and sizes, really super nice.
If you want to dive or snorkel, bring mask, snorkel, and fins, as well as underwater camera. The recommended months are October to June. Then there are no waves and you can enjoy even more. If you come during July to Sept, you could still enjoy the beautiful scenery, swim near the guesthouse where you stay and do sight seeing tour to the karst islets.


It was nice to have some fun while traveling to Raja Ampat and rainforest of Tambrauw, please contact Charles Roring to his email: peace4wp@gmail.com. He arranges it all. With him you are in good hands.

To support his works on the empowerment of local people and preservation of marine and rainforest environment, please, buy some of his artworks in the form of printed t-shirts, studio pouch, or even duvet cover by clicking the following link:

Tour to Raja Ampat Karst

Everytime I guide tourists to Raja Ampat, I always organize tour to the karst islets. Most visitors go there to see its magnificent landscape scenery. Yes, the view is very beautiful when we travel through the small islands that look like mushrooms on the surface of the sea.
Karst islets in Raja Ampat
While in the King's karst of Raja Ampat, we do birdwatching. I usually ask our boat driver to reduce the engine of the boat so that we can watch birds easily. I use 10×42 Visionking binoculars to watch birds. Raja Ampat is rich of sea and coastal birds such as Eastern Reef Egret, Striated Heron, Plover, Radjah Shelduck, Beach Kingfisher, Beach Stone Curlew, Crested Tern, Brahminy Kite, Eastern Osprey and Frigatebird.
For Frigatebirds, they are often seen soaring in groups of 2, 3, or even up to 20 birds in the sky looking for fish on the surface of the sea. They may look small while flying high in the sky but their sizes are actually big. The wing span could reach more than 1.55 meters (61 inches).
In addition to sightseeing tour to the karst, I also offer birding tour to the main island Waigeo where visitors can watch Red Bird of Paradise and Wilson's Bird of Paradise as well as other tropical birds of New Guinea such as Large-billed Parrot, Eclectus Parrot, Hooded Butcherbird, and Hook-billed Kingfisher.
If you are interested in traveling to Raja Ampat and want a private guide, you could contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

Here is a drawing of Frigatebirds that I made after visiting Raja Ampat. If you like it, you can order it as T-shirt on the following link:

Monday, July 16, 2018

Birding and Snorkeling in Raja Ampat Karst

Red Bird of Paradise in Raja Ampat
I have just completed another birding, snorkeling, and sightseeing tour for a Dutch visitor in Raja Ampat karst islets. The way we did birding was quite different from my other birding trips in Klabolo forest, Arfak mountains and Syugrar river.
In Raja Ampat, we had a special day where we just sat in a motorized outrigger boat and did a birding tour throughout the karst formation of the archipelago. It was a fascinating trip because we were able to see a lot of species of birds without having to walk up and down the steep slopes of Waigeo or Batanta islands. Some of the birds that we saw were: Spice Imperial Pigeon, Rainbow Bee-eater, Eastern Reef Egret, Brahminy Kite, Black-capped Lory, Eclectus Parrot, Lesser Frigatebird, Pacific Swallow, Striated Heron, Palm Cockatoo, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, White-bellied Seaeagle, and etc.
Spice Imperial Pigeon
Most of the birding visitors who go to Raja Ampat want to watch Red Bird of Paradise and Wilson's Bird of Paradise.
To watch them, we had to wake up early in the morning and did hiking to the lek of the Red Bird of Paradise for around 45 minutes. We watched them from 06.30 to 09.00. I used a pair of Visionking 10×42 mm binoculars. I also brought a 20 -60×60 mm spotting scope to watch birds in distant trees. Camera with telephoto lens such as D-SLR camera with 600 mm lens, bridge camera Nikon Coolpix B700 or Fujifilm HS50EXR could enhance the birding experience of every visitor who wants to take picture of the paradise birds. For identification of the birds, I brought a field-guide book Birds of New Guinea written by Thane K. Pratt and Bruce Beehler.
Birding in the karst region of Raja Ampat by boat is something that I consider unique. It was a nice experience for most of the participants of the birding tours that I have organized and guided in the last few months.
White-breasted Woodswallow
I am also an avid snorkeler and freediver. So, after guiding birders in hundreds of coral islets, I like to spend my relax time by taking pictures of marine life of Raja Ampat. I don't use a professional underwater camera. My photographic device was only an action camera Brica Pro5 Alpha Edition. With this small tool, I could take pictures of coral reef and colorful fish. At depths of 2 to 7 meters, I saw Striped Surgeonfish, Convict Surgeonfish, Diagonal Sweetlips, Parrotfish, Wrasse, Grouper, Anemonefish, and Blacktip Shark. July is not the best season for snorkeling and freediving in Raja Ampat. But there are places in the islands where the waters are calm and suitable for marine tour.
Marine Life in Raja Ampat
For visitors who can't swim but want to enjoy snorkeling, they can do that easily by wearing a lifejacket and a snorkeling set (mask, snorkel and water shoes). I suggest that every visitor bring his or her own snorkeling and birding equipment (binoculars, field guidebook, laser pointer, and sound recording)
If you are interested in taking a birding, snorekeling tour to the karst of Raja Ampat and want me to be your guide, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: peace4wp@gmail.co  or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Freediving Photos from Raja Ampat

Snorkeling
I am guiding a Dutch lady this week on a snorkeling and freediving trip in Raja Ampat. We stayed at a guesthouse in Waigeo island run by a Papuan family. The coral reef at the front of the guesthouse is very beautiful and is the natural habitat of a lot of species of fish and other marine creatures.
This morning I gave an introductory snorkeling lesson to her. It was the first time for her to learn snorkeling. She practiced snorkeling in shallow water at depths of 1 to 1.5 meters. Wearing a life-jacket, mask, snorkel and water shoes, she started swimming to deeper area to see such fish as moorish idol, goatfish, striped surgeonfish, convict surgeonfish, damselfish, longfin spadefish, and butterflyfish. She was very happy to see the marine life.
Marine Life in Raja Ampat
After giving her a short snorkeling lesson that morning, I continued my exploration of the coral reef alone. With an action camera in my hand, I enjoyed freediving for approximately 45 minutes. I descended to a depth of 5 to 7 meters to find anemonefish, sea-star, Christmas tree worm, and grouper. I was able to take some good pictures of the underwater world of this beautiful marine environment.
In the afternoon, we had a tour around the King's karst, a tidal cave and a lagoon in Gam island. We really liked this adventure especially this July. The wind was strong and the sea surface was rough. During July, very few tourists come to Raja Ampat because weather is bad and the sea is mostly covered by whitish big waves. During the adventure tour by boat, we did some birding. From that afternoon trip, we saw Lesser Frigatebird, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Spice Imperial Pigeon, Beach Kingfisher, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Brahminy Kite, Eclectus Parrot, Hooded Butcherbird, Pacific Swallow, Crested Tern, Brown Cuckoo Dove, and White-breasted Woodswallow.
Blue Sea Star and white Sea Worm
To watch birds, we used 10×42 mm binoculars. For taking pictures of them, we used Canon SX430. For underwater photographs, I used Brica B-Pro 5 Alpha Edition.
As a tourist guide, I offer a combined snorkeling, sightseeing, island hopping and birding tour to Raja Ampat for tourists who are interested in seeing the birdlife, marinelife and beautiful landscape of this tropical islands. If you want me to be your guide, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180. I will be happy to organize your trip and guide you around this marine paradise.