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:  or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Freediving Photos from Raja Ampat

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: or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180. I will be happy to organize your trip and guide you around this marine paradise.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Birding in Raja Ampat Karst

Birding in King karst of Raja Ampat
There are a lot of karst formations in Raja Ampat. They attract thousands of tourists every year. There is a Karst formation in the region that is suitable for birding activities. Its name is Raja Karst.
Last week I organized a tour to Raja Karst for 3 foreign visitors who were from the United States. We went there by a motorized outrigger boat to see the beauty of its marine landscape and the wealth of its birdlife. As we entered the waters of Raja Karst, I asked the boat driver to lower the speed of the boat. A Striated Heron (Butorides striata) that was standing on a rock looked at us. As we moved deeper into the small islet formation, we saw some Rainbow Bee-eater, Rainbow Lorikeet, Torresian Crow, Pacific Swallow, Olive-backed Sunbird, Black Sunbird, Beach Kingfisher, and Lesser Frigatebird, Willie Wagtail. We also saw a Spice Imperial Pigeon (Ducula myristicivora) flying over our boat and landed on a tree. 
Red Bird of Paradise
The karst islets were a very rich habitat for avifauna. They were located in remote area and far from the influence of human activities. I highly recommended this site for birders who want to see water and lowland and hill forest birds of New Guinea.
We also did several hiking in Waigeo island to watch Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra), and Wilson's Bird of Paradise (Diphyllodes respublica), Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Hooded Butcherbird, Palm Cockatoo, Hook-billed Kingfisher, Great Cuckoo Dove, Pink-spotted Fruit Dove, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Great-billed Parrot and etc.
If you are interested in birding and snorkeling in Raja Ampat and wants me to be your guide, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Birding in Raja Ampat's Miracle Islets

Birding by boat in Miracle islets
I have just returned from Raja Ampat islands in the western most region of West Papua. I went there to guide a few American visitors on a birding, snorkeling and sightseeing tour for 3 days. This tour was different from my previous trips because I added a new birding site in the itinerary. I call its name Miracle islets.
Accompanied by local villagers, I and three visitors went to the islets by a motorized boat to enjoy sightseeing of the beautiful marine landscape and to watch various species of birds that live in there. It was approximately 03.00 p.m when we entered the Miracle islets.  Most of them looked like mushrooms with trees growing out from their steep slopes and vertical walls. The waters were calm but the visibility was zero. We could not see the bottom of the sea.
Wilson's Bird of Paradise
We were welcomed by a Streated Heron that was sitting on a small rock and Eastern Osprey soaring in the sky. He flew away as we moved closer into the interior waters of the islets. We saw Beach Kingfisher flying fast to a small tree and then landed on its higher branch.
I also saw a pigeon whose wings looked green. He had got a knob on his bill. The tops of the islets were noisy with the sounds of lorikeet. I could not identify them because they were to far from me. There were Olive-backed Sunbird, Little Frigatebird, Brahminy Kite, Crested Tern, Pacific Swallow, Rainbow Bee-eater, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Black-capped Lory, Singing Starling, Red-cheeked Parrot, and Great-billed Parrot. I saw a hooded butherbird sitting on the top of a small island very far from us. Using my Fujifilm HS50EXR, I shot the bird. The picture was not so sharp but it was good enough for identification.
We were surprized by the birding experience in these small islets. It was more than our expectation.
Hooded Butcherbird in Miracle islets of Raja Ampat
Unfortunately, the weather changed so fast. The thick clouds were gathering so fast. We felt that it was going to rain soon. So, we decided to return to our guesthouse. The next two days, we continued our birding trips in the forest of Waigeo where we watched Wilson's Bird of Paradise and Red Bird of Paradise. Eclectus Parrots, Torresian Crow, Hook-billed Kingfisher, Little Kingfisher, and Great Cuckoo Dove were active in the mornings after we left the beach by boat.
During the days, I and the visitors enjoyed snorkeling to see various colorful fish and coral reef. Some that I recognize were Striped Surgeonfish, Damselfish, Grouper, Moorish Idol, Butterflyfish. There were blue Sea Stars too.
This journey to Raja Ampat was part of a 2-week birding tour in West Papua covering Arfak mountains, Klasow valley, Sorong, and Raja Ampat.
If you are interested in taking a birding tour in Raja Ampat and other places in West Papua province of the Republic of Indonesia and want me to be your guide, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180. I will be happy to organize your trip and guide you to this beautiful archipelago.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Tourist Attractions in Tambrauw

Snorkeling tours in Tambrauw coast of West Papua, Indonesia with Charles Roring
Marine Tours in Tambrauw regency of Indonesia
Tambrauw is the name of a regency in West Papua province of the Republic of Indonesia. Its local government has declared its territory as conservation regency. As a consequence no mining, logging and other activities that are harmful to the environment will be allowed. To support local economy, local government of Tambrauw support the development and promotion of environmentally friendly tourism.
Tambrauw regency has got a number of interesting attractions which tourists can see while exploring its coastal and mountaineous areas. Some of them are described as follows:
Leatherback turtle was laying eggs at the beach of Tambrauw regency
Leatherback turtle was laying eggs
  • Turtle watching - There are four species of turtles that land on the beach of Tambrauw to lay eggs. They are the Leatherback Turtles, Green Sea Turtles, Hawksbill Turtles and Olive Ridley turtles.
  • Snorkeling and freediving - There are coral reef areas along the beach of Tambrauw, and Pulau Dua where tourists can visit to enjoy swimming, snorkeling and freediving. Visitors need to bring their own snorkeling gear such as mask, snorkel and flippers if they want to see the marine life. A good underwater camera such as Nikon W300 or a D-SLR camera with waterproof housing will be useful for taking pictures of fish, sea star, lionfish, striped surgeonfish, sea urchin, and other marine creatures. There is no scuba dive center in the regency so, I cannot offer diving trips at the moment.
  • Fishing - Visitors can also enjoy fishing at the blue sea of the regency. Please, also bring your own fishing gear. Fish such as tuna, or even red snapper can be caught for a delicious lunch or dinner.
  • Bat watching - There are a lot of bats in Pulau Dua area, they play important roles in polination of flowers in the forest of New Guinea
  • Hiking, Camping, Birding and Wildlife Watching - Most of the territories of Tambrauw is covered by tropical rainforest. It is the natural habitat of hundreds of species of birds including Palm Cockatoo, Eclectus Parrot, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Lesser Birds of Paradise, King Bird of Paradise, Common Paradise Kingfisher, Western-crowned Pigeon, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, as well as coastal birds such as Tern, Sand Piper, and even the migratory bird - the Northern Phalarope. Tourists need to bring their binoculars, spotting scope and camera with telephoto lens to watch and take pictures of the birds. For the purpose of camping in the forest or remote beach, we can provide camping gear.
How to get there
Please, fly from your country to Indonesia. The capital of this country is Jakarta. After arriving in Jakarta, you could continue your trip by taking a domestic flight to Sorong city. I could meet you at the airport and organize your trip to Tambrauw regency. Airlines such as Garuda, Batik Air, Sriwijaya Air, Lion Air have got regular flights between Jakarta and Sorong city.
The cost of the tour in Tambrauw regency depends on the number of participants and duration of the trip which visitors have. One the average, visitors spend around 4 to 5 days exploring the coastal area of Tambrauw.

Please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

Also read:
Snorkeling Raja Ampat 
7 Snorkeling Spots in Raja Ampat

Monday, June 11, 2018

Affordable Snorkeling Vacation

Affordable snorkeling trips in Manokwari with Charles Roring
Freediving Photo
There are a lot of coral reef areas in West Papua. They have become vacation destinations for visitors who like snorkeling and freediving. As a tourist guide, I offer snorkeling trips that are affordable for visitors traveling solo or in groups of 3 to 4 people or even more.
One of the destinations is Manokwari - the capital of West Papua province in Indonesia. Tourists can fly from their country to Jakarta city and then continue their trip by taking a domestic flight to Manokwari. Airlines such as Garuda, Sriwijaya, Batik Air and Wings Air provide regular flights to Manokwari. There are a lot of hotels which visitors can choose.
After taking several hours to one day rest in the hotel, the snorkeling tour can be started. Most of the coral reef areas which we will visit are located in the suburb of Manokwari. To minimize cost, we will travel by public transport vehicles. We may rent a car if tour participants agree with the price.
Affordable snorkeling tours with Charles Roring in West Papua
Coral Reef environment in Manokwari
Visitors need to bring their own snorkeling and freediving gears such as masks, snorkels and flippers. I can provide life jackets if visitors contact me well in advance before arriving in Manokwari. I personaly have got some masks and flippers. The brand name is whale. The price is not expensive but the quality of the products is very good.
In November, December, January, the waves in the northern region of West Papua are high. However, snorkeling can be done in several other parts of West Papua.
Coral reef is a rich but very fragile marine environment. Visitors could see damselfish, butterflyfish, moorish idol, wrasse, parrotfish, sweetlips, striped surgeonfish, convict surgeonfish, boxfish, and a lot more. There are also sea star, sea urchin, and green sea grass in the water.
I have got a good book that I usually use to identify fish. Its title is Reef Fish Identification Tropical Pacific by Geraled Allen, Roger Steene, Paul Humann and Ned Deloach.
In the sky, I often sea frigate birds that like to fly over the sea to find fish.
Don't forget to bring a good camera such as Nikon W300 if you want to take pictures of the coral reef and fish.
Please, contact me by email to: or whatsapp: +6281332245180

Related Post:
What we can do to preserve coral reef

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Freediving Photos

Marine tour in West Papua
Freediving photos from Manokwari waters
When I go freediving in Raja Ampat archipelago, Tambrauw, Manokwari or Numfor island, I always try to make photos of fish, coral reef and any marine creatures that I see in the water. The sea life in these areas are rich. There are a lot of reef fish such as damselfish, butterflyfish, spadefish, moorish idol, snappers, groupers, sweetlips, surgeonfish, and lionfish. They have got colorful skin and various ornaments on their bodies, fins and tails. The most recommended site to watch the fish is in the drop off area of the coral reef.
Pictures of those fish could be taken by underwater photographic device for hobbiests such as Nikon W300 or action camera Brica Pro5 Alpha Edition. Professional underwater photographers usually use a D-SLR or compact cameras that have got large sensors such as Canon G7X Mark II or Sony RX100 Mark V. These cameras have to be inserted into waterproof housings.
Snorkeling tour with Charles Roring
Marine Life in the waters of Tambrauw regency
Before taking pictures underwater, I usually make some preparations such as cleaning the camera both its body and lens, and cleaning the water resistant case. I also make physical preparation such as doing some stretching and taking deep breath several times to make my musles and mind feel relax and comfortable with the surrounding environment.
Wearing snorkeling mask, snorkel and flippers, I swim over the coral reef to find schooling fish, clownfish or lionfish, other marine creatures that will look beautiful in my freediving photos. After that I will slowly descend to my subjects and aim my camera at them one by one. I can make several dives and stay in the water for less than 1 minute during each dive.
Freediving is a fun but dangerous activity. So, I don't like competition on who can freedive to deeper bottom.
If you are interested in taking a snorkeling or freediving vacation in West Papua and need me as your guide to accompany you, please, contact me by e-mail to: or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

Related Posts:
Snorkeling in Manokwari
Snorkeling sites in Raja Ampat