Monday, April 6, 2009

Traveling to Mansinam island of West Papua

by Charles Roring in Manokwari of West Papua - Indonesia
My today's travelogue story is about Mansinam island. In my previous post, I mentioned a little about it. If you are interested in visiting it, you can fly from Jakarta, Manado, or Bali or Makassar to Manokwari. Contact your nearest travel agency if they have travel deals or tour package to Papua and Indonesia.
Mansinam is a small tropical island in Manokwari regency of West Papua. Photo: Charles Roring
Mansinam island
Mansinam is famous for its status as the island of Papuan Christian civilization. This was where European evangelists landed for the first time in Papua or formerly known as the Netherlands Nieuw Guinea to preach Gospel to the indigenous people. They were Otto (and his wife Wilhelmine Auguste Ottow (Letz)) and Geisler. They landed on the island on 5 February 1855. Two years later, a famous British naturalist, Alfred Russel Wallace, visited them during his expedition to the Netherlands New Guinea in search of paradise birds or burung Cendrawasih. Every tens of thousands of Christians come to this island to celebrate the Gospel Preaching Day. Pilgrims from every corner of Papua and other islands in Indonesia, as well as from Europe and the Pacific gather in Mansinam island  and Manokwari city for a week long celebration.
Mansinam is only a small island located in the middle of Manokwari bay. It is a very calm island and suitable for tourists who like to relax and stay away for a while from the hectic life of big cities. There are no motorcycles or cars. Most of the inhabitants of Mansinam island come from Numfor island. The surrounding scenery from Mansinam is very beautiful. From the island you can see Arfak mountain, the town of Manokwari and another nearby island called Lemon which is only several hundred meters away from Mansinam.
The natural beauty of the island is balanced by the natural beauty of the underwater coral reef environment. Eastward or at the back of the island there is colorful coral reef inhabited by hundreds of marine species.
During World War II, Papua was the battlefield between the Japanese and the US forces.  Japanese troops built bomb shelters along the island trying to defend Manokwari against the allied forces led by the United States, the UK, Australia and the Netherlands. Many ships were attacked or sunk by both parties. Therefore, scuba divers who like to explore shipwrecks can dive around the island to explore them.
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