Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ferry Boat Service Between Manokwari city and Numfor island

Ferry boat services that connect towns and islands in the Cendrawasih bay play very important role in the economic development of Papuan people living in the region. In recent months, I have been promoting Numfor as another tourist destination in West Papua. Numfor is a beautiful tropical island located in the bay which was called Geelvink baai during the Dutch colonial period. 
Motor Vessels
Ferry boat Kasuari Pasifik IV sails from Manokwari to Numfor twice a week. It also goes to Biak island and returns to Manokwari again. I expect the number of tourists visiting Numfor island to rise significantly in the next few months. Besides Kasuari Pasific, other boats that go to Numfor are Motor Vessel or MV Yap Wairon and MV Papua 5. Because they are not equipped with ramp door, they cannot be loaded with cars. For Kasuari Pasifik, because its type is a roro vessel, it can carry several cars or trucks in it. Its capacity is five hundred economic class passengers.
Economy Class
Most passengers buy economy class tickets (Rp. 30,000/person). It takes around 5 hours to reach Numfor island for Manokwari city. The General Arrangement of the motor vessels are not the same. For Yap Wairon, passengers can sleep on the beds in the compartments of two decks below the main deck. For Kasuari Pasifik, there is no bed available for economy class travelers. But it has a TATAMI Class where passengers can have sleep on the bunks located at the back room of the second deck. I personally do not recommend the Tatami Class for foreign tourists because of its high vibration which is not comfortable for people who want to sleep.
VIP Class
Every steel boat has VIP class on one of the compartments of its second deck. For KM Yap Wairon, the price of the ticket is Rp. 90,000/passenger and for KM Kasuari Pasifik IV, it is Rp. 40,000. The seats are similar to the seats which we usually see on board of a jet airplane. It is fully air conditioned.
Sun Deck
This is the best place for tourists who want to take pictures of the surrounding scenery. It is only available at KM Kasuari Pasifik. Sometimes, dolphins can be seen clearly migrating in the Cendrawasih bay from this deck. You need to request a permission from the crews of the boat if you want to be allowed to have access to the sun deck.
Concerns among tourists over the plastic wastes problem
When tourists go to Numfor island by Kasuari Pasifik, they often see passengers and crew of the boat throw plastic wastes into the sea. They have expressed their disappointment about this practice to the boat crew several times. They said that if people in Geelvink baai want to get more tourists coming to the region, they have to keep the sea clean. I think it takes time to raise awareness among the people in Papua to stop throwing their plastic and other harmful wastes into the sea.
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