Friday, December 10, 2010

Passenger Ship Yap Wairon

Last October I traveled by passenger ship MV Yap Wairon to Numfor island. It is a small tropical island located in the Geelvink bay of New Guinea island of Indonesia. The Motor Vessel YAP Wairon is a cargo passenger ship that routinely travels around the bay to bring cargoes and people from one town to another.
I went to Numfor island to do a little survey on ecotourism potentials that can bring economic benefits to the local people and at the same time preserve the tropical rainforest and the coral reef of the island. Passenger ship Yap Wairon has the capacity of around two hundred people. Its service speed is about 15 knots. Compared to big passenger ships that are operated by PELNI lines, YAP Wairon is a slow and small passenger boat perhaps operated by the local government in cooperation with PELNI lines.
The boat is powered by diesel engine as the main propulsion unit. Because this is only a small passenger boat, the propelling device is of course a four blade propeller. I personally did not check whether the propelling unit is a controllable pitch propeller or not. But from the way she approached the Numfor harbor, I could easily tell that the boat is only equipped with fixed pitch propeller. Marine diesel engine has been the main power plant of most ships operating in the Indonesian islands. Besides its fuel is cheap, it can easily be operated by crews without high technical experience.
There are two passenger compartments located below the main deck. All of them are for economy class. There are only two classes in the boat, economy and VIP. The ticket price for the economy class is Rp. 30,000/person whereas the price for VIP is Rp. 90,000/person. Only the VIP class that is Air Conditioned. I tried both of them. The seats of the VIP class were similar to the seats that we usually found in a jet plane. They were quite comfortable. For the economy class compartments, I felt that the air ventilation system did not work properly. Or because they were a modified version of a cargo ship then the indoor ventilation system has not been optimally calculated. It was too hot and not comfortable for passengers especially foreign tourists. It was not surprising to see that more passengers prefer to stay at the main deck which was only covered with tarpaulin sheet.
The main deck is more windy. One thing that I like from the economy class compartments is their stability. Because the economy class decks were located below the main deck, their center of gravity was lower. When the ship rolled, the passengers did not really feel much movement. The transversal movement of the boat could significantly be felt on the main deck and inside the VIP room. Passenger boat MV Yap Wairon is definitely not a luxurious passenger or cruise ship like Oasis of the Seas. It is only a simple and functional passenger ship that is important for the economic development of small islands in the Geelvink bay. It took 6 hours from Manokwari to Numfor island. I used the time to talk with the passengers about interesting and beautiful places which the local people like to visit in their leisure time. If you are fine with the description about the boat, then I encourage you to take your spring or summer holiday in Numfor island.
From the overnight conversation with the Papuan people who live in the Numfor island, I know that Asaibori beach is the most favorite place to visit. Yes, it is really beautiful to be in that beach. In addition to Asaibori, another white sandy beach that I recommend to tourists is Samido beach which is located not far from Kornasoren village.
Numfor island and other islands in the Geelvink bay have been considered as important destinations for birders who want to watch the tropical birds. From an article about Numfoor island that I read in Wikipedia, it says that the density of birds in the island is higher than its main New Guinea island.
I have also brought Western tourists to Numfoor island to enjoy snorkeling and scuba diving over pristine coral reef that thrive around the island. This is an alternative cheaper place for those who want to enjoy the beauty of the under water marine environment in the tropical region of Indonesia. by Charles Roring