Friday, December 30, 2011

Air Asia Promotion in Ubud Bali

Air Asia has just launched a unique promotional campaign in Ubud, a small tourist town in Bali island. Every year millions of travelers visit the island of the gods. Most of them go by airplanes. In order to attract more customers, Air Asia hire several cyclists to ride their bicycles around the town. There is a small carriage attached at the back of each bicycle with red banner from Air Asia. "We give you the world - Fly thru from Bali to Tokyo, China, Taipei, Osaka, and Korea." This ads campaign can easily attract the attention of pedestrians on the streets of Ubud. Located in the north of Denpasar, Ubud became the destination for artists, dancers, musicians and Hindu priests, and the royality from Java when the Kingdom of Majapahit collapsed in 1400s. The arrival of these people triggered the rapid development of the Balinese society in all sectors of their life. Ubud now is famous for its village life, Balinese culture and art life that bring tourists closer to nature. Every cyclist wears Air Asia t-shirt and red hat. Bali is the most popular tourist destination in Indonesia. The competition among the airlines is tougher than ever before.
I like this advertisement campaign because it also promotes cycling lifestyle. When I saw three cyclists with the Air Asia banners, I stopped for a while to take some pictures of them. The way Air Asia promotes its services to tourists is excellent. I believe that more travelers will fly by Air Asia after seeing the ads. People in Ubud and other tourist hubs in Bali need more environmentally friendly vehicles to reduce street congestions which have now become daily scenes in Bali. by Charles Roring
Also read:
Flying to Manokwari
Plan your next trip to Surabaya city

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Magnificent View of Gunung Botak in District Ransiki of Manokwari

Two days ago, I went to Gunung Botak (meaning Mount Bald) with a German tourist, Gertraud. It took around 1.5 hours by ojek (motor cycle taxi) from Ransiki to the mountain. It was my second trip to the mountain. The first time was when I went cycling from Bintuni to Manokwari together with some mountain bikers. We spent one night near the mountain before continuing our mountain bike tour to Manokwari. During my trip with Mrs. Gertraud, along the way, we saw dense tropical rainforest, vegetable gardens and cacao plantation. Gunung Botak is located in the south of Manokwari. Tourists who go to Ransiki always want to see the mountain because it has got a very beautiful scenery. There are no rainforest in the Botak mountain. Trees cannot go on the hills of the Gunung Botak because its soil is hard and lack of nutrients to support the growth of large trees. Only its coastal area that is covered with trees.
There are some fishing villages at the foot of the mountain. Traditional fishermen and children like to go to the sea with their outrigger canoes to catch fish. The seabed in the waters around Gunung Botak is covered with pristine coral reef. The coral reef is the tropical rainforest of the ocean. That's why this marine environment is the habitat of thousands of species of marine animals and plants.
While I was taking pictures of the surrounding scenery, I saw some Papuan boys and children walking along the road back to their village carrying some fish.
The sea has been the source of food for them. There are not many tourists visiting Gunung Botak. I hope that one day, I can return to this Gunung Botak to see its beautiful scenery and friendly Papuan people again. by Charles Roring

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Tropical house Ventilation and Air Filter System

How should the ventilation system be installed in a tropical house?
Jalousie Ventilation
In tropical region, the average temperature is usually higher than in sub-tropical region. However, the humidity of the air is high. A tropical house has to have enough ventilation holes to let air flow smoothly into and out of the rooms of the house. The cheapest ventilation system that can be installed or made in a tropical house is the jalousie windows which ensure the passive coolings of the house. Jalousie is the most efficient ventilation system but it has to be covered with mosquito net to prevent mosquitoes from entering the house particularly the bedrooms.


Natural Air Filter
If the house is located near a busy street, the air around the area will be mixed with smoke and dust. Smoke contain toxic gases. If possible, the ventilation holes should not be constructed facing the street. The jalousie windows can be made on both sides of the house. However, such arrangements are often impossible to be implemented. Most of the houses in big cities share wall on both sides of the houses and the only walls that function as ventilation system are the front and the rear ones. To reduce the number of dust from entering the house, finer net has to be installed on the jalousie holes (above the windows) and curtain and be installed on the jalousie glass windows. Another way that is very effective in reducing the amount of dust is by planting flower plants near the windows and decorative trees at the front yard. The leaves, branches and twigs and shrubs of the plants will be able to filter the air creating a healthier living environment.
Today, house design software such as Archicad has been used by architects to design houses that is more integrated to the environment using its eco-designer features.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Indonesian Coast Guard Boat in Manokwari Harbor

When I was in Manokwari harbor last month, I saw a mono-hull fast boat parking at the pier. The background of this boat was the building of West Papua's provincial house of representative. It belongs to KPLP which stands for Kesatuan Penjagaan Laut dan Pantai or simply the coast guard of Indonesia. Because most of its hull and superstructure are made of FRP material, the boat is light and can move very fast on the water.

I didn't see any armaments installed on the main deck of the boat. Perhaps only the Indonesian navy that is allowed to have guns aboard their patrol boats and ships to defend the territory of Indonesian. So, the main task of the KPLP boat, perhaps, is to oversee the water from smugglers, or foreign fishing boats. I did not have any chances of exploring its interior because there was no one inside the boat. In my opinion, it looks more like a pleasure boat than a coast guard boat.
To run in higher speed on the surface of the water, the boat needs to have smaller block coefficient and powerful engine. Smaller Cb will compromise the size and arrangement of the rooms inside the hull. Because patrol boat is used mostly for one day trip at sea, it will not be a problem for its crews. by Charles Roring
Also read: Inflatable boat

Monday, November 7, 2011

FRP Boat used by a fisherman in Manokwari bay

FRP or Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic is a kind of material that is used in the construction of small boat. One day, when I was guiding some Dutch tourists to a jetty in Kwawi area of Manokwari, I saw an outrigger FRP boat that was approaching the beach. Its main hull was made of FRP material but its outriggers were made of wood and bamboo. FRP is light and anti corrosive. However, it is not easy to find FRP materials in Manokwari. That's why most of the fishermen still use wood and bamboo to make their boats.
Most of the outrigger boats are powered with Yamaha outboards with 3 bladed propellers. The Yamaha outboards are available in 15, 25, and 40 horse power. In addition to Yamaha, other outboards manufacturers are Mariner, Johnson, and Honda. But Yamaha is the most popular engine for the fishermen.
Manokwari is the capital of West Papua province in the bird's head region (vogelkop) of New Guinea island. Its waters is rich of coral reef fish and deep sea fish due to its location that is facing the Pasific Ocean. Tourists who come to Manokwari can enjoy fishing, snorkeling, or wave surfing. Those who like mountains and rainforest can go hiking in Arfak mountains to watch wild animals such as birds of paradise, cuscus and tree kangaroo. When guiding tourists for snorkeling off the coast of Mansinam island or Anggresi beach, I always rent a boat from a fisherman. His boat is not made of FRP materials but the conventional wood but its design is very similar to the outrigger FRP boat above.
Related articles: Wooden boats in the Dorey bay of Manokwari, Passenger boat and ferry boat in Manokwari harbor

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Toyota Hilux Pickup Trucks the Prefered Transport Car in the Arfak mountains

Here is the picture of Toyota Hilux G Series that is usually used by tourists who want to go to Arfak mountains for hiking and birdwatching. In Kwau village of Arfak mountains, tourists can watch bowerbird, magnificent birds of paradise, western parotia and various other species that are endemic to vogelkop region of New Guinea island. The steep terrains of Arfak mountains are the main obstacles for non-4WD cars to reach the mountains. The rental cost from Manokwari to Kwau village is 2 million rupiahs (return) which is approximately equivalent to around 229 US dollars.
Before the Hilux series pickup trucks were launched in Manokwari, people use Toyota Hardtop cars. However, these cars consumed more fuel to climb mountains. Toyota Hilux is more popular now because they are more efficient. Today, the main competitors of Hilux pick up trucks are Mitsubishi triton and Ford ranger.  

The 4WD pickup trucks are not only used by tourists but also the local people to bring their agricultural produce to the city. The land transportation in Arfak mountains greatly depends on pick-up cars like these to support the transfer of goods and people to and from the Manokwari city.
I have to say that I am impressed with the performance of the Toyota Hilux because it is very reliable in rugged terrains or in bad weather conditions such as the muddy unpaved roads, and the flooded rivers that I often experience when traveling to the interior region of New Guinea island. Toyota continually improves its cars through is kaizen and hansei manufacturing philosophy. So, when working class citizens are saving money to buy a highly fuel efficient hybrid car, the Toyota Prius, people in Arfak mountains are having their own dreams of buying Toyota Hilux pick up trucks.by Charles Roring

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Traveling with aci.detik.com travelers around Manokwari

A few days ago I accompanied 4 Indonesian travelers to Arfak mountains and Angresi beach. They were Suasti, Reggi, Audrey, and Diana. My trips with them were totally different from my previous trips with foreign tourists. I did not have to speak English. We spoke in Indonesian language. These Indonesian "tourists" were sent by detik.com, a popular news website in Indonesia. Detik.com requires that each of the traveler write at least 3 articles and upload 10 photos a day.
Snorkeling in Arfai
During their tours around Manokwari, they were involved in various activities which I and Suasti (the coordinator of Detik.com from Jakarta) had arranged for them in a 3-day itinerary. In the first day, they enjoyed snorkeling in Arfai beach. We went there by Ojek (a motor cycle taxi) at 2 p.m. after eating lunch at Permata-a small eating house in town. The coral reef of Arfai is facing extinction due to the plan from the local government of West Papua province to construct a drainage ditch from the provincial government office buildings in Arfai hill.
Night Ride with Manokwari Cyclists
After that they were invited by cyclists in Manokwari for night riding along the streets of the city. Even though they were very exhausted after the snorkeling activity, they showed their enthusiasm in joining the night riding. Again I had to arrange extra bicycles for these "Indonesian tourists" because I only had two at home. Fortunately, my friend in Bank Mandiri, lended two of his bicycles. I got another mountain bike from Peddy Tangguni, my other friend who lived behind the governor's office. We were a little bit late when we were heading for the meeting point in the hospital of the Indonesian naval base of Manokwari. The whole convoy of the mountain bikers of Manokwari had left the hospital. We could meet them at the harbor of Manokwari. The three girls from Jakarta joined the convoy whereas I and Reggi (the young man who was also one of the traveling partipants from aci.detik.com) had to go to Bank Mandiri first to get two more bikes for us. Because the Bank Mandiri was close to the Naval Base of Manokwari, I and Reggi could only enjoy the NR tour for around 300 meters. After taking some pictures with them, we said good bye to all of the NR participants.

Hiking in Arfak mountains
The next morning, we left the hotel where they had stayed for Arfak mountains. Our first stop point was Wosi market. We bought some vegetables, and fish there. Toyota Hilux G-series carried us to the mountains. The rear seat of the pick up truck was small for them. When we were passing by Lake Kabori, I asked Om Ching, our driver, to stop for while. They took as many pictures as they liked. Then, we continued our trip to Arfak mountains. Usually, it took only two hours to reach our destination, which was the Kwau village. However, because we stop several times for buying rice, and taking pictures and toilets, the time that we needed was 3 hours. Hans Mandacan met us on the street junction of Mokwam. Two porters had been waiting for us ready to carry our food and bags to the tourist house located in the middle of the jungle. When all of the bags had been unloaded from the pick-up truck, we began our hiking trip through the tropical rainforest of the Arfak mountains. We arrived at the tourist house at around 3. I asked Hans to prepare hot water. We ate noodle and drank some tea. That afternoon, we walked again to a birdwatching hut located some ten minutes walk behind the tourist house. I told them to stay in the hut (usually called blind) for waiting the birds to come down to their courting ground before leaving them for two hours. I and Hans waited for them around two hundred meters from the blind. After fifteen minutes waiting, suddenly we heard them screaming. I and Hans immediately ran to the blind to find out whether there was a snake or wild animal attacking them. Several meters from the hut, I could hear them laughing. They were not waiting for the birds of paradise but sharing their personal stories in the dark room of the hut. Drizzle started to fall. I told them that we could not wait for the birds or we would be soaked in heavy rain. We rushed to the guesthouse again. We only spent one night in Arfak mountains. After visiting and taking pictures of the bower of the bowerbird in Soyti slope, we returned to the city by the same pick up truck.
Snorkeling in Angresi
I was not sure whether we still had enough time for snorkeling in Angresi beach. I called Om Kosal to prepare for the boat. We left Arfai beach a little bit more than 3 p.m. Moderate wind blow pushed us from the north. Our destination was Angresi. The sky above the area was dark with thick clouds. The rain was falling in the area when we were heading to our snorkeling destination. We reached our destination at around 3.40 p.m. Miraclously, the dark cloud moved to the south east region, the rain stopped, the wind changed blowing from the north to from the west, the waves slowly died down.
Reggi, one of the ACI participants was snorkeling in Manokwari

Diana, Audrey, Suasti and Reggi really enjoyed their snorkeling activity at the foot of the Arfak mountains that afternoon. When we were heading back to Arfai, it was nearly dark. The coral reef in Angresi shore is still in pristine condition. It has now been listed in the itinerary that I offer to tourists who want to enjoy snorkeling in Manokwari. I hope that this eco-tourism program will encourage local people to protect their marine environment from further destruction. We left Arfai for the town at 19.00. After eating bakso in Sanggeng area, we returned to the hotel again. I said goodbye to them. That's the final activity that I provided for them during their tour in Manokwari. The next morning, they would fly to Sorong for a 1-week trip around Raja Ampat Islands.
If you are interested in visiting Manokwari, and need a tour guide to arrange trips and accompany you both, you can contact me via my e-mail: peace4wp@gmail.com
Related article: Snorkeling trip in Manokwari bay of Indonesia

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Camping in the Jungle of Manokwari

From 16 to 19 October 2011, I went hiking through the lowland rainforest of Manokwari with two Dutch tourists, Thomas (father) and Sandra (daughter). Our destination was the rainforest behind Inggramui village. Because I and the hunters had not constructed a permanent house for tourists, we had to stay in a camp built by hunters near Dopi river. This is a nice place for watching birds and observing flowers that grow along the banks of the river. There was a beautiful and fragrant flower plant that I saw. It was a vine called Faradaya Splendida. Terrestrial orchids from genus Spathoglottis also live there.
Two large blue plastic sheets cover the camp to protect our belongings from rain. To reach this camp, we had to walk for more than three hours. Usually the time needed is two hours but  Sandra liked to stop when she saw interesting insects, birds, or flowers. She would turn on her D-SLR camera - a Nikon D40 to shoot these beautiful subjects.
Recommended Place for Birders
The rainforest of Inggramui is home to various species of birds that are endemic to New Guinea - the largest tropical island in the world. It is a must see destination for tourists who are interested in bird watching. Visitors need to bring binoculars, spotting scope or super telephoto camera if they want to watch birds. During our walking tour inside this lowland forest, we saw cockatoos, a lot of hornbills, pigeons. Butterflies flew around us to find nectar in every wild flowers when we were walking through the woods. In the morning, not far from our camp, we could hear the sounds of young birds of paradise dancing on the branches of the trees.
After spending 3 nights in this tropical rainforest of West Papua, we considered this camp as our home. I made the above picture using Nikon Coolpix P500.
Protecting digital camera and other electronic devices
Heavy rain often falls on the rainforest. If you plan to travel to this wet environment, prepare some plastic sheets or plastic tote bag which you can use to cover your electronic equipments. I use plastic bags which are given for free by supermarkets when we buy some food. The lens of the camera can become foggy due to high humidity. Moisture that has collected on the surface of the camera can cause the photographs that you make to be blurred.
What you need to bring for traveling in the rainforest of Inggramui of Manokwari - Indonesia
There are a number of things that you need such as sleeping bag, and raincoat. Because this is a lowland rainforest, the temperature is quite warm around 27 to 29 degrees Celcius. You don't need warm clothing. A pair of trekking shoes or jungle boots is a must to help you walk along the pathway in the forest which sometimes muddy because of the rain.
Please, contact me via email: peace4wp@gmail.com if you are interested in hiking and camping in the rainforest of West Papua by Charles Roring

Monday, October 10, 2011

Ships and Boats in Dorey bay of Manokwari

I still remember the first time I saw a cruise ship. I was at sixth grade of elementary school. Unfortunately I forget the name of the luxurious vessel. I don't know why there are no cruise ships coming to Manokwari harbor again. The number of ships and boats that visit the Dorey bay of Manokwari has been increasing rapidly since a few year ago. Its strategic location in the bird's head region of New Guinea island and its status as the capital of West Papua province make the city as the new economic hub in the region. Every week we can see PELNI passenger ships, container vessels and traditional phinisi sailing boats arrive and leave the bay. There are two islands in the front waters of the bay protecting the city from big waves. The basin inside the Dorey bay is always calm making it as ideal mooring and anchoring areas for big and small ships. Dorey bay of Manokwari is also an ideal transit point for sailing yachts that come from Europe or Australia in their trans-continental journey around the globe.
As a matter of fact Dorey or Dore has been in the world map since seventeen centuries when European explorers came to trade birds of paradise with beads and ceramic plates, metal articles such as spoons, and machetes. Today small growing towns along the north coast of New Guinea depend on Manokwari city for buying manufactured goods imported from Java or selling agricultural produce to tens of thousands of the city inhabitants.
Several months ago, four Czech tourists went to Numfor island by ferry boat. While waiting for the boat to leave for the tropical island, Dr. Jaroslav Bacovsky, one of the tourists, walked around the pier and the deck of the vessel to take some pictures of boats and ships that he could see mooring or anchoring inside the bay. The activity of food vendors and passengers attracted his attention.
Most of them showed their big smiles to him. He also made some nice photographs of the landscape of bay that are covered with coconut trees. It took around five hours from Manokwari to Numfor island. I and the Czech tourists visited Yemburwo, and Amberimasi. We spent five days there watching birds, insects and traditional dance and music show performed by local Papuan artists before returning to Manokwari by plane. by Charles Roring

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Wooden Sailing Boat near Lemon island of Manokwari

I live in Manokwari city that is located in the Dorey bay. Everyday various types of ships from wooden boat to cargo ships and passenger ships arrive in and depart from this bay. The availability of superzoom digital camera revolutionize my photographic experience. Ships and boats are some of my favorite subjects that I like to shoot using my Nikon Coolpix P500. Yesterday, I was traveling with 4 Polish tourists to Mansinam island and Lemon island in this Dorey bay. We enjoyed snorkeling and bird watching. For that excursion I saw a kasuari (in captivity), some tern bird, a beautiful pigeon (look at the photograph below) in Mansinam island, and tens of frigate birds flying over the sea.
After spending several hours walking around the island, we continued our trip to Lemon island by a motorized outrigger boat. The boat was made of wood and there was some sea water leaking into the hull while the boat was moving. But it was quite small. So, the outrigger boat brought us safely from Mansinam island to Lemon island. Landing on Lemon island, we walked to the house of Om Jordan - a Papuan who regularly picks up plastic bottles that land on the island to keep its beach clean. Unfortunately, this old man was not there. He was going to Jayapura. There was an old woman who is his sister. She received us in his wooden house. I asked a local Papuan young man to climb a coconut tree and pick 5 coconut fruits for me and the Polish tourists. We enjoyed coconut juice and its meat as our lunch that day. The high tide was coming. The white sandy beach of Lemon island was now covered with sea water. We saw wastes from Manokwari city were drifting on the surface of the sea. Many of them would land on Mansinam, Lemon and Raimuti islands. I hope that one day, city dwellers of Manokwari will stop throwing their wastes into the sea. Let's keep our beach, sea and coral reef clean.
The cost of these coconuts was fifteen thousand rupiahs. After we felt that our stomach had been full again, we decided to continue our tour around the island. We walked along the white sandy beach which was now covered with sea water. The water level reached our knees.
When we arrived at the south east point of the Lemon island, I saw a wooden boat anchoring between Lemon and Mansinam islands. Its LBP was around 25 meters. Its hull was not the same as a Norwegian catamaran sailing yacht mooring at a harbor near fish market in Sanggeng area of this city which I saw last August.
This wooden boat has one mast which is used for sailing. It looks like a traditional wooden boat called Phinisi - a type of sailing boat in Indonesia whose designed is similar to schooner. I think that it is a luxurious cruise boat or diving boat that is driven by a marine screw propeller. The combination of diesel engine and sail makes this boat as an efficient hybrid boat system that consumes less fuel.
The wooden boat might be used by tourists who want to enjoy shipwreck diving in this bay. Manokwari regency also has got several coastal areas that are covered by coral reef. They are nice snorkeling destinations. I took my digital camera out of my bag and turned on. I aimed it at the boat and pulled the zoom lever around the shutter release button. With its 36 x optical zoom lens, I could magnify the picture of the phinisi boat until it looked big enough on the LCD screen of the camera. I shot the boat several times. To increase their loading speed on the internet, I resized the photographs and reduced their pixel quality using Adobe photoshop software.
We finished our tour around Mansinam and Lemon islands at around 4 p.m. By another motorized outrigger boat whose hull was also leaking with sea water, we went back to Ketapang boat station.
Manokwari is a very nice tourist destination. If you are interested in visiting this city for snorkeling over pristine coral reef or hiking and birdwatching in Arfak mountains or even going together with fishermen to catch fish, you can contact me - Charles Roring - via my email: peace4wp@gmail.com. I will be happy to guide you around the regency and make sure that you will enjoy your trip in this tropical island.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cargo Ship and Phinisi Boat Just Outside Manokwari bay

Last month I shot a cargo ship and a phinisi wooden boat just outside Manokwari bay using my camera Nikon Coolpix P500. I was amazed to see that the traditional Phinisi boat which was considered slower than the steel ship could chase the modern cargo ship. At first, the phinisi boat was behind the cargo ship. It was not moving on the water with sails but wit propeller. In fact, both of them were using marine screw propellers.
The phinisi sailing boat was not a cargo boat. It was a diving boat. So, it was quite empty, I guess. On the other hand, the cargo ship, perhaps, was loaded with goods which made her movement slower due to more water resistant. In less than 5 minutes, the phinisi boat was able to chase the cargo ship.
Later, the phinisi boat was at the front of the cargo ship. This is an interesting scene for me because most of us consider a wooden sailing boat like Phinisi slower than the cargo ship. In reality, it is faster - if it is equipped with marine diesel engine that drives a screw propeller. Another factor which makes the boat faster is her smaller block coefficient. The smaller the block coefficient, the faster it will be when moving on the surface of the water. 
Wooden boats frequently experience water leakages in the stern tube area near the propeller. Traditional boat builder in Indonesia do not use lignum vitae as bearing materials. They have certain kind of wood that has properties similar to the lignum vitae. However, the wood has to be frequently replaced to prevent sea water from entering the hull through gaps between the propeller shaft and the stern tube bearings. 
Modern design sterntube bearing uses seals and oil around tail shaft inside metal bearings with higher pressure to prevent sea water from entering the sterntube. - by Charles Roring

Friday, September 23, 2011

Outrigger Boats in Manokwari and Numfor island

On my trip by ferry boat from Manokwari city to Numfor island last year, I  had some opportunities of taking pictures of outrigger boats usually used by fishermen to catch fish or to carry people and goods from one place to another. I guided 2 Dutch volunteers on a snorkeling and birding trip to Numfor at that time. Because we went to the tropical island by a ferry boat, we had plenty of time talking with people or just taking pictures of the sea and coastal areas both in Dorey bay of Manokwari and when the boat was approaching the ship harbor of Numfor island.


When the boat was approximately 5 kilometers outside of the bay, I saw some outrigger boats in the middle of the sea. I was holding a Sony D-SLR camera in my hands. I pointed it to one of the boats that was going in parallel direction with the ferry boat and shot the boat several times. The sizes of the photographs which the D-SLR camera created were very large and not suitable for this blog. I had to compress the pictures in Adobe Photoshop software before uploading them to this post.
The motorized outrigger boats were used by fishermen to catch fish from the fishing ground which they had made at certain places at sea. To make a fishing ground, fishermen tie long rope to a drum that has been filled with concrete cement as a weight and throw it into the sea. At the other end of the rope, they tie floats. Below these floats, from the surface of the water down to around thirty or even fifty meters, they tie coconut palm leaves around the rope. During the days and nights thousands of fish like to gather around the leaves. These typical man-made fishing grounds can be seen many islands in tropical region. In West Papua waters, we can easily recognize them if we see bamboo rafts with some coconut leaves on them floating at sea. Sea birds such as terns patrol around such rafts to catch fish.
Because most of the fishing grounds are located in the middle of the sea, the fishermen who go to those points need outrigger wooden boats that are powered by outboard engines. Fishermen who only catch fish near the beach or at the edge of coral reef do not need to have outboard engines installed in their outrigger boats. Outrigger boats are quite safe in rough seas as long as the bamboo rods and the wooden booms that were used to make the outrigger are fastened to each other and to the hull of the boat tightly with ropes. They will not easily be broken by big waves.
Numfor is a tropical island that is located between Manokwari and Biak. It is a nice destination for anybody who likes snorkeling, birdwatching or interacting with the indigenous Papuan people to see their unique culture in their daily life. Very little information has been mentioned about this island in travel guide books. But it is really a nice tropical island.
As a tourist guide, I have guided tourists to this island many times. Some of them go by ferry boat whereas others by Susi Air airplanes. I personally like to go there by ferry boat first (because there is a chance of us watching dolphins and seeing fish market at the harbor) and then return to Manokwari city again by airplane. One thing that I like about Numfor is that it is a very beautiful tropical island in Indonesia and the cost of traveling around this island is quite affordable for most tourists. If you are interested in visiting Numfor and need me as your guide, please contact me via e-mail: peace4wp@gmail.com.
Also read:

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Photograph of a Phinisi Sailing Boat just outside Manokwari bay

The photograph of this phinisi wooden boat was taken just outside Manokwari bay. I used a telephoto digital camera - Nikon Coolpix P500 to shoot it. The boat has two wooden posts which were traditionally constructed for sails. In Indonesia, the wooden boat is called phinisi - a typical small schooner made by seafaring people in South Sulawesi. In my opinion, the two wooden masts are still preserved not only to provide additional supply of driving power from the wind but also for aesthetic reasons. This phinisi wooden boat will look more beautiful with 2 sailing masts than without them.  So, the boat was moving on the water powered by a marine diesel engine. There were no sails installed on the posts at the time of shooting. When I enlarged the picture in the screen of my camera, I saw a red flag with diagonal white stripe in the middle of it. I knew that it was a diving boat. The boat had visited Manokwari bay, perhaps, for bringing tourists who wanted to do some shipwreck diving in the bay. It is interesting to see that the boat which in the past was used for transporting goods and people from one island to another is now used in marine hospitality industry.
The weather was getting darker when I shot it. It was 5.43 p.m. when I aimed my camera at the boat that was sailing around 350 meters from me. I didn't have a tripod to stablize my camera. So, I just leaned on the trunk of a coconut tree to minimize my body and hand movements. I should have used a tripod but I didn't have it. The Nikon Coolpix P500 with 36 x optical zoom feature was able to enlarge the subject big enough for shooting. Although this camera was not an SLR camera, the quality of the pictures that I made was very good especially when the light was sufficient for shooting. As a matter of fact, I am not a photographer by profession. But I always bring my camera where ever I go to make interesting pictures that I need for my blog.
I was standing under a resting hut at Tempat Pemanggilan Ikan meaning literally Fish Calling Place of Bakaro beach when I shot the boat. Here, tourists can see how the local Papuan people call fish from the sea by blowing a whistle and feeding the fish with termites. Manokwari has been a destination for divers who are interested in doing shipwreck diving and snorkeling. by Charles Roring
Also read: Underwater photographs of coral reef

Friday, August 26, 2011

Passenger ship at Manokwari harbor

Passenger ship MV Nggapulu had just arrived at Manokwari harbor of Dore bay when I shot it with my telephoto digital camera - a Nikon Coolpix P500 from Rendani area which was on the opposite site of the bay. This ship is operated by PELNI Lines - a state owned passenger liner in Indonesia. It was built by Jos L. Meyer shipyard in Papenburg, Germany in 2001. According to the official website of PELNI lines, the passenger ship is able to carry 2130 passengers. However, in reality the number of people who travel with such ship is usually higher than the allowed figure.
PELNI, as the largest passenger ship liner in Indonesia, has tens of modern vessels like this that transport millions of people and goods to coastal towns and cities throughout the archipelago. Although, the motor vessels are fast, they are not cruise ships at all. As the largest archipelago in the world, Indonesia needs more ships to support its transportation and economic development.
In addition to being the port of call for PELNI passenger ships, the Dorey bay is often visited by sailing yachts that come from various corners of the world. There are 2 islands in front of the Dorey. They are Mansinam and Lemon. They protect the bay from big waves. Because Manokwari is close to Arfak mountains, tourists like to fly to this city before going to the mountains to watch birds of paradise and the bower bird. The coastal areas of Manokwari have beautiful coral reef that are good destinations for those who like snorkeling and swimming.  by Charles Roring
Also read: Passenger ship in Indonesia

Monday, August 22, 2011

Snorkeling along the shore off Arfak mountains

After my first snorkeling trip along the shore off the foot of Arfak mountains, I conclude that I will write more articles about the coral reefs there to raise awareness among citizens in Manokwari that they still have pristine marine park. To reach the snorkeling location, we need to go by boat from Arfai to Angresi beach. It takes around 30 minutes. If the weather is good, and the sea is calm, we can easily see various species of corals such as table coral, brain coral and staghorn coral and tropical fish at the depths between 1 to 5 meters below the sea level.
When I was snorkeling with 2 Dutch tourists on 17 August 2011, I brought my new waterproof camera. It's a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT3. With this digital camera, I was able to shoot a lot of nice photographs of corals and the fish although the visibility was not really good. It was raining one day earlier.

The above snorkeling pictures provide strong evidence that Arfak mountains are not only tourist destination for hiking, birding or butterfly watching but also snorkeling. The coral reefs at the foot of Arfak mountains are not as famous as the ones in Kri island of Raja Ampat or in Manado Tua island of Bunaken marine park of North Sulawesi but they are still in pristine condition. They are worth snorkeling and scuba diving. However, there is no diving center in Manokwari. So, the easiest way to explore the beauty of the underwater world of Arfak waters is by snorkeling. Please, bring your own snorkeling gear.
The waters off the coast of Arfak mountains still have world class coral reef. Snorkeling in these waters does not cost you an arm and a leg. So, if you plan to take a snorkeling trip that is affordable for you, then my recommendation will be the Manokwari bay. Don't forget to contact me, via email charlesroring@gmail.com or peace4wp@gmail.com, so that I will be able to arrange the trip for you. by Charles Roring

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Snorkeling in the coral reef off the shore of Arfak mountains

The marine environment along the shores of Arfak mountains is still covered with pristine coral reef. It is a nice location for snorkeling and scuba diving. In my previous articles, when I talked about Arfak mountains, the main topics will be birdwatching, the magnificent birds of paradise, the vogelkop bower bird or the protection of tropical rainforest of New Guinea. In today's post, I will be writing about the beauty of the underwater world of the waters of Arfak mountains. On 17 August 2011, I, accompanied by Kosal Welerubun (as boat driver) and his beautiful daughter Anastasia (as boat navigator), guided 2 Dutch tourists to the Angresi beach of Arfak mountains. We went there by an outrigger wooden boat. It took around 30 minutes to reach the coral reef. When we arrived there we had a small tour along the shore to find a good location for snorkeling. I would say that all of the corals in this area are still in their beautiful shapes. Angresi is quite far from Manokwari harbor which is always busy with cargo and passenger ships. I didn't see plastic wastes drifting on the surface of the sea water. I didn't see any broken corals caused by human activities either. The coral reef of Angresi consists of various species of hard and soft corals. Some of them are table corals, brain corals and staghorn corals.

It was the first time I used my underwater camera for taking pictures of the tropical fish and the reef. I was very happy with the results. I think I would write more articles about the marine environment of the coastal area of Arfak mountains to promote it as snorkeling destination in Manokwari. When I was snorkeling, I was able to shoot some reef fish using my underwater camera. Some of them are surgeonfish, lined bristletooth and damsel fish.

After around 1 hour snorkeling over the pristine corals, suddenly I was called by Mr. Welerubun. He said that he saw some dolphins. I immediately swam to him and climbed the boat again. The dolphins were swimming away from us leaving the Dorey bay to the open sea. I took my digital camera and aimed it at them. I zoomed up the picture and pressed the shutter button. I could still make some pictures of the dolphins. For me watching the dolphins that day was a nice bonus in addition to snorkeling at this new site. I think will bring more tourists here in the coming months.
If you are interested in visiting Manokwari and snorkeling in this Dorey bay, please contact me via email: charlesroring@gmail.com or peace4wp@gmail.com
Also read:
Snorkeling in Tropical Island of Manem
For article written in Indonesian language, you can read it in detik.com website at the following address: travel.detik.com/read/2011/11/12/170818/1766176/1025/snorkeling-di-terumbu-karang-arfai-manokwari

Monday, August 1, 2011

Homeport of Cruise Ship Oasis of the Seas

Most of the cruise ships that are owned and operated by the Royal Caribbean International make Miami as their home port. However, for Oasis of the Seas, Port Everglades is her home. The cruise ship whose gross tonnage is 220,000 ton and the number of staterooms is 2700 needs larger port with more service areas to accommodate thousands of her guests (approx. 5400 passengers in double occupancy rooms). Oasis of the Seas will stay at Terminal 18 of Port Everglades. To accommodate the largest cruise ship in the world, authorities of the port expanded the terminal's interior space from 67,500 square feet to 240,000 square feet. With that expansion, passengers will only need around 15 minutes to embark.


Port Everglades is located within 2 miles from Fort Lauderdale - Hollywood International Airport. Strategically it is within the cities of Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, and Dania beach, Florida. As US hub for international trading, Port Everglades is a busy container port in Florida.
Beside the Oasis cruise ship, the second Oasis-class ship that makes Port Everglades as her home port is the Allure of the Seas. Both of them are operated by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Cargo ship and Marine Polution in Madura Strait of Surabaya port

The ship that we see in the following picture was in Port of Surabaya. The port is located in Madura strait. One of the busiest waters in Indonesia. Every day hundreds of cargo ships, passenger ships, tankers and bulk carrier arrive and leave port of Surabaya. As the second largest city in Indonesia with millions of city dwellers, Surabaya exports and imports various kinds of goods that are transported by the ships. Day by day, the number of ships that sail through the Madura strait is increasing. When I was on a boat in the middle of the strait several years ago, I saw that the color of the sea water was not clear blue anymore. The Madura strait has been heavily polluted by wastes from these ships and from the industrial and domestic wastes that flow to the strait both from Madura island and Surabaya. 
No wonder the quality of marine life in the strait is low. Efforts to clean the strait should be done to improve the water quality in the strait so that marine life can live in the area again. Also read:
Port of Tanjung Perak Surabaya,
Ship displacement and capacity limitation.

Ship and coral reef

Ships are important vehicles that transport cargoes and people. Today, modern ships have bigger size and capacity. In the marine tourism world, cruise ship carries thousands of passengers. It is more like a floating city. The higher the capacity of a ship in carrying passengers or cargoes the better will be its efficiency. However, larger ships with higher number of passengers tend to produce higher amount of wastes. Wastes have three basic forms such as, gas, liquid and solid.
Although there are wastes processing machines in most modern ships at the moment, wastes are still dumped into the sea. These wastes directly cause massive damage in coral reef. Ships also have to avoid mooring in coral reef areas. Their anchors can cause serious damages on coral reef. Please read my post about this matter on an article entitled: Damage in coral reefs caused by anchoring.
I should emphasize that ships are not the only producers of wastes. Coastal towns and cities are the biggest producers of wastes. If we can stop dumping wastes both from the ships and the coastal towns and cities, more coral reef areas can be saved. Our marine environment will be better if millions of tons of wastes that are now floating at the surface of the seas or oceans can be removed.
Also read: Stop throwing plastic wastes into the sea!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The real Oasis of the seas - the coral reef of Manem island and some snorkeling photographs

Only coral reef that should be considered as the real oasis of the seas. Coral reef is the source of food for various species of marine animals. The biodiversity of coral reef makes it richer than the biodiversity of tropical rainforest. We must know that marine tourism is not only about traveling aboard a luxurious cruise ship but also about how we can explore the beauty of the underwater world of coral reef that is home to thousands of species of marine wildlife.  In recent years, coral reefs are suffering massive damages caused by global warming, wastes and destructive fishing. To stop the destruction of coral reef, all ships have to stop throwing wastes into the sea. They also have to avoid sailing over coral reefs that cover the sea bed of shallow waters. 
On July 1 2011, I accompanied two tourists from Finland on a snorkeling trip to Manem island. This small tropical island is located in the Geelvink bay New Guinea. Coral reef that thrive along the shallow waters of the islet is rich of ornamental fish. Some of them were the Orange-Finned Anemonefish (Amphiprion Chrysopterus). These tropical fish would chase the snorkelers if they moved to close to the anemone where the fish lived. 
I used to see dolphins near the waters of the island. They have been the source of food for the islanders. Now, with the coming of tourists who want to snorkel around the island, the preservation of the coral reef should be carried out more seriously. As oasis of the seas, coral reef of Manem island can improve the living condition of the villagers who live along the eastern coast of the Numfor island. It provides food and also additional income to fishermen through eco-tourism scheme.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Snorkeling in tropical island of Numfor near Amberimasi village

The tropical island of Numfor in the Republic of Indonesia has several nice places that are covered with pristine coral reef. One of them is the sea area of Amberimasi village. Snorkeling on a budget can be done here. When the weather is bright, tourists only need to walk around 300 meters to the beach where the coral reef thrive. Beautiful tropical fish live in the coral reef that covers the sea floor in the south of Numpuri islet. When the tide is high, local fishermen spread their nets. They will pull it out of the water when the tide is low catching fish for their daily consumption. 
I see that the islanders in Numfor island already know the importance of coral reef as home to the reef fish that live in it. From my conversations with them, I know that they only use kalawai (spear), hook and line, and net to catch the fish which they want to eat. The impact of this traditional fish catching method is little. Sometimes, I ask boys in Amberimasi village to bring tourists for snorkeling in the area by their wooden canoes. Small financial contribution for their service can help the boys understand the economic values of the coral reef that come from eco-tourism program that I am now promoting for the tropical island of Numfor. Because the coral reef is the source of food, the fish that tourists eat is usually caught from the sea area in Amberimasi village where the coral reef is located.
During my last visit to Amberimasi between 1 and 2 July 2011, I saw the reforestation of tidal area in Warido, Amberimasi and Baruki villages with mangrove forest was not as successful as the one that has been carried out in Kornasoren, Yemburwo and Syoribo villages in the northern coast of Numfor. I hope that villagers will be more serious in reforesting their tidal area to protect their villages from Tsunami that may occur anytime in the future.
The panoramic view of Amberimasi beach with its mirror effect is really fantastic. The water looks still nearly with no ripples at all. When I was traveling with two Dutch volunteers, Jettie and Monique in November 2010, I was able to take some pictures of the still water panorama. Here is one of them.
Numfor island is relatively accessible from Manokwari - the capital of West Papua province in the Republic of Indonesia. By ferry boat, it is around 5 hours and by airplane it is only 20 minutes. Traveling on a budget around Numfor island is possible to be done especially if it is carried out by bicycle. Don't forget to bring your own snorkeling gear and pocket camera that is equipped with waterproof case (check Amazon.com for flexible waterhousing for your camera manufactured by dicapac.com) if you want to explore the beauty of the coral reef in Numfor island by snorkeling and taking picture of it. 
If you are interested in visiting Numfor island and need me as a tourist guide for you, please, contact me at charlesroring@gmail.com.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Snorkeling and Coral reef preservation in Dorey bay

Raimuti is a tiny islet in Dorey bay of Manokwari. It is surrounded by coral reef that extends in parallel with the coast line of Arfai area of Manokwari. I often bring foreign tourists to the region for some snorkeling activities over the coral reef. Most of the city dwellers in Manokwari do not realize that the marine environment in Dorey bay is very beautiful. The presence of foreign tourists in the coral reef really attracts the attention of the people who live in Arfai region. When the city dwellers see that their coral reef is an important tourist destination, they stop throwing their domestic wastes into the sea.
So, snorkeling as a way to raise awareness among the citizens of Manokwari about the importance of preserving the coral reef environment should be seen as an alternative solution that also brings economic benefits to people in Arfai and Mansinam island areas where this precious underwater world exists. Tourists or snorkelers must also practice safe snorkeling techniques by not standing on the corals.
In recent years, I see rapid physical development on the Arfai hill. Government are now constructing office buildings in the region. Thousands of houses for government employees will also be built on the hill. This development will directly threaten the coral reef due to the increasing amount of waste that will flow to the sea from those houses and office building. I can only pray that the local government of West Papua province will give serious attention to this matter and establish a comprehensive garbage collection and waste management program to preserve this coral reef and protect the marine tourism industry in Manokwari bay.
Also read:
Snorkeling Trip in Manokwari bay of Indonesia
Coral reef fish in the bay of Manokwari

Snorkeling in Tropical Island of Manem in Indonesia

Coral reefs in the tropical island of Numfor and Manem in the Republic of Indonesia are good destination for snorkeling. As a tourist guide, I accompanied two Finish tourists to Numfor island from 30 June to 4 July 2011 on a birdwatching and snorkeling trip to Numfor island and its adjacent satellite islet called Manem. The underwater world of the marine environment in Manem was really wonderful. Numfor is a twenty minute flight from Manokwari city - the capital of West Papua province. I have snorkeled in tropical island of Manem several times. Yet I have never been feeling bored with it. Various types of corals including table coral, brain coral, and staghorn thrive at depths of 1 to 10 meters below sea level. In these corals, snorkelers can see large and small marine fish such as the eel, surgeon fish, clown fish and barracuda.
When we wanted to go by an outrigger wooden boat to Manem islet, the weather actually was not friendly at all. In addition, the low tide in the lagoon of Warido village made it difficult for us to leave the Numfor island for Manem islet. Usually people only need one hour boat ride but it took us more than two hours to reach Manem.
Marko and Rita did not bring waterproof case for their camera. So I lent them my Dicapac flexible waterhousing that is suitable for most pocket cameras. With this simple but robust waterproof case, they were able to shoot various species of tropical fish and coral reef that thrive off the shore of Manem islet.
Compared to my usual snorkeling trips in Manokwari bay, this snorkeling experience in Manem islet was more challenging. But it was worth it. We saw more fish and more marine life. The corals there are also more various.
Manem is not well promoted in the marine tourism industry across the globe but it is a potential place for snorkeling and even scuba diving. Unfortunately, there are no diving centers in Numfor that provide snorkeling or diving packages to tourists. Anybody who wants to go to Numfor and Manem must bring their own gears.
Travelers who snorkeled over the coral reef of Manem islet knew that it was one of the best tropical islands in Geelvink bay of New Guinea. However, it is not suitable for beginning snorkelers due to sea current and waves. For taking underwater picture, snorkelers must move slowly over the coral reef to keep the fish calm. With slow movement, tropical reef fish can be photographed more easily. To give you an idea of how beautiful the coral reef of Manem islet is, just see the underwater pictures that I have added in this post. They are beautiful, aren't they? Dives to deeper water can be done at the walls that are also covered with coral reef. If you are interested in taking an adventure trip to Numfor island and snorkeling in Manem islet, and need me as your guide or travel companion, please contact me at charlesroring@gmail.com