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:
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