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