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

Snorkeling Trip in Manokwari bay of Indonesia

Snorkeling trip around Manokwari bay is one of the programs that I usually offer to foreign tourists who visit West Papua. The itinerary that I usually propose to travelers has some snorkeling locations in Manokwari bay. Some of them are the Arfai waters and the coral reef areas along the southern shore of Mansinam island. Other places where the coral reefs are still in pristine condition are the Kaki island and the Anggresi beach. However, due to strong water current in those areas, I provide the snorkeling trips to such destinations only for experienced snorkelers.

The above underwater picture was made by a Russian tourist named Alex Sokolov using  Canon Powershot D10 - a waterproof digital camera. The quality of the photograph is very good even when he shot the corals at around 5 p.m. The weather at that time was cloudy. I recommend that all snorkelers buy this camera if they want to get underwater pictures whose colors are bright and strong such as the one that is shown above. 
Beside the waterproof camera, snorkelers and marine lovers need a book entitled Reef Fish Identification - Tropical Pacific that was written by Gerald Allen for identifying tropical fish that they shoot while snorkeling over coral reef areas in Indonesia and other Pacific countries.
The underwater world of the coral reef in Manokwari bay is really beautiful. Various species of tropical fish live in the coral reef of Arfai. However, most of the city dwellers in Manokwari are unaware of this beautiful marine environment. I consistently bring tourists to the areas to raise awareness among citizens of Manokwari so that their Dore bay will be kept clean from plastic and other domestic wastes that continue to flow to the bay particularly during the rainy days. 
Coral reef plays vital role in absorbing CO2 gases that we emit everyday through our various industrial and domestic activities. Coral reef is the tropical rainforest of the ocean. It is home to thousands of species of fish, marine plants and other sea animals. Coral reef even has bio-diversity that is higher than rainforest. Snorkeling trip to tourists can provide more educational values to those who see the beauty of this underwater world directly by their own eyes. Unfortunately, global warming has caused massive damages in coral reef with some parts of the corals have been bleached by that.
If you are interested in taking a snorkeling trip to several coral reef areas in Manokwari bay, and need me as your guide, please, contact me via email: charlesroring@gmail.com. I will be happy to bring you there. Don't forget to bring your own snorkeling gear if you want to snorkel in Manokwari.
Also read: Snorkeling and Birdwatching in the Dorey bay of Manokwari

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Striped Surgionfish from the Coral Reef of Manem islet in Indonesia

As a tourist guide, I often go snorkeling with tourists over the coral reef areas in the bay of Manokwari or off the shore of Manem - a satellite islet of Numfor island. Numfor is a nice tropical island located in the Cendrawasih bay of New Guinea. During the Dutch time, it was called Geelvink bay. Numfor has been my favorite destination for snorkeling and birdwatching. The surrounding water of Numfor, particularly coral reef in Manem islet, is still in pristine condition and provides plenty of tropical fish for the islanders. Today, the coral reef of the island is not only the source of food but also the destination for snorkelers from around the world. Tourists like to take pictures of the reef fish using their camera that has been protected with waterproof case. After taking the underwater pictures, they often ask me the names of fish species. To help them identify the species of the fish, I use a book entitled Reef Fish Identification Tropical Pacific which was written by Gerald Allen and his friends. The book was given to me as a gift by an American biologist Bert Harris.
Last week, I guided two tourists from Finland for a snorkeling and birdwatching trip in Numfor island of Indonesia. We went snorkeling in the morning off the shore of Manem islet. I lent them my Dicapac watercase which they used for taking underwater pictures with their Canon pocket camera. They were able to shoot a beautiful coral reef fish whose name is Striped Surgeonfish (Acanthurus Leneatus). According to the book, the tail spine of the tropical fish is venomous. So, if you see the fish while snorkeling or scuba diving, don't try to touch its tail. Without the book that I mentioned above, it would be difficult for me to identify the fish. Marine lovers who like snorkeling or scuba diving in Indonesian archipelago and the Pacific region need the book to identify the fish which they have shot using their underwater cameras.
If you are interested in traveling to Manokwari regency or Numfor island of Indonesia for a snorkeling or bird watching trip, and need me as a guide to help you arrange your trip and accommodation, please, contact me via my email: charlesroring@gmail.com.

Snorkeling in a tropical island of Manem

I was traveling to Numfor island last week. It was really a nice experience. I guided two tourists from Finland. They were Marko and Rita Laakonen. We went there for some snorkeling and birdwatching tours. Numfor island has a number of places whose underwater environment is covered with pristine tropical coral reef. One of them is Manem islet. Tropical fish are abundant in the waters of this island. We went there by an outriggered wooden boat that was powered by a 15 horsepower outboard manufactured by YAMAHA. The sea surface was quite rough due to strong wind that was blowing from the south.
It took more than one hour to reach the islet. Immediately after landing on the white sandy beach, we started snorkeling over the coral reef that was rich of coral reef fish. Thousands of species of reef fish could be seen and photographed at the depths between 1 to 5 meters. The Finish tourists used a Canon pocket camera that had been protected with a flexible water housing manufactured by Dicapac.
The underwater picture below shows how two reef fish, probably, the Eastern Triangular Butterflyfish, were swimming away from the snorkelers. Besides snorkeling, Numfor is also a great place for birdwatching. There are parrots, hornbills, dove, and kingfisher that live in the island. The Finish tourists really liked birdwatching and butterfly watching in Numfor island.
As a tourist guide, I have been promoting Numfor island and Manem islet as tourist destinations since last year. I hope that through this project, the indigenous Papuan people who live in Numfor can get economic benefits from this eco-tourism program so that they will not be tempted to use destructive fishing methods that really harmful to the pristine marine environment that still exists around the tropical island. 
Manem islet is a small tropical islet in Indonesia. If you want to visit this islet, you need to fly to Denpasar or Jakarta. After that you can take a domestic flight to Manokwari - the capital of West Papua province of Indonesia. From this city, I can guide you to the islet. If you are interested in snorkeling in the tropical island of New Guinea, please, contact me via my email: charlesroring@gmail.com, I will be happy to arrange your trip and guide you around.
Also read: coral reef in Manem islet