Sunday, March 31, 2013

Snorkeling over the Coral Reef of Abasi beach

Coral reef in the waters of Abasi beach is still in good condition and is the natural habitat of various species of tropical fish. As a swimming, snorkeling and surfing destination, Abasi beach is often visited by city dwellers especially during holidays. To protect the marine environment, I and the youth in Abasi village try to make a documentation about what exists under the surface of the sea. We have done this since three days ago using a new underwater camera Canon Powershot G1X. With this camera, we are able to take a lot of pictures of anything that we can see in the water. I ask one of the youths to handle the task of taking pictures. His name is Henoch Marien. He is a fast learner. With little explanation from me on how to use the camera, he can make high quality underwater photographs.

I wore a pair of TUSA snorkeling mask. Its color is yellow with soft strap used to attach the mask on my eyes. TUSA is a Japanese company that manufactures various sporting goods particularly for snorkelers and scuba divers, including dive watches, scooter, lights, boots, and buoyancy control jacket. I like the mask because it is small and fit onto my face. Snorkeling is simpler than scuba diving. Anyone can enjoy snorkeling. We can provide lifejackets for tourists who want to enjoy snorkeling but cannot swim. 
Tourists who are interested in snorkeling or scuba diving in Abasi beach should bring their own gears. There are no diving center at Abasi beach at the moment. We hope that we will be able to open one in the future.  
Where is Abasi beach and How to get there?
It is not difficult to come here. Just fly from your country to Jakarta - the capital of the Republic of Indonesia. Then, take a domestic flight to Manokwari city. Abasi beach is a 30-minute ride from the airport. Before you come to Manokwari, please contact us by email to peace4wp@gmail.com. 

Friday, March 29, 2013

Snorkeling Pictures from Abasi beach of Manokwari

by Charles Roring
Yesterday I tried using Canon G1X at Abasi beach of Manokwari. I went snorkeling with some native Papuans. We were at sea at around 5.30 p.m. and the light condition was not really good. So, the quality of the photographs was low. Today is Good Friday. The Christians are commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on the cross in Jerusalem. It is a national holiday in Indonesia.

So this afternoon, I took the opportunity to go snorkeling at Abasi beach again. I went there at around 01.30 p.m. trying to shoot reef fish and corals with Canon Powershot G1X. I took some pictures of the reefs several times but there were a lot of children swimming closer to me. The fish were afraid of us. They went away from us. After around half an hour in the water, I saw my friend was coming. His name was Henoch Marien, a native Papuan from Abasi village who was also a wave surfer. I gave him a short explanation on how to use the camera that was covered with WP-DC 44 an underwater housing for the camera.

Henoch asked the children to go away from him so that he could take pictures alone. It was good for Henoch to take pictures alone because the fish were not afraid anymore. I also maintain a good distance with him. A few hours later, I told him that I had to return to the beach. Slowly, we swam to the left. On the right of us was the surfing sites whose waves are big.
Arriving at the beach, I immediately asked Henoch to turn the camera on. I wanted to see pictures that he made with the new camera. The result was really fantastic. Canon Powershot G1X is really a very good camera for underwater photography. While writing this post, I open Reef Fish Identification book. With the book, I could identify some fish that appear in the photographs. Some of them are Butterflyfish, Damselfish, Striped Surgeon fish (Acanthurus lineatus) and Convict surgeonfish (Acanthurus triostegus).
These photographs are made to promote Abasi beach in Manokwari city of West Papua as a destination for visitors who understand alternative or responsible tourism. We want to develop a tourism program that brings maximum benefits to the local people and the environment.
I have been promoting Manokwari as a tourist destination since several years ago. Tourists who come to Manokwari can enjoy snorkeling, diving, trekking, birdwatching, caving, and wave surfing. I work with native Papuans trying to empower them as the main stakeholder in an eco-tourism scheme that will bring improvements in the standards of living of local people and in the preservation of nature. I hope that you like the above photographs and consider this city as your next destination. Before flying to Manokwari city, please, contact us by email to abasiklubsurfing@gmail.com.
We will provide information, arrange your trip and accomodation and give a guiding service while you are here. If you are a wave surfer and wants more information about surfing at Abasi beach, please, visit this blog http://abasiklubsurfing.blogspot.com.

Snorkeling in Abasi beach of Manokwari

by Charles Roring
Abasi beach is located just a 20-minute ride from Manokwari city. It is a nice place for various marine sports activities. People who like surfing can ride their boards there. But it also has got a long coral reef belt that is home to various species of fish and reefs. Two days ago, I received a package from Jakarta. There were two boxes in the package. One was a Canon G1X digital camera and the other was a WP-DC44 waterproof case. The next day (which was yesterday), I visited to Abasi beach to test the camera. I went snorkeling with three native boys.
It was around 5 p.m. when we went to the sea. I slipped my hand into the strap of the waterproof case so that it would not drift away. Then we swam over an underwater hill which was 3 meter below the sea surface. The hill was covered with various corals. I asked one of the boys to go down first and then I took a picture of him using the new Canon G1X camera. I took some more pictures of the reefs and the boys who looked happy to be taken their pictures of when staying underwater without any diving gear.
The quality of the photographs was very good even in low light condition. When I and the boys went snorkeling, the weather was cloudy. I recommend this camera to anybody who is thinking of buying a camera for underwater photography.
To go to Abasi, you need to fly from your country to Jakarta. Then, you need to take a domestic flight (served by such airlines as Express Air, Lion Air and Sriwijaya Air) to Manokwari city. We can meet you at the airport, arrange your accommodation in a guesthouse or beach hotel and provide guiding assistance in Manokwari. If you are interested in surfing, fishing or snorkeling at Abasi beach, please, contact Salo at her email: abasiklubsurfing@gmail.com. I am sure she will be glad to bring you there.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Snorkeling over the coral reef of Manokwari


by Charles Roring
I often receive questions from people who read my blogs whether they can do snorkeling in Manokwari. I know that actually I have written a lot of articles about this topic in this blog but perhaps they are buried under hundreds of other articles that discuss ship, cars, rainforest or renewable energy. To give a quick answer, I say yes. Most of the coastal areas of Dorey bay,  the islands of Mansinam, Lemon, and Raimuti have got coral reef. Near the city, the reef have suffered from run off sediments and trash that flow into the sea during rainy season. Places whose coral reefs are still in pristine condition can be seen along the coast of Maruni to Warkapi, Oransbari and Ransiki. Unfortunately, they are quite far from the city.
From my recent snorkeling trip, I can say that the waters around Abasi are still good for snorkeling. The nearby Cape Bakaro is a world class surfing spot. Anybody who wants to see the beauty of the underwater world of Manokwari can go there. The presence of foreign tourists in the area will attract the attention of local Papuan villagers about the importance of preserving coral reef for their livelihood. Healthy reef is able to provide fish for the islanders. It is also a good asset for ecotourism.
Strong winds blow to the north coast of Manokwari between late Nov, December, January, Feb, March, and early April, this is the best time for surfing. Wave surfers from every corner of the globe can come to Manokwari during this time. Tourists who are not surfers can still swim and see the coral reef, damsel fish, butterfly fish, inside the bay of Manokwari whose waters are relatively calm. If you plan to travel to Manokwari to go birding or enjoy snorkeling or mountain biking, please, contact me by email to peace4wp@gmail.com. I will be happy to provide information, and guide you around this city.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Surfing at Cape Bakaro of Manokwari

by Charles Roring/ E-mail: peace4wp@gmail.com
Very few international surfers know about the existence of Cape Bakaro. After I wrote an article about Victor Dykman's (a Dutch tourist) surfing trip in Manokwari city a few years ago, I got an email from a member of Surf Explore team. He said that he would explore beaches in West Papua that is suitable for wave surfing. In my reply email, I told him there are several places that are suitable for surfing. Some of them are Abasi, and Cape Bakaro. We still had some telephone conversations before I got a confirmation that they would come to Indonesia. They arrived in this city in late February 2013. Spending around 2 weeks in Manokwari, they surfed at the beaches of Abasi, Cape Bakaro, Tanjung Pepaya and some places that are far from the downtown. When I asked them the recommended spot for experienced wave surfers, all of them answered Cape Bakaro. The following photograph shows how an international surfer, Hayato Maki, enjoyed surfing at the cape.

Phil Goodrich - a surfing artist at Abasi beach of Manokwari
It is not difficult to reach Manokwari. If you are a surfer and wants to ride the waves of Cape Bakaro, just fly from your country to Jakarta - the capital of the Republic of Indonesia. Then take a domestic flight to Manokwari city. The airlines that fly between Jakarta and Manokwari are Sriwijaya, Express Air, and Lion Air. Bring your own surfboards and don't forget to contact me before you come.