Friday, September 26, 2014

Watching Western Parotia in Arfak Mountains

Western Parotia (Parotia sefilata) is one of the thirty seven species of birds of paradise that live in New Guinea  It lives mostly in the bird's head region of West Papua. This bird does not have feather as colorful as the famous Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor) but it has other characters that have attracted the attention of a lot of birdwatchers from around the world.

Male Western Parotia have display ground that he uses to attract female parotia with his skills in performing courtship dance. In the mornings and in the afternoons, he lands on the ground to clear it from any fallen leaves and twigs. He shouts loudly to call female Western Parotia. While waiting for them to come he will practice his dance skills.
During late February and March, male Western Parotia are more active. They are in mating season. Male parotias compete on another to win the hearts of female parotia. They will show their best performances to the female parotias. When they dance, they look like ballerinas.
Mupi Gunung 
There is a village located deep in the dense forest of Arfak mountains that I highly recommends for birdwatchers. Its name is Mupi Gunung. Various species of paradise birds thrive in the forest around the tiny village. There are only three families in Mupi Gunung village.
To reach it, visitors must walk for 9 hours through dense forest. Villagers have prepared a house for the visitors to who want to stay for several nights.
Besides watching Western Parotia, visitors can enjoy trekking in the forest to see tree kangaroo. Other animals that live in the jungle are wild pigs, deer, cuscus possum, soa-soa, blyth's hornbill, sulphur crested cockatoo, pinon imperial pigkeon, and a great variety of butterflies, beetles and other insects.

Warmarway located further south is another rainforest tour destination that is more affordable to visitors. Here tourists can enjoy snorkeling to see colorful fish such as parrotfish, surgeonfish, grouper, and moorish idol. While walking in the jungle, visitors may see Lesser Birds of Paradise, Birdwing butterflies, Cuscus possum, monitor lizard, and various other species of insects that make Arfak mountains as their natural habitat.

Tree Kangaroo in Arfak mountains of Manokwari
How to get there?
  • Fly from your country to Jakarta city (the capital of Indonesia)
  • Take a domestic flight to Manokwari city (check the website of Garuda Indonesia Airways, Sriwijaya Air, Express Air and Lion Air)
  • When you have arrived in Manokwari, you could stay for one night at Swissbel hotel, Aston niu hotel or Mansinam beach hotel for making some preparation before going to Arfak range. I can arrange your trip to Mupi Gunung, getting travel permit from the polic, buying food, and getting a transport vehicle.
Please, contact me by e-mail to: peace4wp@gmail.com if you still need more information about rainforest tour in Arfak mountains. written by Charles Roring

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Aquarium Design in Japan - a program from NHK World

I have just watched a program on NHK WORLD about how the Japanese design their aquariums. I was amazed to see the beautiful underwater environment created by the Japanese aquarium designers for their marine gardens.
When visitors see giant fish tanks through crystall clear walls they got an impression as if they are diving and breathing inside coral reef.

Japanese fish tank designers use natural materials such as drift wood, water plants, corals, a great variety of fish and lighting techniques to make the artificial water environment in the aquarium look natural. The use of curved glass walls, man-made curved walls and separate acrylic fish tanks alligned together side by side are some of the many innovations or tricks which the tank designer develop. For them aquariums are the works of art.
The Japanese like to have aquariums in their houses to recreate underwater marine or river environments in their living rooms or kitchens.
Even though the designs of the fish tanks are so good, I still believe that the best environment for the fish is at their own natural habitat i.e., at sea and the rivers. by Charles Roring

Monday, September 22, 2014

Rainforest Tour in Arfak Mountains near Mupi Gunung

by Charles Roring
Tropical Rainforest in Mupi Gunung
As a private tour guide I frequently accompany tourists on various trekking and camping trips in the tropical rainforest of West Papua. The region is now under the administration of the Republic of Indonesia. The most popular destination is Arfak mountains.
There, visitors will be able to see pristine rainforest which is the natural habitat of birds, mammals, insects, and reptiles. Most of the visitors who go trekking in the Arfak range stay for at least 3 days/2 nights to 4 days/ 3 nights. They watch paradise birds, western parotia, and cuscus possum and tree kangaroo.

Mupi Gunung
There is a very small hamlet located deep inside the jungle of the range. Its name is Mupi Gunung. We need to walk up and down steep the slopes of the range through dense forest for full day to reach Mupi Gunung. From that base of trekking, we can explore the forest to see its wildlife. Tree kangaroo, cuscus possum, porcupine, lesser birds of paradise, wild pigs and deers live in the forest.
I highly recommend Mupi Gunung as your next destination for rainforest tour if you really want to see pristine rainforest ecosystem. You have to be physically fit and strong to do this tour.

Where is Mupi Gunung?
Mupi Gunung is a forest area located in Arfak mountains. It is in the south of Manokwari city - the capital of West Papua province.



WARMARWAY - The Alternative Trekking and Wildlife Watching Destination

If you are looking for a nice place and more affordable location for rainforest tour, I will recommend Warmarway. It is located further south of Manokwari. Here, the rainforest is similar to Mupi Gunung.
The animals are also the same. You can watch Lesser Birds of Paradise and Cuscus Possum if you really want to see wild animals of Arfak mountains. Tree Kangaroo may be seen in higher elevation area of the range.
In Warmarway, you can combine two activities as follows:
  • Snorkeling over coral reef (if the sea is calm with good visibility). You may be able to see parrotfish, butterflyfish, moorish idol, damselfish, surgeonfish, various kinds of corals including table coral, leghorn corals and etc.
  • Trekking in the jungle - In addition to watching paradise birds, you can also interesting plants such as terrestrial orchids, bamboos, birdwing butterflies, and etc.
How to get there?
  • Take an international flight from your country to Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia.
  • After that fly from Jakarta city to Manokwari. Airlines that fly to Manokwari are Garuda Indonesia, Sriwijaya, Express Air and Lion Air
  • When you have arrived in Manokwari, call me (Charles Roring) or send text message to my cell phone (+6281332245180). I will arrange your trekking trip to Mupi Gunung or to Warmarway.
Tips
  • Change your money to Indonesian Rupiahs when in Jakarta
  • Bring watershoes or jungle boots if you want to go trekking in Arfak mountains
  • You need insect repellent lotion
  • Bring extra batteries and memories for your camera
  • You need to do regular exercise for at least one or two months before taking this tour.
Please, contact me by e-mail to: peace4wp@gmail.com if you are interested.

Also read: Trekking and Watching Tree Kangaroo

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Broken Corals along Manggewa Beach of Mansinam Island

Last week when I made a short trip to Manggewa beach of Mansinam island, I was surprised by the physical appearance of the beach. I was very sad to see it. Broken corals had washed by the waves to the shore.
In general, there are several factors that cause damages to the coral reef.
Natural factors

  • Corals brake during heavy storms. Ordinary waves cannot brake corals.
  • Certain species of parrotfish bite corals. They play a very important role in the production and distribution of coral sand. The white sand that we usually see in tropical islands is produced by the fish. Waves also grind small size broken corals

Broken Corals scaterred along the Manggewa beach of Mansinam island
Human Factors

  • Illegal fishing techniques using explosives and nets in the coral reef area continue to cause severe destruction of marine environment.
  • Irresponsible tourism activites may also cause significant damages to coral reef. Snorkelers must not do their activities over coral reef particularly in shallow water and during low tide.
  • The operation of ships in coral reef areas.
  • Construction of man-made structures and land reclamation.

My Conclusion
From my personal observation in Manggewa beach, I strongly believe that the broken corals were caused by irresponsible fishing practices. Some fishermen had used explosives in the waters near the beach. Local government of Manokwari regency and the communities in Mansinam island must apply tougher actions to stop these practices. by Charles Roring

Thursday, September 18, 2014

White Sandy Beach of Mansinam Island

by Charles Roring
Mansinam is called as the island of civilization by Papuan people. This small island is located inside Dore bay of Manokwari. Every day pilgrims like to visit Mansinam to see the cross monument that is located at the beach. The monument was constructed to honor the works of Carl William Ottow, his wife and Geissler who landed on 5 February 1855 to preached Gospel for the first time to the indigenous Papuan people.
In 1858, Alfred Russel Wallace landed on Mansinam and met them. He carried out research works on the mainland of New Guinea for several months where he collected some birds of paradise and insects.
Air Salobar beach in Mansinam island near Manokwari city
I visited Mansinam last week as part of my survey trip to promote it to foreign and domestic tourists. I explored the south and the east parts of the island in the afternoon to see whether its white sandy beaches were still in good condition. Much of its southern region was still covered by forest, very suitable for birdwatching and nature walks in the mornings. Unfortunately, the Manggewa beach "at the back" of the island had been covered with broken corals. Four years ago, it was still in good condition. Now, the fine white sand had been mixed with broken corals. They landed on the shore during wave season between November and March.
The southern coast of Mansinam was better. Air Salobar was still in good condition. I highly recommend it for visitors who want to enjoy swimming and family picnic. I took some pictures of this white sandy beach. Pandanus trees grow along the beach separating the grass and the white sand.
Some parts of Arfak range decorated the scenery with its blue slopes. The range is a recommended destination for conservation scientists who want to do research works on tropical rainforest and its complex ecosystem.
Coral reef could be found along the south-eastern coast of the island making it as a good place for snorkeling and even scuba diving.
During World War II, American planes torpedoed or bombed tens of Japanese ships in Dore bay. Some of them could be found at the sea floor around the island. Manokwari is the best destination in Indonesia for shipwreck diving.
Dore bay of Manokwari
I and my friends returned to the city again by water taxi. It was a nice trip and I would like to visit Mansinam island again in the future.
If you are interested in visiting Manokwari, please, contact me by e-mail: peace4wp@gmail.com.

Friday, September 12, 2014

A Visit to Air Salobar Beach of Mansinam Island

I had a short visit to Mansinam Island yesterday afternoon. I explored some of its white sandy beaches that are facing Arfak mountains. One that I highly recommend to visitors is Pantai Air Salobar. This is a good site for swimming, snorkeling and barbecue party.
For birders, the recommended site is the "back of the island" where sighting of kingfishers, eagles, fregate birds and doves is possible particularly early in the morning. Contact me by email: peace4wp@gmail.com if you plan to visit Manokwari.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Abrasion in Mansinam Island

Environmental Destruction
Abrasion at the southeastern tip of Mansinam island can be seen at the following photograph. Most of the people who live in the western coast of island are not aware of this situation. Slowly but sure, Mansinam is getting smaller. I made this picture when I visited the island. Mansinam is surrounded by coral reef. A large percentage of the island is still covered with forest. In recent years, human activites have caused more damages to the reef and the forest. Pilgrims who visit Mansinam also leaves large amount of plastic and metal wastes from food wrappings, bottles and cups of mineral water and cans of softdrinks.
Yet, this tropical island still attracts tourists who come from all corners of the world to see its coral reef and Japanese and Dutch shipwrecks that sank during World War II.

The Island of Civilization
Mansinam is a small island in Dore bay of Manokwari regency. It was the island where 3 German evangelists (Carl William Ottow, his wife, and Geissler) landed on 5 February 1855 to preach Christianity for the first time to the indigenous people of Papua. The nearby mainland of Papua was still covered with pristine rainforest and warring tribes who fought one another for territorial claims. From a small number of followers, they spread to mainland New Guinea and to all corners of West Papua and developed into a large church. The church built schools, opened health clinics and played a significant role in stopping tribal wars. Towards to the second half of the twentieth century almost all of the population had been christened. The landing day (5 February) is celebrated every year by the Christians in Papua and its surrounding islands. Thousands of people wear colorful costumes and perform traditional dance along the main streets of Manokwari city between 4 to 6 February.
Mansinam now is visited by pilgrims who want to see the place where the earliest missionaries lived and worked.
Saving Mansinam
The island can still be saved and its coral reef preserved. People must stop mining its beach sand and stop logging its small forest. Wastes that are drifting from the nearby Manokwari city has to be stopped too. Otherwise this precious marine environment will be destroyed forever. by Charles Roring