Monday, November 18, 2019

Adventure Trip to North-east Region of Waigeo Island

Raja Ampat is a very popular destination for marine tourism. Most visitors go there to enjoy sightseeing, island hopping, snorkeling, swimming, scuba diving. Wayag, Piaynemo, Kabui bay, Arborek, Kri, Mansuar, Gam, Waigeo, Misool, and Batanta are places and islands where tourists like to visit. 
However, there are still a lot of places in Raja Ampat that haven't received regular visits from holiday makers. Some of these places are located in the east and north east region of Waigeo.
Adventure tour in Waigeo island
Sandbar in north-east region of Waigeo island
Uninhabited Islands
Waim and Mamiaef are two uninhabited islands that are surrounded by pristine coral reefs. The marine biodiversity here is very high. When I went snorkeling with German and Indian tourists, I saw various species of fish including parrotfish, anemonefish, barracuda, sweetlips, moorish idol, trevally, and a lot more. The waters of Waim island are protected by villagers. Echinoderm's animals such as sea cucumber and sea-urchin, as well as annelid's Christmas Tree Worms can easily be found in the reef-crest and fore-reef zones. They filter tiny organic nutrients (food) from sea water. This is a very important function in coral reef ecosystem. In other words, sea cucumber and Christmas Tree Worm help keep the ocean clean. In coral reef where there are sea cucumber and other echinoderm animals, the sea water is clear. When tourists enjoy snorkeling, and freediving, the visibility will be very good and could reach more than 15 meters.
Yenandau beach of Raja Ampat
The White-creamy Beach of Waigeo Island
Warebar Beach
This is a highly recommended site for anyone who wants to see turtles. There is a turtle conservation initiative conducted by local villagers to protect newly laid turtle eggs from predators. They have a small wooden house at the beach which they use as a monitoring post. I used to visit the beach several times and stay in that house. While I was there, I joined them to do night walk along the beach to check whether there are turtles that land to lay eggs. We also released newly hatched turtle babies into the sea. 
Tourists could stay at this post for several days if they want to explore the beach and forest of Warebar.
Hatchlings of leatherback and olive ridley turtles
Villagers were releasing leatherback and olive ridley hatchlings
Sightseeing trip to Warebar beach
Warebar beach
Warebar Forest
This is a very good rainforest area that is rich in wildlife. To explore the forest, we need a motorized boat. I visited the river and forest area in late September 2019. It was a very nice place for birding and wildlife watching. 
Visitors need to bring enough logistics (food, and camping gear) in order to explore this forest.

Mount Sarembon and Yenbekaki Village
This is a mountain behind Yenbekaki village. I and two young men from the village did an early morning walk to the mountain. The slopes were quite steep. I saw Hooded Butcherbird, Dollarbird, Papuan Black Myzomella, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Brown Cuckoo Dove, Shining Flycatcher, Torresian Crow, Papuan Blyth's Hornbill, Eclectus Parrot, and etc.

This is a big village. There are hundreds of people living in the village. The villagers earn a living by working as fisherman and farmers. One night, when I was about to sleep, a friend of mine called me. He said that there was a turtle that had just landed at the beach in front of the village. I got up from my bed, grabbed my camera and then left my bedroom. The location where the sea turtle was laying her eggs was around 150 meters. We ran fast towards that point and arrived several minutes later. She was in her final phase of laying eggs. She laid her eggs close to the kitchen of a villager's house. A lot of villagers were watching her. Lights from their cell-phones and near by houses made the scene look brighter. It might not be a comfortable situation for her. But she continued laying her eggs until finished. I was able to take some pictures of the turtles.
An Olive Ridley Turtle was laying eggs.
The coastal area of Yenbekaki village was  beautiful. I, accompanied by some young men from the village, did an afternoon birding walk along the creamy-white beach of Yenbekaki. I saw Beach-stone Curlew, Eastern Reef Egret, Radjah Shelduck, Beach Kingfisher, Whimbrel, Torresian Crow, Striated Heron, Lesser Frigatebird, Palm Cockatoo, Olive-backed Sunbird and Coconut Lorikeet. Traveling to north-eastern region of Yenbekaki was a nice experience for me. Ferry boat service to the region is not available. 
Visitors who want to go there need to charter a good boat with powerful engines. 

If you are interested in traveling to this north-east region of Waigeo island, please, contact the chairman of Indonesian Tourist Guide Association of Raja Ampat, Ms. Rani Tumundo using this number:  +62 812-4804-900 (WA).

The north-east region of Waigeo island is a highly recommended destination for those who like adventure trips. We hope that you are interested in taking the tour. - written by Charles Roring

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