Far in West Papua, there lies a national park with the largest water surface in Indonesia. Consisting of 18 islands, this area has approximately 500 kilometers of coastal line. Countless species of sea creatures, both flora and fauna, are living the best of their live under the water. Cenderawasih Bay National Park also features tropical rainforest and mangrove. This secluded heaven is like a brand new world discovered recently.
Altough it is not an easy place to reach, there are many choices of way to get there. Here they are:
- By Plane
Take a flight to Biak Airport from Jakarta City, Surabaya City, Denpasar, Makassar, or Jayapura. From Biak, get another flight with small plane that could take you to Nabire. Cenderawasih Bay can be reached from Nabire using motorboat for about 3 hours.
There is also a flight from Jakarta to Manokwari that you can use. From Manokwari, you can continue your journey to the national park using motorboat.
- By Ship
Long-distance sea ship is also available to reach Manokwari or Nabire from Jakarta, Surabaya, Makassar, and Jayapura. From Manokwari or Nabire, you can continue your journey using longboat to Cenderawasih Bay.
There is barely a hotel on this wide archipelago. But you can still have a comfortable stay-in with these available choices:
- Pearl of Papua Live Aboard
Live Aboard is a kind of accomodation on a ship. You will get all of your necessities there including bed, food, beverages, diving tools, and tour guide. Pearl of Papua also has fancy bathroom, spa and massage service, and wonderful feast.
- Tourism Cottage of Cenderawasih Bay National Park Office
If you don’t feel like staying on a ship, the only choice that you have is to stay in a tourism cottage owned by the management office of Cenderawasih Bay National Park. But you need to make a reservation in advance by contacting them.
Address : Jalan Trikora Wosi Rendani, Kotak Pos 229, Manokwari 98312, Papua Barat
Telp : (0986) 212212
Fax : (0986) 212437
E-mail : [email protected]
With area of 1,453,500 hectares wide, the ocean takes about 89% of it. From that area, about 65% of the ocean floor is all covered by coral formation. With the coral formation that rich, no wonder there lives plenty of sea creatures there, both floras and faunas. That is what makes this place very tempting to travelers, especially divers.
According to the statistic, on this marine lives about 196 species of mollusks, including cowries mussel, stormbidae mussel, conus mussel, and giant clam. The fishes are vary up to around 209 species including parrotfish, rabbitfish, ornate ghost pipefish, damselfish, butterflyfish, cockatoo waspfish, anemonfish, and much more. You can also find 4 species of endangered turtles there. They are Eretmochelys imbricata, Chelonia mydas, Lepidochelys olivaceae, and Dermochelys coriacea.
If you are a fan of gigantic animal, this place might be your paradise too as you can encounter dolphins, blue whale, shark, and the great whale shark. If you want to see the dolphins and blue whale, you just simply need to visit Yoop Island, Wendesi Island, Wasior Island, or Yomber Island. Those islands also has some relics from Dutch colonialism era.
From all of the sea animals in this area, whale shark is the most attractive one. This gigantic animal could span up to 14 meters long, but it is not dangerous at all. It only eats small fishes. Local fishermen have been quite familiar with them as they like to show up around the fishermen’s fish trap. It is safe enough for divers to be very close to these amazing creature. But remember not to ever touch them as it may trigger their awareness.
The best place to have the higher chance to encounter them Kwatisor, where you can either snorkel, dive, or simply sit back on your boat. The whale shark sometimes also shows up to the ocean surface. Whale shark could also be found around Ahe on Harlem Islands. Kwatisor itslef has been an international research center for whale shark studies.
Altough it has no much of land area, the national park still have some tempting choices of adventure you can do on the land such as:
- Serui Beach
The vast clearwater ocean must be a nice scenery to see. In which is best to enjoy by sitting back on a quiet sandy beach. Serui Beach might be the most beautiful coastal area on this national park.
- Misowaar Island
Other island with unique attraction is Misowaar Island. It has a cave which is a natural hot spring. The hot water contains sulfur which might be good for your skin complexion. Inside the cave, there lies an ancient human skeleton. Locals believe that skeleton belonged to the first human who came to the island. Therefore, the skeleton owner was their ancestor. Misowaar Island also has an astonishing waterfall that would be a waste if you skip it.
- Rumberpon Island
This island is located at the top west of Cenderawasih Bay National Park. It would be you gateway to the area if you come using longboat from Manokwari. The water around this island have several of best diving spots in Papua. One of the most unique one is wreck diving spots where there lies a wreckage of Japanese airplane that fell down and drowned during World War II.
Its land is just as good. There are about 36 species of birds flying around. It is going to be utterly fun to do some bird-watching there. To complete your land adventure, try going a little deeper to the forest and you will see some deers.
- Numfor Island
For more pre-historic tourism, visit Numfor Island. Similar to Misowaar, this island too, has a natural cave where there lies human skeleton on it. You can also see several primitive paintings on the cave wall. The island also has several other pre-historical artifacts such as carved coffin and antique plates.
- Roon Island
If you are Christian, you might find Roon Island interesting as it has interesting history regarding its major religion. There is an old church believed to be the first church on the whole area of Cenderawasih Bay. Y
ou can also find an old copy of Bible printed on 1898. You can also meet some local christians who live on the island. This island also has a set of forest which contains a waterfall. Other fun thing to do on this island is animal observation.
Sometimes, the purest heaven of earth is located on a very secluded place. Just like Cenderawasih Bay National Park. This vast paradise still has not much of visitors per year. It might be the best chance you can get to explore the pristine nature without too much distractions and crowds. If this is your dream, then you must make your agenda as soon as possible.
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