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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Manado Tua Island

Manado Tua Island


Manado Tua or Old Manado island, together with the islands of Bunaken, Siladen, Mantehage and Nain form the Bunaken-Manado Tua Marine National Park. The Park lies just off shore from the city of Manado, capital of the province of North Sulawesi, site of the first World Ocean Conference 2009 which held in May. Covering a total of 89,065 hectares, the Bunaken-Manado Tua park is among the most spectacular dive sites in the world.

Manado Tua Island


The islands are separated from the mainland by a submarine trench that reaches a depth of 1,200 meters, and keeps these waters relatively free from city garbage and silt. The reserve is protected by law from spearfishing and coral or fish-collecting, as well as from dynamite fishing.

Manado Tua Island



Only one hour by motor boat from Manado town, the island of Manado Tua is distinguished by the majestic perfect cone of the extinct volcano that formed the island, which is capped with a rainforest on its summit. Around the island are underwater plateaus sloping from 5 meters to 30 meters, fringed by vertical coral walls plunging 25 to 50 meters down, and large caves with hanging coral reefs: a truly amazing sea garden. Next to Manado Tua is the more well-known island of Bunaken.

Nambo Beach, Kendari



Perched on the east coast of Southeast Sulawesi, Kendari, the capital city of Southeast Sulawesi Province is blessed with a number of beautiful beaches. One of these is Nambo Beach: A lovely relaxing coastline that definitely lives up to its name, since Nambo is derived from the local word “meambo” which means “Excellent”.




Kuta Beach, Bali


Once a sleepy village with a quiet, beautiful sweep of beach, Kuta today has become a popular beach destination in its own right, alive with tourists from all over the world, swimming, surfing or sunbathing by the beach. Others, casually dressed in shorts, T-shirts and flip-flops stroll along its main road, shopping around or enjoying meals at its many open air restaurants. When in Kuta you know that you are in a holiday town, and people here are in a holiday mood.   
Back in the 1960’s the only hotel was the Kuta Beach Hotel, but soon without much planning, Kuta developed rapidly into a haunt for surfers and backpackers, while the high end market preferred to stay at the more sedate Sanur village on the opposite side of the peninsula.   
With time, Kuta’s popularity grew, and shops, restaurants, discos hotels, - from the simple to the exclusive - sprang up along the main road from Kuta to Legian, catering to the ever increasing holiday crowd, that not only included international tourists but also domestic visitors from Jakarta and other big cities. 
On the beach, people enjoy parasailing, banana boat trips or swimming Women offer traditional Indonesian massage on the beach, others are seen plaiting hair. 
Before sunset, crowds rush to the beach waiting to watch Kuta’s legendary sunsets. Then as darkness falls, Kuta’s nightlife starts to throb with loud music from bars and restaurants, while shops stay open till late at night. Kuta’s main attraction is that everyone can enjoy the town without any prescribed dress code. 
Many famous international bands and celebrities have voluntarily played and sung here enlivening the fun, dance and music scene of Kuta. 
One poignant reminder, however, of the tragedy that befell Kuta is a monument located next to the present Paddy’s café. The monument is erected in memory of those killed during the fatal October 2002 bomb terrorist blasts. The blasts killed more than 300 people, mostly Australian tourists and Indonesian workers. 



Many visitors come here to shop. Kuta is a manufacturing center for summer wear, jewelry and decorative handicrafts that are exported all over the world. So shop here to your heart’s content for summer chic to beach wear, including wonderfully creative accessories from shoes, handbags to bracelets, necklaces and earrings. There are department stores to boutiques, to roadside stalls. 
Popular night spots on Kuta include the Hard Rock Café, De Ja Vu, the Bali  Globe, Paddy’s Café and many more.  


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Ijen Crater/Plateu (Blue Fire), Banyuwangi


Ijen Crater is the biggest crater lake in Java. The sulfur crater lake lies between a natural dams of deeply etched rock. It is 200 meters deep and contains about 36million cubic meters of steaming acid water, shrouded in a smelling swirling sulfur cloud. Inside the crater the different color and size of stones are found. Indeed the crater of Ijen is beautiful garden of stone as well.

The view of sulfur miners who climb and go down to the crater is also amazing. A man puts about 10 kg of yellowish stone in to his basket, before he descends the mountain slope to sell his load, carrying the same basket, going in the same direction, digging the same mineral. It is the natural picture that can be seen everyday.

Ijen Plateau lies in the centre of Ijen-Merapi Malang Reserve, which extends over much of the mountainous region directly west of Banyuwangi and borders on the Baluran National Park in the northeast. As at Mt. Bromo, the caldera is best viewed from the air. Fortunately, almost all commercial flights operating between Denpasar - Surabaya, Yogyakarta or Jakarta usually fly, if not directly over, then close by Ijen plateau, where the seemingly luminous blue/green crater lake forms an unmistakable landmark. It is beautiful scenery and located about 32 km to the north west of Banyuwangi.


The principal attraction at Ijen is the large Crater Lake that has much sulfur, which lies hidden between sheer walls of deeply furrowed rock at more than 200 meters. The Ijen crater itself lies at approximately 2,300 meters above sea level. It forms a twin volcano with the now extinct Mount Merapi. The enormous Crater Lake, which is 200 meters deep and covers an area of more than meters, a million square meters, contains about 36 million cubic meters of steaming, acid water.

Ijen crater shows a special type of volcanic feature common to Indonesia, about 1 kilometer in diameter and 175 meters deep. The floor is covered completely by a warm lake, milky blue green in colours held back by a dam built many years ago by the Dutch, in order to keep the hot, mineral laden water from raining the crop lands below.

The crater can be reached from either the east or the west by any kinds of vehicles, but the second part of the trip covers distance 3 km on foot (jungle track). However, the latter is more popular approach, since the climb from the road's end to the edge of the lake is only one and a half hours. And a walk around the lake takes a full day.

The temperature drops at night, near the crater rim it can fall to about 5° Celsius. The road ends at Jampit, where very basic shelter is available. It is also possible to sleep in the old vulcanology station further up the hill, now used by sulfur collectors, but permission must be obtained in advance.

The sulfur is transported entirely on foot. In the past, horses were used but they were found to be less practical on the hazardous terrain. Today, the mine yields nine to twelve tons of sulfur per day.

Men carry individual loads of up to 70 kg, often barefooted, up to the rim of crater and then 17 km down the mountainside to a factory near Banyuwangi. The porters are paid by weight. The most important advice if you are traveling to Ijen is: "If you lose your way, just look out for the sulfur trail". The meaning was clear, since a continuous flow of two ways traffic, carrying the sulfur down the mountainside from the lake and trudging up again to re-load, had left a yellow trail on the well-worn path. The best time for seeing Ijen Crater is at 8 to 9 am.



The magnificent turquoise sulfur lake of Kawah Ijen lies at 2148 m above sea level and is surrounded by the volcanos sheer crater walls. The vent is a source of sulfur and collectors work here, making the trek up to the crater and down to the lake every day. Sulfur collectors hike up in the morning and return around 1 pm when the clouds roll in. They carry shoulder basket of pure sulfur from a quarry on the lakes edge under the shadow of the sheer walls of the crater. The mineral at Kawah Ijen is purer and is worth commercial exploitation despite the horrendous labor involved: Javas homegrown sulfur is a natural source of sulfuric acid, in great demand in the oil-refining business and in the production of fertilizers.


Source : http://www.eastjava.com/



Senggigi Beach Lombok


Senggigi is Lombok's oldest and most famous resort area.

A perfect place to relax, Senggigi boasts a series of white sandy beaches and safe swimming areas. The point at central Senggigi has good waves for surfers. This place has a colourful reef which provides shelter to a variety of marine life and exquisitely shapped coral and makes it a perfect place to snorkle.



In the dry season, there is an interesting variety of boats moored in the bay. The town of Senggigi spreads out along nearly 10 kilometers of coastal road. This road continues north to Bangsal, the port for the Gili Islands.


Medewi Beach Bali



Understand
This is a tiny, remote village in one of the least visited areas of Bali. It is very much a surfing hot spot, and most visitors who do stay here stay for that reason alone. For non-surfers, it does offer a glimpse of what so much of Bali was like before the growth of mass tourism in the 1970s, and is a great place to relax.
Get in

Get in
Medewi is located about 75 kilometres west of Denpasar on the main south coast road, about 34 kilometres further west than the town of Tabanan. Anyone who travelling from the south of Bali by road to the west coast port town of Gilimanuk will pass by here.



Get Around
This is a great place for walking. If you want to hire a motorbike your hotel should be able to oblige and expect to pay around Rp 70,000-100,000 per day.
See

The beach is divided in to two main portions, the eastern half which is very rocky with some large flat grey stone boulders interspersed with pebbles and black sand, and the western half which is sandier. It's not the best beach for sunbathing or lounging, but good for long quiet strolls.
Local fishermen bring in their catch just east of the river mouth, which is accessible down a steep incline from the main road. You can buy really cheap and fresh seafood here of all types, or just go to check it out. Cows grazing, fishermans' wives mending nets, sales taking place, kids playing, and boats being hauled out of the water. The catch seems to come in until around 10AM or so.
The sunset is over the Indian Ocean here which is quite magnificent.
Do



Go Surfing where the long left hand wave at Medewi Beach rolls all year and is popular with surfers for that reason. The largest waves tend to be in July and August. There is also right-hand break less than 100 metres away around the northern point. When the surf is small there is also a beach break, working mid-tide, over the river mouth about 250 metres to the south south. There are several other surf breaks nearb, including Balian Beach (30 minute drive east). For updates on conditions is is worth checking Medewi Surf Information .



Medewi fishermen.
Relax in the very quiet coastal village which nothing really is going on besides the bar, the surfing, and the local fisherman doing their business.
Understand the origin of Medewi as a place name. This area was a forest with many Ketket or thorny trees. In Balinese, thorny forest is Alas Meduwi hence the place was named Meduwi which then became Medewi.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Ngurtafur beach, Kei



Filled with charm and a sense of magic, from the beauty of the blue sky, to the endless stretches of sea and sand. Historically recognized as the legendary Spice Islands, the enchanting Maluku Province is home to much more than just mace and nutmeg.

Here in Southeast Maluku, on the tiny Warbal Island in the Kei island chain, lies a peculiar, yet entirely captivating beach. Unlike most beaches which stretch along the coast of an island, Ngutafur Beach extends out to sea. An unbroken sandbar of about 2 kilometers in length, and 7 meters in width, Ngurtafur beach is a fine line of powdery white sands, bordered on either side by a clear and almost impossibly blue ocean. Strolling down this narrow beach is like taking a stroll through the ocean itself, with the added benefits of staying dry.



This strange and magical isle is covered in soft white sands, its surrounding areas adorned with lush green trees. But even with the charming views along Ngurtafur, a second landscape remains hidden beneath the surface, waiting to be discovered. Maluku waters are rich in coral reefs, many even visible from your vantage point in your boat. Hundreds of species of fish and other marine life thrive within these reefs, so be sure to grab your snorkel and goggles and take a look.

Also frequenting this beach are the giant Leatherback Turtles, known as Tabob by the local community. The turtles are a protected species, whose nesting grounds on Ngurtafur Beach are monitored by WWF. Other visitors to Ngurtafur include large flocks of Pelicans, who migrate from Australia and Papua New Guinea to the Maluku islands.



The Kei Islands are part of Wallacea, a group of Indonesian islands which are separated by deep waters from both the Asian and Australian continental shelves, and are therefore part of neither.


Limboto lake, gorontalo


Limboto lake, based on the genesis formation is a low basin or lagoon that also referred to as a type of shallow lakes or lake types of exposure to flooding (flood plain) and located in Gorontalo, North Side of Sulawesi. The main problem that occurred in Lake Limboto is extensive sedimentation and reduction of the lake area. 



When these issues are not resolved well, the Lake Limboto would bring flood problems and local environment extinction. This research is conducted for obtaining strategic countermeasure for lake age elongation and conservation against sedimentation problems. The methodologies are literature studies, field investigations, field measurements, and collecting of community's aspirations (local intelligences). 



The recent Limboto Lake Countermeasure Plan should be enhanced by considering original natural function of the lake as flood inundation basin. It was to late to trap sediment inside the lake, therefore sabo technology should be implicated in more effective scheme with public participation. The inside lake sediment transport mechanism with sediment trap and Tapodu barrage water gate installation simulation scenario need to be socialized and studied thoroughly before fully implemented in order to avoiding another possible problems such as larger flooding and ecologic degradation.


source : http://www.sciencedirect.com/

Lorentz National Park, Papua


Lorentz National Park is located in the Indonesian province of Papua, formerly known as Irian Jaya (western New Guinea). With an area of 25,056 km2 (9,674 mi2), it is the largest national park in South-East Asia. In 1999 Lorentz was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

An outstanding example of the biodiversity of New Guinea, Lorentz is one of the most ecologically diverse national parks in the world. It is the only nature reserve in the Asia-Pacific region to contain a full altitudinal array of ecosystems ranging through marine areas, mangroves, tidal and freshwater swamp forest, lowland and montane rainforest, alpine tundra, and equatorial glaciers. At 4884 meters, Puncak Jaya (formerly Carstensz Pyramid) is the tallest mountain between the Himalayas and the Andes.

Birdlife International has called Lorentz Park “probably the single most important reserve in New Guinea”. It contains five of World Wildlife Fund's "Global 200" ecoregions: Southern New Guinea Lowland Forests; New Guinea Montane Forests; New Guinea Central Range Subalpine Grasslands; New Guinea Mangroves; and New Guinea Rivers and Streams.

Lorentz Park contains many unmapped and unexplored areas, and is certain to contain many species of plants and animals as yet unknown to Western science. Local communities' ethnobotanical and ethnozoological knowledge of the Lorentz biota is also very poorly documented.

The park is named for Hendrikus Albertus Lorentz, a Dutch explorer who passed through the area on his 1909–10 expedition.



Fauna

The Southern Crowned Pigeon found in Lorentz is confined to the southern lowland forests of New Guinea.
Lorentz National Park has 630 documented species of bird (around 70% of the total number of bird species in Papua) and 123 mammalian species. Birds include two species of cassowary, 31 dove and pigeon species, 31 species of cockatoo, 13 species of kingfisher and 29 species of sunbird. Six bird species are endemic to the Snow Mountains including the Snow Mountain Quail and Snow Mountain Robin, 26 species are endemic to the Central Papuan Ranges while three are endemic to the South Papuan Lowlands. Threatened species include the Southern Cassowary, Southern Crowned Pigeon, Pesquet's Parrot, Salvadori's Teal and Macgregor's Giant Honeyeater.

The mammal species include the Long-beaked echidna, Short-beaked Echidna, and four species of cuscus as well as wallabies, wildcats and tree-kangaroos. Endemic to the Sudirman Range is the Dingiso, a tree-kangaroo species only discovered in 1995.



Human habitation and culture

The area of the national park has been inhabited for more than 25,000 years. The forests of Lorentz encompass the traditional lands of eight indigenous ethnic groups,[4] including the Asmat, Amungme, Dani, Sempan, and Nduga. Estimates of the current population vary between 6,300 and 10,000.

It is widely acknowledged that conservation management strategies for the park will have to incorporate the needs and aspirations of these peoples if the park is to succeed in protecting biodiversity. Moreover, cultural diversity is another important measure of success for the park.





The main threats to the biodiversity of Lorentz are from commercial logging, forest conversion for plantation agriculture, smallholder agricultural conversion, mining/oil/gas development, illegal road construction, and the illegal species trade. Global warming also poses a substantial threat.

As of 2005, there was no reported commercial logging or other large-scale threats present inside the park. There are no currently active forest conversion projects, and agricultural conversion is minimal. The illegal species trade is known to be a serious problem. The large Freeport gold/copper mining operation has been active for decades to the west and north of the park but is not active inside the park boundaries. Oil exploration inside and to the northeast of the park is ongoing.

The overall health of the biodiversity of Lorentz Park is currently excellent. While logging and other threats have yet to materialize, it is likely that this will become a threat in the future. Climate change poses a very real threat, but its specific implications for Lorentz are uncertain.



Conservation

The first formal protection of a 3,000 km² core area of the Lorentz landscape was applied by the Dutch Colonial Government in 1919 with the establishment of the Lorentz Nature Monument. In 1978, the Indonesian Government established a Strict Nature Reserve with an area of 21,500 km². Lorentz National Park was established in 1997, with a total area of 25,056 km², including an eastern extension and coastal and marine areas.

Lorentz National Park was listed as a natural World Heritage Site in 1999, however an area of about 1,500 km² was excluded from listing due to the presence of mining exploration titles within the park.

As of 2005, there were no park staff or guards assigned to Lorentz. However, the park's success largely depends on local communities' understanding of and support for conservation, rather than external enforcement alone. Several conservation organizations are working in the Lorentz area.

In 2006, the Minister of Forestry established a managing structure for Lorentz National Park, the Lorentz National Park Bureau with headquarters in Wamena. The Bureau became functional only in 2007, and reached a staffing of 44 in mid-2008. However an UNESCO Monitoring Mission in 2008 acknowledged that the capacity of the Bureau was seriously limited due to lack of funding, equipment and experience.


Saturday, November 29, 2014

West Bali National Park

Overview

West Bali National Park (Taman Nasional Bali Barat in Bahasa Indonesia) is the most north-westerly point of Bali. It includes the whole of the Prapat Agung Peninsula, and large swathes of land around the towns of Gilimanuk, Cekik and Banyuwedang. The official area inside the park boundaries is 190 square kilometres, with a further 580 square kilometres of protected reserve in the highlands to the east. In total this accounts for some ten percent of Bali's total land area.

History

The park was first officially recognised as an area of importance in 1917 when the council of Bali rulers designated it as a nature park. It was fully established as an Indonesian National Park in 1941.


Landscape

The habitat is very varied with rainforest, dry savanna, acacia scrub and lowland forests, as well as more montane forests in the higher centre. There are also some pockets of dense mangrove forest.
In the north of the park there is an obvious north jutting peninsula called Prapat Agung. Around this peninsula there are long stretches of protected beach and offshore coral reef as well, as a small offshore island called Menjangan. The latter is a very popular diving destination.
There are several long extinct volcanoes in the protected reserve area to the east, with Mount Patas (1,412 metres) and Mount Merbuk (1,388 metres) being the highest points. These peaks are dominant visual landscape features from within every area of the park.


Flora and fauna

Bali Starling
One hundred and sixty species of bird have been recorded in the park, including the near extinct Bali Starling, Bali's only endemic vertebrate species, and a key reason why this national park was created in the first place. By 2001, as few as six individuals were thought to survive in the wild, all of them in this park. Since then captive breeding and re-introduction efforts have continued apace, but poaching pressures are a large problem. With that in mind, a seconf re-introduction programme was started in remote regions of Nusa Penida in 2004. Keen birdwatchers can find a checklist of likely species and their status here .
Mammals found inside the park include Banteng, a species of wild cattle from which the familiar Bali cows are descended. Java Rusa and Indian Muntjac deer are quite widespread, and Menjangan Island is in fact named after these (Menjangan means deer in Bahasa Indonesia). Wild Boar and Leopard Cats are both quite common but seldom encoutered.
A Bali Tiger (a full sub-species of Tiger) was shot here in 1937, and despite rumours to the contrary, that is the last ever confirmed sighting of an animal considered extinct since that moment.

Climate

Not noticeably different from the rest of Bali or eastern Java, but it may feel a little hotter and drier in the dry season here than in southern parts of Bali.
Bali is always warm, humid and tropical, remaining around 30-35°C (85-95°F) all year round. The April-October dry season and November-March rainy seasons are only relative, with plenty of rainfall around the year, but the Balinese winter is cloudier, more humid and with a higher chance of thunderstorms.
Bali Barat National Park Office HQ, Jl Raya Cekik-Gilimanuk, Jembrana, Bali 82253, ☎ +62 365 61060 (tnbb@telkom.net, fax: +62 365 61479), [2]. 7:30AM-5PM.  edit
Bali Barat National Park Vistor's Centre, Labuhan Lalang,

Get in

Most visitors to the park arrive along the north coast road from Lovina (about 90 minutes) or Pemuteran (about 15 minutes). Others come from the south via Gilimanuk (about 15 minutes)
All visitors should check in at one of the two park offices (PHPA) for information, and to purchase permits and arrange guides. The headquarters is at the village of Cekik just south of the Gilimanuk in the west. The other is at Labuan Lalang on the north coast from where boats to Menjangan Island depart. The main ranger station is on the road between the two offices at Sumber Klampok.
The park staff are welcoming, helpful and will arrange guided tours for you. Most hotels in the area arrange guided tours, but if you want a more customized experience it is advisable to directly talk to the guides at the partk offices.
For example, Putu Arta in the Labuan Lalang office (+62 813 38399576) is an experienced and enthusiastic guide, who is happy to share his extensive knowledge of the flora and fauna of West Bali National Park with you.


Fees/Permits

Permits and obligatory guides are available at the park headquarters at Cekik and the office at Labuhan Lalang. The official permit charge is Rp 25,000 per person. The cost of a guide is negotiable. Use your common sense and do not be tight. Fees for the official guides have become fixed. at one office at 350,000 rupiah for a two hour hike. Official guides, however, will demand the official price (for foreigners) of 200,000 per person for a 3 hour hike (2013 rate). As of 15 July 2014 entry fees increased to Rp 200,000 for foreigners with additional surcharges depending on activity.
Get around

Only a small percentage of the total area of the park is open to visitors, and this rule must be respected. There are two key ways to explore the park: either hiking the trails or concentrating on marine aspects.
Walking the trails must be done with an official guide from one of the national park offices (most normally the one at Cekik). Boat trips to Menjangan and around Gilimanuk Bay can be organised in advance (ask at your hotel), or by charter on the day you arrive.
Persons expecting to wander through a tropical rain forest might be very disappointed with the hikes, as the trees are mostly deciduous, with a rather open ground cover.
See and do

The official park trails should be explored with a guide recommended by the national park ofice. This is actually a rule but it is sometimes 'quietly' ignored. Please do not do this nor encourage the practice, despite the very irresponsible advice given in some printed travel guides to do so.
The Tegal Blunder Trail is most popular with birdwatchers, and it is an easy two hour walk. The ranger checkpoint is at the village of Slumber Klampok about 20 minutes west of Cekik. From the same checkpoint you can take the more strenuous Gunung Klatakan Trail to the south east. This is tougher walking for about five hours, but it takes you through some memorable rainforest. There are other trails and opportunities for interesting hikes, but these are the two most popular and the easiest. Ask guides about other opportunities at the time, particularly those involving hiking deeper into the Prapat Agung Peninsula.
The uninhabited Menjangan Island is a must-do for any visitor to Bali interested in marine life, snorkelling or diving. Boats leave from the beach at Labuan Lalang at the northern edge of Teluk Terima bay, and can chartered on the day. Groups of tourists often club together at Labuan Lalang in the mornings for that very purpose. Any boat charter must be accompanied by a guide, and you must purchase a permit (Rp 25,000 per person) from the national park office in the main Labuhan Lalang car park. Many of Bali's dive operators based in the southern tourist regions offer dive excursions specifically to Menjangan. The snorkelling here is probably the best on Bali with good clear water and calm seas.
There is a notable temple on Menjangan called Puri Gili Kencana which is certainly worth a visit. You can walk around the whole of Menjangan in about 1 hour and 15 minutes. If you take it slower though there is plenty of natural coastal beauty to absorb.
Gilimanuk Bay snakes into the south western tip of the Prapat Agung peninsula, and the park office can arrange a guided boat trip for you in a traditional outrigger. Expect to pay about Rp 300,000 per hour including guide fees. The bay is quiet and supports a rich diverstity of marine life. There are some notable areas of mangrove forest fringing the bay, and these act as a natural nursery for the diverse fish life in the area.


Lodging

There is one official high end resort inside the boundaries of the national park on the Prapat Agung peninsula. There is no other accommodation inside the park. Visitors on a lower budget day trip the park from Gilimanuk, Pemuteran or Lovina where there are ranges of accommodation to suit all budgets.
There is popular budget accommodation about two km north of the Cekik park headquarters office on the road to Gilimanuk called Pondok Wisata Lestari, tel: +62 365 61504.

The Menjangan, ☎ +62 362 94700 (bliss@themenjangan.com). Member of Lifestyle Retreats, West Bali National Park.The Menjangan is the largest Resort with 382 hectares within the boundaries of the Bali Barat National Park. Offering 22 elegant rooms. The Monsoon Forest Lodge with 14 rooms set around an idyllic pool and Jacuzzi, 7 stunning Balinese Villas (100sqm) at the shores of your own private Balinese Beach. 1 Residence with private butler service (1,000 sqm) with two double bedrooms and one twin bedroom all with en-suite bathrooms and private balconies overlooking Bajul Bay, including a private infinity pool. Offering delicious and healthy cuisine in their two Restaurants, one directly on the Sentigi Beach. Lots of activities such as horse back riding, snorkeling, diving PADI Divecenter, bird watching, hiking tours, kayaking. Peaceful Spa Center offering great views from the four Gazebo treatment rooms. Free WiFi and 24-hours concierge service. 
Waka Shorea, ☎ 62 361 484085 (info@wakaexperience.com). Just 16 rooms at this understated, five star resort which offers a full range of national park based activities. In-house spa, superb restaurant and everything else you would expect at a 5 star resort. Has a reception area adjacent to the public boat jetty at Labuhan Lalang, from where you jump into to a boat to reach the resort. The only accommodation inside the boundaries of the park. From US$185.
Mimpi Resort Mejangan, Banyuwedang, ☎ +62 362 94497 (menjangan@mimpi.com), [8]. The name is confusing as this five star hotel is not on Menjangan, but 3 km up the coast form the boat transit point on the mainland at Labuan Lalang. Fifty four rooms and top quality facilities including a pool fed by natural hot springs. US$100 for a room up to US$350 for the largest one bedroom villa.

Camping

Not permitted inside the national park, but there is a basic campsite at the park headquarters in Cekik. Facilities are limited but do include passable toilets and bathrooms. Bring your own camping gear. A small donation to the helpful (and underpaid) park staff is in order.
Backcountry
Nothing available inside the national park.
Stay safe

Bring plenty of water with you as you will dehydrate quickly.

Get out

If you are exploring the park via a base in the north west (Pemuteran or Lovina) then you may wish to continue your journey around Bali to the south and west via Gilimanuk. The reverse is of course also the case.

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Wasur National Park


The Wasur National Park forms part of the largest wetland in Papua province of Indonesia and has been the least disturbed by human activity. The high value of its biodiversity has led to the park being dubbed the "Serengeti of Papua". The vast open wetland, in particular Rawa Biru Lake, attracts a very rich fauna.

Vegetation and fauna

About 70% of the total area of the Park consists of savanna (see Trans Fly savanna and grasslands), while the remaining vegetation is swamp forest, monsoon forest, coastal forest, bamboo forest, grassy plains and large stretches of sago swamp forest. The dominant plants include mangroves, Terminalia, and Melaleuca species.

The park provides habitat for a large variety of up to 358 bird species of which some 80 species are endemic to the island of New Guinea. Fish diversity is also high in the region with some 111 species found in the eco-region and a large number of these are recorded from Wasur. The Park's wetland provides habitat for various species of lobster and crab as well.

Common fauna species include the Agile Wallaby, Pesquet's Parrot, Southern Cassowary, Blue Crowned Pigeon, Greater Bird of Paradise, King Bird of Paradise, Red Bird of Paradise, New Guinea Crocodile, and Saltwater Crocodile.

Wasur National Park is the habitat for a number of rare and endemic species. Red-listed species known to be present in viable populations are Southern Crowned Pigeon and New Guinea Harpy Eagle, Dusky Pademelon, Black-necked Stork, Fly River Grassbird and Little Curlew. Three Trans-Fly endemic bird species have been recorded, including the Fly River Grassbird and the Grey-crowned Munia.

The introduction of the Rusa Deer to Papua by the Dutch at Merauke in 1928, led to an extensive spread of this species to most of the southern coastlands of the island. According to the indigenous communities of the National Park, this led to major changes to the local ecosystem, including: the reduction of tall swamp grasses and consequent ceasing of breeding of the Australian Pelican and Magpie Goose, reduction of the Phragmites reed species, and the extensive spread of Melaleuca onto the open grasslands.

Conservation

Satellite image of Southern New Guinea, Wasur NP and Tonda WMA are located between the Merauke and Fly Rivers. Wildfires of 2002 are marked in red.
The Wasur area was first designated as a Wildlife Reserve in 1978 with an area of 2,100 km². An extended area of 4,138 km² was later declared a National Park in 1990. In 2006 the park has been also recognised as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention. Wasur shares a common border with Tonda Wildlife Management Area (WMA), another Ramsar site in neighbouring Papua New Guinea. Wasur National Park has been the site of a World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) conservation and development project since 1991.[4] In 1995 a Tri-National Wetlands Program has been initiated by WWF between Wasur NP, Tonda WMA and the Australian Kakadu National Park, which led to a Memorandum of Understanding between the three government conservation agencies in 2002.

Human habitation

There are four groups of indigenous peoples living in the park, belonging to the tribes of Kanume, Marind, Marori and Yei, who rely on the area for food and their daily needs. The total population is estimated to be 2,500 within 14 villages. The name of the park is derived from the Marori language in which Waisol means garden. These local communities consume fish, sago, sweet potato, deer, bandicoot and wallaby. Many aspects of their culture are disappearing although some elements such as festivals, pig feasts, dancing, weaving and traditional cooking remain. There are many sites of spiritual significance including sacred sites. The southern part of the park has large areas of ancient agricultural mounds which are of archaeological importance.


Threats

Much of the park's natural flooded grassland systems are threatened by large scale changes to scrub and woodland as well as invasions of alien species such as water hyacinth and mimosa pigra. The New Guinea Crocodile habitat is in danger as a consequence of skin trading. As in other parts of Indonesia and New Guinea, illegal logging has been witnessed in Wasur National Park as well.

Wakatobi National Marine Park, Wakatobi


Legendary underwater explorer and conservationist, Jacques Cousteau is said to have called the Wakatobi islands – then known as the Tukangbesi islands:  an “Underwater Nirwana”
Now a National Marine Park covering the entire Waktobi District, it comprises a total of 1.4 million hectares, of which 900,000 hectares are decorated with different, colourful species of tropical coral reefs. For Wakatobi is widely recognized as having the highest number of reef and fish species in the world.   The islands are also famous as the largest barrier reef in Indonesia, second only to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.  Here can be found fringing, atolls and barrier reefs and offer more than 50 spectacular dive sites easily accessible from the major islands.  This is the habitat of large and small fish species, the playground of dolphins, turtles and even whales. 

The island group comprises 143 larger and smaller islands where only 7 are inhabited counting a total population of around 100,000, while the others remain uninhabited. Most notable are the Bajo communities, the seafaring nomads who inhabit many of Indonesia’s remote islands.

Located right in the heart of the Asia-Pacific Coral Triangle, in the province of South East Sulawesi, the Wakatobi Islands offer crystal clear pristine waters and a rich bio-diverse underwater life, a true paradise for Divers, as this is one of 3 hearts in the World Coral Triangle that stretches from the Solomon Islands in the Pacific to Wakatobi, and North to the Philippines.  Wakatobi alone is said to have 942 fish species and 750 coral reef species from a total of 850 of world's collection, which, comparing with the two world's famous diving centers, the Caribbean Sea  owns only 50 species with 300 coral reef species in the Red Sea, in Egypt.


Situated  at the end of the south eastern “petal’ of the orchid shaped island of Sulawesi and separated by the deep Banda Sea to its north and east and the Flores sea to its south,  the name Wakatobi is in fact an acronym of  its four main islands, which are :  Wangi-wangi (WA), Kaledupa (KA), Tomia (TO)  and Binongko (BI).

Due to its magnificent underwater life, Wakatobi is fast gaining worldwide attention for its quality dives that can be made by beginners to professionals. Small wonder, therefore, that many liveaboards make this one of their main ports of sojourn.  Aside from its dive sites, Wakatobi has many superb beaches.


The conservation group “Operation Wallacea” is very active in this marine park, conducting underwater research and conservation. During the Sail Wakatobi 2011 in August, the Marine Laboratory on Hoga Beach by Kaledupa is to be officially inaugurated. (For information visit: www.opwall.com)

The District capital of Wakatobi is Wanci on Wangi-Wangi. Since the opening of the Matohara Airport on Wangi-Wangi, these remote islands are now more accessible and can be reached by flights from Jakarta or Makassar.  There is also another landing strip on Tomia island, which receives charters from Bali. 

For more detailed information on Wakatobi, visit: www.wakatobi.info

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Color Changing Lake, Dieng


Dieng plateau has a million dazzling beauties, with an extraordinary natural and cultural wealth. In this region, in addition to shady green trees and beautifully patterned Hindu temples, here is also a beautiful natural gift called Telaga Warna, (the Colorful Lake), an icon of this area.

Located in the Kejajar District in Wonosobo, Central Java, this beautiful lake with its surrounding natural forest is one of the prime tourist destinations in the Wonosobo regency. To reach this lake from Wonosobo, it is an approximately 25 miles’ drive.

The harmony of nature with its clean, cool air makes the atmosphere at Telaga Warna Dieng very compelling and relaxing. The mystical atmosphere created by the white mist that envelopes the area, as well as the tall, shady trees which surround the lake, exude a feeling of refined calm and relaxation. A visit to Dieng would not be complete without passing and witnessing the beauty of Telaga Warna in person. From here you can also visit the Pengilon Lake, Goa Semar, Goa Jaran, and the Sikendang Crater.

This Lake is appropriately named Telaga Warna due to a natural phenomenon that causes the water of the lake to change in fluctuating colors. At times it is green, yellow, purple or even taking the colors of the rainbow. This phenomenon occurs because of the high sulfur content in these waters, so that when the sun hits the water, it reflects in varied colors. You can also see around the center of the lake, a section of water which appears to be bubbling; which is also due to its high sulfur content.


Hidden among the range of hills at an altitude of more than 2,000 meters above sea level, it does not make Telaga Warna (the Colorful Lake) lacking in visitors. Its beauty and mystery have attracted many visitors to Dieng. The water at most times appears calm, with no ripples at all. The sound of the wild birds chirping and the well preserved, wild forest creates a reassuring atmosphere of peace.

Telaga Warna is also very useful for the community. They use the water of the lake as a source to irrigate their potato and cabbage plantations which are major produce of this region.

Tips

Bring supplies you may need during the journey and while at the lake site.

The weather in these highlands is very unpredictable and can get quite chilly unlike other low lying parts of Indonesia. Bringing warm clothing is recommended.

It is recommended to leave the Dieng region before night falls as a thick fog begins to set in around the later afternoon.

In Gua Semar and Gua Sumur the cave entrances are well fenced off and permissions is needed from the caretaker to enter.

Telaga Warna and its surrounding area are considered a sacred place and it is advisable to be respectful and not speak too loudly while in the region.

Do not litter to maintain cleanliness and sustainability of tourism in the region of Dieng at Telaga Warna.


ou can follow the edge of the lake and you will find a small balcony to sit and relax while enjoying the beauty and diversity of nature that surround it.

There is also another excellent location where to enjoy the beauty of this lake other than being right on its edge. You can climb to the top of one of the hills bordering the lake along a narrow trail. This dirt road is very narrow, with just enough room for one person to pass at a time. The climb is not so steep, but is slippery enough since the Dieng area is known for its high rainfall. After a few hundred meter climb, you will reach the top of the hill to witness a spellbinding view. Spread out down below is a beautiful lake surrounded by thick forests with beautiful purple colored water around the edge, shaded in green in towards the middle, and pale green towards the center of the lake. On the other side, a narrow meadow separates it from another lake called Telaga Pengilon, or the Reflecting Lake. Further ahead, Prau Mountain and Pakuwaja Mountain form a circle, as if created to protect these two beautiful lakes from any harm.

From this hill, you will also see another beautiful lake called Telaga Pengilon, meaning the Reflection Lake. This lake earned its name from its waters being so transparently clear that you are able to see your reflection in it. Story has it and local residents believe that this lake can know the inner feelings of the human heart.

Around Telaga Warna, there are several ancient Dieng caves worthy of a visit such as the Gua Semar Pertapaan Mandalasari Begawan Sampurna Jati. In the front of this cave is a statue of a woman holding a water pitcher. This cave also has a small pool whose water is believed to cure diseases and make the skin more beautiful and reduce the appearance of ageing. Other caves that may be of interest are Gua Sumur Eyang Kumalasari, and Gua Jaran Resi Kendaliseto. The caves around this area are often used as a place for meditation.

The Dieng Plateau Theater provides complete information on the different spots to visit and latest happenings around Dieng, so paying a visit there might be of help.. DPT (Dieng Plateau Theatre) is equipped with tools for audio and visual performances. DPT has 100 chairs for audiences. This facility was designed as an education center and a way to introduce tourists to this area.It is located on the slopes of Sikendil Hill, near to Tenaga Warna.

To Stay

Many tourists come to stay in Wonosobo and travel to Dieng as a day trip, however, if you prefer to stay overnight in Dieng there are many comfortable home-stays available with a host of amenities and at a reasonable price. Several of the local families from Dieng have also opened up their houses for rent at relatively cheap prices. Below are several homestay options in Dieng.

Dieng Plateau Homesta


Get There

You can reach the Dieng highlands from Semarang, capital of Central Java. Semarang is served by daily flights from Jakarta, Surabaya and other cities around Indonesia.

You can also reach Semarang by train from Jakarta or Surabaya.

Dieng is located approximately 116 km from Yogyakarta. There are daily flights available to Yogyakarta from Jakarta and Denpasar withGaruda Indonesia and Air Asia.


To get to the Dieng Plateau, you can use your own car or rent a car directly to Dieng in the Wonosobo District. The journey will take approximately 4 hours from Yogya. For those who choose public transport, buses and travel (door to door minibus) are available to take you to Wonosobo District. After that, the trip is continued with a micro-bus to Dieng for about 1 hour. The natural scenery of green mountains along the road will pamper your eyes and eliminate the anxiety of the constantly twisting uphill ride.

To reach Telaga Warna you can use a motorcycle taxi service available in Dieng. However, if you're feeling adventurous the walk is not too long and you can enjoy the beautiful Dieng scenery.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Bunaken National Park


The Bunaken National Marine Park was formally established in 1991 and is among the first of Indonesia's growing system of marine parks. The park covers a total surface area of 89,065 hectares, 97% of which is overlain by sparkling clear, warm tropical water. The remaining 3% of the park is terrestrial, including the five islands of Bunaken, Manado Tua, Mantehage, Nain and Siladen. Although each of these islands has a special character, it is the aquatic ecosystem that attracts most naturalists.

The waters of Bunaken National Marine Park are extremely deep (1566 m in Manado Bay), clear (up to 35-40 m visibility), refreshing in temperature (27-29 C) and harbor some of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world. Pick any of group of interest - corals, fish, echinoderms or sponges - and the number of families, genera or species is bound to be astonishingly high. For example, 7 of the 8 species of giant clams that occur in the world, occur in Bunaken. The park has around 70 genera of corals; compare this to a mere 10 in Hawaii. Although the exact number of fish species is unknown, it may be slightly higher than in the Philippines, where 2,500 species, or nearly 70% of all fish species known to the Indo-western Pacific, are found.

Oceanic currents may explain, in part, why Bunaken National Marine Park is such a treasure trove of biodiversity. Northeasternly currents generally sweep through the park but abundant counter currents and gyros related to lunar cycles are believed to be a trap for free swimming larvae. This is particularly true on the south side of the crescent-shaped Bunaken Island, lying in the heart of the park. A snorkler or diver in the vicinity of Lekuan or Fukui may spot over 33 species of butterfly fish and numerous types of groupers, damsels, wrasses and gobies. The gobies, smallish fish with bulging eyes and modified fins that allow them to attach to hard surfaces, are the most diverse but least known group of fish in the park.



Biologists believe that the abundance of hard corals is crucial in maintaining the high levels of diversity in the park. Hard corals are the architects of the reefs, without them, numerous marine organisms would be homeless and hungry. Many species of fish are closely associated with particular types of corals (folious, branching, massives, etc.) for shelter and egg-laying. Others, like the enormous Bumphead Parrotfish, Balbometopon muricatum, are "coralivores" and depend on hard corals for their sustenance. Bony mouth parts fused into an impressive "beak" allow these gregarious fish to crunch corals like roasted peanuts.

Some 20,000 people live on the natural resources of Bunaken National Marine Park. Although there are inevitable conflicts between resource protection and use by people, the Indonesian government is taking a fairly unusual and pragmatic approach to park management. The idea is to promote wise resource use while preventing overexploitation. Local communities, government officials, dive resort operators, local nature groups, tourists and scientists have played an active role in developing exclusive zones for diving, wood collection, fishing and other forms of utilization. Bunaken Marine Park has become an important example of how Sulawesi, and the rest of Indonesia, can work to protect its natural resources.


Bunaken Island offers a plethora of wall experiences for visiting divers. Everyone has their favorite site and mine is Lekuan 2. Judging from the number of divers who frequent the site, many agree with me. The reasons are obvious immediately upon entry. You can't help but notice the high concentration of schooling fish from the drummers and fusliliers that greet you as you begin your descent, the blizzards of brightly-colored anthias you pass along the edge of the reeftop, continuing to fall through the clouds of pyramid butterflyfish and bannerfish underneath. The variety of reef fish is astounding: you could pick out over 20 species of butterflyfish alone if you so desired.

The start of the traditional dive offers small treasures as candy crabs frequent the beautiful soft corals in the area, often adorning themselves with a sprig of live soft coral they've affixed atop their head. The faerie crab, a fingernail-sized squat lobster that's pink and hairy can be found by a discerning eye peering among the outer folds of barrel sponges. But don't become engrossed with the macro life so much that you miss any of the larger residents: sharks that pass you by below your fins, napoleons wrasse or bumphead parrotfish above you, or turtles out in the blue off the wall.

Toward the end of the site, the Lekuan point, the current predictably picks up just as you notice the schools of redtooth triggerfish around you. Sharks enjoy the current as well, often coming up to only five meters in depth to cut over the point to Lekuan 1. Resident napoleons, giant trevally, jacks, batfish and solitary giant barracuda are predictably seen along this stretch, but smaller denizens such as leaf scorpionfish are common as well, keeping your attention divided between the lush wall and the blue ocean.

With the wall going from only 2-5 meters along the top to 50-70 meters along the bottom, where a narrow shelf exists before the wall continues to plunge into the abyss, you can alter your depth to find an entire new set of attractions dive after dive. Boredom is definitely not an option.

Bruce Moore

Source:
"What's Happening?" - Manado Safari Tours Newsletter