A GLIMPSE OF PAPUA

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Papua is the western half of the island New Guinea, the most eastern province of Indonesia. Together with the eastern half, called Papua New Guinea. New Guinea is the largest and highest tropical island of the world. The Northern part of the island is separated from the South part by a massive chain of mountains known as Pegunungan. Puncak Jaya is the highest peak at 5000m and is Indonesia’s tallest snow-capped mountain. Papua has a large variety of eco-systems including the richest coral reefs in the world. Its coastal system contain some of the most pristine and largest terrace of mangroves in the world. From the lowland swamps to the highland mountains, one will encounter massive areas of undisturbed tropical rain forest.

Papua is thinly populated. There are more less 3 million people living in Papua. One and half million Indonesian immigrants from other Indonesian islands inhabit mostly the coastal regions and  the rest is the  original native Papuan inhabit mostly the inland of Papua from the high peaks through the forest into the lowland swamps and mangroves of Papua. There are over 367 tribes with each of the tribes possessing their own unique cultures, languages, and primitive survival techniques for each remote area.

Traveling through Papua can be difficult, expensive,  but is extremely rewarding. The wildlife is truly remarkable many endemic species of plants, birds, and mammals, making Papua unlike any other places in earth. The hospitality and friendship of the local people will guide the travelers and help create an experience which will be remembered for a life time. Almost every traveler who visits Papua desires to return again, so strong is the attraction of one of the most remote places of the world.

 

Lake Sentani

Lake Sentani is a lake located in Papua, Indonesia. Lake Sentani is under slopes of the Cyclops Mountains Nature Reserve has an area of ​​approximately 245,000 hectares. This lake lies between the city of Jayapura and Jayapura regency, Papua. Lake Sentani which has an area of ​​approximately 9,360 hectares and is located at an altitude of 75 meters above sea level. Lake Sentani is the 2nd largest lake in Papua after lake Paniai.

In this lake also there are 21 small islands adorn this beautiful lake. Sentani sense of the word means ” here we live in peace. ” Sentani name itself was first mentioned by a Christian Pastor BL Bin when carrying out missionary in the lake region in 1898.

 

Panorama sentani        

traditional dances on boats, Papua typical war dance, traditional ceremonies such as the coronation Ondoafi, and serving a variety of unique culinary with Papua. This lake has been managed as a tourist attraction due within 50 kilometers  from Jayapura and easy to reach, as a complement to the lake there are many tourist boat to get around Lake Sentani.

This lake is also held in the Lake Sentani Festival to attract tourists. Lake Sentani Festival is usually held in mid-June each year, the Festival itself has been established as an annual festival and entered in the main tourism calendar.

 

Fish Diversity

In this lake there are 30 species of freshwater fish and four of them are namely catfish endemic lake Sentani. Lake Sentani (Oxyeleotris heterodon), rainbow fish Sentani (Chilatherina sentaniensis), red rainbow fish (Glossolepis incisus) and shark saws  (Pristis Microdon).  Lake Sentani rich variety of marine life and has been used for freshwater fish farming. Lake Sentani is also used as a tourist location for swimming, boating, diving, fishing, water skiing and culinary tourism. Between the third endemic fish in the lake sentani  whose population is dwindling fish cork Lake Sentani, this is because the eggs of these fish eaten by fish cork from other species.

 

Asmat

The tidal swampland of Papua’s south cost are of the best known, tangle of mangrove line the shore and inland from the river, the vegetation is so thick as to be almost penetrable. Only the riverbanks are habitable. This is the land of Asmat, now World famous for their spectacular wood carvings and previously notorious as head hunters and cannibals.

Visiting the Asmat region around Agats requires hiring a dug-out canoe with the guide and sleeping at night on bark floor of a JEU – the long raised men’s hut that serve as an architectural and cultural center of Asmat villages.

 

Tree house People

In lowland of Papua there is found small group of people called “tree house people or Korowai tribe” The well known semi nomadic people who are leaving in the trees. Scientist classified among 280 tribes in Papua and Korowai is one tribe leaving in very remote area. The different way of life between Highland people and Lowland people  with highland people where they are most experienced in farming and more accessible by outsider, but naturally Korowai people looked wild / primitive and no experience, their life are fully depend on environment, there kind of food available for them. Men and woman going into the jungle every morning collecting sago grub-a kind of palm trees, and local vegetable, hunting wild animals such pig, kasowari  birds, parrots, cockatoo, etc and also fishing in the river for sustaining their daily diet.

Visiting inter clan must take 4-5 hours, where the area are completely swamp and humid in average. Culturally the Korowai people are leaving in society, they always help to each other inter clan by providing some food, such sago and helping them to build house. A long house called “befak” must be built in cooperative when ever one clan find a new village and invite them to make a special ceremony of  “Sago feast” to collect food and sago worms-getting from larva processing. Normally 3-4 month  before the ceremony.

 

BALIEM VALLEY

Baliem valley is officially called Jayawijaya adopted from the name of the district. Hidden away from the central mountain ranges of Irian Jaya a mile above coastal jungles. The Baliem river flows through abroad temperate plain. The valley floor is inhabited by Dani tribesmen which men wear the so called “Horim” (koteka) a penis gourd. They also usually decorate especially in a certain Event, their head with beautiful parrot feathers and the nose with pig tooth. They key to the valley’s high population. Wamena is the central of Baliem valley and the capital for the district where you can see the Old smoked Mummy in this valley.

Dani woman wear grass skirt and beautiful, sometimes colored string bark. They mostly live in primitive way of life, farming by growing sweet potato, vegetables such as carrot potato, potato’s leaf, garlic, beans, cauliflower and breeding pig., they only consume sweet potato and vegetables which they cook in tradition by using steamed stones put in to a holed ground for daily diets, while bred pigs are only killed and cooked for certain event and sale. This is why Dani people is called “Stone age people”  From the earlier the Dani have been very skillful in farming by building simple irrigation but today some of them have been controlled by local government to train them for gaining  more experience.

 

RAJA  AMPAT

Located off the northwest tip of bird’s head Peninsula on the island of new Guinea-Indonesia’s West Papua province. Raja Ampat or the Four Kings is an archipego comprising over 1.500 small islands, cays and shoals surrounding the four main islands of Misool, Salawati, Batanta, and Waigeo, and the smaller island of Kofiau.

Raja Ampat archipelago is the part of Coral triangle which contains the richest marine biodiversity on earth.

Raja Ampat regency is a new regency which separated from Sorong regency since 2004. It encompasses more than 40.000 km2 of land and sea, which also contains Cenderawasih bay, the largest marine national park in Indonesia. It is a part of the newly named West Papua province of Indonesia which was formerly Irian Jaya. Some of the islands are the most northern places of land in the Australian continent.

The name of Raja Ampat come from local mythology that tells about a woman who finds seven eggs. Four of the seven eggs hatch and become Kings that occupy four of Raja Ampat biggest islands while the other three eggs become a ghost, a woman, and a stone.

History shows that Raja Ampat was once a part of Sultanate of Tidore an influential Kingdon from Maluku. Yet, after the Dutch invaded Maluku. It was shortly claimed by the Netherlands.

The first recorded sighting and landing by Europeans of the Four main islands was in the person of the Portugues navigator Jorge de Menezes and his crew in 1526, on route from Biak the bird’s head Peninsula, and Waigeo to Halmahera / Ternate.

The English explorer William Dampler gave his name to Dampler strait, which separates Batanta island from Waigeo island. To the east, there is a strait that separates Batanta from Salawati. In 1759 Captain William Wilsom sailing in the East Indiaman Pitt navigated these waters and named one strait “Pitt strait” after his vessel this was probably the channel between Batanta and Salawati.

POPULATION.

The main occupation for people around this area is fishing since the area is dominated by the sea. They live in a small colony of tribes that spreads around the area Although traditional culture still strongly exists, they are very welcoming to visitors.  People of Raja Ampat are more like Ambonese than Papuan and now some of them are Muslim and some of them are Christian.

Marine biodiversity of Raja Ampat.

The oceanic natural resources around Raja Ampat give it significant potential as a touris area. Many sources place Raja Ampat as one of their top ten most popular places for diving whilst it retains he number one ranking in terms of underwater biodiversity.

According to Concervation International, marine surveys suggest that the marine life diversity in Raja Ampat area is the highest recorded on Earth. Diversity is considerably greater than any other area sampled in the Coral Tringle composed of Indonesia, Malaysia, Phillipines, Papua New Guinea, Solomon island, and Esta Timor. The Coral Triangle is the heart of the world’s coral reef biodiversity, making Raja Ampat quite possibly the richest coral reef ecosytems in the world.

The area’s massive coral colonies along with relatively high sea surface temperatures, also suggest that reef may be relatively resistant to threats like coral bleaching and coral disease, which now jeopardize the survival of other coral ecosystems around the world. The Raja Ampat islands are remote and relatively undisturbed by humans.

The high marine diversity in Raja Ampat is strongly influenced by its position between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, as coral and fish larvae are more easily shared between the two Oceans. Raja Ampat’s coral diversity, resilience, and role as a source for larval dispersal make it a global priority for marine protection.

1.508 fish species, 537 coral species (a remarkable 96% of all scleractinia recorded from Indonesia are likely to accur in these island and 75% of all species that exist in the world). And 699 mollusk species, the variety of marine life is staggering. Some areas bost enormous schools of fish and regular sightings of sharks, such as wobbegongs.

Raja Ampat island have at least three ponds contain unpoisoned jellyfish, all in Misool area. Although accessing the island is not that difficult, it takes some time. It take six hours flight from Jakarta to Sorong, then taking a boat to reach the islands.