Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sailing Sorong, Papua, Indonesia

Dive boats in Sorong

Nice government buildings in Indonesia

Wisdom from the bureaucrats of Indonesia:
One man + hand = bad
One man + one woman = good
One man + two women = excellent!

The bureaucrats of Indonesia help you to understand their simple immigration processes. Notice that there is no end to this process.

A strange juxtaposition: fenced-in fuel storage yard, with resident deer herd

Sorong harbor
Population 130,000

Hop on an angkot minibus (Rp 3000) and it will take you about half an hour to traverse the long business center of Sorong.  Several large supermarkets, fuel stations, and endless small hardware and repair shops are strung out along Sorong’s hot and charmless main road.  We found the city’s best feature to be the harbor, chock full of Indonesian boats of every size and description. 
As a major port, Sorong is probably the best bet in Papua for marine repairs- we were able to have our primary anchor straightened here after we bent it on Biak bottom clutter.  Check out the bustling main market for veggies, Sega (1 km south of dingy dock on main road) for best grocery selection, and Mandiri International Store for hardware and limited boat supplies.  Watch the dingies from the live aboard dive boats and land at the small dock ½ mile south of the Port where they tie up.  Next to this dock is a live aboard office whose manager offers help with fuel, repairs, and sells Raja Ampat park entry passes (Rp 500,000).  Passes are also available at the Raja Ampat office in the Hotel Meridian, near the airport.  Sorong is very strict on fuel; no filling of jerry cans at service stations, no fuel dock accessible to larger boats.

Customs in Sorong were unpredictable and sometimes unpleasant.  They interviewed us extensively about our plans in Indonesia, had a conversation with our agent in Jakarta, and at one point they requested that we pay the bond.  Fortunately this request had evaporated by the time we returned to check out.

Anchorage can be found north or west of Sorong.  Most local boats use the better-protected main anchorage in western Sorong harbor.  The main anchorage is deep (~60’+ in mud) with good protection to the south, east, and north, and limited protection from the west by distant islands. 
Anchorage is also possible in about 40’ off the broad shoals that front the town‘s north shore.  The bottom comes up quickly.  Be aware that if you land on the north shore, public transport does not go much further east than the main market.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Sailing Manokwari, Papua, Indonesia

Little So-and-sos
More funny FADs

Contrary to all appearances, this boat is not sinking, they've just got way too much wheelhouse built onto it!

Morning trash fire smoke over Manokwari

Convenient anchorage?  Helpful boatyard?  Nope- NAVAL BASE!
Population 60,000

Home to the fist missionaries in Papua, Manokwari today is a place of broad, quiet streets, many churches, and extensive waterfront slums.  To the south loom the dramatic Arfak mountains, home to traditional tribes, seaside transmigrasi villages, and birds of paradise.  In The Malay Archipelago, Wallace gives an amusing account of conditions here in the 19th century, during his unhappy soujourn in Manokwari.  Local guides  can arrange trips to the Arfak mountains. 
Basic hardware and repairs, supermarkets, restaurants, and a department store can be found here.  Also, (and apparently unique in Papua) there is an accessible fuel dock in the harbor.  Manokwari Customs was unusual in that it was staffed by local people and they did not ask us for a bribe.

Be aware of the dozens of Fish Aggregation Devices studding the approach to Manokwari, up to 10 miles offshore.  Two passes at south end of harbor marked by beacons.
As long as you can find room amongst the flat-bottomed, rope-and-rebar anchored local fishing boats, Manokwari harbor provides excellent shelter in all conditions.  Don’t be tempted to enter the man-made inlet and boatyard on the southwest side of the harbor; this is an unmarked naval base.  Anchor in 45’, mud.  We tied our dingy up to the semi-secure Port wharf where the Pelni ferries dock. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sailing Numfoor Papua Indonesia


An undeveloped island with a number of potential anchorages.  We anchored in 30’ coral and sand just outside of a small shallow inlet on Numfoor’s west side.  Anchorage was open to the west.  This is a lovely spot with a dramatic undercut limestone coast and a couple small islets standing out in a sand-and-rubble bottomed, very shallow bay.  Manam island, just to the west, reportedly has good snorkeling and some WWII wrecks.  Several friendly villagers paddled out to exhaust our limited bahasa vocabulary. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

West Papua Conflict

In 1963 Indonesia conducted a military takeover of West Papua, which was expecting to be granted independence by long-time Dutch colonizers.  Since then there has been low-level conflict between native resistance elements and the Indonesian military and police.  Without exception, the Papuan people we met during our stay were openly against the Indonesian presence.  Most of them claimed to have relatives in the resistance.

Some links on recent West Papua developments:

Conflict background and list of major events

Attack on soldiers and retaliation by military in Wamena, June 2012:

Some rare international media coverage- of deaths in Abepura in October 2011

Youtube video of the 2011 Abepura violence.

Police Arrest Attendees of the Third Papuan Peoples Congress in Abepura October 2011