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Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Traveling to Roon Island

Roon is a big island in Wondama Bay Regency. It is an important destination for visitors who like to see beautiful nature both on land and at sea. Villages in Roon island include: Indai, Syabes, Yende, Mena, Niap, Menarbu, and Saryai. The capital of District Roon is Yende. 

Population

With an area of 1,890 square kilometers or 12.64% of the territory of Wondama regency, Roon has got a population of 1,963 people. Most of them work as fishermen with annual fish catch of 1,200 metric tonne (Source:  Kabupaten Teluk Wondama Dalam Angka: 2021).

Roon island and the National Park of Cendrawasih Bay

Roon inside the territory of the National Park of Cendrawasih Bay whose overall area is 1.5 million hectares. This is the largest national marine park in Indonesia. According to Diving Indonesia's Bird's Head Seascape, 2011, which was written by Burt Jones and Maurine Shimlock, in Cendrawasih Bay, there are 962 species of Reef Fishes, 469 species of Hard Corals, and 39 species of Mantis Shrimps. 

The Cendrawasih Bay, together with Raja Ampat and Fakfak to Triton Bay, has got the highest marine biodiversity in the world. The position of Roon, and its satellite islets, which is in the middle of the national park has made it as an important region due to the very high biodiversity it has got both in the coral reef areas, at sea and on land especially in the forest. 

Environmentally friendly tourism is one of the ways to increase the income of local people with continuous commitment to preserve the environment.

Bink and Van Balen missionary works in Roon island
Isna Jedi Church complex in Roon island

In addition to its tremendous wealth of flora and fauna, Roon has got an interesting history especially on the works of evangelisation. On page 7 and 8 of Ajaib Di Mata Kita III, written by Dr. F.C. Kamma, it is said that in 1866, R. Beyer stayed in Roon but he was not there long. In 1878, Jens visited Roon and wrote, "Among all people of Irian whom I have seen, it was people from Roon who gave me good impression both in their physical appearance, and their way of thinking." Zending began their missionary works from Yende village when Bink and Van Ballen, with 16 freed men, landed on 2 April 1884. They built church and named it Isna Jedi meaning I am the light. The old church still stands and villagers still use it. 

Traveling to Wondama Bay regency in Indonesia
Roon Island in Wondama Regency of West Papua - Indonesia

Tourist Attractions

Roon island itself is surrounded by around 15 islets. Roon and these islets have got coral reef sites that are the natural habitat of a lot of species of marine animals including hundreds of hard corals, soft corals, barracuda, long-nosed butterflyfish, surgeonfish, fusilier, giant trevally, Napoleon wrasse, parrotfish, wunderpus octopus, seafans, green turtle, hawksbill turtle, squids, shrimps, giant clams and a lot more. They are very important attractions for visitors who like swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving. For those who are interested in studying marine biology, Roon and its satellite islets are beautiful heaven for them. There are no dive centers in Roon island at the moment. Visitors need to bring their own snorkeling gear such as mask, snorkel and fins. Wearing these gear, they will be able to enjoy the beautiful coral reef and its marine life when they swim or do snorkeling.

Tourists can travel to Roon island by fast passenger ferry or speedboats from Wasior town. It takes around 1.5 to 2 hours ride from Wasior to Yende village by speedboat depending on the size, number, and power of the boats and their engines.

Roon island is still covered by pristine tropical rainforest which is the natural habitat of various species of plants and animals. Visitors who like trekking can go hiking to the ridges and then walk down to the other side of the island. Birds such as White-bellied Sea Eagle, Palm Cockatoo, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Palm Cockatoo, Eclectus Parrot, Black-capped Lory can be seen there. There are also possums, monitor lizards, bandicoot, beetles, butterflies that live in the forest.

Accommodation

There are homestays in the villages which visitors can choose to stay. Visitors can interact with local people to see how they do spear fishing at night, or how they process their daily catch to make dried salted fish. 


snorkeling holiday to Cendrawasih Nasional Park
The uninhabited Rariyau island with 3 bungalows for tourists who are interested in staying there during their holiday in Wondama regency
Separate accommodations for visitors are also available in Rariyau island. No one lives in the island. Its white sandy beach, crystal clear water and pristine coral reef is a highly recommended destination for all snorkeling enthusiasts. In Niap village where there are sago trees, visitors can see how local people process the pith of sago to extract starch for making sago flour. 
Trekking tour through rainforest across the Roon island from one village to another can be done upon special arrangement. The duration of this hiking tour can be as short as 4 hours to one village on the other side of the hill or as long as 5 days to several villages around the island. During the tour in the jungle, visitors will be able to see various kinds of tropical plants and animals. Therefore, visitors who want to go hiking in the forest of Roon island are advised to bring binoculars, spotting scope with tripod (optional) and camera with telephoto lens.

How to get there?

Please, see the following map. If you are interested in traveling to Roon. 

rute penerbangan ke kota Wasior
Flight route to Wondama Bay regency

Roon island is part of the territory of Teluk Wondama regency. 
  • From your country, please, take an international flight to Jakarta or Denpasar Bali. 
  • After that, continue your trip to Manokwari which is the capital of Papua Barat province. 
  • Susi Air operates small aircraft such as Cessna Caravan 208 that flies several times a week between Manokwari city and Wasior town. The plane can carry around 10 passengers with maximum free luggage weight of 10 kilograms. From Wasior, you could take speedboat or motorized boat to any villages that you would like to see. 
This is written by Charles Roring


TO BE CONTINUED ....

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