Pristine Coral, Birds of Paradise and

Friendly Villagers

We cruised to the village of Yenwapnour on Gam, an island on the south-western tip of Waigeo. The local Papuans welcomed us with flute and drum music, song and dance, welcome speeches, a tasting of local food traditionally cooked in the earth oven before a leisurely stroll through the village with local guides. We went snorkelling and diving in the Coral Garden on the coastline of the village. It was amazing and so pristine, especially as it was off the village beach. The villagers have looked after the coral well, despite the children playing and jumping into the water.

Birds of Paradise

This was an early morning option for the active walkers! We set off at 5am on an energetic hike, 45 minutes up a steep track above the village, to view the rare Red Birds of Paradise that gather at dawn high up in the trees. (dawn was 6.08am). Our guides took us to a well- placed local vantage point where we were able to see the elusive birds – we saw 3 females and 8 males showing off their long red tail feathers as they tried to impress the females with their dances and calls, often whilst hanging upside down.

Red Bird of Paradise

The Red Bird-of-Paradise is the most iconic, most extraordinar- ily, beautiful of the birds of para- dise species. It is only found in Waigeo and Batanta islands. The red bird-of-paradise is depicted on the front side of 1992 edition of Indonesia 20000 Rupiah banknote. Since Birds-of-Paradise never cross water gaps, even if they are only one kilometer wide, ancestral birds that got to Waigeo and Batanta at some point have evolved into Red and Wilson’s – two very unique birds- of-paradise.
© Nova Fisher, Many underwater photos are copyright of fellow travellers, Cory & Gwynn Wiliams