Papua

The Island

Papua is the easternmost islands of Indonesia. It has two provinces, West Papua and Papua. By its name, you can tell that West Papua province in the west, while Papua in the east. Together then, it is called Papua now (Formerly known as Irian Jaya in new era order under Suharto role).

Map of New Guinea
Fig. Part of West Papua and Papua in light green and green color respectively. The white color is part of Papua New Guinea. The whole island named New Guinea.

What?

Papua is the largest island after Greenland. The island consists of 2 countries, Indonesia in the western half and Papua New Guinea in the eastern half.


Where?

Papua is the part of Melanesia's pacific islands. Melanesia means the black islands. Its people range in stature from tall to short, in skin colour from light brown to deep black.


Attractions?

Diving, hiking, snorkeling, birdwatching, culture.

Overview of Papua

Papua was under the Dutch collonial until 1942 when Japan seized all of New Guinea except the south during world war two. Two years later, Japan was driven out of New Guinea by Allied Forces under US general McArthur in 1944. Once again, Papua was took over by the Dutch. In 1949, The Netherlands withdrew from Indonesia, but was preparing for independence for Papua. Netherland was thinking that culturally, Papua distinct from the rest of their colony in Indonesia. Dutch was bulding schools and was training Papuan to have a professional skills. Under US pressure, on 15th August 1962, The Netherland signed New York agreement and Papua become the newest province of Indonesia at the time.

In 2003, President Megawati Sukarnoputri announced her plan to divide Papua Island into 3 provinces. But, after violent protests only West Papua acquired its name while the big part of the island in the east and south the name still the same, Papua.

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Fig. Jayawijaya in Papua is the highest mountain in Indonesia.

The People

Thousand years ago, the Austronesian people have migrated from mainland Asia to the south. Then they made settlement in Indonesia except Papua. They outnumbered Melanesian that had been there before. Later the Melanesian had been forced by Austronesian and they went to the east, in this case to Papua island. Melanesia then spread to the interior part of Papua and some of them made their way until Pacific. Austronesian also venture to the east by the northern part of Papua islands. But, they feared went to the interior part of Papua.

The Papuan were among staples in the world. They rely on Sago palms, corns, and tubers, and also rice. For highlanders in the interior part, it's pretty difficult to get protein.

Jayapura and Manokwari is the capital city of Papua and West Papua province respectively. Jayapura is the densest population in Papua.



Wildlife

Most animals in Papua are Marsupials, ground-dwellers, flightless birds. It's not similar to other part of Indonesia's animals. Million years ago, Papua were belong to Australia's continent plate not to the mainland Asia's plate. Because there are no large mammals in Papua and Australia as well. Large mammals were introduced by outsider visitors. Most of them has inabilty to defend themselves by newly-introduced animals or hard to compete in order to forage foods. And it leaded to extinction. The biggest animals is Casowari. Dogs, Cats, livestocks.




Diving Condition

In Raja Ampat and Triton Bay, current component must always be considered when planning dives. While Cendrawasih Bay is not subject to the often-strong currents. Diving around reef corners and out on extended ridges of coral is the best place to experience in Cendrawasih Bay. When water movement is substantial enough, schools of fish will gather to feed on passing plankton and Cendrawasih's reefs swarms with life.

Tides normally fall from the north and rise from the south except in Raja Ampat's Dampier Strait, which funnels vast amounts of sea water from the east on a falling tide and from the west on a rising tide. The great schools of fish that have made several sites in Raja Ampat and Triton Bay famous tend to congregate around current-swept reef points. Diving at site where the ocean literally roils with life is an experience not often equalled elsewhere on tropical reefs.

Cendrawasih Bay tends to be slightly warmer than the rest of the Bird's head, while Triton Bay is noticeable cooler, particularly during the southeast monsoon months, May through September. While we have experienced glorious 30 meter plus visibility, travelling divers should arrive mentally prepared for less stellar conditions. The up-side to poor visibility caused by upwelling and dense plankton blooms on Bird's Head reefs is the increase likelihood of big animal encounters. From whales, whale sharks to mantas and mobulas rays.

Best Time to Dive

Prime season to see Raja Ampat and Triton Bay and make the trip are May and September during the southeast monsoon. While during the northwest monsoon season in October and April, traveling around West Papua's north coast are difficult. However, diving in northern Raja Ampat is good throughout the year.

What to Bring

Though we provide a full range of equipment for diving, most divers are bringing their own equipment for number of reasons in general. The most important thing is familiar to operate and set up a gear especially camera. It is frustrating when you haven't familiarize yourself about how to use it properly. It is much more frustrating when the first time you operate and it doesn't work well when you already on site. Your diving experience could be ruined.

Also, don't forget to bring proof of certification and diving insurance and whatever scuba diving insurance you carry. And if you intend to use Nitrox, you should bring that card as well.

Diving Safety

It is imperative to dive conservatively and safely. The chamber facility nearby is in Manado and evacuation extremely expensive and difficult to arrange. Although, My Adventure Indonesia provides breathing oxygen, it's insufficient treatment for decompression sickness.

Make sure, you are in a good physical condition and have several dive experiences at least have done it recently. Take a course of diving before and get a diving certification. Our dive masters will guide you through before you make any attempt of diving whether you are novice and experienced diver. You may want to read » How to get to Raja Ampat and » How to get to Cendrawasih Bay.