Wednesday, December 17, 2014


   Jakarta, Dec 17, 2014 (Antara) - Indonesia has endless maritime beautiful scenery extending from Sabang in its western-most province of Aceh Darussalam to Merauke located in the eastern-most province of Papua, to offer to foreign as well as domestic tourists.
        Being one of the world`s largest maritime countries with about 5.8 million square kilometres of marine territory, Indonesia has some 92,000 km-long beach and coastal areas, the world's second largest after Canada.
        The country is the biggest archipelagic state in the world, with around 70 percent of its territory as water and it has 17,480 islands.      

    Having such a valuable asset, the Indonesian government has organized an annual international maritime event called Sail Indonesia since 2009, with the objective of promoting tourism in the regions, accelerating development programs, enhancing access to isolated or remote areas, and improving welfare of local community.

        Organized in different parts of the country,  Sail Indonesia series were Sail Bunaken held in North Sulawesi Province in 2009, Sail Banda in Maluku in 2010, Sail Wakatobi-Belitung in the provinces of Southeast Sulawesi and Bangka Belitung (Sumatra) in 2011, Sail Morotai in North Maluku Province in 2012, Sail Komodo in East Nusa Tenggara in 2013, and Sail Raja Ampat in West Papua Province in 2014.
        The latest and sixth edition of the annual Sail Indonesia, Sail Raja Ampat was organized in West Papua  from August 17 to 24, 2014 and the peak event was attended by the then president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
         Raja Ampat, which literally means "Four Kings," had been derived from a local myth, and is often dubbed "Heaven on Earth" for its alluring marine panoramas.
        The archipelago comprises around 1.7 thousand islands and encompasses more than 9.8 million acres of land and sea off the northwestern tip of the West Papua Province. Its four major islands of Waigeo, Salawati, Batanta, and Misool are home to primeval rock paintings.  
   Learning from the success of Sail Raja Ampat, West Papua's neighboring province, Papua is preparing a proposal on Sail Cenderawasih Bay to be implemented in 2018. 
     Prior to hosting the National Sports Week 2020, Papua intended to organize Sail Cenderawasih Bay in 2018 to promote its tourism industry, Yubelius Usior, the head of the Papua tourism and cultural office, said in Biak, Papua Province, recently.     
   The proposal will soon be submitted to the National Development Planning Board (Bappenas) in Jakarta.
         "The preparations for Sail Cenderawasih Bay will take three years. The important thing is the commitment of every district located surrounding the Bay. And we need the central government's support by providing facilities, infrastructure and budget allocation for the program," he said.
        The Cenderawasih Bay has beautiful scenery and abundant maritime resources. The bay area is home to remnants of World War II.      
   The Cenderawasih Bay, which means "Bird of Paradise Bay" in the Indonesian language,  covers the districts of Biak Numfor, Supiori, Yapen Islands, and Waropen, which have rich local culture and traditions.
        According to an article posted on and written by Mike Veitch,  an experienced guide in Indonesia who works in close partnership with The Lighthouse Consultancy, Cenderawasih Bay is the county's newest "hot spot" to receive international attention.
        At over 30,000 km2 in size with around 15,000 km2 as a designated marine national park, the bay offers a plethora of activities to be enjoyed as well as ample "unknown" areas waiting to be explored.
         The activities include whaleshark interactions offering opportunity to swim with giant whalesharks in calm and easy conditions.
        The attraction is seen as the phenomenon that introduced Cenderawasih Bay to the world, and one of the most unique marine interaction experiences to be found anywhere. 
    Divers and snorkelers can spend days frolicking with these giant fish (up to 8 or more metres in length) at almost any time of year, with the exception of a few days surrounding the full moon each month.
         "The feeling of swimming next to one of these leviathans is an awe-inspiring experience and should be on the top of any marine enthusiasts 'to do' list," Mike Veitch wrote.
         Another interesting activity to be done in Cenderawasih Bay is to explore remnants of World War Two.  Major parts of a battle between the Americans and the Japanese took place on northern Papuan Island with several major encounters in the Cendrawasih Bay area.
          The bay is home to a selection of wrecks of several varieties such as P38 planes in shallow depths near Mioswaar and a Zero fighter near Roon, a series of different plane wrecks in the shallow reefs of Numfor, a Catalina flying boat wreck near Biak harbour and several large shipwrecks in the harbour of Manokwari.
          With the right permits, these wrecks are accessible to divers,  according to Veitch.
          Visitors can also relax on deserted white sandy beaches, join day tours to find the legendary birds of Paradise, or visit villages for a glimpse of traditional life. 
   One of the best villages to visit is on the island of Roon, home to the oldest Christian church in the area as well as a small waterfall and friendly locals, Mike Veitch recommended.
        Eager to earn US dollars from foreign tourists, the Biak Numfor district administration recently urged the tourism ministry to help  promote Biak as an international tourist destination.
        Biak has numerous maritime tourism attractions, including the Padaido island marine park, which has rich biodiversity.
        The district administration is optimistic that the Biak airport will soon be able to cater to international flights.
        If the Biak airport starts operating international flights, the number of foreign tourists visiting the district will increase significantly, he stated. 
    While planning for Sail Cenderawasih Bay in 2018, Sail Tomini will be held in Central Sulawesi in 2015.
         Based on the presidential decree on Sail Tomini 2015, the government has prepared 18 major programs and activities, according to the head of the Central Sulawesi maritime affairs and fisheries office, Hasanuddin Atjo, recently.
        The programs and activities prepared include free medical services for the public in Central Sulawesi, a boat parade, parachuting, Nusantara Circle VI sailing, a kampong development movement, a Nusantara youth sailing, a yacht rally, a Tomini Batik expo, seminars on maritime affairs, and a maritime research expedition. ***2***

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