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Image
(Fafanlap 2008 - Photo E.B.)


The
South East of
Misool Island
 

The interest scientist have taken in Misool is exemplified by a long list of expeditions (click here for details), from Charles Allen collecting birds in 1860 to linguistic studies undertaken by Bert Remijsen from 2000 to 2003..

On January 4, 2008, Mark Pierce (Misool Eco Resort), Eric Battistoni (Precious Planet) and Like Wijaya and Iwein Mauro (Papua Expeditions) were setting out from Batbitim in a 40-horsepower motorised fibreglass boat towards the south coast of Misool for an exploratory foray along the Gam River.
The goal was to measure the ornithological potential of the Misool archipelago and this was divided into three different tasks.
Firstly to obtain an overall picture of the variety and wealth of ornithological wildlife. Secondly, to evaluate the possibility of undertaking an expedition deeper in the island and thirdly, to ascertain the accessibility and feasibility of setting up a rudimentary building for bird observation.

The islands that make up Raja Ampat are now geographically grouped, but this was not always the case. Geological evolution of the region, with its resulting impact on life and biodiversity, now represents a source of major scientific interest.

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(Fafanlap 2008 - Photo E.B.)

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(Yellu 2006 - Photo E.B.)

Click here to discover the geography of the archipelago, geological evolution and  consequences on biodiversity.
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(2008 - Photo E.B.)


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(Yellu 2006 - Photo E.B.)


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(Fafanlap 2000 - Photo B.R.)
icoVillages

We made our base camp at the friendly village of Fafanlap. Stretching along a single street adjacent to the shore, half the wooden houses are on land, whilst the other half are built on wooden stilts. Compared to other villages, Fafanlap is quite big, with a large concrete school. There is also a long, wide pier designed for large boats that will never dock there because of the coral reefs and low water level!

Our guides, Pak Jak and Junedi, the boat pilot, are from Fafanlap but we needed someone familiar with the Gam River to make the expedition complete.
Our first stop was Gamta, a small village located on the mouth of the river where Yonas came aboard. Yonas is one of the island’s indigenous Matbat people.

According to our guides, the Matbat were originally a relatively small group of inland forest-dwellers before they started to resettle permanently along the coast as recently as the eighties.

We subsequently travelled two minutes upstream to Yonas’ village of Magey in order to meet the Village Head. The villages of Magey and Gamta are in surprisingly close proximity to one another. One explanation for this is that the population of Gamta is of Ma'yas origin, originally a sea dwelling tribe (with their own distinct dialect), whereas the Matbat people moved down the river and established their village alongside but separated from Ma'ya. (See link below for more information).

Ornamented with numerous flowers, Magey is a clean and pleasant village. After a brief presentation, the Village Head gave us the necessary approval from the owners to visit their ancestral lands.

Click here for more information on villages and the origin of their inhabitants.
 
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Gamta's new bungalows
Magey's Village Head         Magey Village
 (Photos E.B.- 2008)


Table of Content

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Expedition to inland Misool

  The incredible and unlucky story of Alfred Russell Wallace - 1862

List of exeditions to Misool
 
Image South East Misool: Gamta Village and countryside
  Geological evolution and consequences on bio diversity

Story of inhabitants and villages
 
 
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The Gam River: Going Upstream