Minggu, 22 November 2009

GENERAL INFORMATION OF ARU ISLANDS

Since January 7, 2003, Aru archipelago became an independent Kabupaten (District) of the Maluku Province; before that, it was a sub district of Kabupaten Maluku Tenggara. It covers an area of 54.395 km2, comprises land 6.325 km2 and sea 48.070 km2 with Dobo as its capital. The capital Dobo in the Wamar island.
The southern Aru is bordered by the Arafura Sea, the north and east are bordered by the southern part of the Papua Province. The west is bordered by the eastern part of Kei Besar island and Arafura sea. The District Aru Archipelago has 7 subdistricts, Kecamatan Pulau-pulau Aru with Dobo as its capital subdistrisct's, Kecamatan Aru Utara with Marlasi as its capital subdistrisct's, Kecamatan Aru Tengah with Benjina as its capital subdistrisct's, Kecamatan Aru Tengah Timur with Koijabi as its capital subdistrisct's, Kecamatan Aru Tengah Selatan with Longgar/Aapara as its capital subdistrisct's, Kecamatan Aru Selatan with Korpuy as its capital subdistrisct's and Kecamatan Aru Selatan Timur with Koljurin/Meror as its capital subdistrisct's. Aru Archipelago consists of morethan 800 islands inhabited by 90.037 people (according to the 2009 cencus by Dinas Kependudukan dan Catatan Sipil Kabupaten Kepulauan Aru). 89 Islands are not inhabited. Some big islands are Wokam, Kola, Kobror, Maekor and Trangan which are connected by narrow straights. The islands are flat, covered with mangrove swamps.
Most of the people live as fishermen and farmers. The main commodities of the Aru Archipelago are mostly marine products, pearls, pearl shell, trepang, and some variety of fishes and shrimps.
There are 16 language families and 2 big social life societies (Teon) those are “Ursia” and “Urlima”. “Ursia” owns north Aru area covering 90 villages, symbolized by “Shark”, while “Urlima” owns the southern part of Aru, covering 50 villages, symbolized by a “Whale”.
Since long time ago Aru archipelago has been known to be the home of the birds of paradise and the original land of the pearl. Both are much being interested. Aru Archipelago has been visited by the foreign traders since two and a half century after Christ. Their aim was to look for the bird of paradise for its beautiful feathers.
According to stories, in Nepal, the bird of paradise was used as the symbol of the Kingdom’s authority. The type of the feather they used was found only in Aru Archipelago. In 1830, the Spain’s Marie Christine de Bourbone apply the skin of the bird of paradise and its feathers on herf crown. In 1500, the Portugees declared about the bird of paradise trade that persisted in Maluku islands to be exported to Persia and Turkey.To find the birds of paradise was one of the main reasons why Sir Alfred Russel Wallace traveled to the Far East. When he arrived at Dobo on January 8, 1857, he found only a settlement in the wild on a flat area formed by swamp and covered with green mangrove and was inhabited only during the trading season when the Chinese merchants and Bugis traders from Sulawesi arrived on their prahus. He spent five to six months, waiting for the local people to bring bird feathers, pearl and dried sea slugs for sale. During the five months of his staying, Wallace witnessed the arrival of big perahus from Maccassar and many smaller boats from Kei, the New Guinea and other parts of outer Dobo.
He had also the opportunity to see by himself how the bird of paradise lived. Equally important, he could gather specimens which ought to fetch handsome sums when sold in London. The king birds of paradise are still to be found on the Baun Reserve. He found peaceful environment for the marketplace was in everyone’s interest. People got on so well without any formal rule or law, courts or police to keep order.

Before the Europeans came, in 15th and 16 th century, the Maluku Archipelago were already being part of a well arranged regional system for the local inter islands trade on the eastern part in Indonesia. And the Aru islands were included in this system that can be seen by the trade stuffs at that time among others were sagoo, timber, birds of paradise, black cockatoos, white cockatoos, sea cucumber, green turtle shell and pearl. The imported items from abroad still kept till nowadays are silk, cymbals, and Chinese porcelain.
CULTURE
There are still some traditional ceremonies, such as :
- Wedding ceremonies (Jernin)
- The opening of the “Sasi” (harvest prohibition of certain products for a certain period of time)
- Kora-kora (long canoe) racing
- The traditional hunting feast / burning the bushes in traditional way (Darman Tel-tel)

CLIMATE
The climate is influenced by the Banda Sea, Arafura Sea and Indonesian Ocean, also influenced by the Eastern part of Papua island and the northern part of Australia, that sometimes change the climate. The dry season is from April to October where the east wind blows. The east season means the east wind blows is from October to February and the sea is rough.

CULTURAL EVENTS :
1. Traditional boat race, on August, 10-18
2. The Harvest of Fish, on October
3. The Anniversary of Aru District, on January, 7
Many cultural performances will be performed during these events.

Dobo Island
Dobo, the capital of Aru Island, lies on Wamar Island. Located west from Dobo is Batu Kora beach, a white sandy beach overgrown with coconut trees, a recreation spot for the local people. Then continue to Wangel beach, Belakang Wamar beach, Durjela beach and Pulau Babi beach.

Durjela beach
A white sandy beach where one can enjoy the sunset. At dusk, various species of birds come to perch on the trees around the location.

Benjina and Maekor Island
Thousand hectares of mangrove forest are there in Benjina and there are also crocodiles. These Islands are the place where the pearls are being cultivated. It takes 2 hours by speedboat from Dobo to reach Benjina.

Enau and Karan Islands
Enau and Karan Islands is a marine reserve, the largest nesting site for sea green turtles in Aru and the place where dugong is common. Dugong are now rare only some could be seen at a place called Dugong creek. In the moonlight before midnight one can watch lumbering black shapes of turtles emerge from the sea, crowling up the beach to lay their eggs on Enau islands. It takes appr. 5 hours by a chartered speedboat from Dobo to reach Enau and Karan Islands.

The Fauna in Aru Islands are Birds of Paradise, Wallaby, White Cockatoo with yellow crest, Red Cockatoo, Green Cockatoo, Black Cockatoo (King Cockatoo) with black crest, Black Cockatoo with red crest, Black Cockatoo with yellow crest, and deer spread over the islands.
Baun Island
Baun Island is a natural conservation for these fauna, especially for the Birds of Paradise. It is very interesting to watch the Birds of Paradise mate. The time is from May to September when the birds, the female and the male come to be together on the special tree to make love. The male that has beautiful feathers will spread its beautiful wings to cover himself and at the same time it cover his sight too. Birds of Paradise are one of the many endangered species.

WHERE TO STAY
Dobo
- Vanesia Hotel, Jl. Kapitan Malaya, Dobo, Ph. 62 - 0917- 21071
- Leo Hotel, Jl. mayor Abdullah 165, Dobo, Ph. 62 - 0917 - 21386
- Fanny Hotel, Jl. Siwalima, Dobo, Ph. 62 - 0917 - 21432
- Guest House Lima Saudara, Jl. Mutiara Dobo, Ph. 62 - 0917 - 21262

- Sinar Harapan Hotel, Jl. Jalabil, Dobo, Ph. 0917 -
- Mazda Hotel, Jl. Cenderawasih Puncak, Dobo, Ph. 0917 -
- Cenderawasih Hotel, Jl. Kampong China, Dobo, Ph. 0917 -

BANKING FACILITIES
- Bank Pembangunan Maluku (BPDM) and the ATM Bersama, Jl. Kapitan Malongi 60
Dobo Ph. 62 - 0971 - 21144
- Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI), Jl. Kapitan Malongi Dobo
Ph. 62 - 0971 - 21237

There is no MONEY CHANGER Available on Aru Islands.
COMMUNICATION FACILITIES
- Post Office, Jl. Mayor Abdullah, Dobo, Ph. 62 - 0917 - 21225
- Kantor Telekomunikasi, Jl. Mutiara 142, Dobo, Ph. 62 - 0917 - 22100
Telecommunication Office serves local calls as well as long distance calls.

Posting by;
www.karel_labok@yahoo.com

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