Arguni Island is one of the interesting destinations in West Papua. This area has many potential and interesting facts that many people may not know. Of course, first, the natural beauty is very enchanting like other island regions in West Papua.
In addition, there is a wonderful prehistoric site, the uniqueness of the diversification of the people, and the potential wealth of marine biota and sea creatures.
Arguni Island is a part of the Fakfak and Kaimana regencies. Arguni District in Fakfak Regency is a division of the Kokas District. This area is now commonly known as “Arguni Fakfak”. Arguni Fakfak has karst hills and reef limestone morphology on most of the beaches in the district.
Meanwhile, the part of Aguni Island in Kaimana Regency is divided into two districts. “Arguni Bawah” District and “Teluk Arguni” District. These two districts are the most accessible areas by sea transportation from the center of the Kaimana regency.
Prehistoric Site to Visit in Arguni Island
One of the unique things that can be found on Arguni Island is a historical site called the Tapurarang Site. This site is on some of the seaside cliffs between Ugar Island, Kokas District, and Arguni Island.
On the cliff wall between 2- 15 meters above sea level, you can find stamped paintings in the form of palms, feet, human faces, and even animals, plants, and objects that are commonly used in everyday life.
Research shows that the rock art in Arguni is unique and different from the surrounding sites such as Maluku, and even Batanta, Raja Ampat. It is even considered the most interesting prehistoric painting in Indonesia.
These paintings exist thousands of years ago, since the megalithic era. The drawing technique is stylization using natural dyes. The images are in some basic colors, such as red, black, white, and yellow.
The area of these images is very special in the eyes of the locals. Although their boats often pass through the area of the Tapurarang Site, they still consider it sacred and should not be damaged.
For your information, you can visit this prehistoric site on Arguni Island by departing from the city of Fakfak to Kokas District. Then, from Kokas, you can rent a longboat to reach the Tapurarang site.
Along the way, you can witness the beauty of the clear water, archipelago areas, and mangrove forests surrounding the Tapurarang. You can also witness the Bird-of-Paradise, and other rare birds fly freely if you are lucky.
Looking at several kinds of research, there are a lot of marine biota and sea creatures living on Arguni Island and can be potential economic resources for the locals.
One example is seaweed (Euchema cottonii). People in Arguni and Taver Village are the main producers of dried seaweed. More than 100 families live from seaweed cultivation and fisheries.
Every family can harvest more than 500 kilograms of seaweed eight times a year. It means more than 400 tons of seaweed per year. These seaweeds are then dried and sometimes made into chips, sweets, syrup, and flour.
Another potential is many kinds of fish lives in the waters surrounding Arguni Island. There are more than 55 kinds of fish recorded. In the research from 2012, two new fish species originally live in Arguni Bay waters and can’t be found anywhere else.
Melanotaenia mairasi and Glossamia arguni are the names of two new fish species. Other than those two, 33 kinds of fish are potential as decorative fish, and nine as consumption fish. Meanwhile, 13 kinds are potential as both decorative and consumptive fish.
Looking at both resources of Arguni Island, this island has potential for tourism and the locals’ development. Also, there is news that the local authorities, working with the people, will develop some more activities on Arguni Island, such as eco-tourism and a diving center.