18 June 2013 1 of 3




Flights to Dili, the capital of Timor-Leste, seem to be getting more and more frequent. There were Merpati and Sriwijaya Air flights departing Bali for Dili on the morning of the 18th June. We took the Sriwijaya flight, an airline we have not used before as it only started flying this route in May 2013.

The flight lasted a little over one hour and with Timor-Leste one hour ahead of Bali we arrived in the afternoon, passed through Immigration and Customs and entered Timor-Leste for the start of Phase VIII of the Reptile & Amphibian Survey. Unfortunately I pulled my back badly lifting one of the heavy Pelican cases in the baggage hall and will have to take things very carefully over the next few days.

Most obvious difference on our arrival - no UN Police - they have gone now.

In the Arrivals area we were met by Laca, one of our Timorese team members originally known as "The Jets" when they were led by one of the four called Benny. Laca will be joining us for Phase VIII as will Paulo who also worked with us on a previous phase.

From the airport we journeyed the five-minutes to our usual base in Dili, the Timor Lodge Hotel, a former military base comprising chalets, rows of containers, a restaurant and a pool. We took four of the chalets we usually use for the project - coming to the TLH is a bit like coming home for some of us.

Although the pool at the TLH is claimed to be the best pool in Dili, if not in Timor, taking a swim in it seems to be fateful. Apart from Hinrich, nobody who has swam in the pool returns to the project for the next phase. Caitlin Sanchez (Phases I-VII) swam in the pool at the end of Phase VII, and she is not with us this time. Pure superstition maybe, but I am not going in the pool.

The four chalets taken by the team at the
Timor Lodge Hotel (TLH)


After collecting our stored equipment from the container, taking showers and having something to eat, Sven took the students out around the compound on a herping trip. They returned several hours later, after dark, with a number of interesting reptiles and amphibians. Laca had also brought a few herps with him. These species will be reported in a moment, but first I would refer the reader to the two-page section on the background to Timor-Leste and how the project came into being.

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Click next page below for the project introduction
Today's species follow