24 June 2013 1 of 4


TIMOR-LESTE (Com, Lautém District)

 


TIMOR-LESTE REPTILE & AMPHIBIAN SURVEY
DEJA VU

Our first day out of Com Beach Resort we planned to drive a new road north of Com to an area of untouched forest, except things did not go quite according to plan. We hit a patch of deep mud and subsidence on an inclined road which required that we put the Troopies into Low4. This also entails getting out to lock the wheel hubs. Hinrich went first and sailed through the obstruction without incident. I followed on exactly the same route, well away from the left of the road where I could slide down into a gorge. My Troopie got stuck, even with Low4 with locking wheel hubs on LOCK, but the wheels spun and it was all I could do to reverse back out, it was as if I were still in two-wheel drive (in fact I think I was, even though the indicator on the dash indicated otherwise and the hubs were locked). I unloaded all my passengers to lighten the Troopie and tried again, taking a run at it, as much as you could with Low4. Again I bogged and this time it would not reverse out, every effort to go forwards or backwards resulting in me sliding closer to the drop-off until I was on the very edge. Anymore of this and I was going over, so I decided to abandon the Troopie and contact Rentló and have them recover the vehicle intact, and hopefully bring a replacement since we could not function in Lautém without reliable four-wheel drive. We have driven much worse roads than this in southern Timor and even such rain-s0dden mud should not have proven such an obstable.

Bogged!

Dèja vu! We had problems with a Troopie that failed on us last time we came to Lautém, the switch to the reserve full tank (Troopies have two) did not operate so we ran out of fuel while we still had a a full but inaccessible tank on board.

So it was all aboard Hinrich's Troopie and back to Com Beach Resort, stopping to photograph a sea turtle conservation sign (spoiled by careless typos). Back at base we set out to work locally until Rentló arrived from Dili.

Sea turtle conservation sign sadly spoiled by numerous typos - click on the image to view


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