29 June 2011 1 of 1


COM, LAUTÉM DISTRICT, TIMOR-LESTE

 


TIMOR-LESTE REPTILE & AMPHIBIAN SURVEY
PHASE V: AN ALMOST LOST DAY

The morning after a truly unpleasant night of fever, fits of coughing that should have drawn blood, and certainly brought tears, I was not feeling much better, but having peaked at 101.5 my temperature was back under 100 at last and during the day it dropped back to almost normal due to the administrations of Naveen. This was the first phase to include a medic and I for one was pleased he was onboard.

I spent most of the day in a darkened room either sleeping fitfully or listening to the activity outside.

Rentló arrived to deliver a new Troopie for me, and then Hinrich acompanied them to collect the abandoned vehicle on the Com to Bauro road. They also scavenged that vehicle's spare tyre for Hinrich's Troopie as the spare tyre we put on only a couple of days earlier had failed during the night, leaving his vehicle with a flat tyre for a second time.

Rentló deliver my replacement Troopie... ...and collect my dead one.

Other expedition members busied themselves with admin tasks, catching up on their field notebooks, some specimen work and R&R around the Com Beach Resort.

Local children arrived with two living specimens, a juvenile Timor monitor lizard (Varanus timorensis) and an Island pitviper (Cryptelytrops insularis), both in empty plastic water bottles. Luis, from the Jets, took the boy who had captured the pitviper aside and explained to him the error of his ways and the serious consquences of an accident (we had seen photographs a day or so earlier of the results of a bite from this species, on a small boy from Laca's village, Raça - not pretty!). Part of our mission is public awareness and education, and "stay well clear of venomous snakes" is part of that message.

By the end of the day I was feeling considerably better and, although coughing and in possession of a sore throat, I was able to get involved in things again and venture outside. I watched the team beachcombing rock pools for interesting crustaceans, molluscs and echinoderms at low tide. I did not join in, I was resting, there was a replacement Troopie sitting waiting for my next mission, driving half the expedition back to Dili the next day.

Timor monitor lizard,
Varanus timorensis
Island pitviper,
Cryptelytrops insularis