26 June 2012 1 of 2




Up good and early for the off, Hinrich went to pick up the permits and collected Paulo on his way back to TLH. While he was away I picked up the second Troopie from Rentló and we started to load equipment onto the roof-rack or into the spacious interior. Two 11-seater Troopies for six people might seem excessive, but the roads in the "Districts" are notoriously bad. Breaking down with only one vehicle on some of the remote roads we planned to drive could be disasterous, but with two vehicles you should at least be able to get everyone out again even if you had to abandon a vehicle. This had already happend to us once when my Troopie died on the sparsely populated limestone karst plateau high above Com in Lautém District, on Phase V, and we were relieved then to still have the means to return to our accommodation and communications base at Com, leaving sorting out recovery of the abandoned vehicle until the next day.

The team with the Troopies about to leave TLH for Baucau.
(l-r) Andrew, Sven, Mark, Hinrich, Caitlin, Paulo


When Hinrich arrived back we set up a group photograph and then set off east for Baucau, Hinrich, Caitlin and Paulo in the lead vehicle, Andrew, Sven and myself in the second Troopie. Baucau is a fairly easy drive along the scenic north coast along a winding, often narrow and pot-holed, high cliff-top road above blue-green coral-reefs and fringing mangrove swamps.

The scenic north coast road

It is a drive we know well having driven it on numerous occasions. It takes about three hours. The only herp seen was a fast moving Timor monitor lizard (Varanus timorensis) which sprinted across the road in front of the vehicles, a common occurrence on the north coast road.