04 July 2014 1 of 2


TIMOR-LESTE (Dili Distr.)

 


TIMOR-LESTE REPTILE & AMPHIBIAN SURVEY
ATAÚRO AHOY!


Hinrich had an early meeting with Fernando Santana, the Deputy to Manuel Mendes, the Director of National Parks, to sort out our collecting permits. While he was away in Dili we sorted the equipment for our four-day trip to Ataúro Island. Although Ataúro belongs to Timor-Leste it lies in the Inner Banda Arc of islands, along with Flores, Alor and Wetar, while Timor lies in the Outer Banda Arc with Sumba and Roti. These two island arcs have different geological origins and potentially different zoogeographies. This would be our fourth visit to Ataúro since the project began in 2009.

The Berlin Nakroma ferry's schedule did not fit with ours, so the only way to reach the island was by local boat. This also meant we could not take our own vehicles with us, and so we would be more limited in our movements on the island than on our previous visit. The boat departed for Ataúro at 11:45, later than we would have liked. The later you leave, the rougher the journey, and this 2.5-hour journey was quite rough and wet. We arrived around 14:20 and transferred to a small boat to run to the shore at Barry's Place, an eco-resort on the eastern side of the island. This would be our base for our stay, as it had been on our previous visit.

Our boat to Ataúro Island Some of the students enjoying the bumpy ride,
(l-r) Justin, Jose, Ruby & Kim,
Ataúro in the background
Barry's Place - an eco-resort on the eastern side of Ataúro Island

The rest of the afternoon was taken up settling into the comfortable chalets or the beach-side tents, which had increased in number since our last visit in 2012.

As the day drew to a close Caitlin and Laca took the students out to do some herping in the bush near the resort.



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