04 August 2014 2 of 3


TIMOR-LESTE (Lautem Distr.)

 


TIMOR-LESTE REPTILE & AMPHIBIAN SURVEY
INTO THE MOUNTAINS

I had just uploaded the Expedition Field Notes and was putting a link on Facebook when the power to the Telkomcel office went down, so I went across the road to the Timor Telecom office, same problem. With no likelihood of an early fix (these problems can last days) we set off again for Manatuto where there was probably another internet connection, hopefully with a functioning power supply.

We were successful, and then set off again, turning south for the mountainous backbone of Timor island, passing on the way another ossuary full of the bones of the heros and martyrs of the struggle for independence.

The ossuary to the heros and martyrs at Manatuto
Click on the image for a view through the open door

The drive up into the mountains from Manatuto is one we have done before, at least as far as a crossroads where we usually carried on south but this time we turned west towards Soibada, new territory for us and a big gap in our map of the herpetofauna of Timor-Leste.

A mountain village from the winding road above

The crossing of road, we turned west (right) towards Soibada

The road quickly became one of the most challenging we have driven in the country, muddy, rocky, precipitous, tight bends, hard climbs, narrow over-grown stretches - a mere 20-25 km took almost two hours to complete. But that is what can happen during fieldwork off the beaten path! Instead of worrying about our bruises, we merely proclaimed this road one of the most "entertaining" in the country.


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