Victor Valley College Tropical Research Initiative
Herpetofauna of Timor-Leste
Phase VI


Zito and Laca came to the airport to see us off as we left Dili at the end of Phase VI on 7th February. The flight to Singapore was relatively short, around 3 hours, but the arrival at Changi International is always a shock after leaving a small airport like Dili's Nicolau Lobato International. Poh was at the airport to meet us and transport us to the Best Western Jayleen Hotel but already some of us were becoming ill.

Hinrich suggested we go out for a meal at our usual restaurant but Caitlin, Scott, Sven and I were feeling too exhausted and feverish to partipate so we retired to our rooms, a hot shower being more tempting than a hot meal and a soft bed more covetted than any soft breeze on a river bank. By all account the rest of the team had a great evening.

The next day we planned to visit Singapore Zoo, probably the best zoo in the world and certainly a must-see for zoology students. Caitlin and I dragged ourselves out to join the team but Scott and Sven could not be extracted from their darkened rooms.

Our visit to the Zoo was interesting, as usual, although due to my increasing fever I did not do much in focus photography. We saw Water monitor lizards (Varanus salvator), Clouded monitor lizards (V.nebulosus) and Sun skinks (Eutropis multifasciata) running free around the zoo exhibits and checked out the Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis) and False gharial (Tomistoma schlegelii) exhibits. We also watched the well choreographed Elephants of Asia presentation.

Sun skink, Eutropis multifasciata Clouded monitor lizard, Varanus nebulosus
Komodo dragon, Varanus komodoensis False gharial, Tomistoma schlegelii

But returning to the hotel the expedition was not quite over, for the students at least. Hinrich set his usual exam, with some involvement from myself, a series of questions relating not only to the reptiles and amphibians encountered on Timor but also some of the invertebrates, the locations, the names of people and places. It was a final brain squeeze for the eight students, Caitlin was exempted as she is no longer consider a 'student' due to her experience gained on all six phases, but Sven sat the test too. Scott also emerged from hibernation to participate.

The Exam

After the exam was completed we all went back to the restaurant on the quay for a final meal together before Sven and I went to the airport for out 00:30 (9th February) Emirates flight to Dubai, via Colombo. We were seen off by Hinrich and Caitlin who then returned to the hotel and the rest of the team.

From Dubai I caught an Emirates flight to Birmingham and Sven caught one to Frankfurt and at around the time we arrived in Dubai the rest of the team were heading for Singapore airport for their Singapore Airlines flights, Singapore-Incheon-San Francisco-Baltimore for Hinrich and Singapore-Tokyo-Los Angeles for everyone else.

Phase VI is complete
Roll on Phase VII