Wednesday, October 2, 2013

INDONESIA - WEST TIMOR AND ROTE - 16 August to 1 September 2013

A nice flight from Denpasar to Kupang, West Timor and here I am! Josua was at the airport to pick me up or rather his son. Strangely, his son kept ringing me to see if I was there. It is only a small exit so I don’t know how he missed me but eventually I found him 10 metres away. Seeing I was the only bule there at the exit, I didn’t get what the problem was.
Onward to Hotel on the Rocks 538 000R. I checked in and had a swim at the pool and a few beers.

After that it was into town to the night square for hot corn and few more beers at Teddies. I had a number of chats with locals while sitting there. It is a friendly and social place. Time for dinner at the ‘club 666’. The food was okay and the karaoke bad. My taxi driver, took me to the Crystal hotel where e said there was music. There was no music there but the receptionist suggested the ‘dancing hall’.  So off we went. We drove into a very seedy dark spot behind a building. One door with light emanating was the entrance. Inside it was a brothel to the right and music to the left. I chose the left. Inside there was great music but there was no one in there. Ah well, maybe some other time!
I went back to the hotel, had a coffee, went to bed and then there was a knock on the door. One of the staff said I needed to pay the hotel bill. To cut it short he offered me a massage and with a swift manoeuvre his hand went on my shoulder and he said for me it was free. Thanks but no thanks. Enough for one night!

Today is Independence Day for Indonesia

Josua was picking me up at 7am for the fast boat to Ba’a Rote. While having breakfast, out walks John a guy I met in Sumba a few years ago. We had a chat but I had to go.

The fast boat was pleasant in the VIP area. On arrival at Ba’a, the boat had to wait an hour due the Independence ceremony taking place near the dock. I had a shared car to Nemberala 150 000R. I arrived at lualembar homestay and settled. Next door the guy Dan was very sick. There were two other guys there peter and ???.
I had a good surf that afternoon 1 to 1 1/2 metres.
A good dinner and sleep.
The next day, there were good waves at Bo’a. About 1 m and fast. The wind increased and it was all over red rover. Had an easy day and watched the sunset on the beach.
Before breakfast, I checked the surf and decided on a mountain bike ride

Distance 8.8 km
Time 43 minutes
Av speed 12.1 km/h
Max speed 27.9 km/h
After breakfast there was a 1 to 2m excellent surf at T-land.
The next morning was the morning market. I rode the MB to the markets
Distance 3.1 km
Time 16 mins
Av speed 11.4 km/h
Max speed 22.4 km/h
The markets were interesting selling food and bits and pieces of everything.

I had a small but fun surf.
Another bike ride and I met Charlie(met also in April) and Brian.
Today is Dave’s birthday, the owner of the homestay. We had a big feast. There were so many members from his Rote family attending. It was a good night for him.

No surf today. I rode the bike around and had a snorkel on the reefs in front of T-land. The reef was a bit boring at first but turned into a coral garden the further out I went. There were large schools of fish in the deep water and a large variety in the shallow waters. The light lit up the seaweed to amazing bright green.

The next day, I cycled to the beach but it was flat again.
I hired a motorbike and drove south through villages and took some back roads to return in a sort of circle. In one of the villages a baby had died from a snake bite. Another village was powered by solar power. Some of the villages looked very poor but they managed to have a satellite dish and a motorbike. Seaweed farming seemed to be the major income earner.
Distance 51.37 km
Time 2:41 hours
Av speed 19.1 km/h
Max speed 56.5 km/h
The surf was flat again today so I rode the motorbike north. I went over two dry river beds. Chatted with heaps of locals. The area was very dry but the people were friendly.

Distance 32.52 km
Time 1:55 hour
Av speed 16.9 km/h
Max speed 56.9 km/h

Spent the afternoon swimming and watching the sunset.

Today no surf. I rode the bike further south. The coast became mangroves and the villages had more and more kids.

The afternoon I spent swimming.

No waves on this new day. I went for a snorkel on T-land reef. It was even better than the other day with three sea snakes and a scorpion fish.

The afternoon and the waves have returned. There were1m waves. Crowded but good shape and fun.
Met a nice couple, Karoline and Peter from Austria.

The following day, the waves were good at 1m. Once again it was crowded but not too bad. The wind got very strong.

Today, I returned the motorbike to use the cycle more.
The surf increased to double overhead. It was very intense so I went for the smaller ones between sets. Bad move as I kept getting caught inside and dragged down the reef for the long paddle back.

The second surf was heaps better as my timing improved. Had heaps of great waves. Two couples arrived from WA. A fun dinner that night!

Today was the best surf so far. Had great waves in the morning and the afternoon.
Coming in on the boat, I was feeling a little hot. By dinner, I wasn’t t all well. I went back to my room and was very sick that night.
This was the start of the dengue fever which lasted awhile. High fever like your brain is cooking, aches all over, thirsty, headache, can’t move. I stayed in Rote for three more days. My condition wasn’t improving so I had to leave and get to the clinic in Bali.
I don’t know how I managed it but I booked car to ferry, boat ticket, pickup in Kupang, hotel in Kupang, drop off airport next day, changed flight to Bali and hotel in Bali. I had a lot of help from Josua on the Kupang end of the trip.
I left Nemberala and had a shared taxi to the fast boat. An angel was in the car! A wonderful caring Danish girl ( ashamed I don’t remember her name) helped me to the pier, with my bags, drinks, seating on the ferry and getting my gear off the ferry. I was so lucky!
The car to Ba’a was okay but the boat ride was horrendous. There were no VIP seats so I was in the main cabins. It was hot and I was soak with sweat. During the last part between islands the seas became rough
and I broke out into cold sweat. It took a lot of effort to stop vomiting.

Josua was there to pick me up. I checked into the hotel but waited 2 hours for the room to be ready. The air con was a saviour. Still that night I wasn’t sure what was happening and I had lots of conversations with people that weren’t there. Nice to have company!

Retrospect on West Timor and Rote

1.       Getting sick is not fun!

2.       Have an escape plan

3.       Rote is very pretty and adventurous

4.       The locals are nice

5.       Surf awesome




  1. awesome post on rote & west timor, looking forward to travelling there myself some day...

    1. it took me three attempts before I finally got there. love it.

  2. Thanks for the inspiring blogg Peter, I am finally heading to Rote this july. Great videos.



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