Ride C: Lospalos Illioma Viqueque

Ride C:  Lospalos Illioma Viqueque Zero trip meter at the Roundabout with a statue at the south end of town.    8,31’28.45”S     125,59’51.00”E.    The start is a little confusing as there are two parallel south roads at this roundabout, take the right one.To the right of the bus shelter, at 0.07 klms on the right is a kiosk with an LA sign, and at 0.54 a communication tower is on the right, then you pass under a pipe arch at 0.99 .This is the Lore road, PSA.  A concrete bridge is reached at 11.5 klms and  the start of a  climb up to the 240 metre high ridge of mount Supatira and Chai. The climb ends at 14 klms and a T intersection, right is the road down to Lore;  TL and ride a kilometre along the ridge to visit the hilltop village where there are views of the Timor Sea from the knoll that the church sits on.There is also a new community centre complete with solar power and a satellite dish and TV, these are now a common feature in most medium sized villages.Return to the T junction PSA. At  220d downhill toward Lore. In the village of Harolata  at  21.5 klms, above the road on the right, is the ruins of a Portuguese fort. The fort is now a war memorial for the Timorese who were killed during the Indonesian military occupation, a wall is painted with the victims names and whether they were Falintil,  civilians or clandestine.

The road reaches the south coast in Lore at 26 klms.

On the sea front are two new thatch bungalows and an amenities block for visitors.  Continue on for about 300 meters, and on the right just past an open meeting house is the tin roofed kiosk of Nicolau Dias and Sarmento, they can organize accommodation and a meal.

8.40’06.50”S   127.01’22.50”E

Beautiful Lore is situated on a level grassy beach front, with traditional thatch cottages set under tall palms; it is one of the most original old villages in Timor Leste.

 

SOUTH COAST BEACH 

CAUTION

To give an indication of the next section I have included a part of a series of email letters we sent back to a group of friends during the ride.

We are both well and still talking to each other after 18 days in each others face under some extremely difficult conditions. The track along the south coast from Lore was like the cow tracks into a milking shed in Gippsland in mid winter. At times we had to dig out the wheels and brakes every 100 meters and could not rest as a few cerebral malaria carrying type mosquitoes would attack when in the shade of the dense rainforest.  I wore loose fitting long sleeved shirt, long trousers, long socks and gloves to minimize the chance of being bitten.  The only safe place we could stop for lunch was on hot rocks in the middle of a river in the full heat of the sun. It took us almost two days of this difficult travel to get out of the jungle.

Carlito wore a tee-shirt and received a few bites but he was ok and I wasn’t bitten at all.

It is essential to carry and use a mosquito dome or a sealed tent between here and Illioma.

This part of the journey is very isolated with none or very few people walking through this area.  

” you are on your own for at least the next day or two”

  

Zero trip meter at the kiosk, and ride south west along a firm sandy track, after 200 meters the track is actually on a WW2 Japanese military airstrip. This ends at 1.36 klms where it enters the scrub, follow the two wheel marks around point Lore past large mangroves on the beach to the left.  The first creek crossing in the rainforest comes up at 4klms, and on the right is a flora and fauna protected area sign.

At 5.40 klms there is a fork in the track TL. and ride downhill at 240d. Then at 6klms, a short track on the left leads to the ruins of a stone chimney and buildings with a really beautiful deserted sandy beach and two open thatched shelters. At 7klms there is a slip rail and then a teak grove, there are many fallen trees over the track, so you have to drag the bikes over or  around them in the wet rainforest. Ignore a track on the left at 8klms and PSA. Uphill. At 11klms is a track on the right  PSA. downhill to the east branch of the Namaluto River. 8.40’40,00”S    126.57’00,00”E   With the bed of the river made up of 200mm to 400mm round rocks.

SOUTH COAST ROAD

We saw and heard a crocodile in the estuary a little downstream. Locate the exit track then push the bikes about 300 meters over the island to the larger right branch.

 In July 2009 the banks were muddy from heavy rain that had fallen about a week previously. The bikes and gear need to be carried through the rapid and dragged up the bank, the exit is a bit down stream this will need to be located first. The next river crossing is about the same size as this one.   

If the river level is too high you may need to camp or go back to Lore for a day or two.

TYPICAL RIVER CROSSING

As the catchment is relatively small the water level will fall quickly. The track is wet and muddy with fallen trees to negotiate, so take care.

The pioneer hamlet of Faebere is reached at 15klms. 8.41’28.00”S    126.55’00”E      During Portuguese times this was a rich rice growing area with abundant water, rich soil and a cobbled road to Illioma.

 Resettlement

The Timorese people are returning to these remote areas after being driven out by the Indonesian military during the 1970s and  80s, those who did not leave were shot. The farmers have a very difficult task as their old family rice fields are now covered with trees up to a meter thick. They have only one chainsaw but most of the work is done with katanas (machetes) and small crowbars. Their children live about five hours walk away in the next village, as they must attend school. We were given dinner and breakfast sitting on a split bamboo platform. We slept in one of the houses on a bamboo sleeping platform on which we erected our mosquito domes.   We paid them $25-00 for the two of us before leaving.

These hardworking people especially the women were extremely contented singing well into the night. They asked us to convey to their government their urgent request for upgrading of the road to allow them to market their produce in Lospalos.

The two branches of the rocky Veira river are crossed at 17klms 8.42’10,90”S  126.54’46,40”E  with a scramble up a two meter embankment to exit, there is a bamboo thicket on the left,  PSA. on a difficult muddy track. At 20klms just after crossing the small Caidafaira river  there is a beautiful grassy clearing by the rocky sea shore with fresh water pools; this would make a good camp site”  we could see fish swimming  in the ocean. At 24klms  cross the Massoco river scramble up the bank and into Illioma two it is shown on the map as Iradarate. 8.44’17,32”S  126.51’32,00”E

As people are gradually returning to their homelands abandoned during the Indonesian military occupation the name of the town or even the area may not accord to what is shown on the map. The villages now call this Illioma two. I have been told by Timorese that the Indonesian military deliberately changed the names on the maps they produced to create confusion.

HELPERS AT ROUGH RIVER CROSSING

There is a new solidly constructed school on the right, the headmaster invited us to erect our domes and sleep in a classroom as it was raining heavily, a little further on across a grass playing field on the left is a kiosk.  At present there is no truck access as the bridges are broken, however the road must have been open last year to transport in the building materials for construction of the new school.  Ride east uphill. It is a hard climb, mostly walking, there is a rocky creek crossing and a washed away deep culvert to cross on the six klms up to the road junction of  Ossoira situated at an elevation of 400 meters.    8.41’23,30”S    126.49’41,00”E  there is a castle type monument on the left, and the road going downhill on the left is the south coast road. PSA, it is two kilometres north up to Ilioma the largest town in the sub district.  From Ilioma return two klms south to the road junction at Ossoira. Zero trip meter at the monument TR and ride SW downhill on a broken sealed road. The new bridge over the Lihulu River is crossed at 4klms this is a good place to wash the mud out of the gears and axles then dry and oil them. Another large new bridge crosses the Cocolia River at 10 klms, then you will cross the Iraberi plain through an ancient village of small elevated thatched roof houses with an amazing tree house on the right. Until very recently this area was cut off from the outside world with broken bridges in both directions. Continue west to13 klms for a look at the Iraberi River, the largest river in the district.

TREE HOUSE IRIBERI PLAIN

Return 200mtrs TL and ride uphill at 50d at 15klms is a fork TL to the recently completed huge new bridge, The bridges have been constructed by Chinese engineers under very difficult isolated conditions, this is at 16.5klms via a rough track.  We saw a crocodile in the river. 8.43’23,64”S   126.44’03’,03”E .

.

Cross the bridge and ride down the new bitumen road to 17,5klms where the road crosses an aqueduct we turned left and followed the east bank downstream to the south. (I believe the road and the aqueduct join at the next village Taradiga), on the aqueduct track, at 21klms it swings right then leads west and crosses another new bridge, over the Uaidori river  8.44’32,60”S  126.42’60,00’E. An intersection is 100 meters west of the bridge at 23 klms this is Taradiga,  the coast road is on the left.  8.44’34,53”S  126.42’57,00”E                                      

Irabi Fountain

TR and ride north to the Irabi fountain. The top of the range at an approx elevation of   120 meters is reached at 28klms with views of Mt Matabean, PSA then past a school at the foot of the hill ,and at 29 klms is the village of Irabi De Biaxo [means water low].

 It is shown on the map as Uatobito.  8.41’54, 28”S    126.42,36,00”E.

IRABI RICE FIELD

On the right is a large open meeting house with a corrugated iron roof, opposite above the road is a new elevated traditional style uma lulik which is actually a guest house.

The Chefis name is Armindo Da Silva and he is the custodian of the culture of the fountain, he can probable be found near the meeting house

He will organize food accommodation a visit, and possibly a swim in the plunge pool below the extremely beautiful sacred twin waterfalls.

ARMINDO IRABI FOUNTAIN CUSTODIAN

Nestled in the mountains, this picturesque, often mist shrouded valley, with the sound of rushing water everywhere has an almost spiritual feel to it.

The main language spoken in this district is Makasae.

Matabean Mountains

From  Irabi De Biaxo  to the north there are many options for an adventures cyclist or trekker as most of the roads are only passable on foot, cycle or horseback.

The isolated old town of Afaloicai is situated approx 9klms NW on the  road that heads north, it is a further approx 12 klms to the hamlet of Ossohuna  and the trek to the summit of Mt Matabean. The road then continues through  Baguia  to Laga on the north coast.

There is a left turnoff just before Ossahuna, this  leads south then swings west with magnificent views of the Timor sea.  It then climbs up and over an isolated windswept pass where many Timorese seeking refuge were killed by the Indonesian military. It then goes NW below Mt Beremata through the ancient Buibeia hamlet, and on to the Quelicai road that leads to the north coast.

For more information refer to the Matabean trekking notes and map.

GUEST HOUSE IRABI

Return on the same road to Taradiga and TR onto the main south coast road,

The Speedo reading should be 34klms. Ride east across the Malaiuai river steel bridge at 39.5 klms,then a stone bridge over the Borouai is crossed at 45klms, the road then meets the coast and travels along the foreshore  past some caves and a beautiful sandy beach,          ” deserted as always.”

The ride along this road all the way to Viqueque is easy with only an occasional small hill. There are crocodiles in this area so have a good look in the river or sea before entering. At 52.5klms beside the sea is the large shell of a shed left by an Australian oil exploration company during Portuguese times, and a film of oil can be seen on some of the roadside pools of water.

The road then turns inland to the village of Borolalo, beside a bridge over the Bebui river  where a Malaysian company is constructing a new diversion dam at 55klms.  8.47”31,00”S   126.33”28,68”E.    The main road is on the left, however, three kilometres north is the old village of Babulo this was once the Portuguese sub district administrative centre, the buildings  are still standing, and there are great views of the coast. It is a hard climb up to an elevation of 265 meters, this road used to go through to Buguia.

The people here speak mostly Naweti.

Return to the highway and TR. over the bridge.

ROUGH SECTION OF SOUTH COAST MAIN ROAD

Zero trip meter. At 1.4 klms  in the village of Saebau on the left is a walled guest house with high green steel gates, they have a generator.

The Uatolari Viqueque region has a chequered history, with civil unrest between the many tribes going back centuries, however the police in Viqueque assured us that it is safe to travel, as there has been no trouble in the last two years.

No vehicles travel at night.

Ride south east through a an extensive rice growing area .  At 15.5klms on the left is a small road that leads past some houses 200meters to a beautiful beach. The road changes direction at about 24klms then goes through Beaco then NE and at 40 klms ride over the large steel bridge into the old part of Viqueque.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.