Our second Saturday in Timor-Leste was reserved as a relaxation day to be spent in Tutuala and on the pristine beaches of Jaco Island. We spent the morning travelling from Baucau to Tutuala, critically engaging with the poor quality car-paths and the walls of the troopie. After problem solving the fallen tree that blocked the only road to Tutuala by finding an alternate road (rocky clearing), we arrived at our destination. Roughly anyway. In typical OGC style we first decided to test the welcoming nature of the Timorese by arriving at the only guest lodge in Tutuala that we hadn’t booked. After sufficiently confusing the managers of the lodge we managed to navigate our way 200 whole metres to the accommodation that we had actually made a booking for to find a group of beautifully simple huts, overlooking a picturesque view of the beach with Jaco Island joyfully looming in the background.
We quickly made the decision to forego any certainty of lunch in exchange for the opportunity to boat over to Jaco as soon as was possible – a true testament to the island’s beauty and attraction given how much we all love lunch and certainty. This was the first of many boating experiences we would have in Timor and any concern for the quality of the vessels by which we travelled was more than compensated for by the skill of the fisherman responsible for transporting us to paradise.
After many a hot day in Timor-Leste and litres of collective sweat, we finally had the opportunity to wash away our worries in the water and sear away our skin cells on the sand. The water was perfectly clear, the sand was reasonably malai and the afternoon stretched on like the ropes we had used to tie our luggage to the troopie that very same morning. An ill-advised attempt to circumnavigate the island and a team building exercise/rescue mission later and we were all back in our huts – our bodies content with a special rejuvenating something that the island had granted us, and not bitter in the slightest about the fact we had missed lunch.