The Unfamiliar Road - Perth Aus to London UK 2014

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by SevenWorldsCollide, Jan 3, 2014.

  1. peter4d

    peter4d Life is an adventure

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2009
    Oddometer:
    338
    Location:
    Currently in England
    Not sure what you are referring to when you say ferry from Indo. I could not find one that would take big bikes. I used Caraka Shipping to ship the bike to Penang.
    #41
  2. gerryh

    gerryh n00b

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2013
    Oddometer:
    6
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    Just subscribed " may the road rise to meet you and wind be always at your back". all the best from sunny Perth.
    #42
  3. SevenWorldsCollide

    SevenWorldsCollide Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2013
    Oddometer:
    39
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    After spending two nights in Kununarra we left feeling refreshed and ready to push onwards towards the goal of Darwin. 40kms from Kununarra and we hit a milestone – our first border crossing. With just a sign saying welcome to the NT and an open road ahead we get the feeling that this will be the easiest border crossing we’ll experience on this trip...

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    It was quite clear that the NT has experienced a lot of rain recently; long sections of the roads were washed away at creek and river crossings. We were once again lucky enough not to be stalled by flooding or road closures. Very early on after setting out on this trip we realised we were not blessed with iron bottoms and continual short breaks were needed. These breaks were only 80-100kms apart. With these being said, on track to Katherine we hit a special achievement; 280kms without putting the feet down. Our longest single ride and hopefully the last!!

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    We arrived in Katherine and settled down in the only backpackers in town – Cocos. At first it seemed as if we drove into someone’s backyard with chickens roaming freely, old plastic chairs thrown about and half built projects. However after a couple of minutes looking lost we were greeted by Coco himself, who didn’t mind spinning a yarn, and sold us into a dorm with air conditioning (he had the sale once he mentioned the air con!) Katherine itself still had the charm of a northern country town we had been riding through previously however it did have a larger, city like feel to it. It would have been nice, if time permitted, to explore around the area but with Darwin in our sights we were off first thing in the morning.

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    For 18 days we have somehow miraculously avoided riding in the rain. Although we heard of constant reports of road closures and talks of cyclones, we managed to go unscathed. This was until 30kms out of Darwin and the city teasingly emerging from the horizon the skies decided to finally unleased on us. The only silver lining we could draw from this was it allowing us to test our gear and bikes through rain which will undoubtedly not be so lucky to avoid in Asia.

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    We settled into a backpackers in Darwin on Mitchell Street, where looking from the balcony you can count a handful of pubs, nightclubs and other backpacking hostels. It is quite incredible to watch the amount of activity in this small section of the street and even more so with the locals telling us it’s the quiet season! With the ferry cut off still being the 26th, our first couple of days in Darwin have been organising flights with Air North (leaving Thursday 27th), applying for visas at the Indonesian Embassy (4 day turnaround) and yesterday undertaking our first oil change on the bikes (courtesy of the backpacking car park).

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    Today we gave the bikes their final run before putting them on the boats. We headed down to Litchfield National Park, about an hours drive south of Darwin. We went into this national park with zero expectations and it ended up amazing us. Countless sweeping turns through tree enclosed roads kilometre after kilometre. We stopped by several tourist locations such as the termite mounds and a couple of waterfalls (unfortunately a few places were closed due to flooding) but most amazingly at a place called Florence Falls where we unexpectedly ended up spending 3 hours at swimming underneath the falls and a few cliff dives.

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    It hasn't been easy spending the last week at Darwin with not much riding and still a further 10 days before we will be back on the bikes in Dilli, but the imagery and notion of us riding our bikes in a foreign country with amazing views around us keeps us excited and anxious for the next couple of weeks to slip by…


    Bike Update

    Oil change carried out on all three bikes


    Richie bought and installed a closed lithium battery and removed front mudguard which was catching and wearing away the front tyre in a very unusual pattern.

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    Dan’s bike was refusing to idle and continually cut out with zero throttle being applied on the last trip before returning home from the national park this afternoon. After crawling home maintaining revs at each set of lights, initial suspicion lay in the idle actuator or throttle position sensor. However after a reset of the BMS (onboard computer) after returning to the backpackers, which removes the “learning” codes which can influence idle speed, all has returned to normal. A faulty iPhone cable connected direct to the battery is being blamed for now, as it coincidentally failed at the same time as the problems began. So all is well…. For now…

    Phoenix (Al’s yellow bike) is flying soundly.

    Statistics:

    Total KMs traveled: 5823
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    #43
  4. RobBD

    RobBD Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2007
    Oddometer:
    422
    Location:
    Perth Australia
    Good luck on the next part you guys - Love the graph of the expenses . I'm along for the ride - well from the armchair :(
    #44
  5. SevenWorldsCollide

    SevenWorldsCollide Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2013
    Oddometer:
    39
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    Well after a week of applying for visa’s, clearing customs, arranging shipping for the bikes, posting unnecessary gear home and generally running amuck in the backpacking haven that is Darwin, we have finally arrived in sunny Dili. It’s a mix of emotions as we leave behind all those new friends we met as we travelled up the West Coast however the views that greeted us as we made our approach to Dili airport have us more eager than ever to get on the bikes and tackle what lies ahead.

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    Clearing customs ended up being a fairly painless process, with us taking the bikes to the local customs house and being met by an officer who simply sighted the bikes and signed our necessary paperwork, having us on our way within 20minutes with the only restriction being that we had the bikes dropped off to the yard that same day. After a quick wash we were greeted with a conveniently timed hurdle in the form of Alister’s yellow bike refusing to start. He would push the starter button, and nothing was happening. Great. After bump starting the bike, we headed straight to the shipping company to begin organising our paperwork, all feeling somewhat deflated at this point as we frantically discussed possible fixes over the intercoms.

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    Upon arriving at Toll Marine Logistics we met with the team manager who informed us that due to a computer glitch, he was unable to process the booking and would make an exemption for us to bring the bikes back the next day. Deep joy! On inspection back in the car park of the backpackers, all it ended up being was a corroded starter button in the combination switch which caused the issues, so after a clean-up of the terminals we can be confident that Al’s bike will now start at the other end of its journey across the Timor Sea.

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    So the following day we managed to drop off the bikes and having collected our Indonesian visa’s, all that was left was to win the infamous Wednesday quiz night at the backpackers (our final night). Without going into too much detail we managed to pull off a miraculous win (mainly due to the brilliant captaincy of Alister – so he claims) and with that came a substantial bar tab for the local nightclub. And so what was meant to be a restful night before having to arrive for a 330am check in quickly turned into a night of absolute madness at the neon party down the road.

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    A mix of shots and beers in quick succession (and customary body paint) caused us to leave straight from the nightclub to the airport feeling battered and sorry for ourselves - but on reflection it was completely worth it!!! Even though we received a few peculiar looks from airport staff and travellers toward our new fluro look, with zero sleep and Dili in our sights all that mattered was getting on the plane and to the nearest mattress at the other end.

    Bike Update

    As mentioned above, starter button was corroded on Al’s yellow bike and the wash was the final straw which caused it to fail. Fixed by cleaning contact surfaces.


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    #45
  6. SevenWorldsCollide

    SevenWorldsCollide Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2013
    Oddometer:
    39
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    A selection of shots as we traveled from Broome through to Darwin in preparation for shipping the bikes to Timor

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    #46
  7. SevenWorldsCollide

    SevenWorldsCollide Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2013
    Oddometer:
    39
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    For the past week we have been exploring the second youngest country in the world, Timor-Leste. Having only gained its independence in 2002 and being the poorest country in Asia, Dili has offered us a unique beginning for the next few weeks as we plan to head west through the Indonesian archipelago. Between trying local cuisine, volunteering to teach English at a local school, visiting old workmates and wreaking havoc in the mountains on hired motorbikes, we have tried to embrace the break from the bikes with a mixed bag of local experiences.

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    On arrival we were bit overwhelmed with the change in scene after a short 1 hour flight from Darwin. We took the opportunity on the first couple of days to go exploring on foot, getting our bearings and visiting a couple of the local sights including Cristo Rei, a 27m tall statue of Jesus situated on the peninsula. The statue was originally intended as a gift from Indonesia to celebrate the 20th anniversary of East Timor’s integration into Indonesia after it’s decolonisation from Portugal in 1975 – but now it serves as a point of contention amongst locals and a reminder of the history of violence that the country has endured in recent times.

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    We quickly met some very, very like minded people where we were staying at East Timor Backpackers. Thierry, a Swiss chap who has been travelling the world on his motorcycle for 6 years and Tim, another 24yr old from Melbourne who also has his bike on the boat from Darwin sat down with us as we chatted for hours about how we had all ended up in Dili of all places… With Thierry having spent the last 5 days cleaning his F800GS in preparation for shipping to Australia, he was more than happy to take time out to share his wealth of experience with us newbies. It so turns out that Tim plans to take an almost identical route to us on his Suzuki DRZ400S as we head up toward Asia, so we can look forward to having a new face with us on our travels for the next few hundred kilometres at least! (Until he will inevitably get sick of our madness) - http://www.betweenhitherandyon.com.au/

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    And then there was volunteer English teaching… it wasn’t on the agenda at all until one of the gents at the backpackers mentioned some of the volunteers were leaving the next day and they were short. So at 8am the next morning and with very little idea as to what we were getting ourselves into, we set off down to the local college where the course leader threw us up in front of the class off about 15 local students to teach about Who, What, Where, When and Why…. Needless to say, this was a challenging experience – with us not knowing a word of the possible 36 mother tongues spoken throughout Timor, we split the class into 4 groups and each tried our best to communicate with the enthusiastic students. What started out as blank stares and looks of confusion soon turned to laughter and smiles as we started to break down the communication barriers. After only 2 hours, we could only hope that they got as much out of the experience as we did!

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    On Tuesday we were given the opportunity to visit one of Dan’s ex helicopter flight instructors base at Dili airport. It was an odd change of scene as we went from the poverty stricken streets into a multi-million dollar operation in place to service the oil rigs which lie between Timor and Australia. These Eurocopter EC225 and AS332 Super Puma’s were big machines, seating up to 22 passengers plus 2 crew and having a max take-off weight of over 11 tonnes, it was an eye opener to see how the “other side” of the industry works (for Dan at least…)

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    The final activity for the week was to explore the island on hire motorcycles, which Tim was keen to join us for. Given the hold ups to date, we are keen to get moving as soon as the bikes arrive which meant now was our only chance to head up into the mountains that envelope the capital. It ended up being an amazing day, and a great opportunity for us to get some of the more challenging riding out of our systems on tiny bikes with no luggage! We set off early and visited local markets, climbed up into and through the clouds as we headed further inland before returning back to Dili drenched by the torrential downpour in the afternoon. Despite our saturated state we were all in agreeance that it was an awesome day, and we were still buzzing as we relived the thrills and spills over a few beers at the local expat bar, Castaway.

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    With any luck we should have our bikes in the next couple of days (pending customs clearance) and be on our way towards Kupang City. In the meantime we continue to strive for sub $20USD days to save the money for the next chapter!

    Bike Update:

    In what is a very frustrating situation, we can see the boat "Team Spirit" sitting a few hundred meters off the beach at the anchorage here in Dili. Unfortunately it will continue to sit there until Monday when it is scheduled to berth and unload.

    Statistics (per person):

    Total KMs traveled: 5912

    <img src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-tBnUCECYHx4/Uxwc2XWBEyI/AAAAAAAAOxU/O4T_4NxkyIc/s1600/expenses.jpg" width="400">
    #47
  8. SevenWorldsCollide

    SevenWorldsCollide Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2013
    Oddometer:
    39
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    A day spent running amok in the mountains of Timor whilst we were waiting for our bikes to arrive

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    #48
  9. SevenWorldsCollide

    SevenWorldsCollide Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2013
    Oddometer:
    39
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    After numerous delays setting our trip back, we were ecstatic last week as we finally opened the sea container doors in Dili to see our bikes sitting on their centre stands, ready for us to strap our gear down and begin the Asian adventure. This was however the same day that we suffered the biggest blow on the trip to date, something which we are now referring to as “The Great Flood of Dili”. Despite this setback, the islands of Timor and Flores have been an incredible experience, in what can best be summarised as a motorcyclists paradise.

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    For 4 days, we sat in Dili looking at the vessel “Team Spirit” sitting at the anchorage about 200m off the beach whilst it waited for a space to berth at the port. Finally on one of the mornings whilst we were having breakfast overlooking the bay, we saw the black smoke bellow out of the exhaust – the boat was on the way to the port! After harassing the customs officers and port officials we managed to have our bikes within 24hrs of the boat unloading. I guess you could say we were pretty determined to get things underway.

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    The great flood of Dili was like a scene from titanic when we returned to the hostel… as we walked through the building water was rushing along the floor. When we reached our door it was pouring out from under the seal and when we got the door open, our worst fears were realised as the torrent of water was released, gushing into the hallway. What happened was the roof of our hostel collapsed and the room flooded during a torrential downpour. Unfortunately the process of clearing customs was mixed in with drying all of our gear; Al’s waterproof bag was literally full of water (left open), Dans GoPro’s, DSLR Camera, lenses and laptop were all full of water, Richi and Dan’s UK AND Aus passports were drowned with the photos smeared. It was a bad situation all round. We have been drying gear for over a week now, and some of the electronics have been saved, but a lot are still unserviceable. Now we can look forward to the fun of processing our insurance application!

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    The biggest issue at this point were our Indonesian visas which were stuck in our Australian passports. They too were water damaged and would surely not be accepted, so we visited the Australian Embassy in Dili where they were very helpful in providing us emergency visa letters to get through that same day. When we got to the border, the guards were more interested in getting photos on our bikes than they were checking paperwork and other proceedings. This made for a pain free process that took a total of about 40mins, and then we were in Indonesia! When we got to Kupang, a random guy on a scooter stopped whilst we were walking to the shops and offered to give us a lift… all 3 at a time. This random guy ended up being Ikki, one of the friendliest young people we have met on our trip. Without expecting anything in return, he helped us for 2 days to arrange everything from sim cards, money exchange, ferries, fuel, even taking us to his family’s restaurant where they made us a huge traditional meal free of charge – all because he too was a lover of bikes.

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    After a 14 hour ferry from Kupang (Timor) to Larrantuka (Flores) alongside chickens, pigs and locals sleeping in every walkway, we rolled the bikes off at 430 in the morning. With no shops or hotels opened this early we had no choice but to start riding towards the west coast of Flores in darkness. Our destination in sight being a town called Ende, a lazy 280km trip – or so we thought. After 3 hours of travelling we stopped for breakfast and looked at the odo; 100km completed! The twists, bends, climbs and descents are unbelievable; it’s almost as if they refuse to lay any straight section of road. However in saying this, the road itself is in amazing condition compared to East Timor and the sights are surreal. You are constantly hugging to a side of what seems to be an endless array of mountains silhouetted by more mountains with incredible views and dotted throughout local villagers and rice fields where with on the sound of the larger bikes the kids come running and waving and the adults scrambling to have a look at what are very foreign bikes to what they are used to.

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    So after 8 hours of riding we made it to Ende and settled into some very nice accommodation albeit without flushing water (Bali might be the next time we have this luxury!). Food has become noticeable cheap at this point. In restaurants it will cost $3-4 for most combinations of rice and something (normally ayam - chicken) however for the daring you can get away with sub $1 at street vendors.

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    From Ende the path cuts in from the southern coast and heads for Labuan Bajo on the far north-western side – 380km. We weren’t sure if we would make this in one day however with no major towns in between it was either a long day ahead or an uncomfortable night of camping. And it became a long day ahead. 12 hours in fact. Which isn’t too bad when you have breathtaking sights from start to finish! We cannot stress how friendly the people are on Flores. At one point we stopped for a breather and within a couple of minutes we were having photos with half the township and being given coffee – there was also a memorable moment when we couldn’t stop laughing as we turned around to see a guy with a horse who appeared out of nowhere!! A majority of the people just want to say hello and maybe get a picture with the bikes and the kids are happy to stand off with a huge smile and stare. We came to Labuan Bajo with zero expectations after only hearing of it a couple of days ago and we came away with very positive experience. There is certainly a feeling that the town is becoming ‘westernised’ however it still retained a lot of local feeling with its food, people and certainly traffic!

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    Labaun Bajo is well know for its world class diving and the tours that run into Komodo island. It just so happens that right now (feb-mar) is the season for schools of manta rays up to 7m in width to migrate north to south past komodo island, so it was a no brainer to hire some snorkel gear, hop on a boat and do a Komodo Island visit and a snorkel with the rays on the way back. It took about 3.5hrs to take our little boat from the harbour at Labuan Bajo to Komodo Island. It was a great morning cruise with calm waters and beautiful scenery all the way. Our boat driver providing much needed coffee, donuts and some bananas to keep us going. Komodo Island was well worth the lengthy boat trip. Having a chance to see the only living remnant of the megafauna era, the largest monitor in existence in its natural ecosystem was something we’ll never forget. We strolled around the island with a ranger for about 1.5 hours. The ranger was incredibly friendly and enthusiastic to educate us about this magnificent creature that they are trying so hard to conserve. In summary; there are exactly (apparently) 2862 Komodo dragons left on Komodo Island, they get to ~90-100 kg, they can run up to 18 km/hr, they hide and jump their prey instead of chasing down, they have an anticoagulant venom that bleeds out their prey - slowly killing them, prey include deer, buffalo, pigs, chicken and invertebrates, the lizards are exclusively carnivorous. A single kill of a deer will feed a 2 large Komodo dragons for 1 month. Recent fossils found in Australia suggest the Komodo dragon lineage began in Australia about 15 million years ago with the current species on Komodo Island having been stuck there as sea levels increased between Indonesia and Australia over millions of years – basically, the Komodo dragon is a very unique and endangered lizard with some serious history! Very enjoyable experience.

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    After a great little tour of the Island we hopped back on our boat and started heading towards a known hotspot for schools of manta rays – hundreds have been sighted recently we were told! Unfortunately, the manta rays decided to have a day in. We saw a total of two, from above the water. Well, we think we did, could have been sea weed. You can’t win ‘em all. This blunder was compensated with a relaxing snorkel with some really nice coral, warm water and cool fish. Thank god we had hired flippers because to current was blazing through. Even the fish looked like they were struggling to go in the right direction! All up the whole day round trip, tours and snorkel hire only cost about $40aus. Brilliant day.

    It has been an unbelievable drive since Dili. Through the motorcyclists dream that is Flores, crazy traffic in the cities and long stretches of road works it is strange to think this was only a small section of our journey but could easily be a trip in itself. But for now it’s an 8 hour ferry trip to Subwana to do it all again.

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    Bike Update

    Al's Bike (Betsy (Phoenix)) - Fixed the horn by removing corrosion from terminals. The need for a horn in these countries is essential – it is the polite (and safe!) way of overtaking.

    <img src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-LCnKEhHppvQ/UycFkwTU5GI/AAAAAAAAOz8/8iN9trZwSJg/s1600/IMG_9115.JPG" width="400">

    Dan's – Continue to have idling problems which first arose in Darwin. Although a reset of the on board computer seemed to temporarily fix it prior to putting on the boat, the problem goes a bit deeper. After having the bike to pieces a few times now between our rides and swapping known working components from Richies bikes, we have narrowed it down to the idle actuator control on the throttle body, which electronically controls the idle RPM via stepping motor. A perfunctory clean has alleviated the frequency of the issue, but the problem still stands and unfortunately a replacement part is ex Germany according to our friend Adrian at Auto Classic in Perth. This could take in excess of two weeks, so Dan has ordered the parts and will arrange to have them sent forward to meet us somewhere.

    <img src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-bzkqGsfJQ5s/UycEy4fGlfI/AAAAAAAAOzk/k4Bann8FM6Y/s1600/IMG_9100.JPG" width="400">

    <img src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-ulLf75uwr-4/UycEw23bXoI/AAAAAAAAOzc/67l_899sohA/s1600/IMG_9097.JPG" width="400">

    Richies – Organ donation for Dan’s bike.

    Statistics (per person):

    Total KMs traveled: 7068

    <img src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Ls2AmJvBkmk/UyeS3pui8vI/AAAAAAAAO0c/S0SMY8T60m8/s1600/expenses.jpg" width="400">
    #49
  10. TOTim

    TOTim Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2012
    Oddometer:
    249
    Location:
    Toronto On
    It was a long wait but well worth it. Fantastic update with highly entertaining video.
    #50
  11. SevenWorldsCollide

    SevenWorldsCollide Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2013
    Oddometer:
    39
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    Part four as we begin our adventure having arrived in Dili, heading south west through the island of Timor before catching a 14 hour ferry to the motorcyclists paradise that is Flores, Indonesia

    <iframe width="853" height="480" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/1iak7T4h6Vw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
    #51
  12. ShaneBaby

    ShaneBaby Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    175
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Hi guys thanks for sharing all the info and taking the time to edit.

    Im heading up there next week. I have 2 big bags on the back of my bike will they let me keep them strapped to the bike during shipping?
    Cheers RTWshane
    #52
  13. RobBD

    RobBD Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2007
    Oddometer:
    422
    Location:
    Perth Australia
    Great video Thanks
    #53
  14. OceanMtnSea

    OceanMtnSea Pretty Dogged

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Oddometer:
    867
    Location:
    exited middle Saskatchewan & entered middle BC
    :lurk
    #54
  15. peter4d

    peter4d Life is an adventure

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2009
    Oddometer:
    338
    Location:
    Currently in England
    Should be no problem.

    Here is a photo of my bike coming off the boat complete with panniers and a drybag attached.

    [​IMG]
    #55
  16. warren1259

    warren1259 n00b

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2013
    Oddometer:
    4
    wow, what a great video, thanks heaps for sharing. I think the only person in the household who didnt like it was the bride...... not sure she was happy with the "can i do that "comment.
    #56
  17. SevenWorldsCollide

    SevenWorldsCollide Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2013
    Oddometer:
    39
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    Far out Peter, i'm glad I turned a blind eye and left them to get my bike on and off the boat without me being there - Im not sure my nerves could have taken that!!

    Haha thanks Warren, I'm sure that with just a bit more sweet talking she will warm to the idea :D
    #57
  18. Tsotsie

    Tsotsie Semi-reformed Tsotsi

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,435
    Location:
    South Texas
    Nice!
    #58
  19. BIGCOD

    BIGCOD the desert ninja

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    169
    Location:
    Darwin, Australia
    thanks for the updates guys, its been awhile........... good to see your enjoying your trip and having fun! Was interesting to see your video in Darwin, Ive been to all those places and its great to see it from someone else's perspective. Your videos are awesome and the editing is top notch! Keep it coming. :clap :freaky
    #59
  20. nckjms

    nckjms Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 19, 2013
    Oddometer:
    28
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    Really loving this ride report! I'm extremely jealous of you in an inspirational sort of way :evil Am I correct that you're shooting all of this on a go-pro? Fantastic job editing the videos.
    #60