My first day riding in Flores has been amazing. I left Larantuka by 6.30am and enjoyed a beautiful ride along the coast with some climbing inland. I made it to Wairunu in good time and decided to take the coastal road to the north, away from the highway. The road was new bitumen for about 1km before deteriorating into an ill-maintained road that was more pothole than road. When I hit the northern coast I felt like it was worth the minor struggles. I stopped for a break at a tiny thatched shelter under from palm trees. I was disturbed from a nap by an old man carrying a machete who sat down beside me and talked my ear off in Indonesian I couldn’t understand. After a while he disappeared into the forest and returned with a bamboo pole strung with coconuts, which he dumped onto a pile that was about 5m wide and 1m high. I would see similar piles of coconuts as I rode through the afternoon. Around 4pm I found a place I would make camp: a stretch of beach. I had been searching for a while and was starting to get desperate. This spot was visible from the road but it would have to do. I had many visitors through the evening. The first were three guys who sat with me and watched as I set up my tent and made dinner. The four of us were joined by about fifteen villagers who were returning from (I assume) a day’s work tending their crops (judging by what they were carrying with them). Later, I was finally on my own when I was visited by a guy who invited me to his home for coffee. I declined, saying I didn’t want to leave my stuff unattended. He said no problem, he would bring some coffee to me. It was just after dusk, and long after I had given up expectations he would be coming, when three figures emerged from the darkness. As well as coffee, he had brought his family. By this time the mosquitoes were horrendous, so we lit a fire to ward them off with smoke, then chatted into the night (as best as we could given our language differences).

Day 285 (pic)

Swarmed by local ratbags

Accommodation Free-camp (beach)
Distance ridden today 59.69km
Average cycling speed 12.4kph
Total distance ridden 8,871km