The Atauro-Dili ferry

There’s a ferry that runs between Dili and Atauro every Saturday. For $4 a head it’s less than a tenth the price of the water taxi, however in return you’ve got a cosier and longer ride.

Curious and keen on the savings, we thought it would be an interesting experience taking it back to Dili. The arrival and departure times are very flexible (as are most things on Timorese schedule) and we were told that our expected departure time could be 1pm, 3pm or 5pm that day. The advice was to listen out for the series of horns.

Around 10am the ferry pulls in and we watched from the beach as masses of people and goods poured out like it was Noah’s ark (post-flood). As the regular ferry which operates this route (the Nakroma) was off being serviced in Indonesia, this was a smaller stand-in ferry. Still, it seemed to fit an infinite number of people and it kept unloading for a good half hour or so.

We boarded with very low expectations and found ourselves pleasantly surprised, securing great seats on the second level which provided a good view of people boarding and disembarking with various bags of goods.

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