Shaped by the chain of powerful volcanoes that stretch right across Sumatra and Java, the 550 islands of East Nusa Tenggara differ greatly from western Indonesia. Hot, dry trade winds blowing from Australia make for an arid landscape in direct contrast to typical Indonesian tropical rainforests. Flora and fauna have links to Australia as opposed to Asia, a fact duly noted by the eminent naturalist Charles Darwin Timor. Timor has a long colonial history, polarized by recent political upheaval, which has wrecked decades of terror on the islands population, before East Timor Independence became a reality in May 2002. Coupled with geographical isolation from the main Indonesian surf hubs, West Timor has remained a bit of a frontier, with most surfers looking to escape the Bali crowds heading to Nusa Tenggara's more accessible Lombok and Sumbawa. Tucked in above Australia with only its SW corner facing the Indian Ocean swells, Timor seems to lack potential compared to the rest of the Indonesian archipelago. But in typical Indo fashion, minor islands can hide major surf breaks and Rote, Savu and the surrounding outcrops are no exception.