Tuesday, 29 March 2011

No More Letters - Blog Comments Only Please!

Just a quick note to let friends and family know any letters they send from this point onwards may not reach the recipients in time for the end of expedition.

All messages posted on the blog up to Friday 8th April will, however, be passed on, so please feel free to keep them coming!

Monday, 28 March 2011

A Glimpse into Field Base Life..

Though few venturers ever get the chance to peek behind its hallowed walls, the work that goes on behind the scenes at Field Base is crucial to the smooth operation of the entire project.

This expedition, the amazing logistics team comprises Chris Beer, Martin Brown and Dan Brookes. Between them, they coordinate hundreds of requests from staff and venturers alike, replenishing lost and broken kit and ensuring everyone has enough to eat whilst out on phase!

Our medics take turns being resident Field Base medic every phase, allowing them to experience both Field Base and phase life. Kicking off phase one was Maxine Radcliffe, who then handed over the reins to Carla Stanton for phase two. Completing the Field Base medic trio is John Liddell in phase three.

Chris Boller is in charge of all things financial, tracking everyone’s budgets and floats as well as ensuring the shop is fully stocked for all the hungry and thirsty venturers at each changeover!

Kate McKeon keeps on top of the programme administration, ensuring all the relevant documentation gets filled in for every person on the expedition – a challenge in itself!

Expedition 11B’s resident artist, Helen Turton, has been running a number of art projects during the expedition, and has also worked on the end of expedition magazine with Belinda Whitehead, the communications officer. Belinda has also been keeping venturers’ friends and families informed of their adventures on this, the expedition blog!

Mark McCarthy, Sarah Hoare, Yolanda Graham and Caroline Reid are the crack team behind the entire expedition. Between them, they train the staff and venturers, work with Raleigh’s project partners and liaise with local government departments. Caroline was a volunteer manager on a previous expedition and decided to come back in the volunteer role of Deputy Programme Manager, supporting the permanent staff team with their daily operational duties.

Alongside their normal roles, Field Base staff work on a rota system to ensure the radios are manned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

But it's not all work, work, work here - when it comes to having fun, Field Base staff can keep up with the best of them! We've held theme nights, celebrated pancake day, cooked a traditional roast dinner on Loli's day off (thanks Chris!), used our initiative to create a ping pong table (see pic below!), and even filmed our own contribution to the end of expedition music video!

Mexican Night

Sunday Roast

Pancake Day

4 giant tubs of sauce + 1 dining table = instant ping pong table! Pedro certainly seems impressed!

Filming for the music video.

Just another day at Field Base..

Helen and Chris demonstrate an interesting use for the wheelbarrow..

Last, but by no means least, are Loli, the wonderful Field Base cook, and Pedro, the feline Field Base entertainer, without whom Expedition 11B just wouldn’t have been the same.....

And they say Field Base is boring.....Hardly!

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Phase Three Update

We're now almost a week into the third and final phase of Expedition 11B, and all our intrepid alpha groups are making excellent progress as they hurtle towards the finish line. Here's a quick update of how they're getting on:

Alpha 1

The team at Alpha 1 in Kampung Solungkapit have now finished laying the main pipe for their gravity water feed system, and are making a start on feeding the water to the houses. The community have made them feel extremely welcome - we may struggle to convince them to leave!

Alpha 2

The group on Maliangin island are in the process of laying the brickwork for their last two eco-toilets, as well as preparing a platform for the eco-camp. They have been hampered by bad weather in recent days but are remaining in good spirits (it's hard not to in such a beautiful place!)

Alpha 3

True to form, the team at Alpha 3 have soldiered on, completing the pipe laying (all 5km of it!) for their gravity water feed system. They are now in the process of tightening the connections and attaching the taps, so it's looking likely they'll be finished in good time for the opening ceremony at the end of the phase! Phew!

Alpha 4

The team at Alpha 4 continues to make solid progress with building their boardwalk - those sun bears had better appreciate how lucky they are!

Alpha 5

Hot on the heels of Alphas 1 and 3, the team continues to mix cement and carry sand up to the tank site. PM Petr, who has been on the project since the start, is still supremely confident that they'll finish on time. Good luck Pete!

Alpha 6

The team who have boldly gone where no Raleigh team has gone before (!) continue to move rocks for the construction of gabions to protect the Maliau Basin study centre from landslides. Soon they will be venturing further into the interior to start work on trail clearing....

Alpha 7

After their time on dive island, the group headed down to Long Pasia yesterday to start their trek - not long left to go guys! One last push!

Alpha 8

The team have benefited from good weather in recent days and have been cracking on with their trek, yesterday walking for seven hours (!) to reach their camp at Maga Falls. We bet they can't wait to get to dive island next weekend and see out the final few days of expedition on a sandy beach!

Alpha 9

This week it's Alpha 9's turn to have a bit of time out on the stunning island of Mamutik, learning to dive and no doubt topping up their tans! They had their classroom day on Friday and arrived on the island yesterday - but soon enough they'll be back out on trek, so we hope they make the most of it!