Saturday, 19 November 2011

Crackers to Monte Carlo: the Loop is back

The Loop is back now with tales from it's adventure to all our static project sites.

The Loop is Raleigh's 'royal visit' and for Phase 2 it was Finance Manager King Marcus with Queen Nicki of Logistics and Prince Petr our Deputy Programme Manager.

Ready to go: Nicki Marcus and Petr shared the Bravo driving and covered 1100 miles in 7 days.
Heading straight to the Danum Valley the team trekked in to Alpha 3’s Ulu Purut camp – 8km into the primary rainforest.

Views from the trek into Danum Valley.
After a five hour trek through arduous terrain the group arrived to mellow beats and a calm camp, with no one from the newly sworn in citizens of the People’s Republic of Danum around. Slowly, Marcus, Nicki and Petr were surrounded by PRD Alpha 3 and presented with a challenge to gain entry. Watch them learn about their challenge on YouTube.

They had five minutes to collect 30 stones of equal size and arrange them in piles at the foot of the jungle camp’s bashas.

On completing the task, no Raleigh rations were spared to throw on an achievement lunch of three crackers and a tin of prawn sambal.

Not quite the banquet the Loop is accustomed to - being initiated into the PRD.

Letting the Loop sweat under the heat of their prawn sambal, the initiation was finally over and they joined Alpha 3 at their beautiful Ulu Purut waterfall for some much needed TLC. Fully sworn into the PRD as they tucked into a feast and caught up with the jungle rituals of Alpha 3. 

Nicki, Petr and Marcus join Alpha 3 at the waterfall.

Worth the 3 cracker moment to get here - doughnuts with fillings on request.

Jamie, Julian, Eva and Saar share some PRD rituals with the Loop over dinner.

The PRD kitchen at Ulu Purut camp.

Jeremy and Julian.

Great progress has been made on the satellite camp and Alpha 3 are now concreting the toilet block.
The camp will be used by scientists as a base for research in an untouched part of primary rainforest, where Ulu Purut camp is located.

Back in the Bravo after trekking out of Ulu Purut camp and leaving the Danum Valley Field Centre the Loop were blown away by an incredible spot - eight Pygmy Elephants wondering alongside the road. Danum Valley is home to six out the ten totally protected animal species in Sabah, including the Pygmy Elephant. With less than 2,000 worldwide, the Loop's spot was an unbelievable moment that really highlighted the importance of protecting this special area.

Pygmy elephant in Danum Valley.

Next stop was Sepilok to visit Alpha 4 who are building a boardwalk from the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre to the Orang-utan centre, helping to raise awareness and protect another protected animal species, the Sun Bear.

A much more refined arrival here - the Loop were treated to a Monte Carlo themed stay with every detail thought out – Michael as a human slot machine, an a la carte dinner and casino style games with a Raleigh twist.

Alpha 4 turned out in their Monte Carlo finest for the Loop.

They played on Michael the human slot machine.

Nicki and Marcus navigate the casino of Alpha 4.

Alpha 4 got back to work the next day after sending this video message home.

From Monte Carlo to the boardwalk: Lisa and Cloe get stuck in.

The boardwalk is really taking shape under Renske's and Nicolien's hands.

From Alpha 4 to Alpha 2 in the village of Lingka Bugan. They arrived to some samples of the team's English lessons and just before an incredible sunset over the village’s famous view. See their welcome here.

Maurits and Claire test the Loop.

The beautiful sunset of Lingka Bugan.

A three-course dinner and games followed and the team got the Loop involved in their preparations for a local wedding that they had been invited to.

The group chill out with the Loop at their Lingka Bugan Raleigh home.

Soup a la Bugan.

Extra spice: Alpha 2 like it hot.

Before setting off, the Loop had a tour of the Kindergarten where the team were completing the steps. 

The Bravo parked outside Lingka Bugan's kindergarten.

So, onto the final project at Kampung Alab – Alpha 1 where they arrived to a Dutch Christmas time tradition - Sinterklaas. Cheese and all, when they were met by Sinterklaas with his book of Loop poems, before being taking on a country themed journey for their stay. Watch Alpha 1's very own Sinterklaas with the loop here.

Alpha 1 transformed the Raleigh House into multiple nationalities.

Say cheese: Dutch arrival at Alpha 1.

From Holland the Loop went to Italy where they enjoyed an authentic Italian feast surrounded by scenes from Italy and accompanied by an army of moustached Alpha 1 Giovanni's.

Oli makes a quick costume change from Sinterklaas to join Giovannis Rowan, Killian and PJ in Italy.

Scenes from Italy.

Delicious starter

Pasta bolognese

Banoffee pies

The many Giovannis of Alpha 1.

In the evening they helped Alpha 1 give English lessons to local children and learnt about the progress made on the kindergarten which now has its roof up.

Both kindergartens will be completed during phase three when we’ll hold opening ceremonies in the villages. 

Alpha 1 giving English lessons with the Loop at Kampung Alab.

The following morning the loop left for Fieldbase after a full English/Welsh breakfast, feeling extremely well travelled.

Leaving Alpha 1 to head back to Fieldbase after a full English/Welsh fry up.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Phase 2 Alpha 6 made it to Maga Falls in Long Pasia

We have just met Alpha 6 on their return from trek prior to departing for Dive Island. They wrote this blog on their journey back to Kota Kinabalu.

Phase 2 began at Long Pasia, after a 7 hour journey in a bus and 4 x 4s, the trekking began.

TG, Gary, Gordon, Matt D, Shaun, Andy, Sophie T,
Paige, Tarnya, Ali, Barbara, Mary (plus Anne taking photo)

Each day began with packing up camp, then trekked to different location to set up a new camp. Life also revolved around food. Eating gourmet one pot wonders and a whole 6 crackers for lunch, as opposed to the legendary 4 of Alpha 6 in phase 1.

The trekking
Sophie practising jungle skills
All set up for the night
TG putting finishing touches to the dining area
Jungle stove
Ali preparing supper

On 7th November, we celebrated Andy's birthday with the trek guides, who made traditional jungle pumpkin pie, showed us how to shop at the jungle supermarket and taught us bamboo craft. 

Andy with jungle supplies
Food gathered
Mary with new hair decoration
Jungle meal

After the Resupply Camp one of the guides, Fozzy, showed us how to make vine bracelets and animal traps. The following day we had a long 8 hour trek to Maga Falls. We encountered various obstacles, but the biggest being the crossing of the Maga River. At Maga camp the rain soaked us from head to toe, even the Project Managers got wet during the night. Luckily the sun was shining the next day. We took time to see the magnificent Maga Falls and the bat caves.

Alpha 6 in jungle class
Animal trap
Vine bracelets
River crossing
Maga Falls
Clothes dryer
Alpha 6 at Maga Falls

The next few days we spent trekking back to Long Pasia. On arrival in Long Pasia we experienced great hospitality by our hosts at our homestay. We had our fill of local food and enjoyed a night in a bed.

Long Pasia
Now we are off to Dive island for sun, sea and sand.