Saturday, 3 December 2011

Alpha 4 and 5 news

Andy, from our logistics team has just brought back a few photos from his last two days with Alpha 4 in Sepilok, where he helped them with work on the final section of boardwalk.

 Barbara, Ali, Stephanie, Min and Kirsty working on the last section of boardwalk.
Alpha 4 at home in their jungle camp.
Alpha 5 are back from their five day trek in the Crocker range and have begun their PADI diving course on dive island. We met up with them in Kota Kinabalu, grabbed some photos and blog entry from Ruben and Seb.

Take it away boys...

Alpha 5: our trekking.
After a three hour downhill trek we arrived in our first jungle camp with 10 venturers and 3 PMs along with our knowledgeable guides Kenny, Fred and Guinnes.
It was very slippery and wet but we all survived it!
Alpha 5: happy trekkers

Ruben with Kenny, Fred and Guinnes
After feeling hot and sweaty we washed ourselves in the river and went straight into our
Č•ber cool longs. After devouring our food all of us decided to go to our own hammocks for a pleasant rest.
It's amazing what you can cook on in the jungle.
We then got woken up at 6.30am and had lovely porridge for breakfast and then went straight back to hardcore trekking. Two hours later we arrived in camp, went  for a leisurely swim in the pleasant river.
Alpha 5 at one of the many beautiful river stops.
Trek day 3 was a new experience and arduous as we were constantly going up-hill and then downhill instead of roughly staying on the same terrain. After arriving at camp four hours later, we set up our camp and went for the best swim ever imaginable.
Washing and swimming.
At night we played a game called Mafia and then told some ghost stories. Along with day 3, day 4 was another hardcore uphill trek. Due to the rainy conditions this made our day of trekking longer harder but most importantly when we arrived at camp our priority was to find dry wood.
Mat and Sara collect dry wood.
This proved to be a challenge which we overcame. After setting up the fire we all huddled together to eat noodles with peas and corn…yummy. As per usual we were asleep by roughly 8 o’clock in the evening.
Jungle bedtime: 8pm
Day 5 was another normal morning but instead of leaving our camp straight away we learnt the basics of jungle craft through our awesome guides.
Spotted on the way to our next camp.
We then got pumped for a three and a half hour trek in which to our surprise we arrived at Utan Paradise jungle camp, which had pillows and real mattresses.
Utan paradise. Not a joke.
We are not joking about this. We were relieved to not have to dig a long drop or dry pit. Our dinner was scrumptious and we were so comfortable as we were sitting at a table for the first time. After macaroni and cheese we then learnt how to make jungle jewelry. We then had the best sleep of our jungle trekking experience.
Love and kisses. Seb and Ruben.


Finally, for Dutch readers of the blog Maurits van Rhijn who spent his first phase in Sepilok and is now trek, dive trekking with Alpha 5 has a video message to anyone thinking about taking part in Raleigh - encouraging everyone to Get Out There. Watch his video on YouTube.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Christmas is coming… along with two kindergartens and a boardwalk.

It’s the first of December  - we are brimming with excitement  -  we can play continuous tunes in the office and not only are we due to open TWO kindergartens in the next two weeks, we also look set to complete the boardwalk at Sepilok.

Andy from our logs team is at Sepilok at the moment and will be back later today with photos.
The boardwalk will connect the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSCC) visitor centre to the observation platform.
Alpha 4 have plenty of visitors to entertain them as they work.

We have been working at the centre since 2009 and it is due to open to the public next year. Opening up to the public will raise awareness of the Sun Bear – the world’s smallest species of bear.

The world's smallest species of bear.

The centre cares for and rehabilitates Sun Bears that have been illegally removed from the forest, with the aim of releasing them back into the wild. Read the BSBCC blog here.

Great progress is being made on our other environmental project too – Alpha 3 in Danum Valley are trekking toilets in to the primary rainforest camp today.

Little Donkey, Little Donkey, had a heavy load...trekking into Danum

The low impact eco-camp will allow scientists to stay and carry out research deeper into the previously unexplored area. Also beginning the Christmas Countdown, Alpha 3 plan to sing Christmas songs as they trek in.

As you know, we will be completing and opening kindergartens built by Alpha 1 and 2 in the villages of Alab and Lingka Bugan.
The kindergarten in Alab will be opening soon.

Final touches are now being made by the groups as they continue with decorating and prepare for the opening ceremonies. On the radio this morning, Sophie Pluck wished her Mum a Happy Birthday for Sunday. Happy Birthday Sophie’s Mum!

Finally, news from our trekking groups. Alpha 6 are in high spirits and celebrating PM Ed’s birthday today. They had a storytelling and Milo night last night and have been doing lots of jungle shopping, substituting their Raleigh Rations for tastes from the jungle.
Happy birthday Ed
An Ed special: the PM has been making cakes like this out of Raleigh Rations to celebrate birthdays throughout expedition. 

We’ll be going out to meet Alpha 5 later today who are in the classroom for the first day of their PADI diving course and they’ll leave for the beautiful Dive Island tomorrow.

The Loop will be going out to visit all our static project sites and the opening of kindergartens so we'll have more news and photos soon.