Saturday, 14 July 2012

Alpha 7 is heaven!

So here I am. Back at Fieldbase for three hours and already missing Alpha 7 and the leeches. Well, perhaps not the leeches, but definitely Alpha 7.

I (Vanessa, the expedition photographer), had the pleasure of deploying for Phase 1 with Jack/Barry, Hannah, Zoe, Victoria, Dave, Sabrina, Ndavyah, Siena, Suzie, along with their PM dream team Ian and Sheila. For five days we ate, slept and trekked together – and what a memorable time it was.


Day 1 saw us off to a brilliant start on the Crocker Range with dry weather allowing good progress – until half the group was swarmed by a mob of angry wasps. Fortunately, Alpha 7 is made of strong stuff and nothing rattles our nerves or puts off our smiles quite so easily, not even when one finds leeches in the most unsuspecting places.

We set up camp and relaxed around the camp fire. The surprisingly loud “calm” of the night was only marred by Ian's hammock crashing down – with him still in it (much to everyone's amusement).

Day 2 saw the erection of an elaborate leech scoring system, where each team member scores points depending on the locality of the leech and the severity of the bite. The system is as follows:

1 point – leech on shoe

2 points – leech in shoe

3 points – leech on skin

4 points – for actual leech bite, proven by blood evidence

Although highly amusing, we soon lost track of our scores and decided to stick to a daily tally.

By Day 3 we had become dab hands at setting up hammocks and the radio, as well as digging long drops and slops pits at high speed. Our spare time was used wisely for group activities, such as our group contract and our fantastic guides Henry, William and Reiner treated us to some home made “jungle bling”, as well as teaching us valuable skills, including lighting fires, setting traps and how to carve pretty much anything you may ever need from bamboo.

The jungle never ceases to amaze, and we enjoyed exploring our surroundings whilst puffing up many “sexy bum hills” - so named as climbing up the steep slopes is a brilliant workout for the glutes. By now we had also been renamed to “Alpha Disco”, in hommage to the dancing earth worms we saw daily and as an indicator for many a song we trilled.
We had been incredibly lucky with the weather, and it was not until the last afternoon of the 5-day-trek that we were absolutely soaked through to the bone – naturally only seconds after we had all just had the first proper wash in days, in a lovely river.




But finally, we all made it onto the minibus back to KK and onto Mamutik Island (“Dive Island”), where the team has been enjoying a week of diving. Living on Dive Island is a treat indeed, lush beaches and palm trees are guarded by big monitor lizards and exotic butterflies.  


















It's a tough life! 
After their stint at Dive Island, Alpha 7 will return to their trekking ways – we just can't stay away from the jungle for too long.  
So I’d like to say a big thanks to Alpha Disco for having me! I am already looking forward to hearing about their further adventures at Changeover.

Vanessa

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

for Elsemieke Kruseman alpha 5

Haay Lieve Elsie, ik stuur nog maar weer een berichtje om te laten zien dat ik errug aan je denk. Je doet nu de trekking, en dat lijkt me erg zwaar. Kanjertje van me!!
Vanavond gaan Pappa en ik eten bij Gh en PH Br. samen met vrienden uit Bussum. Heel gezellig.
Ik stuur hier een commentaartje onderaan een andere alpha die ook gedoken heeft. die zie ik op de foto met allemaal duikflessen, dat zul jij ook gedaan hebben. heel leuk. vandaag, zaterdag 14/7 postte ik net mijn eerste brief, die zul je vrees ik over een weekje krijgen. zal de tweede brief iets eerder sturen, zodat je hem nog voor je vertrek krijgt. Hier gebeurt natuurlijk minder dan bij jou, jij zult veel meer leuke dingen te vertellen hebben. heel hartelijk dank voor je brief die we gisteren kregen met al je verhalen. 't is wat, zo lang van huis te zijn, maar gelukkig gaat de tijd snel, schreef je. nou meisje, ik zal de volgende keer weer wat krabbelen. dag lieverd, heel veel plezier en succes en sterkte, xxxx mamma

Toddy said...

Hannah Todd Alpha 7
Wow Han what an amazing blog by Vanessa, sounds v exciting and as for the leeches.... Bet they just lurved you!!
Returned from a week in Elie and the cousins all v proud of you, think you have inspired Catriona but 'princess' Laura has other thoughts on adventure! Missing you every day but so delighted to see our first pic of you looking Glam Glam Glam. Love you WSMTB xxxx

Toddy said...

Hannah Todd Alpha 7
NEWSFLASH...... Florence has her first number ONE in the charts with Spectrum (say my name) but can't sing it at present as has damaged her vocal cords
HERE ENDS NEWSFLASH
Love you Han xxx
WSMTB xxxxx

Toddy said...

Looking good Hannah Todd A7! It's raining so much here you may need diving skills at home! Euie misses you and we often wonder what you are up to, screaming at insects is a popular guess! We are growing two basha posts ready for your return, and stockpiling chocolate mint choc chip ice cream. Elie was nice, ice age 4 was fab, Euie will take you. Keep having fun and making a difference, be ruthless to the leeches! See you soon, love you more, Dad, Abs & Euie oxo

Andy Backshall said...

Hey Sabrina (Alpha 7)love the blog and pics, especially the trekking one as Reece was impressed with your pecks! Loved the diving gear- not quite as imaginative as Ang and Nige , I will have to show them! Tim and Becks say hi and were pleased to hear your news, and I have showed G ma your blogs, and she sends her love.We are off to Weymouth on sat , so will see the olympic build up with the sailing and the first official day! Dare I say it, the weather looks promising! OO the sun has just come out ! Love and big big hugs ,
Mum and Andy xxxx :-)

Andy Backshall said...

Hey Sabrina (Alpha 7)love the blog and pics, especially the trekking one as Reece was impressed with your pecks! Loved the diving gear- not quite as imaginative as Ang and Nige , I will have to show them! Tim and Becks say hi and were pleased to hear your news, and I have showed G ma your blogs, and she sends her love.We are off to Weymouth on sat , so will see the olympic build up with the sailing and the first official day! Dare I say it, the weather looks promising! OO the sun has just come out ! Love and big big hugs ,
Mum and Andy xxxx :-)

Ruth Snijders said...

Ian Cuthberson - Alpha 7
I did do this blog thing last week but I don't think it worked! Trying again.
Looks like you're all having 'fun'! Not sure it looks like my thing! Hope you are enjoying your adventure anyway! I'm keeping up with the pictures etc. Look forward to full story on your return! Catch up soon
Take care
Ruth and Rob Dundee!

Anonymous said...

Hello to Barry(Jack) in Alpha 7 lots of love from Gran and Pops and Carol too. All really proud and enjoying watching what you are all up to on the website
xxxx

Russell Thomas said...

Hi Rachel Thomas A6.
Hope you have had a very fun birthday - you were very much in our thoughts. Enjoying your diving? We understand it is changeover day tomorrow (Thursday). Received your Olympic tickets for the football final. Shame you cannot made it by a day and we will miss you greatly. Simon cannot go either - another wedding! Thinking of who else to ask to come. We are all missing you loads. Dad x

Anonymous said...

Hannah Todd Alpha 7
Looks insaaaaaaane Han. So jealous. Bought your birthday present today ;) so it'll be ready for when you're back! No more English without you, thank god :) lookin' sexy in the diving photos ;) you're not missing much here except endless rain. Hope you manage to get internet again at some point, it was great to hear from you! We see Ed so soon- the day we break up for October half term. And i'll be 18 aaaaah. CANT WAIT. Take careee, miss you lots. Loveee you, Vikki (nearly forgot to write who i was, ohh dearr) xxxxxxx

Anonymous said...

Hannah Todd Alpha 7
Sorry I just signed that message as from Vikki. You never call me that... its not your sister its Sid ;)

Lucy Jiang said...

To Suzy Zu in Alpha 7 (or whatever team) - From Raleigh Hong Kong!
Hi Suzy, so happy to see your happy face from the blog....so happy! Believe you are having a great time there...just have FUN! and en.JOY every moment, we are proud of you!!!! Best wishes, Lucy & Other RHK fds

Leanne richardson said...

Alpha7
Message for Jack RIchardson

Hi Jack, hope u are well and enjoying your experience. Saw granny yesterday she sends her love! Hope your not missing home too much. Stay safe :-)

Will keep checking on here for blogs

Love Leanne x

Anonymous said...

Message for all the Bermudians

Hey Guys!! I am glad to see that your all having fun! Holding up the Bermuda name strong!! Keep your heads up no matter what!!- Dwayne Robinson

Anonymous said...

Hey to all the Bermudians! Hope you guys are hanging tough over there! Just know you have a lot of support from home! Keep it up guys!!- Dwayne Robinson

nan &papa said...

To David Campbell was alpha 7 seen your photo u are looking well we will keep in touch .

Marina Rietschel said...

Lieber Carl,
die ganze Sippschaft denkt an Dich und möchte wissen, wie die erste Nacht in der Hängematte war.
Was für ein Erlebnis unter dem Äquator !
Hope everything is fine and ok. Please let us know what you are doing.
I have seen a comment written by Una Crosby - maybe her daughter Harriet is at one of the camps ( Ilkley connection)...
Lots of love
Mama
(Marina Rietschel)

Cliff Fisher said...

Dear Ellie (Fisher) we understand that you're now at Basecamp by Mount Kinabalu, how your boots are comfy if you're gonna climb 13,500ft !! Mum + Will are now in France tonight in the Loire, and it's been 31degrees in the UK. We're all missing you loads but hope you're all settling in without the creature comforts ? Post us an update when you have a chance. All our love Dad, Mum Max + Will xxxxxxxxxxxx

mommie said...

bethany pearson alpha3
hello darling hope all is going well with the kyndergarten bet the children have you wrapped round their little fingers. cant wait to get you back but may wait till youve had a bath before i go for a cuddle. you get in 6.25am on mon 13th will be there to get you your dad is on coach standbye incase of disasters bless him see you soon i love you loads xxx

Anonymous said...

Zoe Lea Alpha 7
Hi Zoe it looks as though you are having an amazing time and good to see that you have passed your scuba diving... so jealous, don’t think I could have done it. Been looking at the blog to see how you are getting along and enjoyed seeing the pics of you looking so happy !! missing you lots, the house is extremely quiet but unusually tidy !! Will be thinking of you tomorrow and hope that it is a special day even although you are miles away !! At least their baking will be safer than mine. Ali had a trip to Spain and survived it ..just! love you lots mum, dad and ali xxx