Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Alpha 4: Danum Valley - Venturer accounts

Alpha 4 spent Phase One of Raleigh Borneo 13C in Danum Valley. Read their accounts of life in the jungle...

Trekking into the jungle
As a group we were challenged with many unseen troubles but every moment, every second, every slip and fall was ‘Type Two Fun’ that Alpha 4 will remember forever. Every step through the close jungle and every cup of Milo before curling up to the symphony of the forest - predominantly gibbons, elephants and Alfred snoring. 

There is almost nowhere in the world like Danum Valley and our group feels honoured for the time we were able to spend there. We all hope it never changes and that although we won't go back, that others will get to enjoy its beauty.

We were allowed to assist in a project much bigger than any of our shuttles may have suggested, re-constructing a scientific research cabin deep within primary rainforest untouched for ten years and will be essential for studies of biodiversity.

Ella and Dido in Danum Valley
The WWF estimated that there were approximately 10 rhinos in the area (from an aerial scan) and kindly moved the heaviest materials to Raleigh cabin for us. We were eternally grateful to WWF as we could not have done that alone.

Obviously Danum is part of a much bigger project - the group plan to open a protected 'corridor' between Danum Valley, Imbak Canyon and Maliau Basin to permit wildlife to roam freely between all the areas.

Helping the beginning of the re-construction of Raleigh cabin is essential in helping scientists gain the necessary evidence to support the new planned conservation 'corridor'. Although Alpha 4 weren't able to reach Kyala Buran (Raleigh Cabin) as originally planned, staying in an environment so remote and different from everyday life has really shown us the value of conservation in Sabah. Nowhere is as beautiful and our small step will hopefully have made a large difference for future volunteers, however the project changes over time.

Written by Jacob Mayalhaes:

The Danum Valley project has had its setbacks and its sets of amazing moments. The group was challenged with the task of shuttling supplies for the construction and repair of a scientific observation outpost.

Trekking materials into the valley
Alpha 4's preliminary expedition force was a group laden with hardy folk who's strong will led them 8km into the jungle. They faced wild boars who's only will was to deprive them of their malaria protection - luckily the group were able to help resupply the victims after this loss (and the Raleigh shop at changeover was a blessing).

The rangers that accompanied us were full spirited and extremely pleasant individuals who threw us a lovely karaoke night and cooked us a fry up.
Among the highlights was an amazing waterfall surrounded by the dense primary rainforest. It was this and the spirited camaraderie that made the daily treks and renovations so enjoyable.

Sarah M and Chelsea cooling their feet in the river
Despite having to leave early because of the military presence in Lahad Data, we accomplished more than originally planned and managed to trek all the materials up ‘Hell Hill’ - a 3km upward battle against unsteady footing, heavy packs and the tormenting leeches. Upon re-arriving at our initial camp we found that a group of pigmy elephants had ransacked our camp!

I felt through the best and worst moments that our team prospered and grew, whether it was sharing living quarters, food or the heavy load of our rucksacks.

Raleigh for me was always something I wanted to do to help shape my persona and instil me with better habits and personality traits. After phase one's completion I look back on what I've learnt, the most evident and influential being the appreciation I will retain upon returning to civilisation of many things, the most important being technology, food, communication and sanitation. The zen attitude I developed for eating; ensuring maximum taste and duration of my meals put me in a much better mood.

I look forward to the learning that is still to come but until then, I'll just enjoy the sounds and sights of this beautiful waterfall and the pleasant company and card games with my new close friends.

Hard at work in Danum Valley

The daily routine in Danum Valley - By Lewi Wyatt

The group at work in the jungle

Alfred's alarm would sound at 5.15am and slowly people would emerge for the daily porridge breakfast. Alpha 4 would then pack our rucksacks with the equipment needed to rebuild Raleigh Cabin.

We set out at 7.15am with full packs and the aluminium roofing. Progress up ‘Hell Hill’ was slow and the leeches became just background annoyance.

With iced gems eaten, we unload at the halfway point and make a speedy return to camp for lunch and biscuits.
Admiring the view
A well earned afternoon in the waterfall was a great way to relax and cool off whilst enjoying the most wild landscape I have ever seen.

Dinner at 6.30pm was always looked forward to followed by a mug of Milo before heading to bed at 9.30pm. The remoteness and scenery of Danum Valley will be very missed by Alpha 4.


Bryan Stokes said...

Hey Chelsea, Great to see your enjoying yourself,
I am so very proud of you Chels :) Love you lots and miss you even more..
Take Care as I Care
Love Always
p.s. would be nice to know if you got
all your gear I posted over..

ManThePiano said...

To Caspar van Doremalen, Delta 3.

Hey Buddy,

Dank je voor het belletje, super tof om je ff te spreken. Volgens mij is het geweldig daar, ik ben jaloers op de weersomstandigheden. :)

Hier is weinig veranderd, tis vooral erg koud eigenlijk..
Nou, succes daar. En ik stuur binnenkort weer een bericht.



Anonymous said...

from church frm

to Peter Hodge

hi Hoss

try and view your emails I need you to confirm the mountain dates, its 2 days up one night stay and costs about £315.00 DATE OF TOUR: 27 – 28 APRIL 2013 2D1N MOUNT KINABALU CLIMB let me know asap as I am speaking to a company in Sabah.
Love you lots, stay safe and have fun

me, James and Blobert xxxxx

Anonymous said...

For Freddie Aitken - All well here. James was home for the weekend, very tired anmd full of cold. Still freezing here - wish we were with you (only joking). Lots of love from us both, Mum and Dad

Anonymous said...

message for joost weimar
het is hartstikke leuk om het blog weer te lezen. het is net of ruben de reis nog een keer over doet. ik hoor dat je het ontzetttend naar je zin hebt.
ruben zit nu in rome en was zojuist getuige van de paus verkiezing. hij woont daar om de hoek. hij heeft he took geweldig naar zijn zin en blijft tot half juni
van ons allemaal de hartelijke groeten en geniet nog van je borneo tijd en daarna
Debora, Jan en Oscar

Anonymous said...

Message for Sam Griffin Beat

Hello my darling boy,

Hope all is going well on the secpnd phase of your epic journey!!! its a great thing you are doing, you are a well travelled young man buut i bet this is alot different to what you have done before? is it harder living conditions than the nepal experdition? this is not a pass or fail thing sam this is a enjoy, do good, put back into society, learn, experience, push yourself, etc thing, but above all its a have fun doing to thing xxxx you are a beast, and such a fab person, I am missing you ( even the botting!!!!!) but I no you are fine and making the most of it all good and not so good!!!. my last couple of blogs have not apeared dont know why, maybe coz I referred to Jonty as a ****box in one, which of course he is!!! dont they know thats the african name for jack russels???? all well here in southern africa, its hot and sunny, and I am on my way now to take the woofers to hout bay beach for a nice walk, have mailed another letter, with a photo of the dogs in it. all my very very special love Mummy xxxxxxxxxxx

Sally Napier said...

Hi Freddie
Hope all is going well? Looks like you are having a fantastic time.. Very jealous! All well here.. Wedding planning and hoping James is putting in some singing practice! Off to stay with Mum and Dad tonight as Graeme is off out on a pre rugby dinner. We are going to watch Wales V England tomorrow...Cant wait. Though G is supporting England which is rather disappointing.. Glad to see you have had no ear/nose/tatoos yet..Guess that happens when you reach Thailand! All love and keep having Fun. Auntie Sally xx

Anonymous said...

To: Liselot Bekendam
Hey lieve schat van mij,
Iedereen is super enthousiast over je brieven en hopelijk krijg je van' the Loop' nu wel echt wat blogs , halverwege je superzware trek!! Mams doet haar best met haar derde blog, want ze mist je ook echt: vrijdagavond, Paps weg, Wil naar 21 diner van George en Rein ver weg in Groningen. Dus gaat Mams zo in haar eentje ' Voice of Holland' of iets dergelijks kijken..... Ook maar alleen kopje thee drinken daarbij..............
Jij snakt naar deze heerlijke luxe dingen en moeders snakt naar jouw gezelschap. Ook een kleine snik van mij , maar niks vergeleken met jouw afzien perikelen!!!!
Paps heeft je brief met alle referenten naar de hotelschool gestuurd en nu maar duimen.... Na deze ervaring ben je volgens mij helemaal geschikt en rijp om daar naar toe te gaan. Mams gunt het je zo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Paps en ik hebben morgen een hele dag Rotary waarbij we jonge mensen die net aan het werk ( zoals Mathijs Loop), de kans bieden om met een heel andere sector ( zorg) kennis te maken en dan een businescase voor op te stellen. Wij zijn mentoren en ik zit ook nog in het panel (houd ons van de straat....)Zondag gezellig een lunch met mijn oud huisgenoten van de Witte Rozenstraat uit Leiden.
Lieverd, mams denkt heel vaak per dag aan je, hopelijk helpt dat je, mij wel!
Heel veel knuffels van je moeder!!!!