Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Hello from Maliau Basin (Alpha 4)

Alpha 4 update

Well, it was a last minute challenge but due to unforeseen political circumstances the original Alpha 4 project at Danum Valley had to be changed. We’re being cautious, but safety comes foremost at Raleigh and the replacement project we've got organised is brilliant!

Consequently, 12 of our intrepid Venturers with their dedicated and fearless project managers have now set up camp in Maliau Basin. This is an area of primary rainforest that has been likened to Jurassic Park, albeit minus the dinosaurs. Spectacular jungle, waterfalls and flora and fauna all surrounded by cliffs soaring up to a height of 1,700ft. 

The team will be based at the Maliau Basin Study Centre. The work is still being finalised, but  it will involve work on a gabion wall and the creation of a new nature trail. The group are sure to make the most of the incredible opportunity they have been granted in gaining access to this remote and highly protected area and when they left Basecamp were hoping to be able to visit the rainforest canopy observation platform, the skywalk jungle path and to trek into some of the other camps deeper in the conservation area.

Sam at the Maliau Basin viewpoint
Updating us on this unique experience is an account from Sam who paid the group a visit during the loop visit on Friday:

I've been really excited about the road trip that all Fieldbase staff take part in; driving to all the static project sites we have scattered around Sabah in our land rovers, delivering post, messages from home and bringing the highly popular Raleigh shop where Venturers can buy treats, toiletries and medical items.  There is also a come dine with me challenge which the loop decides; so you are treated like royalty and cooked a fantastic feast!!

We set off on the loop part one very early on Friday morning and drove for 8 hours south east to the Maliau Basin; a designated conservation area of primary rain forest which has a study centre to provide facilities for environmental research and education.  Our group are there to work on a variety of projects such as building gabion walls (large wire cages filled with rocks) to stabilise nearby land, and creating new wildlife trails.  

Alpha 4 making a start on the gabion wall
It was a brand new experience for me entering this area. It felt like we were driving into Jurassic park and the driving was fun too.  The trees were huge and green, and the noises from the jungle were crazy.  It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life and I am so grateful to be given this opportunity.  We even saw monkeys run across the road in front of us and found some fresh elephant dung but sadly no elephants.

Kathryn, Jo and Sam welcoming the Loop to Maliau Basin

When we finally arrived at the site the group treated us to noodle soup lunch and then a short walk to the area they are working on.  Its great to see their progress already and they seemed pleased and excited with their work so far. Mike and Rachel, the PMs, hope to take them trekking into the jungle before the end of the phase.  

The group are all sleeping in tents  in a designated campsite and they do seem to have quite a bit of luxury here with toilets and showers and a designated kitchen area.  

The site

The Venturer camping area

The Loop's beds for the night

Alpha 4 treated us to a three course meal of fishcakes, stir fry and Trio of pudding which included pineapple upside down cake - it was delicious and I was thinking I could get used to this!  

Trio of deserts

They also made giant Ralieghopoly (Monopoly Raleigh themed) which was so much fun and the games went on for hours.  We had to leave very early the following morning but the group were up to make us eggy bread before we left.  

All in all we had a fantastic experience - an incredibly beautiful location, and a great welcome from the group. They've set a really high standard so we're looking forward to seeing how the other groups match up!

We will be providing an update on how the rest of the static project sites are getting on and the experiences of the second phase loopers when they return to Fieldbase next week.


Anonymous said...

For Lewi Wyatt - Alpha 3

Hi Lewi - It was lovely to get your phone call, looked at all the pics on the blog and read your write up. You look happy and healthy so your mum is happy. See you are now in Alpha 3 doing a gravity water feed project, hope it's all going well! Everything back here is going along as usual, no news, so all is. I am very proud of you and can't wait to hear all your stories when you get back! Love you loads mum xxxxx

Elaine said...

to Fiona Bell alpha 3
Just browsing through the blog. I see your temp today is 34. Ours is -3! There is a howling gale and snow flurrying around. Apparently spring officially starts tomorrow according to the radio. Bonnie and I were at Rouken Glen for her walk this morning since I was in Clarkston. She loved RG - lots of woods and different smells to explore. There is a river running thro the wood. She went in following a chocolate lab. Thank goodness she dried off a bit before going back to the car-don't think my new car smell will last long. She is now asleep on my lap and keeps nudging the laptop out of the way so she can rest her head properly on my lap. The first dog we saw at Rouken Glen was a blonde cockapoo puppy of 5 months. She was being walked by her 'grannie' who was anxious to know if they eventually stopped biting/nipping. I patted her (the puppy) and she definitely had little razor sharp teeth and was very bouncy.The lady was amazed that we were waiting for our second one. Next wk we maybe meeting Maisie to walk there. Mags was busy today.
Tonight is first night at agility. Will need my ski stuff on at this rate.
Dad was at optician yday. Needs reading
glasses. Optician was in his 80's and shop was in a 1970's time warp so cant wait to see his glasses. Might look like one of the Proclaimers.
I do not know how long the comments take to reach you so Happy 18th Birthday when it comes. Will be thinking of you. Are you the youngest in your group?
I googled kampung Boribi and saw the newspaper article from last yrs project. It is amazing that the Raleigh projects can make such a big impact in such a short time. Reading the blogs make your dad and I so envious of your adventures though not sure a big feartie like me would be much use.
Just had text from Stuart-still in 1 piece after his snowboarding on Saturday. I have sent letters too so hopefully you will have these soon. Bye for now. Missing you loads. Lots of love mum dad and B,P and A xxxx

Anonymous said...

from Church Farm
to Peter Hodge

Hi Hoss, I presume you are still out of contact but will send you this blog anyway. Your weather looks a lot nicer than the grot we have been having here. Its constantly cold so besides good cooking, Bear Grylls, Top Gear, comfy clean bed and laundry you are not missing a lot only James, Me & Moose hopefully. I hope the school project is fun you should be use to small kids. James & me have sent you a card which you hopefully will be waiting for you. I have had to put your rail tickets in the card and really hope you get them although I hear mail is a bit hit and miss. If you do not have the card when you get back to base camp let me know straight away. I tried to get the tickets held at the airport but there are no facilities so let me know asap then I can try and do something else722. Fingers crossed. As always have fun, stay safe and lots of love, me, James and Blobert xxxxxx

Graham Bell said...

To Fiona Bell Alpha 3,
Well the big bit of news is that you have an unconditional from Dundee - well done! Dundee is famous for Jam Jute & Journalism. But they dont do jute and journalism any more. Never mind, the Jam is good.
Having a look at the photos of the raleigh camps before re-decorating the bathroom you use. Will a bucket in the corner be OK? It would make the trip to B&Q bit quicker.
As mum reported I do have reading glasses, but I don't look like one of the Proclaimers, perhaps a bit like Clark Kent. When Im not reading with them everything else seems to go into soft focus, even mum but strangely her tongue still remains sharp.
Low point of my day = crashing into someone who was going the wrong way round in the swimming lane. High point of my day = Fish'n'chips.

Anonymous said...

Hi Naveed,(Alpha 5)
How are you doing? Hope all is well with you. We are all ok. Maa and bapa are fine and have seen some of your recent photos. Amaan said wag1 hav fun!!!!!!!!!
Zain is looking forward to seeing you when you get back. Your mum and dad really miss you. Hope you are having fun. you are doing some really amazing work.

Everyone has said Hi and have passed their love.

Lots of love,
Yasi masi. xx

Anonymous said...

message for Sam Griffin Beat

Hello chops xx my last message with my telephone number in uk has not appeared i hope you got iy again just in case call me whenever you can until 6th april on 00447511099940 ok x it is perishingly cold here have had to hit the charros and get hats gloves scarfs etc its the coldest easter since time began!!!!!!!!!!!! spent fri sat sun an mon cleaning my back is cilling me x the house was covered all over with plaster and brick dust x got mrs b fron garwick mon eve, got up early tues to get to victoria at 9 as alice had appointment for new passport it was sooooooooooooooooo ci=old and we had to que outside, well u can imagine!!!!! anyway it was ready by 2 so inbetween we went to oxford st and had lunch xx today after a nice lay in we are heading for ikea alice is very unimpressed!!! school here does not finish till this friday so she only has me and mrs b xxx will mail a letter later today or early tom morn i love you and hope you are enjoying this 2nd phase xxx the photo of you holding the welcome sign to the loop is lovely xxx all my love from the frozen depths of london xxxxx marmasas xxxxxxxipagre

Anonymous said...

message for Sam Griffin Beat

second attempt just typed out a long message and managed to delete it, im not used to alices laptop x how is phase 2 I hope you are enjoying it x its soooo cold here the coldest easter since time began!!!!!!!!!!! spent the first 4 days attacking the house it was all under a thick layer of plaster and brick dust, my back was killing me!!!!! had a curry on sat eve with nana and dada and played benny, sunday had dinner with them, got gill from garwick on monday and yest we spend a bitterly freezing day in central london getting sugars passport renewed xx today we had a much needed lyein and are heading off to ikea xx dont u wish u were here!!!! the last blog i sent with the uk phone number on it has not appeared, so will send it again am on this number till 6th april, so call whenever you get the chance pllllssssssss 00447511099940 ok my boy i love uxxxxxxx marmases xxxxxxx

Anonymous said...

To Josephine van Steenhoven - Alpha 4

Hee lieve joos!
Hoe is het met je? Is deze alpha 4 fase net zo zwaar als danum valley? op de blog ziet het er in ieder geval best leuk uit. hoop dat je het naar je zin hebt :). Ik ben nu alweer een tijdje thuis en veel aan het werken en feesten (dat soort feestjes ja, hihi). ik wil ook een keer met jou naar zo'n feestje haha. ik mis jullie allemaal wel! ik mis de zon ook enorm, want het is zo koud hier!! voor de rest sta ik nog steeds achter mijn beslissing trouwens haha. vind het heel knap van je dat je het allemaal zo goed volhoudt. herinner me nog heel goed onze zeikdagen in delta 9 haha. nog heel veel succes, YOU CAN DO IT! en natuurlijk nog heel veel plezier, want volgens mij geniet je ontzettend. enjoy :)
liefs, Carlijn