Saturday, 9 March 2013

Phase One - The Loop!

The Loop - with Kath, Ellie and Josh, with guest appearances from Fiona and Jo.

Soundtrack – Musicals and Willie Nelson - On the Road Again

Alpha 6 made us this headwear!!

Day one – Fieldbase to Imbak Canyon (Alpha 5)

After an emotional goodbye to the fieldbase team at 6am, we set off on our eight day ‘Loop’ trip visiting all the static project sites and Alpha groups  to see how they are all getting on and provide them with blog messages, letters from home and the all important Raleigh shop.  The longest drive of the week from fieldbase to A5 started with winding roads and spectacular views of Mount Kinabulu all the way to the coast.  We reached the town of Telupid in good time, to stop for a famous Roti, and then it was a five hour off road drive made extremely difficult by the days of rain preceding our visit.  A highlight was having two long tailed monkey’s run across our path – which made a pleasant change from the numerous wild dogs.  The bad weather meant that we reached Imbak too late to trek in to see Alpha 5 that night so spent a night in relative luxury at Rangers camp.

Rangers Camp

Ellie, Fiona, Josh and me (Kath)

Day two – Imbak Canyon (A5)

We made the difficult decision not to drop supplies off to Alpha 4 as we wouldn’t be able to see the group who were in the depths of the rainforest.  This meant we could spend the day with Alpha 5 afterall which made the long drive worthwhile. We trekked into the camp at Imbak carrying as much of the shop as we could between us to visit Alpha 5 in their Glastonbury style mud bath.  We reached the group just as the weather closed in again so joined them for games of cards around their newly made table and seating area – very impressed!  Luckily the rain cleared up quickly which allowed the group to put on their organised fun of name games and an extremely competitive obstacle course through the stream which was great fun!  Green team won!

John and Ali - laughing at all the rain

Camp

The Venturers hiding from the rain...

... but you can always have fun at Imback
As we were a day late, we missed out on the three course meal prepared (and enjoyed) the previous evening, but after another Raleigh rations cook up we were taken to visit a potential new species of spider which had set up camp across the bridge which was almost crab like and turned into a leaf when scared! The Rangers were unsure what it was so we’re looking forward to doing some research to find out.

Fiona, Kath, Ali and Josh

Day three – Imbak to Sepilok






Awoken by the alarm-like sounds of jungle birds and gibbons, and trekked out at first light to begin the long off road journey to Sepilok – our overnight stay on our way up north to Pitas. We were lucky enough to reach Sepliok just in time for the feeding session at the Sepilok Orangutang Sanctuary so had our first experience of seeing orangutans and macaques.


Day four – Sepilok to Bulud Batu (Alpha 2)


Alpha 2 Venturers Alex, Jake, Hugh 



After a night in a B&B we took the long and windy road to Bulud Batu – with the landscape dominated by Palm Tree Plantations, and the drive broken up by the Les Miserables and Evita soundtracks, much to Josh’s delight.




We met Alpha two at Aunty’s House – the head woman - and were taken on a walk of the GWF route with views across the whole village – also seeing how they currently collect rainwater.


Alpha 2: Lou, Jonny, Andrew, Alex, Nikki, Jake, Cat, Sam, Vinnie, Connor,
Dwana, Sabine, Hugh and Sjoerd


At Aunty's house for Jonny's birthday celebrations

The next stop was their Raleigh house accommodation – which has been made really homely by the village and by the group. The evening entertainment was back to Aunty’s House for an amazing dinner with others in the village, followed by Malay karaoke.  It was a fantastic night, we felt very honored to be there – and was even more special for Jonny (PM) as it was his birthday and Aunty and the group had given him cakes and treats.  Aunty invited everyone to stay the night so we all set up mosquito nets and camped out on her floor – awoken at 4am to the loud sounds of chickens clucking and venturers laughing!

Day 5 – Bulud Batu to Pinapak – A3

After a nice breakfast with A2, we were back on the road towards Pinapak via Kota Maruda to stock up on fresh fruit and veg for A3.  This should have been the easiest journey, but we misinterpreted one of their directions on their route card and ended up off-roading in the wrong direction for over an hour.  Stopping to ask for directions at a Palm Oil Plantation Office was fruitless as they smiled helpfully and sent us further in the wrong direction.  This sadly meant that by the time we found our way again, it was too late to reach A3 before nightfall so we instead had to spend the night in Kota Marudu, and miss out on seeing them.

Fresh fruit on the road!

Day 6 – Kota Marudu to Alpha 6

We were joined in the car by Fiona, and set off accompanied by Eddie, who works for AFC supporting the community projects, and we were guided into the depths of the jungle once more. The off roading was challenging, but fortunately they had experienced a few dry days so the once impassable roads were passable, and we reached A6 in time for a lunch of Raleigh’s finest crackers.  The group has a fantastic set up, and are a really friendly bunch; they entertained us first off by performing two songs they’d prepared for the loop.  We then walked up to check the nets for birds but unfortunately there was nothing in them this time round, though the group can proudly report that they have caught over 30 different species since they arrived.  The photos I saw looked fantastic, such beautiful, colourful birds - we'll post these pics on the blog after we've seen the Venturers (and their cameras!) during changeover.

Fiona with Freddie and Harry


The A6 boys - Freddie, Harry, Rolex, Asher, Casper, Ian, Bjorn (and Bec)


We then set up the Raleigh shop, with arguably the best view of any shop across the valley, and then trekked up to where the traps are usually set.   We had a much needed shower A6 style in the local stream before longs-o-clock, and the group prepared a fantastic 3 course feast from the Raleigh Rations of flat bread and hummus, bean burgers with rice and chili sauce, and an amazing pear crumble with chocolate sauce.  Evening entertainment took the form of a quiz, followed by star gazing – a very tranquil experience.

Day 7 – Alpha 6 – Alpha 1

A 6am wake up allowed us to leave at first light to the backdrop of a beautiful mist filled view of the valley.  After a quick stop in Kota Marudu to send Jo on her way to A2, we set off for A1 but due to the length of the drive to get all the way across Sabah, we made the decision to stop off at fieldbase and spend the night there so we could spend more time with them the next day. Poor A1 had already been waiting a week for us, as they had thought we were visiting the previous Sunday so we hoped the news of another delay didn’t faze them too much!

Jo, me (Kath), Ellie and Josh on our way out of Coupe 1

Day 8 – Fieldbase – A1


The Hotel Bonor Sook - Jude, Connor and Daniel

We drove to Keningau and met two of the group and some of the villagers who had driven out to direct us in as the bridge on the main route in had collapsed.  A less tricky drive in than we were anticipating meant we reached A1 and had a most fantastic warm welcome from the group to Hotel Bonor Sook – and were treated to a 5* reception with porters, chefs and waiters helping us settle in!  We had a tour of the village which is a beautiful place, almost English village like in its appearance with a village green in the middle. We had the pleasure of visiting ‘the crack’ – the name the group have given to the part of the river they wash in, and then settled in for an evening of food and entertainment.  The group performed a special Raleigh version of Bohemian Rhapsody and Yellow Submarine, followed by dancing Arabic style. We then headed back to the village green for star gazing which was stunning, before sleeping under the mossie nets in the community centre.

The staff - Josefien, Lucy, Hatty, Lee, Alyrene, Natalie and James

Day 9 – A1 to fieldbase

Sad to say it’s the end of our loop tour, but ended on such a high with a non-porridge breakfast – scrambled eggs! A few games and warm up led by one of the villagers, Kudos, before we hit the road with a final rendition of Willie Nelson’s On the Road Again winding through the mountains back to Fieldbase.
All in all, a fantastic loop tour, though disappointing not to see Alpha 3 and 4 and looking forward to catching up with them soon – Alpha 3 before changeover for the opening ceremony of the GWF, and Alpha 4 at basecamp for changeover.

Big thank you to all the Alpha groups who were so welcoming to us.  They were all great but unfortunately there can be only one winner... The much sought after prize for best Alpha group visit will be announced to all the groups at Changeover on Sunday night!  

One message from me to everyone reading this blog – everyone loves to get blog messages, it really does give such a morale boost to hear news from home, so once you’ve finished reading, please do comment!

Loop one - Josh, me (Kath) and Ellie

13 comments:

Charlotte Jones said...

To James Bryer, 13C Alpha One.

Heyy Jamesy!!
eeeep! It was the nicest surprise ever to come home from college to three letters from you! <3 Jamesy it all sounds amazing!! I’m so so proud of you- and so happy to hear that youre having such an amazing time!! I re-read them from time to time, and they always put the biggest smile on my face!I received them on Friday 1st of March, and have sent you a letter in reply (eeep!) on Saturday 2nd March, so I’m hoping that you will receive it very very soon! :D
Every day I get so so excited to check out the blog to see what you guys have been getting up too- it looks and sounds so incredible!!
I read about how your group welcomed The Loop- hehee it all sounded so much fun! I can’t wait to hear your versions of Bohemian Rhapsody and Yellow Submarine haha!! And it sounds as though the kindergarten is coming along so so well! Eeeep I can’t wait to see the pictures and hear all about it!! :D
Oooooh!! :D And I went to Rambert in London last Tuesday for another audition! They only offer 15 places, so as you can imagine it was so so nerve racking... but I absolutely loved it, and thoroughly enjoyed dancing there!! :D It was the strictest audition yet! There was a panel of 10 judges along the front, and for every movement you did they wrote down so many notes! Simple things, like we stood in rows of 5 and line by line we just did 16 jumps- they were murmuring and just staring at our feet, taking down so many notes just on that... hahaa scary! It was such good fun though! And I also got asked to perform my solo! Only 8 of us out of the 25 auditioning got to do so- so I was so so happy face about that!! :D I should hopefully find out in another 3 weeks time, eeep I’ll let you know as soon as I hear back from them!! AND AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH! Jamesy your youtube channel is doing amazingly!! It has 868 views and 111 likes- eeeep! And so many amazing comments as well! Such as, I quote; “Wow... this is amazing! Great job keep going for my dream and the best of luck! :D “, “Your voice gave me the chills. In a good way of course. Good luck James!!!” and “Perfect :) hope you get really really far x “ – and there are so so many like this!
oooh! And I’ve been keeping in contact with ginger voldermort (hahaa!!) and the shots he’s been sending me look perfect! Even better than I imagined!! Eeeep!! Jamesy I’m so so excited for you to see them!
Thinking of you constantly Jamesy, and missing you so so soo much!! I love you lots and lots and lots! Forever and always, your Char xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

caroline van ravels said...

to emma van ravels alpha 7
EMSEL!!
Lees net zo'n leuk stuk op de blog over the loop!!! Helaas zijn ze niet bij jullie groep langs geweest!! Nog 1 dag, en dan kom je weer terug in het basiskamp. Ben zo benieuwd hoe het trekken is geweest en of je het vol hebt kunnen houden. Hoorde van Loek dat de regen (wat ik juist zo zielig vond) juist als een welkome afkoeling werd gezien!! Hoe is het met je voeten?? Alle tenen er nog aan?? Hoop zo dat je beltegoed is doorgekomen en je naar huis kan bellen!! Ik mis je wel hoor!! Het is nu wel heeeel stil hier. Pap is met zijn golfteam aan het "trainen" op Mallorca en ben nu helemaal alleen thuis. Emily, Merel komen dit weekend niet thuis en Loek alleen voor de hockey. Stilletjes dus!!
Wij worden door Raleigh heel goed op de hoogte gehouden over de onrust die heerst in Sabah. Enorm goed van ze!! Gelukkig had jouw groep er geen last van en konden jullie je trek gewoon doorzetten. Ben heel benieuwd wat jouw volgende fase gaat worden!! Ik hoop dat je het fijn hebt gehad in deze groep!! Jullie zullen zeker wel een band hebben gekregen na zo'n avontuur en moeten elkaar over een klein weekje weer missen.
Maar ook leuk om weer een nieuwe uitdaging aan te gaan. Laat je op tijd weten of je nog door gaat met reizen na Raleigh!
Nou lieverd, ik stop maar weer en hoop dat je dit bericht nog kan lezen voordat je weer op pad gaat.
Dikke kus van ons allen, mam
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Helen van Ameyde said...

hi Bean,

its great to see the photos - it looks amazing. I hope you're having a wonderful time. alls well in Brussels, Rotterdam and London. Bart spent the weekend with Pip in London, they had a great time. bart sent you a message hope you got it. We're off to Forcalquier next week :-)
hopefully it will be good weather. i'm off to the Parvis to do some shopping, i've got my coat on as its raining!!

Love you very much (and missing you too) Mum xxx

joanna said...

To Freddie Aitken

James is home for the weekend and we have been looking at the blogs. We had not seen anything about Alpha 6 for about 10 days so brilliant to read what you are up to and see some photos of you. What you are doing sounds AMAZING!! Love from us all. Mum, Dad and James xxxx

Anonymous said...

Louis Coster Alpha 3

hoi louis ik mis je heel erg gelukkig ben je snel weer thuis iloveyou xxx levi

Leah Lord said...

Hi Hatty..so great to get a glimse of you after what feels like soooo long. Hope the Kindergarten is coming on well and that you are enjoying being an inventive cook. We all good at home...going to see Em and Andy tomorrow.(mothers day!)
Miss you and love you so mucho.
We love the blog and can't wait for more.
Big hugs Mumxxxx

Tabitha said...

For Lucy Shell Alpha 1
Hi Lucy! Its me again your favorite sister. I am hoping you have received our letters by now and that the 4 letters makes up for the lack in blog comments ;)Or if you haven't got them then it'll be something to look forward too! we even got Olivander to write one! *self high five*. I hope you are having a great time in the sun and rain. The pound world umbrella has been well loved in the British rain, after being made redundant from its jungle job :) Quick update on my life (it may be a bit strange seeing as its on a blog comment but we probably wont write another letter until we get another one from you or a bit before then hopefully and this will be old news by then) I got a B in my business resit and an A in physics YAY!! I am also feeling pretty confident that i got into newlands for sixth from after my interview on Thursday (note the sarcasm) so that's good news too!
Okay i have written a bit of an essay here so lots of love from me and the rest of the famalam and Reggie who is as I write this half laying on my laptop, see what i have to deal with here ;)
Love you lots and lots xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
P.S. even though i just held down the letter 'x' on my laptop doesn't mean I dont mean every one of those kisses :)xxx

Anonymous said...

Hallo Liselot,

Leiuke drie weken gehad ? Beetje regen zo te zien !
Paps en mams zitten in Durbuy in café met wifi. Flink gewerkt in de tuin, schoonmaak, watermeter vervangen. Net gezwommen, want geen mooi weer, niet fietsen dus !
Heb je onze blogs gehad ? Welke alpha ga je nu in en wat ga je doen ? We zien je op de foto's stoer met bril en haarband. Viel het mee met de meiden ? Gelukkig kon je leunen op een jongen, op een foto te zien........
We missen je natuurlijk en volgen alle berichten op de blog en schrijven , maar weten niet of je ze steeds krijgt, Brief gehad ? We zijn reuze benieuwd ! Liefs en kusjes, paps en mams

Dry Dad said...

Hi Max Sheldon Alpha 5:
Great to see the photos of you leading a laughing rain dance conga line - and are they new bangles we can see on your wrists (where on earth did you get them from in the middle of a jungle?)? It looks like you've all (literally) slipped into a sodden muddy festival mood - you've always been a wet weather boy and we're guessing it's suiting you fine; pity there was no room for the steel-toed wellies in the rucksack! We hope you managed to get at least some of the bridge built before you left, and we're looking forward to photos of the new spider species (although maybe not all of the dozens you've probably taken of running water/rain/streams/mud). Quite dry back here by comparison, and the food's better - but you're beating us hands down on the experience of a lifetime front. We both love you loads Mum and Dad xxxxx

Jonothan Carver said...

Hiya Holly
I've just read on the blog that the Loop missed you out this time because they say they got lost, nothing to do with avoiding your singing then! I hope you are still having a good time despite the rain. Mum is visiting Eves so me and Max are having Facebook parties most nights and the housework is getting a bit neglected. Otherwise nothing much else to report. I'm looking forward to seeing what your next phase will be. Take care,love you lots, Dad xxx

Charlotte Jones said...

To James Bryer, Alpha One, 13C.

Heyy Jamesy!!
eeeep! It was the nicest surprise ever to come home from college to three letters from you! <3 Jamesy it all sounds amazing!! I’m so so proud of you- and so happy to hear that youre having such an amazing time!! I re-read them from time to time, and they always put the biggest smile on my face!I received them on Friday 1st of March, and have sent you a letter in reply (eeep!) on Saturday 2nd March, so I’m hoping that you will receive it very very soon! :D
Every day I get so so excited to check out the blog to see what you guys have been getting up too- it looks and sounds so incredible!!
I read about how your group welcomed The Loop- hehee it all sounded so much fun! I can’t wait to hear your versions of Bohemian Rhapsody and Yellow Submarine haha!! And it sounds as though the kindergarten is coming along so so well! Eeeep I can’t wait to see the pictures and hear all about it!! :D
Eeeep! And I went to Rambert in London last Tuesday for another audition! They only offer 15 places, so as you can imagine it was so so nerve racking... but I absolutely loved it, and thoroughly enjoyed dancing there!! :D It was the strictest audition yet! There was a panel of 10 judges along the front, and for every movement you did they wrote down so many notes! Simple things, like we stood in rows of 5 and line by line we just did 16 jumps- they were murmuring and just staring at our feet, taking down so many notes just on that... hahaa scary! It was such good fun though! And I also got asked to perform my solo! Only 8 of us out of the 25 auditioning got to do so- so I was so so happy face about that!! :D I should hopefully find out in another 3 weeks time, eeep I’ll let you know as soon as I hear back from them!! AND AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH! Jamesy your youtube channel is doing amazingly!! It has 868 views and 111 likes- eeeep! And so many amazing comments aswel! Such as, I quote; “Wow... this is amazing! Great job keep going for my dream and the best of luck! :D “, “Your voice gave me the chills. In a good way of course. Good luck James!!!” and “Perfect :) hope you get really really far x “ – and there are so so many like this!
oooh! And I’ve been keeping in contact with ginger voldermort (hahaa!!) and the shots he’s been sending me look perfect! Even better than I imagined!! Eeeep!! Jamesy I’m so so excited for you to see them!
Thinking of you constantly Jamesy, and missing you so so soo much!! I love you lots and lots and lots! Forever and always, Char xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Reinoud Bekendam said...

Liesss!!! Zus! Hoe gaat het met je?! Heb je het leuk? Leuke groep? Leuke activiteiten? Geen ziektes of blessures opgelopen? Fijn om je af en toe op een foto voorbij te zien komen. Dan weet ik dat je nog leeft:P
Wat een onwijs lieve brief had je naar ons geschreven. Heb ik echt van genoten. Iedereen is heel erg trots op je, zo als je het allemaal doet, echt heel moedig. Ik hoop dat je nog veel leuke dingen gaat doen in de tijd die nog rest, en dat je je vermaakt met alle anderen.
xx, een hele trotse broer, Reinie

Immi said...

Hi Hollie!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am typing to you from rainy London at work and thought of you! I hope you found my letter in your bag and have kept it! I hope you are having an amazing time the pictures look like you are :) England is still the same you although quiet with out you! I cant wait to hear all your stories, see you soon, love you!

xxxxxxxxxxxxx (big hug & kiss)