Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Trekking by Alpha 7, Phase 1

After a week learning to dive Alpha 7 spent the remainder of Phase 1 trekking around the beautiful village of Long Pasia in the South Western corner of Sabah, an area steeped in tradition and folk lore.  The area is one of the richest plant diversity sites in Borneo in particular for orchids, rhododendrons and pitcher plants.  In addition the people of the area have an interesting history as fierce head hunters.  There are many ancient legends passed down through the generations which make this a fascinating place to spend some time as well as being thick and untouched jungle.

Alpha 7 trekking in Long Pasia

Emma Van Ravels:

Emma and Eline
"The trekking was a great experience, waking up at 6am and making a fire from the embers of the previous nights camp fire, eating porridge and getting everything ready and packed for another day trekking. After a hardcore seven hour trek uphill and arriving at the top of the mountain we had the most amazing view and thats when we realised what we did it all for.

As a surprise our guide brought out Coca Cola for everyone and our day could not have been better. We saw a stunning waterfall and even went into a bat cave. On the last day when we finally arrived in Long Pasia after 12 days of trekking, we slept in the best home stays and even had real beds! Our Borneo parent did not stop giving us treats - which came as a great surprise after living off "Raleigh Rations". All in all it was an incredible experience that I will never forget."

Surprise Coca Cola break


Nathan, James and Corinth
"It came to the end of our five days on Paradise Island and it was time to go for our 12 day trek through the jungle. Everyone was nervous as we got into the 4x4's to Long Pasia. The drive was long and due to torrential rain we couldn't make the journey in one day and so stopped at a local log cabin for the night which was a welcome rest after the six hour journey.

In the morning everything ran smoothly and we arrived at Long Pasia. My first impression of Long Pasia was that it looks a lot like Hobbiton from Lord of the Rings. Everyone was awestruck by the beauty of the place but there was no time to stop, we were straight off to the static bashas to set up camp. The biggest change was the food. Going from sausages, chicken and eggs on Dive island, to crackers and cheese was a big adjustment. We set up camp slowly as we are still getting used to fires, bashas and most of all, long drops!

Jungle camp bashas
The first trek came and we were all ready to go. After six hours through the jungle we had arrived at our first camp. This was by far the toughest trek because we were still getting used to everything, but on the bright side, the camp gets set up a whole lot quicker now. In terms of food, it wasn't all Raleigh Rations though.

Fran and Eline enjoying a jungle snack
The locals can catch fish! It was so nice, so fresh and welcome and it must have had something in it because we did our next trek in half the expected time. This continued over the next four days and we accomplished so much, moving at a good steady pace and setting up camp quicker and quicker. It actually started to become comfortable. However, by the time rest day came we were really grateful to wash our clothes as we all stank!

The rest day was spent at Maga Falls, famed amongst the locals for its beauty. Being able to relax by the waterfall really was great and helped us to forget all of our aches and pains. This was type 1 fun - the real kind. On to the bat caves, we climbed down a 14m cave. Once down it was pitch-black, but once you turned a light on you can see hundreds of dark red eyes staring back at you.

River crossing
The next five days of trekking ran smoothly, with the group trekking for about four hours each day. Everyday someone accomplished something and as we all had different personal challenges, it bonded us as a team. The last day we set out on our final trek to Long Pasia and the team were in high spirits. And then we saw it… civilisation! The sight of the houses sent us moving a whole lot faster and we quickly arrived at Fauzi's house.

Nathan, Sal, James, Christian and Jason enjoy the homestay
Ecstatic euphoria and a sigh of relish after the toughest 12 days of all our lives so far. We feasted at lunch on all types of Malay cuisine which was a great change from crackers and cheese. This home stay really was the best part of the trek/dive phase for us. The views from the house were incredible  and the stars were so clear because there was no clouds or canopy in the way.

Sarah, Corinth, Fran, Emma and Eline enjoy doughnuts and tea at the homestay
And the beds! We had beds! They were so comfortable compared to the hammocks. The locals shared their rich history with us which kept us up most of the night talking - a fantastic end to our  phase. The next morning we said our final goodbyes and that was it, phase one complete. The trekking was the toughest two weeks of our lives, but also the best."

PM's Sarah and Fred outside Long Pasia

We will be updating you with how the second phase Adventure groups are getting on over the next few days.


caroline van ravels said...

to emma van ravels, alpha 3
Lieve Empie,
Wat vliegt de tijd!! Je bent al weer halverwege de 2de fase!! Ik moet op gaan schieten met mijn brief, wil je die nog in het basiskamp kunnen lezen!! Ik was zo blij je te horen aan de telefoon!!! Ik ben super trots op je , hoe je het allemaal doet daar in de jungle! En toen je vertelde dat die honderden bloedzuigers jou niks doen, viel ik om van verbazing!! Dat lijkt me nl het engste wat je kan overkomen. Ik heb net jouw verhaal gelezen over jullie trek in fase 1. En...jawel, een echte foto van jou erbij!! Heerlijk om te zien dat het je goed gaat!! (sexy sokken trouwens!!)Leuk om zoveel berichten te krijgen!! Raleigh doet er alles aan om ons op de hoogte te houden. Bijna iedere dag staat er wel een verhaaltje over een groep op de site!! Hier alles rustig! Merel heeft misschien een kamer in amsterdam per 1 april. Ze hoort het over een paar dagen. Emily zit met Liseth in Londen, maar ze zal jou zelf wel schrijven. En ik heb net kaarten besteld voor een concert van Zuccharo!! Het is op 18 mei. Heb voor jou voor de zekerheid toch maar een kaart gekocht. Zit je dan nog ergens in de jungle, dan nemen we wel iemand anders mee!! Verder gaan Emily en Merel mee. Loek kan niet , die heeft dan een 3daags hockeytoernooi. Nou, verder schrijf ik wel van alles in de brief, anders weet ik daar niks meer in te zetten!!
Ik hoop dat je de mensen daar blij maakt met jullie waterleidingen!! Veel plezier en succes maar weer, ik schrijf snel weer een stukje!!

Anonymous said...

To emma van ravels, alpha 3

Ha lieve Empie,

Na net een heel verhaal te hebben geschreven en op de verkeerde knop te hebben gedrukt begin ik nu weer lekker opnieuw.

Wat een gaaf verhaal men! Leuk geschreven en het klinkt allemaal echt mega cool. Trots op je wat je allemaal doet daar. Volgens mij heb je het helemaal naar je zin daar. Leuk ook om even je snoetje te zien op een foto, looking good. Wil je inmiddels thuis ook al in een hangmat slapen? haha. Heel leuk dat we via de verhalen zo goed op de hoogte blijven wat jullie daar allemaal uitspoken. En gaaf dat je nog doorgaat naar cambodje! Hoorde het van mam, erggg jaloersmakend!

Hier gaat het ook allemaal goed. Gister gehoord dat ik een kamer in Amsterdam heb. Heel mooi nieuw appartement samen met twee meisjes, heel blij mee! Kunnen er volgend weekend in. Laatste weekje Groningen is dus aangebroken. Ook net terug van skivakantie numero dos met died z'n fam. Was weer heel lekker en gezellig, top week gehad. Je krijgt de groetjes van Died. En verder druk met tentamens, scriptie, inpakken etc. Dus die verhalen van jou maken me op dit moment erggg jaloers, haha!

Heel veel succes met de waterleidingen! Geniet er maar lekker van daar en heel veel plezier weer de komende tijd.

Dikke kus xx Merel

Anonymous said...

For Harry Glatman
Hi Harry
I am off to Dubai tonight with Alexandra and Henrietta - well, I hope I am off as it is snowing heavily again here this morning and the forecast is not good. My train south is booked for lunch time so fingers crossed that I will get to London at least! All well here with 20 dirty paws in the house - Phoebe is being very long suffering! D is in China and meeting Sam in HK tomorrow night and Roo is really enjoying Club La Santa in Lanzarote. Hector will be left in charge at home! I hope you are having an amazing time and enjoying village life and the work you are doing. There are 24 Cadbury's Creme Eggs in your bedroom waiting for you (this amused Roo greatly!). I will try not to eat them before you get home. Have fun and look forward to talking to you over Easter. Lots of love M xxxxxxxx

Anonymous said...

To Natasha O'Sullivan
Project 3, Phase 2, gravity water feed

Hi Tash,
The pictures of the biodiversity project just looked wonderful. It must have been an amazing experience. We're following you on the blog, it looks like great fun, and really interesting.
I hope the gravity water feed is lots of fun and a great experience as well.
I have left some blogs, but am not sure they have been published or got to you, but I am trying!
we also sent a parcel, I hope that reaches you next time you're in base camp.
it's freezing in London, there is snow on the cars this morning, it's the coldest March for 50 years.
Kev, Daniel and I are all home together for a change. All fine enough.
We miss your cheery presence.
Look forward to seeing you in Singapore Mid-May.
Lots and Lots of love,
Karen xxxxxx

Emily said...

to emma van ravels alpha 3


Ook ik had op de verkeerde knop gedrukt dus hier ook verhaaltje nummer 2 haha! ;) lekker slimme familie heb jij!

Wat super leuk om jou verhaaltje te lezen en echt knap hoe je het daar allemaal doet kleine! Ben trots op jou :) die trek met een zware backpack op mijn rug, slapen in de buitenlucht in een hangmat met bloedzuigers klinkt voor mij als een nachtmerie haha maar ik snap dat het een onwijze kick geeft als de trek er op zit en je het maar mooi wel even gedaan hebt! echt super goed! Hoorde van mam dat je nog naar cambodia gaat! Jaloers!!! Zo gaaf em om te reizen he! Ga je met alleen maar nederlanders of ook mensen van andere nationaliteiten? En geen smetvrees meer! netjes hoor!

Hier gaat alles goed, veel aan het werk en leuke dingen met vriendinnetjes aan het doen! :) Merel komt volgend weekend ook in Amsterdam wonen! Echt leuk!
Ik ben afgelopen weekend in Londen geweest met Liseth, lekker koffietjes gedaan, wijn gedronken, veel rondgelopen, museum gezien lekker gegeten en heeel veel geshopt! :) Echt beetje verlieft op londen!

Lieve em heeel veel succes met je volgende project en geniet ervan lief!! Vind het fijn om te lezen dat het zo goed met je maakt! En sexy hoor die witte sokken ;) haha!!

LIefsxx eem