Saturday, 13 April 2013

Imbak Adventures with Alpha 5

By Kath Leach (Admin)

I’ve just returned from 10 days in Imbak Canyon with Alpha 5 and the experience is up there with the best of my life.  I deployed with the group and we had an 8 hour off road adventure to Rangers Camp in Imbak, where we spent an evening in the pouring rain but in relative luxury - we slept in actual beds! The Rangers who we were to be with for the next 3 weeks presented to us about the work we would be doing and treated us to a viewing of the BBC’s ‘Expedition Borneo’ which was filmed in Imbak 4 years ago at the camp close to where we’d be staying .

Kath on the suspension bridge

This gave us such a boost to the importance of the work we would be supporting there. Through the building of a new suspension bridge, scientists will be able to better access to the dense rainforest to better monitor the diversity of wildlife and build the case for protecting the corridor of rainforest between Imbak, Maliau and Danum Valley against further logging for palm oil plantations. This will help conserve precious natural habitats of endangered species such as orangutans, pygmy elephants and Bornean clouded leopards. These areas are currently being considered for World Heritage Listings.

We trekked into our camp the next day, which is situated in beautiful location of Imbak Falls, about one hours walk from Rangers Camp.

Phase 3 PMs Refat, Connor and Ali
The first few days were spent setting up camp, digging and repairing rain ditches and getting to know the rangers.  We then started the work of moving a zip wire from one side of the river to another.  The zip wire is used to haul trees across the river to use as the foundations and supports for the new suspension bridge.  A previous Raleigh group had designed and built a winch/pulley system which was used to pull the wire into a new position. They’d also dug the 8ft foundation holes.

Working the winch
The next part of our role was to move hundreds of steel cables across the current suspension bridge, straighten them and then bend them into squares to use in the foundation support holes. On first attempt we took nearly 3 minutes to bend each cable, but by the end we’d mastered it and did it in 44 seconds!

Connor, Connor, Refat and Becki

It was all hard work but we managed to have fun in our free time too including swimming in the waterfall, celebrating two birthdays, Dan’s and PM Connor’s with black tie dinner and celebrations under the stars.  The heavy rain couldn’t dampen our spirits when the loop visited as we treated them to ‘Imbak’s Got Talent’, hearing the beautiful singing voice of Nicoline, Dan’s body popping dancing, and Connor’s ‘name any song and I’ll play it’ tin whistle renditions.

Alpha 5 at camp
The two highlights for me, however, were an early morning gibbon watching walk. We got up at 5.30am to seek out the gibbons who serenaded us each morning with their calls. After a few false alarms we watched a family of gibbons swinging through the trees – truly magical.  That evening, the rangers took us on an evening walk where we saw Mouse Deer, Civit Cats and stood inside an enormous tree which had been completely hollowed out by termites.  It made me feel we were in a completely different world.

Now back at fieldbase with Endex just around the corner, I feel very lucky to have spent time with a fantastic alpha group, working together so hard as a team to support such an important cause. It’s 10 days of my life I will never forget.


Anonymous said...

Hi Naveed (Alpha seven)

How are you? I hope you are keeping well and enjoying your last few days in Borneo. I can't get over how fast it has gone. It feels like just yesterday we were preparing for you to go and now you are nearly at the end of your expedition.

On Thursday was dadimaas birthday so all the family went there for breakfast to give her a surprise and AK went as well but dad and I couldn't go as we had to get to work. After khanne we all went to the house and we ordered pizza and we all had cake as well and even Shyleen came with me to dadimaa's house. I think she enjoyed as she gets on well with Aisha although she is 5 yrs younger than Aisha. Tomorrow we are having a barbecue at dadimaa's as the weather is supposed to be good. we were going to go out for a meal but changed our minds as we thought since it is going to be sunny we better make the most of it.

Khatoon masi has come to stay for the weekend as they came to drop Farhanna and it is good to have them here and even shyleen has come home for a day and it is good to have her. By the way, Minaz got married this week. Thought you might want to know and they have a reception for Minaz and Shaheed next weekend.

We all miss you and you will be flying from there in exactly 10 days time. Make the most of your time there and enjoy. We love you lots. Tc and I will write again soon.

Lots of love, hugs and kisses
dad, mum and ak

Anonymous said...

to louis coster, alpha 4

Hi lieve Louis,
Ga weer een poging wagen met een berichtje op het blog!! Ben natuurlijk benieuwd hoe je het hebt daar en kan niet wachten tot ik foto's zie van wat je nu aan het doen bent!!
Vanavond moet ik dan toch echt met Levi naar het concert van Justin Bieber. Het was nog bijna even spannend voor haar omdat ze gisteren op school van de trap gevallen is en ik de hele avond in het ziekenhuis gezeten heb met haar omdat ze dachten dat ze haar enkel gebroken had. Gelukkig alleen verstuikt en enkelbanden verrekt. Dus met een dik verband en krukken kunnen we toch naar JB vanavond!! Ze is wel heel erg blij, en ze mist je echt heel erg!!
Morgen is de marathon weer, gaan we weer sinaasappeltjes uitdelen. Het wordt heel mooi weer, rond de 20 graden....heerlijk!
Verder is er niet echt veel bijzonders gebeurd. Nog niks gehoord over je huisje, maar dat gaat wel lukken. Beetje geduld.....
Wouter en lonneke gaan bijna trouwen, ook wel bijzonder! vind ik wel erg leuk.
Hoorde dat Roderick al in mei terug komt uit Barca, dacht dat hij pas in juli terug zou komen.
Verder is het nu nog steeds koud! De tuin is nog helemaal kaal en niet groen. Gelukkig gaat dat morgen veranderen en gaan we hopelijk een beetje zon krijgen.
Lief, hoop snel wat van je te horen of te zien op het blog. xxxxxxxxxx Cathelijn
Ohja, groeten aan Dido en Sjoerd!!

Holiday Mum said...

For Max Sheldon Alpha 2
I'm sitting here in the Welsh border country with a bowl of olives, a glass of wine, two snoozing dogs and Dad making us mushroom soup for supper. Can it get any better than that?. Well, yes it probably can when you're building a gravity water feed in Bulud Batu in Sabah in Borneo but this will do as a second best. There's a roaring fire in the kitchen and donkeys in the barn next door. They've got fairy lights strung around the entrance to their stable and at night it looks like a Christmas crib scene. Utterly magical. There's another little cottage here which I think would suit you and Yasemin down to the ground. It's called The Hen House and you could have your own space and either cook for yourselves or pop over here for food. Before you went away I'd have laid odds on the latter but now, after 10 self-reliant weeks away from home, I'm not so sure. You won't be in the least bit surprised to hear we're now thinking of living in Ludlow. How could we not when there are sheep in the field opposite, ducks on the lawn by the stream and as I've already mentioned, donkeys next door. Wish you were here. Loads of love Mum, Dad and the Dogs.

Anonymous said...

For Dido Visser, Alpha 3


ik heb je kaartje gehad, wat cool, ik ben zo jaloers ook als ik al die foto's zie. Echt heel stoer!!
ahh vraag me zoveel af, hoe zijn de mensen, wat voor dieren heb je allemaal gezien? zijn er veel spinnen, wat je aan het doen bent, maar vooral hoe het met je gaat! als ik het zo zie en lees goed, i'm so happy you are having so much fun!!
Met mij gaat het goed, ik schrijf dit berichtje na een hele drukke week. Ik ben deze week opeens de hele week in Amsterdam geweest, donderdag had ik bijvoorbeeld een show van Jan Taminiau en ik was de bruid (dat was ht klapstuk van de show:D) hihi. De schoenen waren zooo eng, ik had helemaal geen hak maar ze waren wel super hoog. Uiteindelijk was het eigenlijk vooral in je hoofd, gewoon op je tenen lopen en niet denken dat je het kan.
Vandaag vertrek ik om 15.30 met de trein naar schiphol, waaaant ik ga deze week voor een opdracht naar BARCELONA (14 april-19 april)
ahhh heb er zoveel zin in!! ik moet nog wel veel doen, even mn tas verder inpakken, alle documenten uitprinten enzo, langs folkert want op mn ipod staat veeeels te weinig muziek.
en dan kom ik 19 april terug, heb ik 20 april een SPRAYTAN, OMG hahahah en dan ga ik 21 april naar IBIZA wiehoeee! lekker aan het strand en lekker warm! want hier in Nederland is het nog steeds zo belachelijk koud, met pasen heeft het zelfs gesneeuwd! :O

Ik hoorde van your mother dat je nog wat langer blijft in ieder geval samen met een ander meisje en misschien ook met louis en nog iemand, HOW COOOOL, ahhh zo vet! niet voor al te lang blijven hoor, mis je wel!
het hardlopen gaat trouwens een stuk minder, maar ik ben nu wel vet goed in boksen, boksen?? jaaaa ik heb nu een personal trainer en met hem leer ik boksen. AHHHH het is echt geweldig!! je zou me er snachts voor wakker kunnen maken, serieus. Als je een keertje internet hebt, misschien met het doorreizen, op mn facebook staat een filmpje.

ik kan niet wachten totdat je terug bent en al je geweldige verhalen te horen onder het genot van een megaa super de luxe with extra cheese lunch!

HEEEL VEEEL PLEZIER NOG daar in de jungle :)
Tot over een paar weekjes
hele dikke kus!!

Leah Lord said...

Hatty alpha 8
Hi Hatty hope you are ok and that you enjoyed the will be resting on dive island very soon. We home from hols now and ploughing my way through the washing. Matt went back to uni today ...not really looking forward to final exams. Great news from EM ..she got her band 6 post on Friday last week so is very pleased with herself...we are very proud too. I spoke to Ruth's mum today and they well and have enjoyed their travels....I expect you will get in touch with them when you are finished in Borneo. We saw on the blog that there are some opening ceremonies next week ...we wonder if you will be involved with any of them. The weather has picked up here and is much more spring like...Dad been in the garden tidying and topping up his tan!!! We really look forward to having an update from alpha 8 seems ages since we heard from you. Enjoy the last few days of what has I am sure has been the most amazing time of your life . Lots of love and great big hugs.
Ps Dad did send a blog but we haven't seen it so hopefully you got it x

Anonymous said...

to Louis Coster alpha 4

We hebben je brief ontvangen!!! Superlief en leuk!! Zijn we allemaal heel erg blij mee. Wij missen jou ook.
xxxxAb, Cathelijn, Fleur, David en Levi

Anonymous said...

Hi Naveed,(Alpha 7)

Hope you are enjoying the trekking and diving. you will soon be on your way home. It will be nice to hear about your experience.

Minaz got married this week and they are having a reception for both Minaz and Shahid this weekend.

Zain is finding it hard fund raising, but I guess he will get there eventually.

Enjoy the last few days of what has I am sure been the most fantastic time and experience of your life.

Maa and Bapa have passed their love and are looking forward to seeing you soon.

Lots of love,
Yasi masi, Alu masa, Zain, Shahista and Amaan xx