Sunday, 30 November 2008

Alpha 2 - Macho Trek

From Back - Noud (Netherlands), Shona (Northern Ireland), Asher (Scotland), Nic (England), Christophe (England), Stu (Isle of Eigg, Scotland)
Second Row - Scarlett (Switzerland/England), Chris (England), Stevo (England), Jo (Scotland), Kelvin (Hong Kong),
Frount Row - Rachel (England) Anna/Me (Australia)

One of my favourite things about the Macho trek is that it leaves from right here at Fieldbase. This means the fieldbase crew can "enjoy" watching the last minute preperations before waving the team off on their adventure. This time the team were pretty much under control and headed off by about 7am, well they got about 20 metres before Steve's backpack broke and they all returned.

So far the team are doing brilliantly, despite the continuation of the rain. They are receiving their first food drop tonight at the La Esperanza Rangers Station after a day in the jungle. This group will be doing more wildcamping than the others and their first major milestone, The Dragon, is just days away. We will fill you in on their latest adventures when Rachel and Chris return tomorrow.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

How Amazing is the New Blog!!!

I wish wish wish I could take credit but in this case it was the fabulous Niall and Ross (Macpherson) who spent an entire day, when they could have had free time, to make our blog look so sleek!
So in their absence I have promised to keep the blog entries flowing.

Meeting the 08J crew

Over the next week I am endevouring to post profiles on members of the expedition - this may be a gradual process as I wait for responses via the radio, but I've loved these responses so far - hope you do too!

Name: Pedro
Age: not for public view
Country: Argentina
Highlight so far: Seeing water running through the trench in Achuapa
Missed the most: Family and friends, and watching Liverpool storm the premiership
Do differently on return: Not pack so much useless stuff when travelling

Name: Rose Drew
Age: 26
Country: England
Highlight so far: Walking over the rim of the crater on Volcan Cosiguina and looking out over trek route and Pacific Ocean
Missed the most: simple luxuries like a bed and hot showers
Do differently on return: Have more confidence in self

Name: Ross McKenzie
Age: 29
Country: Scotland
Highlight so far: Finally having the opportunity to climb Volcan Cosiguina and remembering just how lucky I am to do this job.... oh and working with Anna!!!
Missed the most: Crunchy Nut Cornflakes and watching the Hibees
Do differently on return: Try to be more like Anna!!!

Name: Georgie Thomas
Country: England
Highlight so far: Trekking - The Waterfall at La Lira
Missed the Most: Family
Do differently on return: Flush toilet paper down loo and be happier in life in general

Name: Viviana Aguiliar
Age: 23
Country: Costa Rica
Highlight so far: Returning to the community in Nicaragua where I worked as a venturer, meeting great people from around the world, and getting to know more of my own country.
Miss the most: Facebook!

Name: Jamie Buttery
Age: 19
Country: England
Highlight so far: Chance to work out plans for when I get home
Missed the most: Family!!!
Do differently on return: Go out and get a job and be more active.

Name: Ross Macpherson
Age: 18
Country: Scotland
Highlight so far: Meeting and getting to know everyone on Raleigh
Missed the most: Family and friends and good old Scottish banter
Do differently on return: Be less materialistic and less focused on myself and more on other people...oh and shower less!!

Name: Valerie Crasemann
Age: 18
Country: Germany
Highlight so far: Trekking through communities in Nicaragua and meeting and playing with the kids
Missed the most: Family
Do differently on return: Be more appreciative of everything, get more out of life, and build a long drop in the back garden

Name: Niall Mullan
Age: 19
Country: Northern Ireland
Highlight so far: Showering "el natural" in La Cangreja
Missed the most: Meat and Milk
Do differnetly on return: Eat on a more modest budget

Friday, 28 November 2008

Phase 3 - Allocations

Alpha 1 - San Lucas Island

VMs - Pedro, Cam, Rose for first half to be replaced by Roly
Annabel Roberts
Natalia Guzmán
Valerie Crasemann
Niall Mullan
Ross MacPherson
Holly Winser
Vincent Skiller
Georgina Thomas
Jamie Buttery
Mick Van Oorschot
Juriaan Boogaard

Alpha 2 - Macho Trek

VMs - Stu, Stevo, Nic/Rachel/Anna

Noud Louwers
Joanne Miller
Asher Murphy
Shona McGuigan
Scarlett Storr
Christophe Thomas
Lyan Suárez
Ka Ming Lee

This trek will start at Raleigh International’s fieldbase in Turrialba and proceed through the Rio Macho Forestry Reserve for the first week passing through Tapanti National Park. After climbing up to nearly 3,000 metres the group will then follow the ridges of the Fila de Bustamante towards Cerro Dragon. From here the group will aim for Cerro Turrubares before heading down to the sea at Playa Hermosa where the groups will spend a couple of relaxing days at this beautiful beach, famous for its nesting turtles.

Alpha 3 - La Cangreja

VMs - James, Libby, Viv

Emily Waterhouse
Andrey Vasquez
Jennifer Lane
Nathan Evans
Harriet Cottrell
Alastair Burgwin
Matthew Evans
Margaret Cameron
Rosemary McGinley

La Cangreja is one of Costa Rica’s newest National Parks which owes its name to the striking 1,305 metre peak Cerro Cangreja. The park has a mixture of Tropical Humid forest and Pre-Montane forest with a number of species of plant found nowhere else in the world which makes the area important for research purposes and for conservation. The park is also blessed with amazing waterfalls only to be found through exploring the forest. At present the government is developing the facilities in the park and during the expedition Raleigh venturers will continue the trail for wheel chair users to allow all visitors the chance to enjoy this stunning tropical forest.

Blogging - Anna's how to guide

It has been brought to my attention that some people's messages are not coming through!!! Instead some (including those posted by my mum!) have gone directly to an email address, never to be seen by blog control, and as a result not making it onto the blog, nor passed down the radio to our intrepid travellers!!!

I think I know what we have been doing wrong. After each blog is the "comments" section. You have to click on "comments" not the little envelope in order to leave a blog message. Clicking on the envelope allows you to send on that blog entry to friends, family and colleagues. Ideal for bragging!!! So simply click on comments and if you don't want to register you can use the anonymous call sign and simply sign off on your message. I really hope this makes sense, and I hope this leads to even more messages on our blog. As you can see Niall and Ross have done an amazing job on their blog makeover. They spent almost all day yesterday and we are so pleased.

I am loving the blog, I think it is a brilliant way to connect even more people to what we are doing here, the lessons we are learning, the friendships we are making and the experiences we are living. Your messages also give the most amazing boost to people so please keep them coming.

Alpha 1 are literally packing their bus now and so once they are away, the clean up is done, and I have had my 5th coffee of the morning, I promise to write about our new Alpha 2 and 3.


Thursday, 27 November 2008

Changes for Alpha 1

As you are probably aware, we have had an unprecedented amount of rain recently and as a result the road to Roca Quemada (where we are building the school), has been cut off. Although repair work is currently underway we are unsure of how long this will take. We have therefore decided to deploy Alpha 1 to a different project.

After spending the last 2 days in Field Base (much to my delight because I love having them here) Alpha 1 will deploy tomorrow to San Lucas Island. San Lucas is Costa Rica's equivalent of Alcatraz. A prison island until 1991 it was left abandoned for several years before being declared a wildlife reserve in 2001. Raleigh has worked on the island on several occassions, and Alpha 1 will return to help develop the island's limited infrastructure, paint the ranger station and clear one of its many beaches. The island is an incredibly beautiful and very special place and Alpha 1 will be lucky enough to be its only inhabitants - except of course for the howler monkeys, crocodiles, deer, spiders, snakes and a couple of rangers. The group will sleep out in bashas from which they will be able to watch the sunrise over the ocean each day. This will certainly be a once in a lifetime experience.

San Lucas has an incredible story which I will endeavour to share with you over the next few weeks, but in the meantime check it out on the internet.

As I mentioned we at Fieldbase have loved having Alpha 1 here. They are truly a fabulous group of young people who have dealt with the delays, the uncertainty and the unexpected changes with great maturity and an open and positive attitude. They have helped out massively here and I will never get tired of saying how great I think they all are.

Georgie, Natalia, Abbie, Niall, Ross, Juriaan, Mick, Val, Holly, Jamie, Vince, Rose, Roly, Pedro and Cam - We wish you a wonderful phase.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Sad Goodbyes

Changeover was tinged with some sadness for the expedition as we said our goodbyes to three truly awesome guys - Ollie, Scott and Steve. Guys you have had a massive impact on a lot of people, thank you for all your energy, your commitment to the projects and to the group, your leadership and your friendship. Such brilliant people you will be truly missed. The very best of luck on your next adventures, take great care of yourselves and stay in touch.

Foam Party Fun at Changeover

We have just finished one of the best changeovers I have ever been involved with. With a wonderfully relaxed environment, it was a chance for all of us to celebrate what we have achieved, and recharge our batteries ahead of Phase 3. Our highlight was probably the foam party, the photos say it all!!!

Reflections from Miraflor - Alpha 3