Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Roaring fires with Zulu 4

Just one day into Phase 3 we decided to pop up to see our nearest project, Zulu 4 who are spending the first half of the phase living in a beautiful cabin at the top of Volcan Irazu, about 2 hours away from Fieldbase. The group are living in Raleigh luxury with a whole cabin to themselves complete with 3 bedrooms, huge kitchen, living room with open fire, flushing toilets and hot showers! It's fair to say the group are loving their new home and have settled straight in so we joined them for a cosy evening by the fire wrapped up in all our warmest clothes and lots of sleeping bags - at around 3000m it's chilly up there!

We stayed with Zulu 4 the next morning and helped out with their project. They are working with the Rangers in the Irazu National Park and working hard to improve the existing trails and the road access to a beautiful mirador. It's tough work, but everyone got stuck in and could already see a huge improvement in the road and pathway.

Zulu 4 will spend the first half of their phase living on Volcan Irazu, before heading towards the coast and spending the second half on the much warmer San Lucas Island. This project really is the two extremes of Costa Rican climate. Another roadtrip will pack their beach gear and head out to visit the group later in the phase so they will still get all your messages.

Zulu 4

View from the Mirador

Their cosy cabin home

Pork and Beans have never been so beautifully stored. 

Esteban and Jan call into Fieldbase in the morning

Working on the start of the road.

PM Andy gets stuck in.

Day Leader Garry (wearing the mandatory wings)


Tony, Esteban and Ana tidying the edges.

Jan and Kenneth

Clearing out the ditches.

The end of the first morning's work - looking loads better already.

Raleigh recipes -- Energy Bombs

Food is a passionate topic here on expedition. When you leave the comforts and conveniences of home to camp out in the jungle with Raleigh rations, we think you'll understand why. A gruelling day of macheteing out a path on trek is enough to break the most unwavering food snob into acknowledging the virtues of condensed milk.

But don't just sympathise. Why not empathise? Here's a way to feel closer to your loved ones -- Try out a Raleigh expedition recipe.

Apart from tantalising crackers and pork and beans out of the tin, Energy Bombs are a favourite; and a real treat after a hard day trekking or building. Breakfast, lunch, dinner; anytime is a good excuse for for this composite of oats and sticky milk. Dead easy to make and so good, you can't beat it with a stick.

From the Camp Duty Cookbook: Energy Bombs

A bag of oats (400g)
A tin of condensed milk (390g)
A bag of sweetened cocoa powder (100g)
Nuts and raisins


  1. Place all ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir gradually until blended. 
  2. Add some water to assist in the mixing and to help the ingredients come together.
  3. You may also stir the ingredients over very low heat for a few minutes. 
  4. Use teaspoons to shape the mixture into bite-size balls
  5. Pop into mouth and feel the rush
Tip: Some venturers got creative by adding banana slices. Makes an atomic dessert!

Solar heated sweet explosives

Monday, 29 November 2010

Reminder to expedition 10L fans

It was great to see the piles of letters, greeting cards and parcels at fieldbase during Phase 2. Snail-mailing was a novelty for many here who've never actually sent a postcard or even addressed an envelope before.

However with Phase 3 running and expedition coming to an end, we'd like to send out a reminder to folks at home to not send any more post as your letters may not arrive at fieldbase in time before departure. Meanwhile, keep posting messages here on the blog. We do moderate them daily!

In our previous post we missed out a couple of names in the Zulu groups.

They are:
Holly Williamson: Zulu 5
Naz Taner: Zulu 3
Yali Gonzalez: Zulu 4

Remember, Nicaraguan road trip crew leaves first thing tomorrow (30 Nov). So get your messages in pronto!

Sunday, 28 November 2010

A-to-the-X-to-the-Z; Who's who in Zulu...

Just as we settled into calling groups by their X-Ray call signs, Phase 3 has dawned on us and we've had to recalibrate to the new Zulu groups. Here are the latest allocations.

Zulu 1 - Maribios Trek (Nicaragua)
PMs: Annie Glennie, Laura Woodward, Wellard
Venturers: Anna Woollett, Antonio Jimenez Alvarado, Charlie "Cat" Legge, Charlie Bowden, Erika Perez Alfaro, Jack Harrington, Jenny Loweth, Maxim "Veggie" Seynaeve, Natalia Graczyk, Persia Castellani, Beki Turner.

Zulu 2 - The new Costa Rica Trek
PMs: Phil Tibbs, Vicki Harrison, Ade Hughes
Venturers: Ariana Ubeda Herrera, Charlie Gledhill-Flynn, Darren Mitchell, Jay Hutchinson, Jessica Vargas Naranjo, Lydia Barge, Michael Michael, Ollie Grayer, Simi Bhandal, Sophie Gatward, Vicky Golding.

Zulu 3 - Guanacaste Trek
PMs: Giles and Polly Mason, Sarah Bond
Venturers: Adriana Rodriguez Salas, Alex Jerrard, Arthur Vos, Carla Gottlieb, Eamonn McGuone, Enma Moreno Gutierrez, Hiten Mistry, Jexreel Belleza, Martin Fallon, Morrin O'Shea, Naz Taner, Tim Power

Zulu 4 - Irazu National Park and San Lucas Island
PMs: Pamela Martinez, Andy Meredith, Esteban Castillo (Irazu); Pamela Martinez, Piers Tufnell, Cat Bisset (San Lucas)
Venturers: Adam Tickner, Amy Cooper, Ana Massiel Medina Ramos, Garry Pearson, Jan van Arkel, Beki Slater, Rosie Schumacher, Sarah Kendall, Kenneth Yeung, Will Pawsey, Yali Gonzalez Calero

Zulu 5 - Playa Camaronal
PMs: Carl Gilham, James Lee and Rachael Armitage
Venturers: Adam Goldsworthy, Amy Kirkup, Ashley Fletcher, Cecilia Ruiz Galo, Corrine Davey, Felix le Hodey, Graham Smith, Holly Williamson, Raisa Arroyo Arguello, Stephen Holmes, Tom Campion

Zulu 6 - Achuapa (Nicaragua)
PMs: Euan Naismith, El Ourris, Lou Olverson
Venturers: Adrian Edwards, Amy Perkins, Andy Davies, Ben Green, Caroline Wevers, Josh Wilkes, Nicky Younger, Pablo Yglesias Vicente, Sophie ten Bosch, Veronica "Vee" Apaloo

Zulu 7 - Talamanca
PMs: Alex Coulton, Alice Dixon, Lawrie Kidd
Venturers: Anna Keen, Ben Saxby, Emma Lewis, Kate Gunning, Lee Watson, Ryan O'Sullivan, Wiki Perez, Josi Larios

As usual, the Bravo road trip crews will return with news and photos. If you want your messages delivered by the Bravo teams during phase, please observe the following cut-off dates and times:

Zulu 1 and 6 (Nicaragua): 29 Nov; 4pm Costa Rican time
Zulu 2: 30 Nov @4pm CR time (first visit); 8 Dec @4pm CR time (2nd visit)
Zulu 3 & 5: 7 Dec @4pm CR time
Zulu 4: 8 Dec @4pm CR time
Zulu 7: 2 Dec @4pm CR time

Carla and X-Ray 4's frost and thaw

By Carla Gottlieb

I think the words “Oh how we have hit the jackpot” have been uttered in some shape or form by every member of X-Ray 4.

On the 6th of November a new acquainted group of twelve venturers and three PMs hopped on a bus unsure what to expect from our environmental phase.

By this time I think we had all realized that knowing what to expect is exactly what Raleigh is all about. I certainly wasn’t expecting a mattress nor hot cups of chocolate by an open fire. Above all I was not expecting a gleaming porcelain toilet. Coming from a tin-can long-drop used by 20 working Nicaraguans in the previous community phase, I experienced a full first-class upgrade on the lavatory front… Did I mention the hot shower? Uncertainty, we found, led to a very pleasant surprise.

For some, Volcan Irazu at times felt like a piece of home. Undoubtedly a stunning place to live and work, Sophie and Boris, our resident Peter-Pan-land friends, likened it to parts of Holland. During the day we worked at an altitude of 2500m making tourist trails in the national park.  The high altitude made physical exertion much harder and the mere 1km walk to work every morning took a good 20 minutes.
The work itself was hugely rewarding; whilst the girls turned into a mass of Charlie Dimmocks (plus bras), the boys jumped at the opportunity to hone their manhood by shifting large tree logs and sacks of gravel. Fronted by our ranger, Horacio, we completed two trails – feng-shuied to perfection.

Although Horacio liked to “crack the whip” at work, in the evening he turned into much a father-figure and for some, a potential boyfriend/lover/husband – I never expected to find love on Raleigh. In spite of being over 50 and unknowingly taking “November” to the extreme, this man can cook! Cake, pizza and a stereo with a full heavy metal music collection made one of the most surreal evenings of our Raleigh experience. Food itself has been a huge focus of this project. It’s amazing how by adding a carrot or onion here and there to Raleigh rations, one can create Michelin star cuisine.  There have been a few classics – four hour risotto for Martin’s birthday and pancakes, to mention a couple. The greatest obsession of all was reserved for condensed milk. I for one never thought I’d touch something condensed in a can (don’t get me started on my pre-judgments of powdered milk) but I did find myself jumping head first into the ravenous crowd when the pen-knife started cutting into the lid. All food snobs out there, trust me – it’s amazing.

After an indulgent 10 days wearing excessive layers to keep warm and hide the pounds we had put on, we headed for the beach. Not just any beach, a beach on a deserted prison island. Fulfilling every boy’s childhood dream, we arrived at San Lucas Island on the 15th of November for a further 10 days building trails and soaking up the sun. 

“Oh now we had hit the jackpot!” Ten days raking up on the beach to the sunrise, plentiful condensed milk and muchos fun and frolics to be had by all. By day we continued our newly established forte of building trails followed by long afternoons swimming and sunbathing. The evenings were filled with crab-dodging, neon-lit beach walks and girl group trips to the long-drop – some things never change.

It’s hard to contemplate all the torture, deaths and horrific happenings that once took place on the island given the happy and relaxing time we spent here. It’s even harder to contemplate that it’s nearly December and I’m wearing flip-flops whilst no doubt it’s raining cats and dogs in England.
Twenty-fourth November and goodbye San Lucas… two projects down, one to go. Sadly, nearly time for a wooly hat. 

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Tortilla wraps and water taps

By Tom Campion

Water is a wonderful thing,
But we take it for granted
And drink it like a king,
Raleigh thought, with a rather long pause,
There must be a way, to help this cause,


Las Tablas was in a faraway land,
So we marched up, enthusiastic like a marching band,
To live and feed on these tortilla wraps,
But importantly so,
To turn on the taps,

X-Ray 6, we sweated and dug,
Our adopted parents kept us warm and snug,
Sunburnt and thirsty, we tried our best,
But the Nicaraguans,
They work with such zest

An amazing community, warm and kind,
An amazing community, we did find,
We were on our best behaviour, kind and good,
And we helped as best we could,
With all our tools of spade and hoe,
Life was sweet as we yelled proper bo,

Succeed we did, with time to spare,
We created smiles that were wide and rare,
We gave them a gift in the simplest form,
For we did something far from the norm,

As Raleigh volunteers we helped to create,
A feeling in the locals,
They described as great,
As Raleigh volunteers we had to believe,
As Raleigh volunteers we did achieve.

Diecinueve días aprendiendo

por Wuilkild Perez

El treck en Maribios fue un asomboro camino para descubrir...
Hemos descubierto el valor necesario para enfrentar los retos que viviremos cada uno de nuestros días, describimos impresionantes paisajes de la hermosa Nicaragua, descubrimos los valores de amistad y unidad. Cada segundo vivido en este trek quedarà guardado en nuestras mentes para mantener presente que vivimos un reto y que muy pocos tienen el valor para vivirlo como lo hemos hecho nosotros. Con el trek aprendimos a valorar cada momento y a disfrutarlo como si fuera el ultimo momento de nuestra vidas. El treck en Maribios nos nuestra como ver la vida de cada uno de nosotros como si fuera eso, un Treck!!!

Monday, 22 November 2010

X-Ray 3 photo update

X-Ray 3 photos have arrived at fieldbase and they are gorgeous. We think you'll agree that it has been well worth the wait. Enjoy!

X-Ray 3

Simi in the sunshine

Special treat of plantains

Almost as good as the Japanese

Planting trees

Model basha bed

X-Ray 3, Serial Bravo: sunny, looks like another lovely day

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