Sunday, 27 March 2011

Final Words from Delta Romeo Groups

Delta Romeo 1- Turrimacho Trek by Olivia Christie
After 227km, a total ascent of 7200m (that’s only 1640m short of Everest!),  sun, rain, fog and a couple of misread maps, on the 23rd March 2011, the 14 intrepid explorers of Delta Romeo 1 arrived at Punta Judas beach on the Pacific coast to be greeted by crashing waves framing a glorious scarlet sunset. The whole group took relish in the fact we were throwing our bags to the ground and squeezing our swollen feet out of out trusty and well-worn boots for the very last time.
Splashing around in the sea it felt as if the last 18 days had flown by, and the aches and pains slowly started to fade as we realised that despite the stress and challenge involved, we’d all accomplished something incredible that will surely trump any other gap year story back home, how many people can truly say they’ve walked from coast to coast of one of the most beautiful countries in the world? Not many!

Delta Romeo 2- Momotombo Trek by Charlie Stephen
With a combined total of 42 blisters, an array of ant bites and bruised bones, Delta 2 arrived at the rim of Lake Asososca volcano crater and peered down on our final destination feeling elated. From steep climbs and rocky descents to meandering around mountain ridges and through rural communities the 225km of terrain we’ve covered has been incredibly varied. Even carrying our heavy rucksacks along endless flat, dusty roads provided us with a mental and physical challenge, especially in the often unbearable midday heat.
Despite containing a few creative cooks in Delta 2, the group did struggle with the monotony of refried beans and peanuts...however we were saved by the constant kindness and generosity of the local Nicaraguan locals – they accommodated us in their villages, offered home-cooked food and even joined in with our morning fitness routines (or Freddy’s famous yoga sessions).
We kept ourselves entertained with energy bomb eating competitions, our dodgy tan lines and dressing up in bin bags as well as Faruk’s Prime ministerial speeches and Benny’s enthusiastic chanting. All in all a great trek! 

Delta Romeo 3- Piedras Blancas by Scott Baxter
We finished! And boy did we dig a lot. We built 2592m of path in total (accurately paced out) and it really feels like an achievement. We built bridges, crossed rivers, erected barriers and all mastered the machete. We swam in crystal clear waterfalls, tracked pumas (and still never had a sighting!), had an outrageous fancy dress party and celebrated Dutch birthdays in style. So what have we learned from our arduous task I hear you asking?
Lorna – “The pickaxe is mightier than the spade.”
Jade – “Ants, flies and all other insects are ‘wee’ bastards.”
Briony – “Women are better at pickaxing than men.” [This author disagrees]
Nacho – “The walk to lunch always overshadows the walk to work.” [An old Costa Rican proverb]
Boris – “A walk filled with song and enjoyment feels like half the walk of silence.”
Alex – “If no one is around to build a path, does it build itself?”
Mary – “A beautiful, isolated jungle has a lot to offer.”
Gilles – “Cannae be bothered bugs and buoyant basha beds, but can be bothered by a good day’s pickaxing and an awesome team.”
Emilie – “A long walk to work through a beautiful jungle can be a wonderful experience.”
Liz – “There is never silence in the jungle.”
Jess – “The jungle is hot, rainy and sweaty...but I still managed to get a suntan!”
Jasmine – “Women can have guns too!”
Scott – “No matter where you are and what you’re doing, if you have good company then everything will be fine.”

 Delta Romeo 4- Playa Camaronal by Mags Chileav
Well, it’s been eventful. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve dug and we’ve sieved. The end result is a beautiful homage to Delta Romeo 4’s hard work – a construction unrivalled in its splendiferous beauty and awe that stands tall and proud on Playa Camaronal. In spite of the obstacles thrown at us, be it our Costa Rican ‘architect’s’ indecisiveness or the Japanese tsunami, we succeeded in finishing the hatchery that will serve as a ‘maternity ward’ for future generations of turtles. During the course of our night shifts, we have braved poachers and the scattered driftwood to save 970 eggs, being lucky enough to observe their hatching on two occasions. Though its guardians have left, Turtle City can sleep safe tonight – this is Delta Romeo 4 and for now it’s good evening and good night. When they find themselves once more in need of heroes, we shall return.

 Delta Romeo 5- El Rodeo by Maria Bedford
Delta Romeo 5 has departed from the village of El Rodeo in Miraflor, Nicaragua, leaving the village with a lot less mud and nearly five more houses than were there when we arrived. Managing to finish the houses gave us an enormous sense of satisfaction and a lot more people in El Rodeo have houses. We will always remember our families, the coffee, pan dulce and the sun setting over the mountainous Nicaraguan landscape. Vive El Rodeo and Delta Romeo 5!

Delta Romeo 6- Tayni, Alto Coen by Claudia Mendzil
Buenas dias everyone, I hope that you are ready for the final part of the Delta six show. We thought that as it is our last programme  we would shake things up a little bit. So today there is going to be an unusual twist. So far we have been looking at how athletic and construction savvy our participants are, but now we are going to see what they get up to when they have free time. Welcome to Tayni Brother!
It’s 10:00 a.m. in the Tayni brother village and Dawn, Maryam and Will are teaching English in the local primary school. Tom, Chris, Andres, Claudia and Saskia are at the swimming hole. The rest of the group are in the communal hut, where there is a heated debate going on. The soap has gone missing and the group has spent the past five minutes trying to figure out who the last person to use the soap was. It is now 14:00 p.m. in the village and the group are all together in the communal area after just having had their lunch of rice and beans. The soap has not reappeared, so in the meantime they have decided that they are going to have a game of football with the locals. After an intense forty minutes, delta six has lost again with the final score being 6-4 to the locals.
However during the match Andres found out some shocking news. One of the locals saw a pig eating the soap, so somewhere in the village there is a pig with a very bubbly mouth. It is now 20:00 p.m. in the Tayni brother village and the group is relaxing around the camp fire. This is the time where they all chill out, have chats, sing songs and play games together, the perfect end to the day.
As interesting as it is observing delta six during their free time, we should probably take one last look at the construction site, to celebrate the end of the show. Where there was nothing but shrubs and dirt, there now stands part of a secondary school. Delta six after carrying wood, digging holes, sawing and hammering wood, have created the foundations and the framework for the walls and roof to the secondary school. They are all incredibly proud of their work and there was quite a few emotions flying around when the last nail was hammered in. We would just like to wish the group who have now taken over from us good luck; we can’t wait to see the project completed.
As a nice way to end the show before delta six returns to field base, we have a quick instalment of the O.C. Yes that’s the Ocean Caribbean! Even though this show is just 30 minutes long, only allowing the group time to quickly run into the water and do some world class body surfing, it was certainly, a brilliant way to celebrate the end of a magnificent project.

That's all from Delta Romeo's they have now deployed as Delta Yankee's updates coming soon!!

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Final Delta Groups...

The Deltas will be setting off from fieldbase tomorrow but here are the groups...

Delta Yankee 1- Turrimacho Trek, Costa Rica
This trek has an incredible start climbing between two active volcanoes – Irazu and Turrialba to over 3000 metres. On a good day from the top you can see the Caribbean Sea. From the top you pass by the Guayabo National Monument – the ruins of an ancient settlement in the jungle before passing close to fieldbase and then on to the 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, before heading down to the Pacific ocean at Playa Palo Seco.
Peter Swallow (PM), Ben Davies (PM), Aisling R Bury, Lexxie Lingwood,Emilie Kielstra,Gilles Bouman, Jade Pearson, Larry Castillo, Magomed Chilaev, Mary Mc Cann, Max Siteman, Nicole D Boardman, Vanessa Paulina

Delta Yankee 2- Momotombo Trek, Nicaragua
In the far north of Nicaragua, close to the border with Honduras, this Raleigh group will walk along a mountain ridge through the pine forests above Esteli. From here you will head along a ridge that passes by the Estanzuela waterfall and protected area going through remote communities. This route has never been attempted before on a Raleigh expedition. The trek heads towards the Momotombo Volcano from which the trek takes its name before climbing up Volcan El Hoyo with fabulous views over Lake Managua. The trek finishes at the crater lake of Asososca – a beautiful crystal clear lake that was once a volcanic crater.
Ivan Phillips (PM), Lorna Fossick (PM), Alex Kretowicz, Christopher Reynolds, David Ford, Dawn Tennant, Esmie Warne, Ignacio David Camacho Piedra, Jessica Bridge-Dunk, Maria Bedford, Maryam Almaghrabi, Rebecca Eno, Yendry Castro Loría

Delta Yankee 3- Piedras Blancas, Costa Rica
Piedras Blancas is a relatively new national park in the south of Costa Rica where important primary forests on the north coast of Golfo Dulce act as vital biological corridors between Corcovado National Park and the mountains. The El Bonito ranger station is currently only accessible by driving up the river but this means that during the rainy season access is very dangerous for the rangers. Volunteers will continue to rehabilitate an old road that runs through the rainforest that used to connect to some old farms that were once in the park.  This area is important for the development of tourism, to prevent poaching and also for scientists who are studying the biodiversity that the park has to offer. The volunteers will build a jungle camp in the forest and learn about conservation in this beautiful national park
Bernardo Rodriguez (PM), Catherine Crowther (PM), Annelotte Jens, Charlotte Stephen, Faruk Patel, Frederick Soames, Hugh MacDonald, Justino Enrique Lira, Kelly Yaxiry Reyes Cruz, Sarah Lamming, Victorine Pot, William Jackson

Delta Yankee 4- Las Pailas, Rincon de la Vieja National Park, Costa Rica
The group will be repairing trails and creating signs for Rincon de la Vieja National Park, part of the Guanacaste Conservation World Heritage Site. This national park is full of volcanic activity including boiling water pits, vapour geysers, waterfalls and freshwater lakes, so at the end of the day the group are able to relax in hot springs or cool off in one of the many swimming holes. The group will also get to climb Volcan Rincon to see its epic crater lake, with breathtaking views out to the Pacific Ocean on their day off.
Sarah Malcomson (PM),  Mark (Boris) Sandringham (PM), Mo Ahmed (PM), Adri Chavarria Flores (PM), Alexander Shaw, Andrés Chavarría Navarro, Claudia Mendzil, Harriet Marsh, Hollie Camilleri- Denis, Lauren Mortimer, Lucy Hill, Lucy Pearson, Mauricio Otarola Mora, Rosanna H Lorrison, Simon Keirle

Delta Yankee 5- La Guaruma, (Achuapa), Nicaragua
Close to the town of Achuapa, in one of the poorest most remote areas of Nicaragua, Raleigh is working on a gravity-feed water project to bring clean and safe drinking water to families in the community of La Guaruma. The group will continue to work with the locals to dam small streams, build tanks to collect the water from where it can run through pipes to all the local houses.
Karla Ulgalde Watson (PM), Jo Jo Huddie (PM), Andy Noble (PM), Briony Wood, David A Eames, Hannah MacKenzie, Jasmine Henry, Jay Lancaster, Karla Elena Arroyo Chaves, Nicola L Milner, Olivia Christie, Richard Mandell, Rose Ashbourn, Saskia Donat, Scott Baxter, Stephan Moehrke

Delta Yankee 6- Talamanca Indigenous Reserve, Costa Rica
Talamanca Indigenous reserve is situated on the Caribbean side of the country in the foothills of the Talamanca mountain range close to the Panamanian border. The reserve is split between an area for Cabecar indigenous people and an area for Bribri indigenous people. The area is divided by a number of rivers – with transport mostly being by dugout canoes. There are about 10,000 Bribi indigenous people who live here spread out along the mountains. The group will complete a secondary school started on a previous Raleigh Expedition.
Sheila Lougman (PM),  Jess Henderson (PM), Lara Frankel (PM), Abigail A Tyer, Alan K Gwilt, Benny Gamsu, Christiana Florman, Elizabeth S Hedges, Fatima Tercero Morales, Gyneska Velazquez Ramírez, Jessy Boon Cowler, Julian Krantz, Kazakao Laird, Samantha J Tate, Sem F Veeger 

Final Alpha Groups...

The Alphas have now deployed for their final phase and here are the groups...

Alpha Yankee 1- Corcovado Trek, Costa Rica
Starting in the stunning montane La Amistad National Park, the largest national park in Costa Rica and a UNESCO World Heritage site, the trek gets the chance to walk through beautiful mountain scenery and towering cloud forest. After passing by waterfalls and hot springs the group will cross the Coto Brus valley to the Fila Costena – a chain of mountains that run parallel to the sea. Once they are out of the mountains the group will finish the trek by crossing the famous Corcovado National Park that straddles the Osa Peninsula, walking through the best preserved tropical rainforest in Central America. The group will have a chance to see monkeys and Tapirs before the walk along the beaches of the Pacific Ocean for three days at the end.
Amy Wilson (PM), Asia Heczko (PM), Mel Richards (PM), Adam Chalkley, Alex Backhouse, Amy Ratcliff, Anabella Karelia, Chloe Webster, Hannah Tonneman, Joanne S Blackwood, Lesbia Vásquez, Sander ten Haven, Sid Hegde, Tom Fear, Tim F Niehe

Alpha Yankee 2- Guanacaste Trek, Costa Rica 
The setting for this trek covers a huge variety of different ecosystems from cloud forest above 3000 metres down to one of the last remaining stands of primary dry tropical forest left in the Americas. The group will start close to the Arenal volcano and see its lava run down the sides at night before circumnavigating Volcan Tenorio via the Caribbean slopes visiting Turquoise waterfalls and moist rainforest. After passing by Volcan Miravalles the group will head to Rincon de la Vieja national park to climb one of the volcanoes and to witness steaming mud pots, geysers, and hot sulphur springs. After several days of walking through the forest they'll arrive at the foot of Cerro Cacao in Guanacaste National park where they'll steady themselves for a climb up the volcano. The trek will finish at Playa Junquillal to relax by the beautiful calm waters of the Pacific Ocean. 

Chris Blessley (PM), Emma Fellows (PM), Carol María Fernández Herrera, Charlie Hockless, Dunia González Calero, Edward Smart, Helena G Parker, Ian B ter Haar Josseling Zeledón Bravo, Louise J Simpson, Megan L Illingworth, Robert J Coates, Roseanna  Webb, Teri Daly,

Alpha Yankee 3- Volcan Turrialba and Braulio Carillo National Park, Costa Rica
Volcan Turrialba is a 3,328 metre volcano that towers over Raleigh Fieldbase. Although currently active, although only one of its three craters releases gas and smoke emissions. Raleigh’s work here is part of a programme to develop visitor facilities in the park in order to increase income and conservation opportunities in the area. The group will also be working in Braulio Carillo National park - a stunning area of primary rainforest situated in the heart of the Caribbean slope of Costa Rica. It abounds with animals, birds, insects and plants. The reserve acts as a biological corridor between many neighbouring protected areas. The plans for this reserve including building trails in the forest that will be used by tourists and school groups to learn more about this impressive area and the wildlife it contains.

Roberto Rodriguez (PM), Gerry Kiernan (PM), Jose Mario Mondragon, Caroline L Murray, Clemmie Anderson, Emma Stiling,  Freya Lemon, Gemma Hall, Hazel Foley, James Donger, Richard Cronheim, Rolando Talavera Perez, Sylvie Myers,

Alpha Yankee 4- La Rampla, Miraflor, Nicaragua
Miraflor is a beautiful reserve in the north of Nicaragua protecting a 206sqkm area of a variety of eco-system. The reserve is somewhat unique for Nicaragua in that it is made up of a number of small farms and was created upon the request of the local people. It has patches of primary forest intermingled with successional growth, savannah and pastures. This project is for one phase only working to develop the trails belonging to a cooperative of farmers called the Cooperativa El Triunfo in forest near to the community of La Rampla.

Christina M’Baye (PM), Phil Wood (PM), Sabrina Napthine (PM), Stijn C Teves, Andrés Cambronero Rodríguez, Jennifer K McGowan, Hannah Leach, Harm J van der Wal, Eliana Maria León Vargas, Daan v Apeldoorn, Catherine Ewins, Alice L Wadsworth, Alette Jansen

Alpha Yankee 5- San Marquena, (Achuapa), Nicaragua
Close to the town of Achuapa, in one of the poorest most remote areas of Nicaragua, Raleigh is working on a gravity-feed water project to bring clean and safe drinking water to families in the community of San Marquena. The group will continue to work with the locals to dam small streams, build tanks to collect the water from where it can run through pipes to all the local houses.
Jonny McCarthy (PM), Vicky Easton (PM), Alexia de l'Espee, Anne Havenga, Charles Chichester, Daniel Saborío Romano, Eleanor C Spicer, Emily C van de Bunt, Harry Fellows, Ian Haggerty, Maddison C Owen, Mari H Jones, Sophie Abdy, Yuri Nishikawa

Alpha Yankee 6- Tayni community, Alto Coen, Costa Rica
Situated at the centre of a Cabecar indigenous reserve in the Matama region of Costa Rica, a Raleigh group will be helping the local people build a secondary school in the remote community of Alto Coen. This project is extremely important for the reserve as it will equip future generations with the skills they need for the challenges of globalisation and change in the 21st century. The Raleigh volunteers will be learning about the culture of these indigenous people while working alongside them.
Wellard (Sarah Ellard) (PM), Ben Cahill (PM), Antonio Jimenez-Alvardo (PM), Fabienne Ouwehand, Andrew P Brown, Anita Boyd, Camilla O'Connell, Christian Hibberd, Duaa Al-uzairy, Holly E Edwards, Kat Drake, Lucía Salazar Sánchez, Martha E Gray, Max Chalong, Sabina Bridge, Sarah Ward

Friday, 25 March 2011

The Delta Romeo 6 show

Welcome back everyone to the Delta Romeo 6 show, where it is now time for part two!

Thanks again to Agapita for her fabulous lesson in rice and beans. Here at Delta Romeo 6 we will definitely be enjoying that meal three times a day everyday for the next three weeks.

Now we are moving onto the main part of the entertainment. Yes that's right folks it's time for Grand Designs. The wood has been collected and the holes have been dug, Delta Romeo 6 can finally start building this school.

But first let's quickly go back to the football world, where there has been a complete turn of events. Basically Team Tayni has now signed five of Delta 6's best players - Tom, Chris, Dave, Will and Andrés who are going to try and help Tayni beat their biggest rivals Bajo Bley.

It has been such a close tournament, with Tayni starting off a bit slow, the score being 2-0 to Bajo Bley. But they quickly warmed up and brought the game back winning the second game 3-0. They all played fantastically, so well done to them.

Wow what a nailbiter that was! Now we return to the construction site where I must say things are really starting to come along. After twelve days of strenuous work it is looking great. But I'm no expert. Why don't we ask our Maestro Gusto, Don Gabriel who you will probably know as Donny G what exactly has been going on.

Donny G: 'Well, I must admit as a group these guys have really come along. To begin with, the pace was slow, but now they are flying through the work. In only twelve days they have completely finished the foundations which is the hardest part of any building project. Now in comparision everything should seem a lot easier. We are on schedule and if everything goes to plan we should hopefully have the roof on by the end of D6's phase.

Well that is brilliant news, can't wait to see the structure of it all set up. Now just before we finish we have a quick bit of celebrity gossip. We have heard that on Thursday there is going to be a huge party going down. It is Tayni's star football player, and recently signed Will Jackson's 23rd birthday. There are rumours that the group will be pulling out all the stops for this special event. There are going to be games, songs, a disco/salsa evening and even an energy bomb birthday cake. So a very happy birthday to Will and we hope he has a fantastic day!

 Well I'm afraid that's all we have time for today. Tune in next time for the last part of our show. We will have tonnes of exciting entertainment, with the highlight being the final of Raleigh's version of Costa Rica's next top model, with fashion... jungle stylee.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Delta Romeo 3 are no sloths

Words: Scott Baxter
Pictures: Briony Wood

Jungle trail building is hard work. Our typical day involves a 4:50am wakeup call for a hearty porridge breakfast and a fine cup of filtered coffee (a coffee sock is THE essential item to bring on phase) before leaving for work at 6am. As we extend the path the walk has been growing longer and longer. We now have a 90 minute hike through spider, snake and puma-infested jungle to get to the end of our path.

Then the real work begins. It is hot, humid, and there are hazy clouds of flies attached to everyone. However, despite this dreary picture of jungle trail building I have so far painted, it is extremely satisfying seeing an overgrown jungle thicket transform into a brilliantly coloured mud path, through our hard labour.

And we were also lucky enough to see a sloth being re-released into the wild:

I also have to mention the waterfall. After work we often stop at one of the river crossings and wade down the river to get to the most beautiful and secluded rock waterfall that I’ve ever seen. The water is crystal clear, and beneath the falls the water is deep enough to swim in. There are moss-covered boulders for sunbathing. A short boulder-hopping trip past the falls is another waterfall/natural waterslide that ends by a miniature sandy beach (we only recently discovered this and still need to have a closer look).

Our days are hard but when we finish work we relax in style!

Delta Romeo 3 over and out.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Alpha Romeo 4 turtle power!

Alpha Romeo 4 finished their trail building project at La Cangreja after a week into phase 2. So imagine their surprise when they found out that their bonus 10 day project was to build trails and dig trenches to save turtles at Playa Hermosa. Aaaaah! Here's Charlie 'Chich' Chichester to explain more.

La Playa Hermosa: a seafront paradise, green palms, bright blue sea, and a small house right on the beach. We wake up in such a beautiful place with the sound of waves crashing, however it's always accompanied by the sweet sound of venturers' snores.

We've been digging trenches and clearing sand in the morning for Costa Rican turtles and clearing out of control jungle paths in the afternoon, next to a crocodile-infested river. As we are more ferocious than the crocs no one seems to be worried, not even our hobble-legged PM Jonny who returned to us after breaking his foot on trek. Jonny isn't quite up to joining the few of our venturers who go for a 5am run along the sand but he is making progress.

Sadly it is the wrong season to see the turtles. Some of us planned to ride them off into the blue horizon of the sea [blogger: good job they hid then!] but a lot of the eggs are at least now secure.

So instead, while working in the baking hot sun, many of us are beginning to look like freshly cooked lobsters. It will all be worth it  though as we'll have helped a new generation of turtles blossom!

Alpha Romeo 5... job done!

Our Alpha Romeos are all on their way back to the fieldbase fold as I type. It'll soon be (organised) chaos again during their two 'changeover' days, as we hear all about their stories, work and the fun we missed out on.

Meanwhile here's a short blog from Alpha Romeo 5, Achuapa to give you an idea of what they've been up to. No doubt many of them will tell you themselves when they get in touch when they're here!

Words: Jo Blackwood and Gemma Hall

After a fun-filled daytrip to the baseball we started work on Monday feeling fresh and determined to finish the job! The week had been filled with digging the last two trenches, gluing all the tubes together and installing the taps at our families houses. The final taps are now in place and we are ecstatic to say that there are no leaks, no problems, and the system is complete with every tap working beautifully. All we have left to do is fill our lovingly dug trenches leaving no trace but our handprints in cement!

Our last two days will be spent enjoying San Marqueña with a visit to the beautiful Rio Grande and returning in the afternoon for a fiesta with the locals kindly organized by the co-operative. There will be speeches, dancing and no doubt tears (from the boys).

Monday is our final day in which we will be spending time with our families. Hopefully we can beat the locals at baseball again (2-0 to Raleigh!). Tuesday morning brings the final goodbye and the beginning of our two day journey back to fieldbase. Bring on the Disco Bus! 

For now, all’s that’s left to say is…job done!

Love from Alpha Romeo Fiver.

PS Watch out fieldbase, Alphalfa and her five Romeos are coming to town…!
PPS Shout out to all our loved ones, we miss you all very much!!!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Alpha Romeo 3 - living the dream

Words: Helena Parker

It was almost a relief to leave the rangers station at Volcan Turrialba last week as we were feeling guilty about the semi-luxury of it all. We arrived safe and sound at Park Nacional Braulio Carillo, a rainforest park for the next part of our phase, to be met by the head ranger Don Rodolpho.

Among a plethora of wildlife, he showed us a flower called labios de muje also known as woman’s lips, trees whose roots look more like legs above ground, and which literally walk from where they grow to find the best spot. We also saw the deadliest snake in Costa Rica (in the bathroom) and the best part, a waterhole complete with waterfall! Living the dream? We think so.

We should admit it’s not all fun and games though work here consists of walking up one heck of a hill, carrying bags of rocks in our backpacks to lay on the trail. We think we are doing about 15 kilometres per day but we’re hardcore so we get it done by lunch. Good training for the trek (feel the burn!). So after working hard all morning and collapsing in near exhaustion at lunch we get to leg it down to the river to wash off all the dirt and stay there all afternoon. It’s a tough life!

Please Mr. Postman.... more letters for 11C!

Yes, the time has come where we regretfully have to request that you no longer send any letters out to us here at fieldbase.

Post takes roughly three weeks to reach us from other countries so we cannot guarantee that your letters will reach your loved ones before our 11C expedition ends.

There's only one solution - leave a message on the blog!

Monday, 21 March 2011

Delta Romeo 1 are so macho...

Delta Romeo 1 have been roaming, roaming, roaming all over Costa Rica on their Turrimacho trek. Here are two updates from Olivia Christie:

Part one

The other Sunday morning we all boarded the bus, knowing that our trek would begin in just over two hours! Dreading the thought of attempting to lift our 21kg rucksacks and apprehension of what we had in store over the next 19 days.

Day one saw a short but tough walk to our first campsite as we started to acclimatise to the conditions and our rubbing hip belts. At our first campsite we were greeted by Don Gerado who kindly offered us coconuts as well as a place to pitch camp. We were beginning to experience the famous Costa Rica friendliness and warmth!

After the first of many uncomfortable nights sleep, we set off on our first full day trekking.... 11km up a steep rocky road that seemed to go on forever! We later arrived at the community centre with little hassle other than a close encounter with a snake! Thankfully it slithered away in a hurry. At the community centre Delta Romeo 1’s favourite pastime was conceived: aerobics c lasses, with huge lunges providing a large amount of entertainment and laughter.

For the last three days we have been marching through the jungle and we are starting to think that the phrase “what goes up, must come down” doesn’t apply to Costa Rican mountains. Torrential downpours on Tuesday afternoon made the clay track even more treacherous , and hardly  100 metres could pass without one member slipping and getting a complimentary mud bath! 

Our guide in the jungle was Juan Louis, a local boy who knows the jungle paths better than I know the back of my hand. Throughout the trek we have been greeted by delightful views, and despite the gruelling walks, spirits are remaining mountain-top high!

Part two

Mission:  Trek from Caribbean to Pacific coasts of Costa Rica
Days completed: 12
Kilometres marched: 143
Highest point reached: 2842m
Blisters obtained: 42
Packets of refried beans devoured: 70
Average backpack weight: 21 kg

Delta Romeo 1 have now been walking, scrambling and hobbling over mountains for 12 days, yet despite blisters and muscle strain we are on target and about to start our descent to the sunny beach for a day of relaxation. 

We have navigated our way over jungle paths, tarmac highways and dirt-packed country lanes. After long, hard days of walking, nights have been spent in tents, community centres, a pulperia (grocery store) and even a church. Sugar cravings are regularly satisfied by raiding any Pulperia we pass, with mini-cans of condensed milk being a group favourite. 

Monstrous mountains and bulging blisters have not been our only obstacles. Six days without showers attempting to cook gourmet meals out of pasta and tomato sauce in gale force winds have only increased team spirit and made us feel truly like we've 'got out there'!