I'm sure you're all chomping at the bit to find out what they've been up to, whether they're looking fit and healthy, and if they've got a tan. So, in their own words, here's what the Deltas have achieved on their phase one projects:
Delta 1, Turrimacho Trek, Costa Rica
By Harriet Marsh
We made it!!!
After 18 days of trekking we are now sat looking out at the Pacific. It’s been one hell of a trek over 200km from one side of Costa Rica to the other with low points and high points along the way.
Things started badly on Day 3 when we ended the day 300 metres from where we’d started. The mud, unexpected cold, blisters and never ending mountains (otherwise known as Costa Rican flat) all took their toll but overall it has been a trip of amazing highs. We have survived bats, scary dogs, bull fights, venomous snakes and landslides, emerging relatively unscathed (except for the blisters of course).
The Costa Rican hospitality, staying with the Cabacars, the stunning views and our special dinner in Vegas has made this a truly inspirational experience in a truly diverse country. The awesome team spirit, songs (thank you Take That) and laughter has got us through one of the toughest challenges we have faced.
Big well done to Delta 1!!!
Delta 2, Momotombo Trek, Nicaragua
By Si Keirle
The Night Before Raleigh. Part II
So the group survived the ghosts, now time for the big crunch,
After six hours of walking they sat down for lunch,
The rancid sight of re-fried beans, the horrible smell,
But the worst was yet to come, their highway moment from hell
The heat of the sun caused the group to grow delirious,
But what lay in the distance so pure and mysterious?
A bright neon light at the end of the track,
A sugary savour, an angelic Pepsi shack
The heavens burst open, their prayers had been answered,
Things were looking up for this group so downheartened,
This horrific day would not end in disgrace,
As fieldbase revealed they were in the right place.
While rivers provided regular blocks,
The group waded through sporting sandals and crocs,
When they lost their way, they asked local women and men,
And soon found that 5k in Nicaragua often means 10.
Intense up hill climbs caused the group’s mood to mellow,
And Andres learned not to pick up snakes when black touches yellow,
The days proved long, walking up to 10 hours,
But their troubles were washed away under cold bucket showers.
Spirits were high singing songs on a full tank,
Despite the fact everyone smelt really rank,
And with the beat of the drum, they set off with a bang,
Filled up their camelbacks and overdosed on tang.
Clean water was coming but in dribs and drabs,
So they sterilised what they could, using group maxi tabs
They camped on a mountain top, an unsheltered freeze,
And Vicky grew sick with her mac and cheese
Still on a high from last night’s food drop,
The group began to gorge at a quaint little shop,
And when Si felt sick they cried ‘Stop for God’s sake!’
‘You shouldn’t eat three milky ice creams, and four pieces of cake!’
As the navigators searched for 4x4 tracks,
The rest grew weary of the monotonous snacks,
Kaz watched the group eat bland raisins like rookies,
For little did they know about his secret stash of cookies.
Upon looking into Andres’ eyes, they were surprised to see fear,
But this strange situation soon became clear,
‘Lo siento mi amigos, it wasn’t my fault’
They had finally solved they case of the missing salt.
They dined delightfully on tubers and pulses,
But Andres had to leave to treat his eye ulcers,
Morale was low, Delta 2 torn apart
But St. Ivy was there to mend the group's broken heart.
Three long days until the group re-united,
And the sight of each other left everyone delighted,
As they settled down to sleep in liners of silk,
Chrissy lay there shaking after a can of condensed milk.
Unshaven faces and un-pruned eye lashes,
Their legs were soon covered in volcanic ashes,
But do not be fooled for this was their plan,
The golden brown dust was the perfect fake tan.
Sun and sand doesn’t mean life’s a beach.
When everything’s sterilized completely with bleach,
But with all 14 present, everything felt right,
The horizon drew nearer, Momotombo in sight.
Delta 3, Piedras Blancas, ranger access road, Costa Rica
By Sam Tate
Although nobody in Delta 3 was looking forward to it, our time building a nature trail in Piedras Blancas national park had come to an end. After 19 days on the trail we have completed over 3 km hoeing and digging to our hearts content and surviving a few run-ins with the local wildlife. Our jungle camp had become our home and evening meals of ever so tasty pork and beans were starting to grow on us. Our constant muddy, sweaty pungent exterior was not the most pleasant but afternoons by our jungle river completely made up for it. Games of mafia, rounders, football and cards were the standard entertainment of Delta 3. After all our hard work and a 6k trek we finally arrived on the beautiful Pacific Coast before camping on the beach. This was a perfect end to our unforgettable experience of Team Awesome Delta 3.
Delta 4, Chirripo, trail building, Costa Rica
By Maria Bedford and Dave Ford
Delta 4 hardcore (Dave, Maria, Stephan, Benny, Hannah, Rose, Dawn, Esme, Alan, Fatima, Gyneska, and PM’s Ben and Karla) arrived at Llano Bonnito dreamhouse on Sunday 13th February tired and exhausted from the 7k trek up Cerro Chirripo, Costa Rica’s highest mountain, but ready to get to work improving the “less than perfect” trail ready for the annual runner’s race. Never fear- Delta 4 is here!
Comfortably ensconced in a veritable mansion of a hut, equipped with shower, multiple toilets and a balcony of love, it was nevertheless extremely cold and not quite what we had in mind when we envisioned Costa Rica’s climate. After settling in, we were soon put to work with pickaxes, shovels and a ever-changing procession of rangers (honourable mention to Juan Carlos, a mighty bear of a man wielding a pickaxe who left an impression on us all), toiling in the bitter cold for six hours every morning carving roads into the mountain.
We soon settled into a routine of work in the morning, lunch at one and a balcony spoon in the afternoon. Two expeditions were undertaken: the 13k trek from Llano Bonnito to the peak of Chirripo, which took the group two days, and on the second day was completed twice by Dave and Stephan (exceptional hulking specimens of manhood) who saw both sunrise and sunset from the highest point of Costa Rica.
At the end of the expedition we hiked to an idyllic waterfall and frolicked like we’d never frolicked before. It was beautiful and exactly what one comes to Costa Rica for. On our adventures we saw multiple hummingbirds, eagles and Quetzals. Sadly no monkeys or big cats were seen although we were assured that they were out there. By the end it was agreed by all that the group was a dream and some excellent characters gelled together fabulously.
Some things from Delta 4’s time in Chirripo will live forever. The energy bomb song echoes through the trees still and will reverberate through the ages, and Chirripo’s balls (see crushed noodles fried in sugar by Chef de Cuisine Ben. Oh yeah) are yet to secure a patent in Paris’s top patisseries but are coming to a Gregg’s near you soon.
Delta 4 OUT.
Delta 5, Potosi, Nicaragua
By Mags Chilaev
The second half of our adventure in Potosi began with the conquering of the heights of Volcan Consiguina, home to a stunning crater lake and views across the Gulf of Fonseca. After a night under the stars, we returned to Potosi, and continued to give English lessons to the children of the village whose language skills were improved dramatically and were now able to sing the “Hokey-Cokey” and “Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” unaided.
Every other day, we travelled for two hours to a plantation in Pueblo Nuevo, where we helped prepare bags of fertile earth and manure to plant trees for the reforestation of a biological corridor between two national parks. This project will allow species to move between previously isolated pockets of protected land, and help agricultural and environmental efforts in the region.
We had an emotional farewell with our respective Nicaraguan families as we had all grown very attached to each other during our three weeks in Potosi. We were made to feel extremely welcome in what was a unique and humbling experience.
Delta 6, El Rodeo, Miraflor, Nicaragua
By Aisling Bury
During the course of Delta 6's last few days in El Rodeo, Miraflor the walls got higher, friendships grew stronger, and the long drops filled up.
We settled into a routine of rising at 6am, working by 7.30am, breaking for lunch at midday, and playing with the kids in the afternoon. Despite being originally disgruntled by the food and horrified by the 'loos', we quickly became accustomed to our very different surroundings.
The foundations of all four houses were completed and we started building the walls of two more. Using human chains to carry bricks, hard hats to place them and hands to fill the gaps, we finally began to see the home take formation of soon-to-be parents Rito and Evelyn.
Our full appreciation of the value of the work we had undertaken was only truly realised by Delta 6 when the families in the community made speeches of gratitude on our final night. Tears were shed and it would be right to say that the team were overwhelmed by the impact they had worked so hard to achieve.
Next post: pictures of the Deltas' action packed two days at fieldbase.