Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Delta Yankees final blog

Now it's the turn of our delightful Deltas to give us the final word on their projects and all that they've achieved.

Delta Yankee 1 
By Mags Chilaev

Completing the Turrimacho trek has been a crowning achievement for all Delta Yankee 1 venturers, ending on a beach aptly named Hermosa meaning ‘beautiful’. Before we set out on this voyage of a lifetime we were relayed terrible myths and legends of ‘pylon’ day and dizzyingly high altitudes, so in some ways the trek lived up to its expectations. Many describe it as “one big hill” and though this description is less than colorful it is no less accurate.

We stayed at 2800m for six days, ascending and descending Costa Rica at a nauseating pace, we trekked through thick jungle forests and trudged through sticky clay, occasionally stumbling upon an oasis of ‘pulperias’ (grocery stores). This shared hardship has brought us together as a group and it is good to finish Raleigh on a ‘high’.

Delta Yankee 2
By Jess Bridge-Dunk

Alex started the second part of our Momotombo trek by sitting in tomato sauce over dinner, although heart breaking for Alex, it provided great amusement for the rest of the group!

It was that same night that the school provided us with a plentiful supply of water which came as a great relief to the majority of the group who had a refreshing wash. However for myself much embarrassment ensued when the door of the washing room fell down and Chris was met with great shock and surprise. Overall, a fabulously funny day for all!

The next day was slightly less joyful as it began with a steep incline (albeit with fantastic views overwhelming us at every turn). The following day was 11km yet we finished by 11am and enjoyed an afternoon of sleep, easing pain and drinking chilled Pepsi purchased from the many local pulperias.

This prepared us for day 13 which was a 24km day with tough inclines. Indeed, at one point we climbed 200m further up over just 400m. Luckily after such a brutish day we were greeted by a kindly old Nicaraguan gentleman who offered us his solar powered living room as sleeping quarters.

The last third of our trek began with an early arrival at the school we were staying in. Rest and washing facilities meant that we began the following day in high spirits.

Such high spirits were needed however for the rest of the week as it consisted of brutally long and hot days on uneven roads. The only relief came in the form of ten minute breaks in the small amount of shade we searched high and low for.

The day before we reached the crater lake we all tasted a little bit of heaven in the form of a six hour break at a very well stocked pulperia. Excellent bread, Pepsi, cake and sleep provided enough energy for the rest of the journey which ended on a remote farm with the majority of us sleeping on a trailer under the stars.

Yet all was not idyllic for forest fires were spotted on El Hoyo which prevented us from our scheduled climb. Esmie’s birthday provided a welcome distraction from the disappointment and the arrival at the crater lake was a celebration for all to enjoy.

Our luck changed when the forest fires disappeared two days later and half the group had a day trip to the top. The best views we have seen so far made the steep climb worth it and with Volcan Momotombo to the left and the Pacific to the right we all felt a real sense of achievement.

Third phase ended in a chilled out fashion: sunbathing, swimming and relaxing by the turquoise water, eating a diet of delicious avocado and tomato sandwiches, pineapple and watermelon.

Overall a truly fantastic trek with lots of adventure and excitement, we couldn’t ask for more!

Delta Yankee 3
Goodbye Jungle and Goodbye Raleigh
By Faruk Patel

This was the last phase for everyone, and for many Piedras Blancas was their best phase on Raleigh. The highlights included………

Surviving the scare from the frogs, cockroaches, monkeys and panthers. No one is ever going to forget Charlotte’s spontaneous and hilarious reactions!
Finishing the trail, the relief was visible on everyone’s faces on the last day of work!
Having a thrilling football match in torrential rain between England and Costa Rica/Nicaragua, which England astonishingly won!

Visiting the nearby gulf coast of El Golfito and being re-acquainted with the real world.
Spending 24 hours at Jungle Camp. To everyone’s surprise, no one got eaten alive!

Catherine’s attempts at communicating with the Ranger who fell in love with her – priceless!
Who will also forget the Dutch pancakes, Enrique dressing up and of course the muscles gained from ever such hard work!

For everyone, this was the first time living in the jungle. Life here has equipped everyone with survival skills for the future. No one will forget being Tarzan for three weeks. Pura Vida!!

Delta Yankee 5
By Jasmine Henry

Our water project here in La Guaruma has continued with good progress, after digging more and more trenches in the baking heat of Nicaragua we have now also laid pipes and began fitting taps. Part of the group moved house last week to live with different families as we had originally been split across two water projects meaning we were living quite separately. Although we were sad to say goodbye to our first families after a week living with them, it is good to all be working together and we have found our new families just as hospitable. Living closer together has also allowed for night time games of charades, poker and of course ‘I Have Never’.

Our village has a small school, with just 12 people ranging from 5 to 13 years old, every day we have spent an hour teaching some basic English including ‘head, shoulders, knees and toes’’. We held sports day which involved mixed teams of venturers, PMs and children running three-legged races, hopping with balloons between their legs and dancing under a limbo stick. And we gave adult classes with the whole village fluent in no time!

Delta Yankee 5 has also been lucky enough to meet with some of the Alphas who are also working on a water project.

Together we went on a trip to the nearby town of San Juan de la May where we visited a ceramics factory, some of the town’s 26 fat lady statues and slept over in a community centre.

Delta Yankee 6 
By Benny Gamsu

This last week we took part in several activities with the community of Coroma which included a sack race. Chocolate-making lived up to everyone’s expectations and we’ve been enjoying chocolate with bananas and artisan hot chocolate since. There was just enough time for a game of musical lifejackets on our last night. It’s been a project with loads of laughs, fab food and many, many memorable moments.

Some of the things that really made this phase so enjoyable for everyone were the incredibly warm and welcoming community, the beautiful surroundings and most of all the brilliant group which really got on well, worked well together and did it all with humour and enthusiasm.

It's been an unforgettable experience and our time in the Talamanca Indigenous reserve was a fitting note to go out on.


  1. Jane Hedges, Elizabeth's Mum20 April 2011 at 21:11

    Elizabeth Hedges
    Wow, beutiful photos. I have just brought first lamb into the stable, Phoebe alerted me to the birth, 3.30am! Very warm here and I had my first swim in the pond yesterday. Garden is loking beutiful with all the blossom and spring flowers. Looking forward to seeing you very much 3rd May.

    Lots of love Mum xxxxxxxx

    Mum xxxxxx

  2. Thank you to everyone who has done all the work to make the blog happen and especially to take the messages far and wide!
    Best wishes
    Carol Dunk.
    (Mum of Jessica Bridge-Dunk)

  3. You managed to hit the nail right on the head and explained out everything without complication.
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