Thursday, 11 August 2011

Romeo a go-go!

Toot toot, beep beep – the road trip teams are back at base! Group hugs, teas and catch ups on mass it is! After two weeks of living life on the road, enjoying some incredible views, cultures and the company of our project groups, the fieldbase massive have finally been reunited and are already cracking on with work for the arrival of our venturers in just six days time. The good news? We have news and photos from all our Romeo groups. The bad news? As if we'd have any bad news for you! So let's get cracking. First things first, blog updates from our groups. Romeo 4 are feeling the turtle power (duuuude) at the beautiful Playa Hermosa where they are spending the second half of their phase after leaving La Cangreja a few days ago. Here’s the latest update from Christina and Cat…

Our last day in the jungle started with a very tasty fry up prepared as a surprise by a few of our venturers, who also stayed up most of the night planning and making it. We had scrambled egg, fried potatoes, cheese and bread, fried onions, salchicon and fried cinnamon bananas. It was really scrummy! Nice change from porridge. That day we finished off all the work on the trails and to much of the delight of the rangers, we had exceeded their expectations for how much we had done in our time in the jungle. On our last night the rangers surprised us by cooking us dinner. We dined like kings eating from real plates with a proper knife and fork and a glass of coke each – it was luxury! In return we shared a generous helping of our Energy Bomb. The night was made even more special by the whole group staying up to watch the sunset from the viewing platform overlooking the beautiful, un-touched jungle of La Cangreja, and then spotting shooting stars before bed.
The next day we left for Playa Hermosa, “Beautiful Beach”. It was even better than we had imagined, it was like arriving in paradise. Sparkling black sand totally deserted but from some driftwood, and lined with palm trees. With crashing waves of the ocean (this beach is where the international surfing championships was held) this place is rugged and wild. On arrival we set about building our new jungle camp less than fifty meters from the each. This involved making the basha beds suing bamboo tripods and canvas. For those of us who hadn’t done this before, it was somewhere between entertaining and a complete headache (even more so when we discovered how many had leaked the following night during a thunderstorm…). That evening Ricardo (one of the volunteer rangers) gave us a talk about the turtle conservation work don here, and how Romeo 4 would be contributing over the course of the week, with night patrols collecting eggs and fending off poachers and assisting with the running of the hatchery. Our first patrol was very eventful. Johnnie, the ranger we patrolled with was very passionate about teaching sui how to track the turtles, find their nests and dig for the eggs to protect them from predators – poachers and animals alike. On that one patrol we collected five batches of eggs, each of about 100 eggs, the size of a golf ball and incredibly fragile. On a sadder note, we also came across an injured dolphin stranded on the beach. It had suffered an animal attack and after the ranger concluded that there was nothing more we could do for her, we carried her back into the water and left nature to take its course. It was a very emotional moment for everyone in the group and really brought home the struggle for survival in the animal kingdom.
The next day spirits were lifted when we were lucky enough to have the opportunity to release two baby Olive Ridley hatchlings into the sea. We names them Ollie and Tyrone. During the days we have been building a small stone wall along the dirt track leading to the ranger’s station in order to protect the saplings of a reforested area from passing cars. The work at Playa Hermosa is less strenuous than what we did in the jungle, mainly due to a four hour break midday when the temperatures soar to 35 degrees centigrade, making it impossible to work. In this time we cool of in the sea, catch some rays and have a siesta to make up for the sleep lost on night patrol. We’ve been very fortunate with wildlife again, with brightly coloured crabs, huge iguanas wandering around our camp, crocodiles in the mangrove swamp and scarlet macaws flying overhead.
The cherry on the cake was our patrol last night, in which we got to play real life cops and robbers, getting some poachers arrested by the local police. At the end of the patrol we had an extraordinarily lucky find of turtle entry tracks with no exit tracks! This could only mean one thing… an Olive Ridley was still laying her eggs just meters away from us! Manual, chief ranger was so excited he was literally jumping up and down. We quickly put on gloves, got out our collection bags and one by one collected the eggs dropping into our hands as she laid them. We then watched her cover the nest and waddle back out to sea. It was the most incredible experience. Next update, 15th August. Lots of love, Christina and Cat xxx
Setting up jungle camp
Ranger Ricardo teaching us a few lessons

Turtle tracks!
Setting the baby turtles free after they hatch
A little bit of encouragement from our venturers - "you can do it Oliver!"
Work in the hatchery
Finding a nest on patrol and collecting the eggs
Burying the eggs in the hatchery after collecting them on a night patrol
The hatchery

Time spent well. 'Planking' - it's the new standing.
*Photo's of Romeo 4 by Polly Baldwin

Romeo 2 also have more news for us as they continue to trek through Guanacaste…
Romeo 2 has completed a further six days trekking and is currently camped in a farmers field looking out towards the impressive Volcan Miravalles which towers over the surrounding valleys. Despite the early morning wake up calls by Niall the llama at 3.30am and trekking under the intense sun everyone is in fantastic spirits and would like to wish everyone else on project a great second half of phase two. Admittedly, some of us are rocking some rather fetching burn/tan lines and one Australian member of the group has even gone as far as giving a certain area of body hair a change of colour, courtesy of some carefully applied bleach.
We’ve seen some magnificent sights since the last blog update, not least the scenic ridge walk amongst the wind farms and the spectacular turquoise river and waterfalls. After two days of trekking through intense jungle with Don Luz where Grace demonstrated her ballerina-like balance as she slid down yet another muddy track, we emerged next to the natural thermal spa: a welcome sight for Romeo 2’s aching bodies, where we enjoyed a relaxing lunch. Other highlights include have been the epic hour long rest stop next to a panaderia where everyone gorged themselves on some food which hasn’t come out of a tin or foil packet. In Zapote several of us enjoyed a game of football with the local school children before heading for a dip in the nearby river to cool off. We’ve had our share of tears on trek too. Emma mourned the loss of her walking stick and Justin had us all in stitches when he told us what animal he thought we most suited. Some came off better than others. Although most evenings we’re in bed before we would have sat down to watch TV back home, we’ve still found time to enjoy some themed games of mafia. Richard has now imparted his gigantic store of Harry Potter knowledge with another team and Justin dazzled us all with his accent during Irish mafia. That’s all for this time. We’ve got our sights firmly set on reaching the Pacific Coast in another six days time and look forward to sharing our photos with all of you when we’re back at fieldbase.

Romeo 1 are nearing the end of their trek - they can see the light! (or in their case the beach) The guys are in good spirits and are enjoying the last few days of phase two, taking in the incredible views and enjoying trek life while it lasts, smelly socks, pork & beans and all.
Romeo 3 have finished their project work for the phase and are now spending their days working on helpful extras for the ranger. The team are on good form, enjoying jungle life and its beautiful surroundings.
Romeo 5 are on wonderful form and have made a start on building the walls. The group are building some really strong relationships with their adopted families and settling in well to community life. They spend their evenings playing games with their families, including musical statues at which PM Jon seems to be taking the lead in, with some close competition from the local children.
All is good with Romeo 6. They're working hard and enjoying every second. Our Bravo one road tripping troopers enjoyed a sports day with them on their visit, with events such as the mum and dad's race, the egg and spoon race, the 'balloon between the legs' race (official name unknown), the wheelbarrow race and many more. Our venturers even spent hours preparing individual certificates for each of the children as a momentum of their sporting achievement!
Romeo 7 are working, working, working to get their project finished by the end of phase. On Friday they'll be heading to the International Music Festival to let their hair down and give themselves a well deserved break. Keep going guys!

So all is good in the Raleigh hood. All of our groups are working hard and enjoying what seems to be some truly unique and wonderful experiences. The venturers will be arriving back on the 15th and in the meantime fieldbase are busy preparing some fun and festivities for the next changeover . More news soon so until then, all the way from beautiful Costa Rica - pura vida! 

Blog written by Dawn Tennant and photo's by Kat Mammone unless otherwise stated.


  1. For Daniel Renshaw in Romeo 3
    Hi Daniel, just seen the photos of you and the group working hard. Booking your haircut in NYC! We're now in Mesa Verde national park in Colorado; paths in reasonably good nick, so they won't be requiring your services! Really looking forward to seeing you next week. Lots of love, D, M, J & B.

  2. Jenny Clements Romeo 2
    Great to see new pictures of you on the blog.
    Yesterday, we saw 3 bears and have seen lots of wild life so far. We are at the same time as you so try to call my mobile (mum) when you get back to camp for a quick chat.Hope you had a lovely birthday. Miss you
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Mam & dad

  3. Corrie Moxon - Romeo 3

    Hey you! So glad to see some pictures of you and your group up. Looking good! I feel sorry for whoever ended up playing cards with you though.
    You look so tanned as well, I'm going to look even more peely wally than normal next you when you're back. Not cool.
    It's the fringe festival just now so edinburgh's gone a bit crazy. Speaking of crazy, theres been riots all over england! Even in norwich! You're missing all the fun. Not much else to report really, apart from I'm heading down to kent soon which will be nice, hopefully a bit less rain than kiltland.
    Hope you have fun on the next bit of your adventure, and stay safe!
    I'm missing you loads, but I'll be seeing you sooner than you think.
    I love you so much, Daniel. xxxx

  4. To Niall McElroy, Romeo 2:

    Namaste! Leaving you one last message. Today's my last day with the kids... So sad to be leaving them, and will take lots of photos to bore you with when you get back. Also have a little surprise waiting for you upon your return to field base! I have one free day in Pokhara tomorrow to load up on sunscreen etc, and have even procured a very patriotic bandana for trek (it has US flags, eagles AND skulls). Then early Sunday morning we're off in a public bus for 7 hours on the world's most terrible roads back to Kathmandu for the afternoon for trek briefing. Pashupati, our manager here, told us that as well as embolisms we have to watch out for leeches (best way to remove them is apparently to set them on fire). Monday morning it's the flight to Lukla, which is meant to be terrifying, then a distinct lack of oxygen and bucket showers only for 2 weeks! Not sure if you will have heard about what's going on in London - it's literally burning to the ground with riots. Scary. Can't wait to hear from you, and you ought to feel terribly guilty for being in no photos. Missing you as always. Love, Sarah x

  5. Jordan Carter Romeo 4
    Jordan!! I miss you only like 7 more days before your at base! Yay! Ha and you were actually in pictures, ofcoarse you can't see your face.. but your smiling. I miss you so much! Paul left today, it was sad.. and it just made me miss you more. I can't wait till you get home, it's not the same without you. I'm counting the days till your home! I love you.
    p.s. Your planking picture is kinda legit.. Kinda. (:
    Talk to you soon i hope! Miss/love you a million. - Katie

  6. HI Alfie Carapiet, Romeo 1,

    Great to hear you last night and so pleased that you sounded so happy!!! Really looking forward to hearing the whole story!!

    Email us when you get back - good luck for Thursday and for your next project!!! Not long now and we will be at the airport to meet you!!!
    Much love

  7. For Sarah Canty- Romeo 2
    Hi Sarah,
    It was great to hear news and see photos of you today on the blog after 5 days of nothing. it becomes quite addictive checking the blog every day!
    Good to hear all is going well and it sounds as though you!ve had some wonderfull experiences. You look well and happy in the photos although you always seem to be half-hidden at the back. We're all well at home and looking forward to getting e-mails from you when you return to field base . I have sent you 2 other messages but haven"t spotted them on the blog so hopefully you got tthem. Enjoy your last few days of trek and look forward to hearing from yousoon. Lots of love mum and dad x

  8. Grace Minns Romeo 2
    Hi Grace, super pics online. How were you after your ballarina act? I bet you are feeling exhausted, not long to go now !! Cant wait to see you and hear all your adventures. Love you lots xxxxx Mum

  9. Jos Tringham (Romeo 4 ?)
    Hi Jos, just been having a look at the amazing shots of the turtles. Cant wait to hear all about it when you get back - and to see the photos which I hope you have taken. Really looking forward to you starting at Uni and giving me an excuse to come and have lunch in Worcester.
    Have a good journey back to the UK. Ferd and I are off to Germany on Sunday for a week so I will ring you when we get back. Its the second time in a month cos we went to Bimi's graduation in July. Now he is chilling out fishing, golfing and doing what he feels like. Take care
    Lots of love

  10. Grace Minns Romeo2
    Great to see the pictures of you,are you o.k.Sliding down mountain sides! You will soon be coming home very hungry and tired. The weather is not very good here a lot of rain.Every one is fine here,you are doing so well as you do at all things. Take great care With our love chicky G&G xxxxxx

  11. this message is for kelly robinson
    hello babe missin ya loads howa u anyway nt long nw init bbe me dad has just dropped some tickets off for the liverpool game tomoz hope ya avin agood tym on da beach wb soon still havnt gt my letter off ya ilu loads xxxxxxxxx

  12. Corrie Moxon - Romeo 3
    Great to see the latest batch of pictures. It's been a week since the last update! You look really healthy and brown and look like you're having a good time. I hope you weren't too competitive playing Monopoly Deal! JM has now gone so the house is back to normal! Aunt May is at Grandma's and we're entertaining her tonight. We're off on holiday this weekend so we won't be in touch for a while. Jamie's 18th is next week and we're all going to Pebbles to celebrate. He's off to V Festival the following day to see Eminem. Look forward to catching up on your adventures when we come back. Miss you loads. Lots of Love Mum, Dad and Jamie XXXX PS: Bramble misses you too :)

  13. Dorothy & May12 August 2011 at 12:45

    Corrie Moxon - Romeo 3

    Just seen you latest photos. Great to see you looking so well. Your muscles must be in great condition after all your hard work on the roads. Sending lots of love and hugs from Grandma. XXX
    Hi Corrie its has been very exciting watching you do so much good work. It's been lovely seeing you. Congartualtions on all you're doing it must be very rewarding. Lots of love Aunt May xxx

  14. Joss Tringham Romeo 4

    Hi Joss - great pictures of you all with Turtles. What fun it all looks. Not much going on here. Bill is 91 today and Freya away in Suffolk for weekend.Golf and more Golf. Really look forward to having you back here. See you at Heathrow on Thursday. It will be quite a culture shock
    Love Dadxx

  15. For Lloyd Thomas Romeo 6
    Hi Lloyd,
    Just seen your new photos, you look well, hope your ok and enjoying yourself. Chloe has gone back home now, and she said she will see you at christmas. Everyone is missing you, nan and bampy are doing ok and they say hi!. We have been busy in the house and garden is nearly finished, fence is green as requested! lol, waiting for shed. Mia is about to burst (babies), Tess and Dave say hi, toby is missing you, but tilly says stay there lol. Henry and Sue send there love and said hi!!.
    Take care Love Mum x

  16. For Llyod Thomas Romeo 6
    Hiya Llyod
    When you coming home, we miss you lots. Your smiling face in the morning. You look happy in the your photos, you got a tan yet?. Have you shaved your head, you look bald lol. Your not an uncle again yet, but you'll be home for the next time we go. Hope you have heard from daniel. Nicola says Waaaaaaaaah, missin you loads, carn't wait to see you.
    Love Evan and Linda

  17. Jonathan White Romeo 4.
    Hi Jon,
    Great to read the blog and see the varied photos. Must be truly wonderful and exciting. You do look very brown or is it rust. Jo is in Norway this weekend and Mum and I are just back from Bath. We all miss you. All our love.

  18. To Claire Davis - Romeo 6
    From: Diana

    Hola Claire!
    ¿Cómo estás? Ya veo que van muy avanzados con la construcción del centro! (bien-pulgar para arriba) Esa foto donde se asoman desde la ventana del muro, wow! se ven muy bien todos y sobretodo contentos. Qué gusto de verdad!
    Por aquí todo bien, sólo que ando algo estresada por mi trabajo. Van a hacernos una auditoria (audit) y van a empezar por el área académica y ya te imaginarás el montón de trabajo extra que tendremos que hacer para prepararnos! Por lo pronto, ando apurada este fin de semana que espero pase rápido para salir de esta YAAAAA!
    La buena noticia es que Las ángeles de blaving ya transmitieron sus dos primeros programas!!Yess!
    Sólo estamos dos dias a la semana: martes y viernes en diferentes horarios según el país pero en México es a la 1:30pm.
    En el primer show tuvimos 103 escuchas!!! Yeeeesss! y en el segundo todavía no se, pero supongo que menos porque tuvimos dificultades técnicas para transmitir en el horario fijado pero lo pudimos hacer finalmente aunque algo tarde.
    Bueno, me despido y te vuelvo a escribir la próxima semana. Cuidate mucho! te mando un abrazo, ciao! x x

  19. Francis Lanuza, Romeo 5

    Mi niña linda, estoy contenta verte en fotos junto a tus compañeros de alegro de verte bien, disfruta y aprovecha el tiempo al maximo.Cuidate, besos, abrazos y mucho amor. MAMI

  20. Joanna Bartlett- Romeo 5
    A lovely photo of you and the cute kid. Is he a member of your host family? Im sure you are having fun with the children. So you should be back in base camp next week.I look forward to hearing from you.Went for a long cycle this morning- the weather was finally reasonable. The Havel looks great- but a bit chilly obvious by the sounds of the few who were taking a dip.
    Take care love mumxx

  21. Jordan - 11G&H Romeo 4
    Jordan, happy to see you in some pictures. Planking looks like fun. Boy, that girl has some stomach muscles; right? It sounds like you've had a lot of great experiences-sad about the dolphin, but a lot of amazing ones! Dad and I miss you so much and can't wait for you to come home. We're counting down the days. You should have a package waiting for you when you get back to Field Base. Today is Saturday, August 12th and it's supposed to be there on Wednesday, August 16th. It will make you happy! Just know we love you so much and want so much for you! You are such a special kid and we want you to know that too! Love you, Buddy, and can't wait to see you! We'll have your McChurgersssssss waiting for you on the 8th...of course with fries. Let us know if there is anything else you need or want! We'll do our best!
    Mom and Dad.

  22. Jennifer Clements romeo 2
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY my dearest! Looking forward to seeing you in a few days, hope you had a lovely celebration!! Kisses from Achuapa. Vejuna X x x

  23. Justin Shenolikar Romeo 2. Love the pics! U look well and very brown.Glad to hear u are nearing the beach - will be good to relax at the beach after all that treking. Hope u were tactful ( for a change)when giving everyone an animal persona otherwise u might get left in the jungle! I am off to Edinburgh today to see Geena and Robin and we are having a barbeque. However in typical scottish barbequeing - we might have to have it indoors. Rain and cold!! Not like Costa Rica. Keep up the Deet and look out for beasties. Love Mum x

  24. Mitch Tulloch Romeo Hi Mitch Just heard your at a music festival this weekend, hope you enjoyed it. Did you and the guys take part with your own musical piece. I have seen the latest pics, you look really well, the beard looks like its grown a lot. We are missing you lots and can't wait till we see you. Keep up the good work we are very proud of what you are doing. Love you lots Mum&Dad

  25. Francesca Payne, Romeo 1,
    Well congratulations it sounds like you have had a fantastic experience we are all very jealous. Really looking forward to seeing you on friday. Sorry it is all over but you have your whole life ahead of you.
    lots of love Dad,Yvonne,Harry and Renzo. xxxx

  26. Christina Clare, Romeo 4
    Hi Chrissie
    Enjoyed reading your last blog, and was pleased to see a photo of you this time, though you look a bit thin - perhaps it's because you are all muscle now. Loved the pic of the baby turtle. I don't think you'll have much trouble getting back into zumba as you will be ultra fit when you come home. Saw Sophie at the weekend, she's so grown up now. You can have a proper conversation with her. Sarah doing well -she looks ready to pop now!
    Miss you loads. Take care.Hope to speak to you before you go on your trek. Can't wait till you are home. Lots of Love. Mum xxx

  27. Imriel Morgan, Romeo 4

    Happy birthday Mimi! I love you so much, I wish you were here for your birthday, but as soon as you come back I'll clean your room (our junkyard) and give you a cake and gifts. Its quite weird that your not here, especially as its your birthday. Miss you so much and have a great day! Your the best big sister ever. Love you love you love you. Shay, your little sister who is now practically the same height as mum ;3

  28. Imi Morgan Romeo 4

    Hey Meemze, loving the photos & digging the GINGER Tufft & Chinny Bumps, not forgetting the incredible TAN, finally you're Blacker than me.LOL
    All is well here despite the fact the Croydon was in the words of Bob Marley..'a burning & a looting 2nite''d be shocked by the images & what went down. But I'm sure the tropics is offering much more pleasurable scenes.
    Laz is on the count down for Me-he-co, we should be having a BBQ this Sat. I'll be supervising hopefully not from my bed as the BACK is on a major play up:-S. But Al's bring his BBQ Drum so you're gonna miss out on some damn good Jerk chicken...oouch;-]].
    Uncle Ivor & Sam got married in Vegas on Sunday(his Bday), I'm waiting to see the photos. Grandma is good enough, she said she hadn't left the house for know that she's really getting old now, she joked that she should be in the Guiness Book of records.LOL.
    Missing ya...but I'm still enjoying going rummaging thru your stuff.lmao.
    Have a most FABULOUS Bday, it is mos def an unforgetable one!!!!
    Love Uuuuuu...Ya Ma Cazza.xOxO

  29. Imriel Morgan - Romeo 4
    Hi Imriel, soz I haven't yet wrote you a message. I have tried but I've also been very busy. I'm off on Monday for Miami and then soon Mexico woop! Happy Birthday! Hope you're enjoying yourself out there- what a way to spend your birthday. I'm in Luton at the moment and Blade and everyone says hi and happy bday. Anyway, hope you're well, take care and see ya soon. Laz xxx

  30. Imriel Morgan Romeo 4
    Happy birthday Imriel!! Have a nice time out there! Enjoy the experience! From, Azzie Xx

  31. Justin Shenolikar Romeo 2 Glad to hear you made the trek and survived. Shame about the camera. I want pics! Thought you were def going to do turtles... whats with going to the volcano? Had a good visit in Edinb with Geens. Weather held up long enough to do the barbeque then the sun went away and it got a wee bit nippy. Went to a crazy art exhibit with lots of huge male figures on crosses a la the crucifiction made out of coathangers with spikes all over. Very strange but srangely compelling. The artist also did very complex collages with quite macabre themes. He seems to have a religious hangup. After that wandered thro' the Fringe then recovered over afternoon tea! Bliss!Back in Aberdeen. And you are right - no riots here.Some guy in Glasgow tried to start a riot but got shopped by other internet people and got arrested. Too cold to riot up here plus that would require actually going out and that was never going to happen in aberdeen!Latest talk is bringing back national service for the yobbos. We'll see if anything ever changes. Send pics somehow - borrow a camera. Keep deeting. Love Mum x

  32. Imriel Morgan

    Hello Imronous not sure if you will get this but happy birthday dick face! love you loads xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo


  33. To Catriona McIntosh, Romeo 6
    WOW, just read the blog - what a time you're having. Enjoyed the photos of the Sports Day and really looking forward to seeing the photos of the parties planned for the next few days!!! The boys went back to school today. Ally's first day at RHS - he missed having you there to see him off. We've taken the usual "photo going out the gate" for you to see when you return:). Enjoy the final adventure. Love Mum



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