Sunday, 31 July 2011

The Mysterious Island......

Step up guest blogger No 3!  Dawn is STILL away having fun visiting the Zulu’s on adventure island (also known as San Lucas Island) so I Laura (field base medic) am stepping into the breach.  My mum will testify that my spelling is atrocious so bare with me J

Romeo 1 have trekked through Barbilla National Park and made it to their next destination, Valle Escondido, a Cabecar village in the Chirripó Indigenous Reserve.  They say the scenery is breath-taking and all members of the group are going strong.
Romeo 2 are currently trekking towards Lake Arenal and praying for good weather so they can have some clear views out to the majestic Arenal volcano.

Arenal volcano on a clear day.

Romeo 3 have set up a stylish jungle camp with all the mod cons like basha hammocks, tarped off dining area and long drop!  Today they have been shifting gravel in rucksacks and wheelbarrows to make a path through the Las Pailas National Park.  Later, weather permitting; they may visit the hot springs and volcano, nice work if you can get it!
Romeo 4 have moved to the other side of La Cangreja National Park and have continued work with the rangers making the tourist path ready for all those visitors. They are going to be working on the Fundación Ecotropica section of the park which Raleigh hasn’t worked on for 5 years!
Romeo 5 in Miraflor have started work on the community centre but today took a day off to explore the nearby town of Yalí. They are living in the community of Yeluca where they have been warmly received by the local population.
Romeo 6 are also up in Miraflor in the community of Apantes. They have also had a lovely day off watching a baseball game, and to get there they had to walk along the orchid trail, wow!
Romeo 7 are busy putting the finishing touches to the water tank in Quebrada Honda, Nicaragua and were planning to go for a swim in the local river today.

The local Quebrada Honda folk working on the water storage tank.

The Zulu’s are all together (with Dawn the blogger) on adventure island still surviving by their wits alone out in the wilderness!  And loving every minute of it!  What they are actually doing is still a little bit of a state kept secret but I guarantee they will come back with stories aplenty!

The two Challenor’s groups have now been on project for 6 days. Charlie 2, the group in Namaldi, have been storming ahead with their work. The walls of the kindergarten are now up and they are starting on the floor over the next few days. They are also going to be mixing lots of cement to plaster the walls. The community have really taken to the group and they have organised a community party as well as cultural events. Over in Palmera, Charlie 3 has been busy digging the pits for the bio-digestors. Over the next few days they are going to start on the pig-pens where the pigs will live that will be producing the waste that will turn into bio-gas.

 Here at field base we are like the helm of this huge ship they call Raleigh and we have been working hard all day to make sure she sails safe and true.  We have been sending food and equipment out to the projects, cleaning tents and devising a half hour ‘Radio Raleigh’ which included world news, sports and entertainment as well as a little sing along to keep the spirits high.

Until next time this is Laura.... signing out.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Zulus Head To Prison & Tangos Go To Playa Hermosa!

Our lovely and talented Communications Officer, Dawn is currently on San Lucas Island, putting in place all of the final preparations for what should be an incredible second half of the Zulus’ Adventure Challenge. We, Logs/Yankee Emily and Raleigh Veteran/Tica Tuti, will be filling you in on all the juicy details in her absence. Here goes nothing...

The Zulu groups descended upon La Fundación Ecotrópica last night; after a collective sigh of relief (trek phase over!), the groups hunkered down for the night, anxious to see what the second half of the Adventure Challenge had in store for them. All 4 Zulu groups got an early start this morning and with tummies full of porridge, made their way to San Lucas Island (formerly an island prison, now a wildlife refuge). The venturers spent the day enjoying the beach, taking a tour of the prison grounds, and generally chilling out. And tonight, rather than sheltering themselves from what was supposed to be a heavy tropical storm, are sitting on the pier watching a beautiful sunset and the millions of stars peppering the sky. Magical.

 PM's Megan, Nick and Haley loving the trek!

San Lucas Island

Last night the Mini Expedición Latina deployed – here with some information (en Español) is Tuti! Take it away...

Es el segundo día para la Mini Expedición Latina, el grupo (Tango 1) llego ayer al Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Playa Hermosa, esta es la primera parte de la Mini Expedición.  En estos 3 días siguientes, los chicos van a estar ayudando con labores do voluntariado en el parque. En este tiempo, también van a estar aprendiendo como utilizar el equipo de Raleigh, por que después de estos 5 días, les espera la parte mas emociónate y desafiante…la caminata de 5 días hasta la cima el Cerro Bares! El grupo esta listo para todo lo que falta de su aventura!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch (Fieldbase), we’ve been getting into the Adventure Challenge spirit as well! Mozzy net fishing, anyone? 

We are truly roughing it.

Until next time, this is Emily & Tuti – out.

Photos courtesy of Haley Rust

Friday, 29 July 2011

Zulus, Romeos, Rain and More

Updates from the venturers! Everyone is doing well. Romeo 1 are doing what they’re meant to be doing – trekking hard, walking strong and going for gold in the Turrimacho trek! Today they will be staying at Barbilla Rangers staion and tomorrow they will head over to take on some of Cost Rica’s deepest jungle! Romeo 2 are on track, on time and going strong. Today they are on their way to Alto Cebadilla. Romeo 3 over at Las Pailas are also cracking on nicely. All is going well and yesterday they began building their jungle camp so they now have a nice comfortable roof/tarpaulin over their heads to keep them safe and dry. Romeo 4 over in La Cangreja spent their first night at La Fundación Ecotropica rangers station. Today they head over to the Santa Rosa ranger station where they will be sleeping for the rest of the project. Romeo 5, Romeo 6 and Romeo 7 arrived in Nicaragua yesterday where they all stayed the school for the night, before going their separate ways to their project sites today.

Zulu groups 1, 2, 3 and 4are all on their last day of trekking today. They will meet tonight at La Fundacion Ecotropica ranger station where they will spend the night catching up and sharing stories. They will make their way over to mystery location first thing tomorrow morning! Bearing in mind that none our Zulu venturers know what part two of the adventure challenge holds, it’s all pretty exciting in Zulu world at the moment. Some of our field base crew have departed today to set up for the next few days in situ. A few more of us will be joining them tomorrow morning with lots more up our sleeves to make the next few days of expedition 11H one to remember.

Everything with Charlie one, two and three is running smoothly. Everyone is well, happy and enjoying the torrential downpour of rain that has decided to hit Costa Rica and Nicaragua recently.

Speaking of rain, time for a weather update! For those of you jealous folk back home who are longing for some of our Costa Rican sunshine, be jealous no more. Sweeping its way across Costa Rica in the next few days is rain, rain, rain! But it wouldn’t be Raleigh without a little bit of damp. So with our anoraks’ zipped, umbrella’s up and tarpaulin tightly fastened, we’re just about ready to take on the world (or Central America at least). Saying that, the last few weeks have provided us with a whole lot of sunshine so we won’t complain. Let it rain!

Please note that Pinki Tse from Romeo 5 and Joyce Hiu Tung Law from Romeo 7 are moving to join the Romeo 4 team in La Cangreja.

In other, more cultural news, Cartago is getting ready for one of Costa Rica's biggest Religious festivals – Virgen de los Angeles Day is a Costa Rican holiday celebrating Costa Rica's patron saint, the Virgen de los Angeles (la Negrita). It is celebrated on August 2nd with religious pilgrimages from San José to the Nuestra Señora de los Angeles Basilica in Cartago. Locals and tourists make their way over to the monument of Virgen de los Angeles to pray. They bring with them small objects and things of signifcance that represent what they wish to come true in the future. In the next few days Cartago will be filled with over two million people celebrating this special day!

Updates from the phase one moustache competition... drum roll... In third place, we decided that everyone’s a winner here at Raleigh (apart from the actual winner, who actually won) so there is no third place. But we do have a second place… Keiner! Well done Kei. A unique design, neatly shaped and a decent amount of volume. Solid. But taking the lead with the majority vote we have… more drum rolls…. with an absolute howler – Cameron! Well done Cam.
Well done to all participants, a great effort from you all. It’s the taking part that counts. You can shave now.  

It’s Sabrina’s (Deputy Manager) birthday today – happy birthday Brie! To celebrate the field base team have decided to replace walking around the office with dancing! It’s the simple things in life. Pura vida.

Photo by Dawn Tennant

*Blog written by Dawn Tennant and photo’s by Kat Mammone, unless otherwise stated.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Zulus and Romeos

Our Zulu groups have been trekking hard through some of Costa Rica’s finest and most beautiful terrain over the last through days. We’re happy to say that all the groups are doing well do far.

Zulu 1 began their trek at Alto Palma. They spent the first day hiking to Caite where they were able to camp at a farm for the night. The next morning they continued on to the peak of Cerro Bares where they spent the night and woke up to a magnificent sunrise over the Pacific Ocean. Today they set off from Galan and are heading to Zapotal.

Zulu 2 began their trek at Rancho Largo and spent the first night in Upper Galan where. The group are currently making their way over to Bajo Quesado. They will spend the first half of the day heading towards Alto Palma where they will be able to witness some of the best views in the whole trek. They will spend the night sleeping at the edge of the ridge at Bajo Quesado with an incredible sunrise to wake up to in the morning.

Zulu 3 have so far made their way from Bajo Lanas over to the peak of Cerro Bares for an amazing morning’s sunrise to start the day. Today the team will be crossing the Rio Quirel, Rio Cajon West and Rio Cajon East until they reach the Iron Bridge – a magnificent bridge situated in between two stunning valleys. They’ll be spending the night here before the last day of trekking tomorrow.

Zulu 4 started their trek at Fundacion Ecotropica and ended their first day at Santa Rosa where they slept at the Ranger’s station. They then moved on to the peak of Cerro Bares. Today they will continue on to Piedra Vieja where they’ll be sleeping in a school for the night.

Safe to say all of our Zulu groups are doing well! Everyone is still in one piece, happy, healthy and most importantly enjoying themselves. Tomorrow is the last day of trekking for our Zulus before they will get ready for the second half of the phase and head to the mystery location to take part is some serious survival skills! We’d love to give you more information about this part but unfortunately we are sworn to secrecy. The field base team will be heading out to meet the guys at the mystery location in the next few days to help organize some of the fun and games, so more updates and pictures from that soon!

As for the Romeos, last night’s we all got well and truly stuck in to some Raleigh-oke. First song to get the ball rolling – Queen, 'Don’t Stop Me Now.' The venturers were up at dawn this morning to sort out a few final bits of packing before they loaded up the buses departed in their new Romeo groups for the start of phase two!

Pura vida!

*Blog written by Dawn Tennant and photos by Kat Mammone, unless otherwise stated.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Out with the Alphas and in with the Romeos!

Our project allocations for phase two have been announced! As of 9am this morning the Alpha groups were officially no more. Expired. Finito. Gone. It’s now time to make way for… the Romeos! So without any further ado let’s meet the teams.

Romeo 1 - The Turrimacho trek, Costa Rica
PM's Ronnie and Cam
Bibi Bartstra
Alfie Carapiet
Chris Tullo
Chris Vos
Francesca Payne
Kay Chow
Noe Corrales
Tricia Ofuono
Sacha Lapins
Sara Wilkes
Angelina Cheung
Yasim Begum

Romeo 2 - The Guanacaste trek, Costa Rica
PM's Reggie, CC and Niall
Emma Sheehy
Grace Minns
Hugh Packer
Isaac Hassard
Jen Clements
Justin Shenolikar
Lucy Xu
Alfonso Ureña
Rich Johnson
Ryan Baker
Sarah Canty

Romeo 3 - Environmental project in Las Pailas - Rincon de la Vieja National Park - building  and working on the park trails and living in a jungle camp.
PM's Carwyn and Amy
Corrie Moxon
Daniel Renshaw
Elliot Bartholomew
Esther Lusty
Harvey Ka Hung Tse
Jasmine Furbert
Jennifer Miller
Lydia Woodward
Maricruz Esquivel Lopez
Otto Mena Kikat
Ryan Austin
Cindy Fung

Romeo 4 - Environmental in La Cangreja National Park - building and working on the park trails and living in a jungle camp.
PM's Tom and Helena
Catherine Chatfield-Ball
Christina Clare
Imi Morgan
Joss Tringham
Jonathan White
Jordan Carter
Kelly Robinson
Cebolla Gamboa
Kulbir Rai
Saran Kular
Tim Hales
Yandry Benavides

Romeo 5 - Community project in Yeluca in Miraflor, Nicaragua - building a community centre and living with the Nicaraguan families
PM's Jon, Carmena and Chava
Abi Ramanan
Charlie Page
Pinki Tse
Francis Zeledron Lanuza
Joanna Bartlett
Katie Neal
Keith Lau Sui Pang
Luke Smalley
Maykol Meneses
Daran Sarma

Romeo 6 - Community project in Apantes in Miraflor, Nicaragua - building a community centre and living with the Nicaraguan families.
PM's Claire and Connor
Alex Newman
Catherine White
Catriona McIntosh
Claire Barnsley
Claire Syme
Daniel O'Brien
Dave Winterflood
Hannah Bottomley
Fernando Castillo
Lloyd Thomas
Yisbel Centeno

Romeo 7 - Community project in Quebrada Honda in Achuapa, Nicaragua - working on a gravity-fed water project.
PM's Jenny, Marga and Waheeda (King Tut)
Caesar Schinas
Bert Dunphy
Emma Black
Evelyn Calderon
Joyce Hiu Tung Law
Jack Smylie Wild
Jodie Hastie
Karen Rocha
Mitch Tulloch
Vejuna Zalalyte
Werner Calderon

From now on if you could put the name of the person you are messaging followed by their new Romeo groups for any blog messages you are leaving that would be great. The same goes for the Zulu’s (previously the Delta’s). Muchisimas gracias amigos.

Last night the Alphas now Romeos celebrated their return with a superhero party here at fieldbase. Costumes were a plenty; varied, colourful, sparkly, tight, and generally quite ridiculous. Everyone spent the evening flying around and saving the world from evil villains and monsters. Not really. Health and safety wouldn’t allow it. But it was great fun and there was lots of dancing and jumping around to some major beats courtesy of DJ Turrialba. Check out some pictures of the groups in action and their skit performances.

Right ok folks I think that’s enough silliness on the blog for one day. Let’s move on to more important matters – the phase one Moustache competition.
The PMs have been working hard on their designs over the last three weeks. Each has come back with their own individual style, unique to their personalities and their project experiences. Here are the candidates. Dads, lock up your daughters.
Reggie - looking shady
Niall - full marks for gingerness

Jon - Grizzly

Phil - the John Cleese look
Connor - representing Ireland

Kiwi Cam - an outrageous set of handlebars

Chava - The T Bar

Tom - 70's Texan style
Kei - The Fonz, in Mexico.
Don Martin - what a real beard looks like 
Nick - the 'I can't really grow a 'tashe' 'tashe.

Andy - Hmm, I wonder...
Mario and Luigi... What?
We welcome all comments and criticism so please feel free to leave yours. The winner will be announced later tonight so we’ll keep you posted.

From superheroes to superstars - on the entertainment menu for tonight at fieldbase, Raleigh-oke! We'll be filling you in with some updates on that soon i'm sure. I'll finish off with a few snaps of the Alpha's returning from phase one - pura vida!

*Blog written by Dawn Tennant and photos by Kat Mammone, unless otherwise stated.