Rewind to Wednesday morning. Four groups were allocated and designated a Mountain Leader, who kindly gave a refresher of that timeless recreational activity – map reading. Following a few hours getting to grips with the finer points of (compass) needle-work, the Whiskey Groups were on their way. One factor which became apparent after only a few minutes trekking was the heat – Central America is a far cry from the Cairngorms, and a water bottle, sunhat, sun-cream combo was essential under the afternoon sun.
After a ‘refreshing’ nights sleep camping on various football fields in the Tucurrique region it was a 3.30am rise in order to make the next scheduled meet point – for river crossing training! Two techniques can be adopted for this. First of all, there is the huddle – a 3-4 man effort which shuffles sideways like a corral rotating on the ebb/a planet of the apes’ style ritual. The second approach is the Gandalf conga – the lead person wielding a staff in the face of the flow (for balance) as the fellow team mates hold on in a column behind as they side-step across in unison. Both beautifully effective, dryness however cannot be guaranteed.
Thankfully it was yet another sun drenched day and clothes dried quickly in preparation for the biggie – Jungle Camp. After some impressive demonstrations in basha bed and hammock construction, it was the groups turn to set up for their camp for the night and the VMs didn’t disappoint with some truly enterprising camp craft – Whiskey One’s DoJo (Joseph Donovan) taking the plaudits for best bathroom; his concealed, and tastefully decorated design, gaining admirers throughout the VM’s. Maybe he’s in the wrong profession....
The unique experience of a night’s stay in the jungle was perhaps disturbed by the incessant rain on the covering tarps through the night, but it was yet another early start in time for tool training before the march back to base in time for lunch. If only it were so simple. In a spate of ‘accidents’, all medics were struck down with an array of ‘injuries’. I would like to reassure you all, it was just a drill, enabling the groups to practise their medical skills, with all groups making it back to base safely.
Just as you thought it couldn’t get any better, it does. It’s Project Allocation time! Check back soon for info regarding first phase projects, and which VMs will be undertaking them.