The Zulus have returned to Fieldbase from their Adventure Challenge!
I'd like to say that they came bounding up the driveway, full of the days of spring...however they were more akin to zombies than spring lambs after a 3.30am start, a nap on the bus and the small issue of 8 days of solid adventure!
Here are their summaries of the past few days...photos to follow!
ZULU 1 - by Sarah Tight
"So where ARE we?" was the first question from Tarlaan when we arrived at the beginning of our 5 day trek. Little did we know that navigation was to become impossible, traversing snake-infested grass the norm and that our personal fragrances could reach such potency! Spirits rose and fell, but the spectacular views kept us going up the near-vertical hills. We walked up A LOT of such hills, swam in amazing rivers, laughed, cried, and overall, survived!
ZULU 2 - by Mayci Hicks
Zulu 2 is comprised of many different people from different Delta groups, yet despite these differences we fell in effortlessly to the social circle that would shape our lives for the next 5 days on trek.
Raleigh trek consists of 55km, 4 Zulu groups, rucksacks containing our weight in Pork & Beans and some of the hardest days we have ever experienced.We overcame a multitude of challenges and our team never broke, despite...
- encountering tricky boulders in our river crossing and then realising it was the wrong way...
- trying to find camping ground between walls of mud and corn
- seeing ANOTHER 50 degree mountain climb with a rucksack in the heat of the midday sun...
During moments like this, it is easy to see the qualities that make up a person. No-one in Zulu 2 gave up.
Yesterday, the winners of the trek and survival challenge were announced and there has never been a prouder moment than when Zulu 2 was proclaimed the victor! 10, 20, 30 years from now, if something goes wrong, these memories will help us pull through, realising "I can do anything". Zulu 2 may officially end when we leave Raleigh, but our connections never will.
ZULU 3 - by Taormina Locke
After the exhausting but immensely rewarding trek, all the Zulu teams were whisked away to 'Paradise Island', a beautiful island haunted by the ghosts of the old prison there.
Our first night was spent setting up camp next to the pier, and then being given a talk by Ross on San Lucas Island's history. Although a little spooked, we were all looking forward to getting a good night's sleep until 7.30am - a lie in!
However, we were dragged from sleep by a blood-curdling scream at 5am followed by huge shouts and roars! Our tents were pulled to the ground, and we hopped out into the dawn to see our PMs had gone wild! All dressed in ghostly attire, they rounded us up into our Zulu groups to start the 24-hour survival challenge.
The challenge entailed navigation from a point to which we had been led blindfolded, tight-rope walking, spider-web diving and bridge-building, camping, cooking dinner from scratch (including scaling fish) and finally rounded off by a celebratory jump off the pier into the sea!
This morning we woke at 3.30am to get packed and load the boats heading back to the mainland. What an incredible last few days to end a Raleigh expedition!
ZULU 4 - by Anna Coleridge
Shocked to be woken up at 5.30am just days after finishing trek, Z4 started the survival challenge slowly. After a less-than perfect first task (though Mark did build a great fire) we picked up our game. In the raft-building task we put in a strong performance and were complimented on our intelligent design. The final two challenges in the morning went relatively smoothly, though our size range from Leon to Carla meant we struggled to balance weight!
Fatigued and ready for lunch, we stopped on a path to eat before finding camp for the night. We reached our designated beach just in time to meet the 'boatman' Ross with our fish and bread for supper.
Mark built a wonderful fire, Grace scaled many a fish for supper and Annie and Alice made bread dough in bowls made out of watermelons, culminating in a lovely evening around the fire (did we mention the fire?).
Up at 4.30am because of the concrete floor, we were back at base in good time to hear that Z2 had won! Despite this, we thoroughly enjoyed the survival challenge and are ready to come home.
Thanks guys! Pics to follow!