Monday, 18 February 2013

Alpha 4, 5 & 10

It has been an amazing couple of weeks for Alpha's 4, 5 and 10 and our bloggers Emma, Josh, Olly and Glyn have given updates on their progress.

Alpha 4, Carara National Park by Josh and Emma
It has been wild since Day 1 here at Carara when we came under tarantula 'attack' and met our resident iguana that we have named 'killer' for the first time. We quickly embraced our luxurious new home fully furnished with beds, showers and the occasional tree frog.
Alpha 4: Henry, George, Ben, Josh, Ollie, Emma, Celine, Emilie, Cecilia, Amy, Lewis, Adriana, Lou, Jos, Emma and Hidde

Once everything was set up we were ready to hit the ground running, lining over 100m of path with rcks. Since then our progress has continued and we have renovated many 100s of metres since including raking,gravelling and stone moving. One of the most rewarding parts of working in Carara is the instant gratification from the hundreds of tourists who visit each day and are always interested in and thankful for our work. We have felt perfectly at home here, having thrown Celine a birthday party including a magnificent biscuit cake, and have since held a jungle party with Tang cocktails and a quiz.
Ollie hard at work

We are all fighting fit and plan to continue working hard, until we cannot gravel anymore! We feel blessed to have seen all the wildlife in this magnificent park including Scarlet Macaws, an anteater, Capuchin monkey, hummingbirds, snakes and multiple agouti alongside witnessing an iguana eat a tarantula and a rare sighting of the illusive Carara puma. Every day we experience more and are so excited about our final few days and what they will bring. Pura Vida!

Alpha 5, San Lucas Island, Olly Wolrond
Celebrating St.Valentine's Day

It's hard to believe that I'm writing this blog entry on day 12 of our inhabitation of San Lucas Island. Although the phrase "time flies when you're having fun" does apply, I think it's more a case of time flies when you're working very hard. However, the palm lined Playa de Coco (literally Coconut Beach) on our doorstep does a little to ease the aches. The beach is also a reminder of our mission here to protect and conserve this beautiful island and it's habitat.
Alpha 5: Sally, Jade, Greg, Kate, Gina, Holly, Nick, Olly, Matt, Emily, Kat, Anna, Ben, Charlie, Paul and Job

We hope to keep the island as untouched as possible, preserving it's status as a nature reserve and allowing future generations to enjoy it as we have; while at the same time helping the Rangers to protect the island from poachers who take trees and animals from the islands beaches and forests. By far the most vocal species of animals at risk from poaching are the Howler Monkeys (surprisingly tiny for their loud calls), we thought they were massing for attack the camp however we have since become used to the maniacal calls that occur throughout the day and night.
Hard at work on the trail

Monkeys however are not the only animal to contend with on the island; ants, stick insects and most memorably a tarantula have all wandered into our kitchen. We've also seen an armadillo, hundreds of hermit crabs, have been set upon by bees whilst working and we also share our food store with bats! However we have also seen the other side of the islands natural habitat stargazing on the jetty and seeing for the first time the island's fluorescent water plankton which gives the sea a sparkling glow.
Howler monkeys up in the trees around camp

In building our trail across the island we hope to protect this habitat by providing a new path for the Rangers which will allow them to better patrol the different beaches from the threat of poachers as well as clearing and maintaining the beaches from rubbish which comes on shore from the sea. Taking down buildings is also part of our task and we hope that we will create an environment which will attract responsible tourists to the island both to view the infamous prison and admire the unspoilt natural environment. In terms of global impact we hope that our part in promoting conservation areas in Costa Rica will add to it's global reputation in providing the right way to protect the natural environment.

Alpha 10, Arenilla Miraflor

Raleigh is working alongside the local community of La Arenilla in Miraflor to build sustainable housing. This encompasses levelling the terrain, laying foundations and making adobe (mud) bricks to build new houses.  These solid, low-tech and durable homes replace makeshift accommodation that cannot withstand the storms and rains.
The view from our homes

Raleigh’s Expedition 13A Alpha 10 group came to La Arenilla with the aim of progressing building work on 60 to 70 percent of the locals’ new housing. That aim is near completion.
This project is to provide the people of La Arenilla with safe and stable housing. This project is not just to build sustainable housing, it is to secure a future for the children and grandchildren.  Somewhere for them to study, somewhere for them to be safe and confident that when the wet season comes their homes will not be washed away.  We are proud that Alpha 10 has helped this community realise its ambition to adapt to the climatic conditions, to withstand the rains and to carry on into the dry season without rebuilding every year. 

Tomorrow a social justice blog from Alpha 8 and an update from Alpha 7.


  1. Hi Hen, (Alpha 10)
    We are all very confused as our messages keep disappearing from the blog so hope you might be receiving some? You will know about all the footy/rugby scores as everyone keeps messaging about those. Definitely very important!!
    Can't see there has been much posted about your work but trust its been fun and your cement hasn't eaten holes in your boots yet?!
    Been fab weather here this w/e so Dad has a red face and I even turned the heating down but more snow forecast for the end of the week.
    Granny coming this w/e so just loosening up my vocal cords!
    Tons of proper best
    Mum xx

  2. Louise PM Alpha 4. Yay! Well done Alpha 4. Mum suggests you get a pet trained iguana to take care of all the spiders. Now you have got the hang of rock and gravel laying, perhaps you can help mend all the pot-holes that have appeared in the roads here in the UK over the winter. Hope you all get back to base-camp safe and sound. Dad x

  3. Daniela carranza alpha 3 hola Maria Feliz incisio de semana ya casi viene de vuelta es pero que este en Todas y que la este pasando genial todo esta bien por aqui :) don't worry for your cellphone is already paid jajaja Maria trate de llamarme cuando llega si para una cosa :) ojala pueda de verdad jejejejej Maria Linda le mando la mejor vibra you rocks se q esta en Todas la quiero mucho y se le extrana demasiado un gran beso y abrazo estamos en contacto ya sabe lllamememememem :*

  4. For Katy Johnson Alpha 3
    Hi Kates! You'll be almost at the end of the trekking phase now & looking for some serious rest I bet! Interesting stories of Tarantulas and pumas coming from some of the other jungle-based groups - looking forward to hearing about Alpha 3's brushes with the wild! Mum's missing your little trips to Riverhill so much that she took me instead - new p'nut butter/jam cakes are ace. Got an email from GU accomm office & all new students are guaranteed a place. They obv know your preferences.
    Mum's almost finished your room decontamination - just in time for G&G coming to stay. Missing you loads & it'd be cool if you we're able to punt us a wee email during your down-time.
    M&D xxx

  5. Hi Angie (Angie Turnbull Alpha 10)
    We are pleased to hear that your project has been successful and hope that you and your group are well and enjoying what looks like a real challenge. We are now back in the UK after a fantastic holiday with Tom, Moo and Ollie and have been reading the blogs while away. Now we are back in a cold UK.
    lots of love, Mum and Dad xx

  6. To: Ben (Alpha 2)

    Sounds like you're having a wizard jolly time. Would have sent a comment earlier but computer was playing up. Hope you're surviving the malaria tablets and Apple product withdrawal symptoms adequately.

    Wishing you well,


  7. Message for Emma holder, 13A, alpha 4

    Hey Emmaahhh! Sounds like you are having a great time! And that you have enjoyed beds and such luxuries. Hope the pictures and poadalyme is keeping you safe still (I'm listening to cd 4 as I write this before work) can't wait to hear from you at the end of the week. Missing you loads I am constantly looking forward to the next CD and letter from you! I have a weeks holiday next week and I have no idea what I'm going to do. I tryed to rearrange it for when your back but they said I couldn't. You will be happy to know that I have purchased running trainers and I think that's what I'm going to focus on next week! I've had one run so far and it felt like the worst idea ever. It hurt. Anyway speak soon. Love you always ashley xxxxxxxxxxxxx

  8. For Freddie Brock alpha 3
    We have been enjoying reading the blog but can't wait to hear about how your trek has gone. You must be getting close to the Pacific by now. All well here, although Alice has been unbearably bouncy since doing so well in her driving test! Had a string of visitors over half term including Erica's lot, Ed and Horners. Dad's away on a residential but Dahlia and Mo are keeping me company. Hoping very much to hear from you at changeover. lots and lots of love Mum.

  9. Para Jeannina Alpha 7, Hola beba, queremos saber de tí, de tu grupo no publican nada, estamos preocupados, apenas pueda me llama. Te extrañamos mucho, no sabes cuanto, cuidese mi amor. Atte Mamí.

  10. Florentine Claus, 13A, alpha 10

    Hoi Floor, beginnen te wennen aan de kou hier. Soms meer dan 30 graden verschil met Costa Rica. Mam zou deze week de hoornvliestransplantatie krijgen, maar dat is niet doorgegaan. Geen goede hoornvliezen te krijgen. Nu is de operatie gepland op jouw verjaardag 28 maart.
    Heb een kort berichtje over jullie project op het blog gezien. Jammer genoeg geen actiefoto's van jullie. Hoop dat jullie het leuk hebben naast het harde werken. Benieuwd wat je hebt geleerd. XXX pap en ook van mam en Joep

  11. Charlie Cunningham Alpha 5

    Charlie, hope you are well and enjoying the experience,

    Lots of Love

    Nan xxxx

  12. TO Hidde Borslap,
    Hallo Hidde!!Zoals beloofd stuur ik jou een berichtje:)We genieten steeds van al de foto's die geplaatst worden, vooral van jou vrolijke gezicht op al de foto's!Dat betekent dat jullie het er in ieder geval erg naar je zin hebben!!Veel succes op je volgende missie, geniet nog even op het basiskamp, en dikke kus voor onze Robin!!Liefs, Danielle, moeder van Robin

  13. Hola Job!!
    Que dicha que estás disfrutando, ma y pa quieren ver fotos todos los días jajaja.. yo les he enseñado las que están en este blog y dicen que te envía saludos!
    Sigue adelante!!
    Ah y Andy está todo sorprendido de ver tu nuevo look!! dice que se ve muy loco!!
    Saludos que estés bien! :)




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Pura Vida!