Sunday, 27 June 2010
Above: Dawn on the Imbak River
The area has been given class 1 conservation status, meaning that no trees can be cut down in the conservation area. The area is the source of the River Imbak and is considered the most biodiverse area of rainforest in the world.
Above: The very impressive Imbak Falls
Above: The view downstream Imbak Falls
The Raleigh project at the site involves securing the foundations for the four uprights of a suspension bridge across the Imbak river which will open up the area for further scientific research.
Above: The impressive meeting room at Ranger Camp.
Controversially,the approach to Imbak is through a 41kilometre palm oil plantation, which butts up against the primary rainforest.
Above:The palm oil plantation abutting the Imbak Conservation Rainforest
You can read more about how the Raleigh Expedition to Borneo is going here
We are now waiting for the Host Country Venturers to arrive on Thursday and the main body of venturers who arrive on Friday, and then the Expedition will begin for real.
I'll endeavour to keep you posted!
Monday, 21 June 2010
The comprehensive training consisted of how to use a parang (machette), how to build a basher (hammock under a tarp), how to dig a long drop (toilet), and how to build a slops pit.
We were then given the opportunity to practice setting up and using the radios, and the precise way that Raleigh communicates using verbal templates.
Swim awareness was covered as was how to undertake a river crossing, using the trusted method of side stepping across the river, facing the flow, in Indian file, and we all had a practice in the river, which was running very fast given the amount of rain that had fallen up the valley.
We were then allocated our rations for the two day trek into the rainforest, which starts on the opposite bank of the River Kiuli.
The heavens opened, which didn't bode well for our 3 hour trek into the Jungle the next day.
We set off at 15 minute intervals the next day in our Tango groups, of 9 people, lead into the jungle by a local guide. I was a member of Tango 3 and we set off last.
It was incredibly hot and humid on the trek, through some very rough hilly terrain and we had a lot of kit to carry, including the Radio Pack, Aerial, solar charger, 5 litre jerry can for water (empty!), a group tarpaulin, 2 trangia stoves, 3 washing up bowls, perangs, hammocks, personal tarps, personal kit, food for two days, and my camera kit, which consisted of one D200 and 24.120mm lens, spare battery, 10.20mm sigma, and tripod, which I carried externally.
All in all my pack was heavy, but not too bad, but I need to look at how much kit I am carrying around with me. One of the challenges for me is to plan each phase of the expedition so that I am not carrying any unnecessary kit. Weight is a real issue.
We trekked into a camp site by a fast running river, and set about setting up our individual bashers, before it started raining, and did lots of group tasks, such as digging the slop pits, and long drop and erecting the communal tarp.
We had a well earned swim in a deep pool in the river to cool off, and then it was dinner and some quiet reflection time, before some name games and then bed in our bashers.
The highlight of the trek was waking up to the sounds of the jungle. Absolutely unbelievable sounds. I was lying in awe of what I was listening too. Croaks, squeels, eecks, buzzing, coughing, barking, tweeting, whirling, burring, tooting, squeaking, howling, whooping, zinging, zipping, ripping and on and on! Can't wait to hear them all again soon.
We struck camp and trekked out back to the TAC centre, and had a little surprise on the way out, and I'm sworn to secrecy about what happened, so I can't tell you. Suffice to say that I was amazed at the speed at which Gilbert our guide could build a stretcher out of a hammock and four bits of bamboo, cut from the jungle!
In fact I was amazed at the difference between our guides' kit and the kit we carried. They certainly know how to travel light!
We travelled back to Field Base rather dishevelled and had an afternoon of cultural awareness gives, by Jim and Yolander.
Today everyone is preparing for our Pre Phase Visits and mine is to Imback canyon along with Nick, Franz, Sarah (Medic) and Cat (who is visiting from head office).
We are setting off tomorrow morning at 0700, travelling by bus to Telupid, where we will be taken by 4x4 vehicles on a 3 hour run to the Imbak River. After crossing the river, it is another 1.5hours off road to Ranger camp, and a 1.5hour trek to BBC camp, which is at the Canyon.
Imbak has class 1 conservation status. It is noted for its bio diversity and is one of the most prestine rainforest on the globe. I can't wait to get there.
Friday, 18 June 2010
So, its off to TAC tomorrow at 0700, to learn the basics of how to survive in the jungle. We will be spending tomorrow night in the bush, sleeping under tarps using hammocks, and at the moment it is raining very heavily....so i'm dry bagging everything, including the cameras. This is really going to be a good test of my plans for looking after my kit.
Saturday, 12 June 2010
Read this blog that my comms officer Hailey has written regarding the staff team here at Field base, Kota Kinabalu, which will give you an overview of who I am working with.
Thursday, 10 June 2010
We all went for a roti meal last night, lots of fragrant rice and spicy noodles and after a couple of beers, it felt as though someone had turned the light off! So, it was early to bed and I was up at 5.30am this morning.
I watched the sun come up in a clear marine sky, amused by the aerobatic display of brown bats the size of my hand and a cacophony of weird birdsong and a barking dogs. I'm sure there was a few frogs in there as well.
Today is a bit of a training day, in the very safe surroundings of the Raleigh house, along with the other managers, all of whom are very friendly and interesting people. So more later.
Monday, 7 June 2010
PS Thanks for the card sweetie, it means everything to me xxxxxxxx
Friday, 4 June 2010
Sepilok - Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre
Probably the most exciting new conservation initiative in Borneo, this is a truly unique project. The Sun Bear is the smallest of the nine bear species in the world. With little known about the animal and its numbers decreasing something needs to be done to secure its future. The new Conservation Centre was conceived by leading researcher Wong Siew Ti. The idea is a very similar model to that of the neighbouring Orang-utan Sanctuary.
The centre will aim to raise awareness of the plight of the Sun Bear. It will allow for the rehabilitation of Sun bears that have been kept in captivity or orphaned. Those that can't be released back into the wild will have the best life possible. Through a visitor programme the centre will become self funding with any profits used for further research of the species.
The BSBCC is completely unique as it is a collaboration of so many different bodies working for a common goal. Raleigh groups will be supporting the project by helping with the construction of parts of the conservation centre, mainly fencing, enclosures and boardwalks. The project is being overseen by LEAP whom is working very closely with two government bodies, The Department of Forestry and The Department of Wildlife.
MORF - Reforestation project, Kampung Bowang Jamal, Kudat District
MORF is a new conservation programme designed to actively pursue re-forestation through collection, cultivation and replanting of forest trees in order to reclaim barren areas. The initial objective is to establish a ‘field base' and ‘rainforest nursery' to supply indigenous tree species to land obtained through donation, purchase on behalf of the organisation or any other means possible.
This project is only just starting and will benefit hugely from having Raleigh volunteers involved. During the project Raleigh plans to; build an accommodation area for future volunteers to work on the project, create a nursery to provide trees for replanting on land obtained by MORF, to collect saplings from the local area.
The project is located approximately 4 hours drive from Kota Kinabalu and is quite close to an active community, the real bonus about this project is that it is only a short walk to a beautiful beach.
Cant wait to get going with these projects Link to Raleigh site here
Kindergarten – one of two possible villages in the Tongod District
The Tongod region of Sabah is approximately four to five hours drive from Kota Kinabalu. The communities are predominantly of Sungai Makiang origin living in traditionally built housing of bamboo and leafed roofing. In some houses there are up to 2 families habiting. The population are predominantly Christian. Subsistence farming is practised with hill rice grown on a rotational basis on nearby land. A secondary source of income comes from a small amount of rubber tapping. The kampongs have become increasingly isolated over the past few years due to the deterioration of the main track into the area. There are very few community facilities available and the area has been earmarked for assistance from various NGOs to improve the standard of living. PACOS our long standing project partner will be working with us on this project and will ensure that the Kindergarten is maintained and staffed in the future.
Thursday, 3 June 2010
1st march 2010