22nd July 2014
Alpha 5 started their first phase on the beautiful island of Mamutik where they all successfully completed their PADI dive qualification. After five days on the island they were suitably refreshed and set for the next 12 days of trekking. With a few nerves setting in, the team from fieldbase met Alpha 5 from the boat to hand them the essential kit they would need for their trek.
They travelled the 8 hours by 4 x 4 to Long Pasia where they stayed the night in bashas before an early start the next day. Long Pasia’s remote forest provides venturers with a challenging yet beautiful back drop for their trek phase. While trekking, venturers learn essential jungle skills and about the customs and way of life the lands they will be trekking in.
Hiking through the thick and lush, humid rainforest, crossing many small streams, ascending and descending the team take on many challenges throughout each day. Leeched, scratched and soaked in sweat with tired muscles, the team usually arrives at camp by 2pm.
With the camp still to build, bashers and hammocks to string up and the radio to erect, the time ticks away and before too long its 18:00 hours: “Longs o’clock”. Then it’s time for a well-earned meal before the team climb wearily into their bashas for the night.
Trek is more than just surviving in the jungle; it is about overcoming fears, developing leadership skills and truly understanding the essence of team work.
Once back at base camp, I caught up with some of the team from Alpha 5 who talked me through their many highlights from dive/trek:
“There are so many to mention! The jungle workshops with Fauzi (lighting fires, drinking from bamboo trees, jewellery making); watching the sunset and the stars on the beach; Chris and Liam bringing us breakfast in our bashas on the last morning; arriving back in Long Pasia and playing football with the village. It was all amazing!”
“Watching the sunset on the island with the locals; campfires every night and washing in the river, Fauzy’s jungle lessons, the homestay and meeting the villagers, playing football with the children, watching monitor lizards in the jungle.” Lucy
“The crowning moment of trek for me was probably getting to the top of the mountain where there was a break in the canopy; everyone enjoyed the breeze on our sweaty bodies and being able to look out over the jungle as far as our eyes could see was amazing. The best part of diving was definitely our close encounter with a turtle!” Emma
“Diving is like being in a whole new different universe where everything is really beautiful. It’s like being in a movie. Trekking is by far the best challenge and most rewarding to me as after every trek day there is always an amazing view and new experiences. If given the chance, I would definitely want to return to Long Pasia to trek again.” Jing
“Diving was an amazing experience, regardless of the many mosquito bites I sustained, I loved every minute. Trekking was one of the greatest challenges I have taken part in.” Lewis