14th July 2013
"The Loop" is when a team from Fieldbase go and visit the project sites around Sabah and quite literally drive in a loop around Sabah. The Loop will take some much deserved treats in the mobile shop and most importantly delivers all your blog posts, letters and news from home to your loved ones!
After over a week cooped up in fieldbase the first phase loop was more than ready to get out of the house and on the road.
The team was Lil, Sarah and Ali, the plan was to visit three of our Alpha groups in an epic 6 day journey that would cover most of Sabah. With us in the Bravo were all your much anticipated blog posts for the venturers, letters from home, any resupplies for the project work and of course loads of chocolate and sweets! Leaving KK our first stop was Kg Abingkoi and the amazing Alpha 1.
We reached the team early afternoon after a slightly terrifying off-road drive through heavy rain and fog. But it was more than worth it to receive the welcome from both the venturers and the villagers!
We were greeted by a display of traditional music and dancing from the locals who were clearly excited to have even more visitors from Raleigh.
And it did not take long for Alpha 1 to get involved with festivities as well!
We ended our day the same way we do every Sunday on Raleigh- Tuning in to the wonders of Raleigh Radio.
We left bright and early the following morning ready for the 2 days of driving that would take us to Imbak Canyon and the awesome Alpha 3.
However within half an hour our momentum was brought to a halt by the results of the previous day’s bad weather!
Nothing can stop the Loop for long though, with a broken parang and chainsaw later we were back on our way to Alpha 3. The last 4 hours of hard driving though the secondary forest offered us spectacular views of the surrounding conservation area but we were very glad when the bone rattling road came to an end and we had finally arrived.
Half of Alpha 3 had trekked out from their camp deep in the rainforest to meet us at the research station. After a quick cracker lunch we were guided back to Raleigh camp by the team. It was a hot and sweaty trek but the atmosphere in the jungle was incredible, trees surrounded us on all sides and at all angles, the constant buzz of wildlife, a unique experience to say the least.
We received another warm welcome from the rest of the group and wasted little time in jumping into the river and showering in the famous Imbak Falls.
The next day we reluctantly packed away our hammocks and headed back through the forest at the crack of dawn after a hearty breakfast of Raleigh Rations porridge!
Then it was forward to the final leg of our trip to the outstanding Alpha 2.
However, on the way, we were lucky enough to take a small detour to the world famous Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre. Raleigh has worked on the neighbouring Sun Bear Sanctuary in previous expeditions and is well known in the area.
We arrived at the centre just in time to watch the younger Orang-utans eat their afternoon meal – another amazing experience for us!
A day on the road later and we were within walking distance of Sungai Magandai and Alpha 2, which was lucky because we actually had to walk the last Kilometre. The giant puddles that litter the route to the remote village (these puddles are more like large ponds in the middle of the track) finally got the best of the Bravo and we were forced to abandon ship and seek out help in the village.
We arrived soaked through from the down pour. Alpha 2’s humble home was more than enough to make us forget the troubles on the road. We were presented with mocktails, jungle crowns, custom Raleigh shirts and an incredible Raleigh ration three course meal for which they gave us a menu.
It was a right Royal welcome!
There was little time to relax though as we were told there was a surprise in store for us at the school hall. After dinner we walked down through the village to a hall packed with kids and all the equipment needed for a night of Karaoke.
Alpha 2 did some fantastic renditions of popular songs by Oasis, Robin Williams and Lady Gaga… they even attempted some Malay songs! The Loop team obviously joined in with some obligatory Bon Jovi.
After a quick visit to Alpha 2’s work site the next morning we were homeward bound. The drive back to fieldbase was without incident although we did have to get across this obstacle.
But soon enough we were home and had our final welcoming ceremony of the week by the Fieldbase team who welcomed us home. We had homemade Loli cake and smoothies and rested our weary selves with the fieldbase cats.