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Published: December 15th 2007
Once again it has taken me a few months between updates and friends and family are left scratching their heads due to my shocking ability to tell anyone what is actually going on.
For those who actually fancy finding out I will try my best here, those who would just like to see pretty pictures then scan ahead.
Back to South America
Due to the fact I needed to be in Cape Town for the upcoming Antarctic trial I managed to convince the boys to speed up the trip a little after the Galapagos Islands and head into Columbia for the last real Trek we wanted to do which was “Ciudad Perdida”, or The Lost City to us English speaking types.
So, after a few days getting messy with the locals in Quito, the Capital of Ecuador, we jumped onto a plane heading for the ancient city of Cartegena on the Caribbean Coast of Northern Columbia.
This is an old, fortified walled City, built to protect the Spanish gold from pirates and for those who have seen it, where ‘Romancing the Stone’ was filmed many moons ago. After a few days chilling here taking in the sites and
Well needed oranges on the Ciudad Perdida Trek
relaxing in thermal mud volcanoes (where you get massaged by the local men and the women wash you down in the river, even stripping you down naked and washing your bits!!!) we took a bus to the small coastal fishing village of Taganga to meet the company taking us on the trip into the jungle.
The Lost City
Ahead of us we had 6 days of trekking, in 30/40-degree heat, through farmland, jungle, rivers, jungle, villages and more rivers, reaching Ciudad Perdida the ancient “lost City” of the local Indians.
Sleeping in hammocks each night, swatting mosquitoes by the day and enjoying the immense downpours and lightning storms each evening, this was a truly amazing trek. Harder than expected, unbelievably hot, full flowing river crossings sweeping people downstream, with the added excitement of avoiding snakes and spiders while relishing in the history of these amazing cultures.
When we returned to civilisation we stayed at a beautiful beach hotel, splashing the cash for air-con and sky telly, to enjoy the last few days of my backpacking trip through South America. In the sleepy village of Taganga, nothing much really happens, being the way of life on the Caribbean
Nothing better than a dip in the river after a hard days trekking in 40+ degs.
Coast. We lapped it up. Rest and relaxation, with the added bonus of lovely beaches, good locals, great tropical juice bars and massage ladies on hand to sort out those aching trekking muscles.
This generally set the scene for my last week, apart from a great day diving on a reef in National Park Tyrona, only 20 minutes away from my usual spot on the beach.
To top all this off, we had an almighty session to end all sessions with all our new buddies getting together, raiding all the shops for alcohol, tapping up fisherman for their best catch of the day and even a trip into the nearest town we had ourselves a good old, traditional BBQ and piss up.
Columbia is an amazing Country. Everyone I have met who has been raves about the place, and everyone who hasn’t been seems to be worried about how dangerous it is. Luckily, from experience I would love to return some day to explore the area some more and meet up with the lovely people who live there.
Halley 6 Trial Build
Next stop, South Africa, for the trial build of Module B2. One of 7 modules
Raining, in the rainforest....Nice.
travelling down to Antarctica to make up what has been dubbed, “The Coolest House On The Planet”, Halley 6 New Build.
Unfortunately the trial build was delayed and delayed due to events beyond our control with the fabricators in Cape Town, yet finally we set to work attempting to put this amazing structure together. And put it together we sure did, working on how it best goes up, how the legs go on, how to fit the cladding, internal fit outs, room pods, just about as much as we could possibly sort out before the departure of the Shackleton at the beginning of Dec.
I would love to be able to say that we had the weekends to go exploring the area, yet we were just too busy and never really had the chance so we will have to leave all that for a later date. The odd afternoon surfing managed to get squeezed in along with a few trips up Table Mountain. The best of these trips ended up being on the very last day before we left on the ship. I managed to get a few people together who fancied trying out a route called ‘Indian Venster’
Trying to catch some zzzz in my hammock
which is a path for experienced climbers only, or so said the warning notice boards. I asked a few guides about the way up and they all refused to speak about it, as it wasn’t a recommended path to follow. Suits me down to the ground, I love a bit of rule breaking.
It ended up being a fantastic scramble, following the cable car above us and traversing around to the back of the mountain before coming up at the café on top for a good celebratory brew.
RRS Sir Ernest Shackleton
When the trial was complete we loaded the ship and set sail for Antarctica on board the Royal Research Ship Shackleton, setting course due South of Cape Town heading for The Brunt Ice Shelf.
I have now been on the Shack for just over a week and it has been a pretty rough crossing up to now. People have been getting thrown everywhere while trying to sit down to meal times and quite a few people have been suffering badly with seasickness. One lad kindly woke me up the other morning by bolting into my cabin and toilet to download his breakfast all over the shower cubicle.
Luckily we are now in the ice pack which has stopped all the rocking and rolling. Instead of complaining about being kept awake due to the waves, we can now complain about the sound of the ice crushing its way along the sides of the ship. At least it’s a bit calmer now.
We have no idea exactly what day we will be arriving at the moment, its all dependant on sea ice conditions, yet it is looking very close to my bday on the 20. So a happy 30 I will be having sorting out cargo and cranes, woohoo. Its only another day anyway isn’t it???
Thats about it really for the last couple of months of this year, and what a fun year its been. Antarctica, FI, Chile, Easter Island, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Galapagos Islands, Columbia, Cape Town and back to where it all started in Antarctica.
I hope you have all enjoyed keeping up with my boring tales while on the road, hopefully i can keep them coming for some time yet. The next update will be from the White Continent itself explaining about the work in hand.
Keep the emails and
messages coming your end, as they are always good to read to see what is going on in different parts of the world. Until then though, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and all that jazz.
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