Base Camp Manager Ian Blessley Describes the Rewarding Challenges of Constructing Camp Foyle


Camp Foyle Copes with a Rainforest Deluge as Construction Nears Completion

Rest and Recuperation

Day 7 was a rest day, not necessarily through choice.  The guides decided that they had been working too hard and so Martin (and Aspor) allowed them a day off.  Lara took a team out to try to finish off her transect, whilst Tim and I ventured across the river to reconnoitre the terrain for further transects there.

Little was done around camp today until the evening when the heaviest rain we have had struck right over camp.  Rolling thunder and torrential downpour meant rivers of water quickly built up showing the effect that we had had on the area by removing a few small trees.

Camp Foyle Withstands the Rains

The sleeping quarters and part of the science tent were slightly flooded but the worst was averted by Holli and a Mattock (cross between a pick axe and a spade).  Working like a woman possessed, and with the rest of the team helping out, (Tim giving his expert Dutch advice whilst running around in a life jacket shouting women and children first), a drainage ditch was constructed around the science tent to aid run-off of the excess water.  The rain continued all night and several times I was up to check things were not getting worse.

This morning was spent fixing the minor damage from last night and completing the extension to the sleeping quarters (Tim now has a bed). Dale was able to make it out to help with the transect cutting and looked relieved to be able to get out of camp having suffered the most due to the ant stings.

Finishing Touches and Camp Routine

With a bit of luck, the beds will be spread out tomorrow giving people a little space.  Holli, Dan and James are moving into their DD hammocks and so will use their areas to spread their gear out a little more.  Camp routine is kicking in and I only occasionally have to chastise the team for being messy individuals.

8 days it has taken us to get the camp up and running and research along the transects should start in the next couple of days.  From my perspective, dealing with eager colleagues, guides through a language barrier, torrential rain, and the construction of a jungle camp has been an incredibly tiring and hard job, but also an excellent and very fulfilling experience.