Day 118. We reached the 30,000 km on the clock, and the next km will be only logged while moving to our working sites or going to the next village, Buanchor, where sometimes there is GSM signal.
Working day starts at 8 a.m. with a staff briefing, there is also a 12 am - 1 pm lunch break. Crew boys - supporting personnel who perform most endurance tasks - finish work at 4 pm, the rest of us at 5 pm. We cook our own fod, dinner being sometimes served in the secondary staff shed, where we cooked and socialized, learning words in local dialects, how to use wild vines for the traditional Nigerian food (like egusi) and abusing the local staple, garri - a casava flour that we used for pancakes, tortillas and deserts.
We are deeply grateful to our colleagues, the management and in particular to Peter Jenkins, for the opportunity to work together in one of the most successful and important conservation projects in the world.
Proiect Satelit 1 & 6/ Satellite 6 & 1 works
Cutting and pre-drilling the frame pieces
A quick run to Ikom, to sort out our Laissez-Passer extension
After work we would relax in the communal area, the main shed
The view from the main shed towards the Afi Mountain it's never the same.
Satellite 6 - 2 days, individual work
We replaced rotten wood, fitted the panels with mesh, repaired broken frames, built new platforms for the quarantined drills and designed, built and fitted door stoppers for the sliding doors that connect the satellite to the enclosure and that separate the 2 compartments inside the satellite. After work we cleaned the site from debris and transported all scraps to the garbage pit and to the storage from where wood can be recovered for making fire.
On the Canopy Walkway, the second largest in Africa, suspended at over 30 meters in the trees.
Lianes are parasite plants typically found in the tropical forests
A parasite tree is slowly murdering its host
At the magic tree in Buanchor: the village GSM antena.
Kids in Buanchor
We completed and assessment of the entire built base, highlighting: what needs to be fixed, replaced or improved in visitor and staff cabins, sheds and animal enclosures, we tagged with red tape the fence poles that are must be changed, suggestions for an improved layout of the vet shed, tool shed and fuel shed in relation to the main staff shed and the working area. We proposed 2 washing points (water birds) with easy access from the toilets and water source (stream). One important aspect is using as many materials from site as possible and keeping the budget to a minimum.
Our second survey work was assessing the new chimp extension which is a big operation: we proposed an improved working flow taking into account manpower and materials availability and sources (gravel and sand are difficult to bring to the site because the terrain is quite irregular and even marshy). We proposed a prototype for the 7 bridges that would ensure easy access around the enclosure for maintenance staff and an ATV. We proposed solutions for terrain works in particularly delicate areas (2 marshes and one area very difficult to cross). Bridge proposal follow a few main ideas: using materials already on site, using as little concrete as possible to keep pollution to a minimum, keeping the site clean for debris, building a cheap wood strecher-like container for concrete mixing (to avoid several pits difficult to clean afterwards) and following a simple but strict work flow.
Riding the truck to Buanchor
American pancakes with garri and bananas by Jens
Shaua-Shaua, the wild pineapple. In the background is CJ.
Changing the brake disc, thanks to our invaluable friend, Harry.