Friday 31 October 2008

Andy's guide to water purification

When travelling overseas clean safe drinking water is always a problem. One solution is to buy bottled water, but on average it will cost you $1 a litre and this can add up. There is also the environmental cost in buying plastic bottles that are rarely recycled in less developed countries that lack the infrastructure. So what are the options?

1. Iodine
This is the cheapest and most effective option and is available at camping stores and on the web in tablet or liquid form. It kills all known parasites including giardia. Simply add the correct amount, shake and leave for 15-30mins depending on the product. The downside is the taste, however you can also buy neutralisation tablets. Long term exposure to iodine is also not recommended. Prices from £3.99 75 - 200litres

2. Chlorine
As readily available as iodine, but not effective against giardia. However, it is slightly more palatable, tastes a little like swimming pool. Prices from £3.99 - 70litres (neutraliser @ £3)

3. Filters
These come in all shapes and sizes from pocket to backpack size. Simply its a pump and filter, so a bit of effort on your part is needed. They also need regualar cleaning and replacement filters fitting depending on how much you use it. They are expensive around £80 and fairly bulky. However on the plus side they can purify 1000's of litres of water.

One neat solution is a filter inside your water bottle. They cost around £40 and will purify 350litres of water.

4. SteriPEN
These have been on the market for a few years now but are not well known. They use UV light to kill bugs and can purify a litre of water in just 1.5minutes. They are also pocket sized but do require a fair bit of battery power. However combined with a solar charger it's a winning combination. Expect to pay £70-85 depending on the model, 4 x AA batteries = 20 - 30litres water.

5. Boil
Yes the cheapest option is to simply boil your water. The argument on how long this needs to be done for is sure to go on for years to come. Most guides will tell you to bring to a rolling boil for 3minutes, however new evidence suggests that it just needs to reach a rolling boil to be safe to drink. I would always air on the side of caution and boil mine for 3 minutes or more. A clean sarong can be used to filter larger particals.

So what's right for you? Think about how long you will be away. If you are only going for a short period go for iodine, you will soon get used to the taste. If you are set on travelling for a long period or multiple trips it might be worth investing in a filter or steriPEN.


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How to climb Everest without leaving the UK

Who says pub landlords do nothing but drink beer, eat crisps and moan about things?! Well done to ex-Quest volunteer turned pub landlord Ben Ambridge for raising funds to help the local Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance service and the children's cancer charity CLIC Sargent. How are they going to do this? By climbing their local peak the Golden Cap 47 times - equalling the height of Everest!

Don't forget the oxygen lads, or the rations (pork scratchings?) and look out for avalanches!

See an article on their challenge here

Sponsor them via their justgiving sites for CLIC Sargent and the Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance

To visit the intrepid explorers, pop into The Anchor Inn at Seatown, the big push is taking place next March...

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Mystery GIANT Lego Man...

Mystery surrounds the appearance of a giant Lego man on the beach here in Brighton.  

The 6ft-tall (1.8m) red, green and yellow figure has the slogan "No Real Than You Are" painted on the front and some words written in Dutch.

A Brighton resident said he had spotted the figure in the water while walking to work this week.  It is not known if the figure washed ashore or was carried to the seafront. A Lego man with the same slogan appeared on a Dutch beach last year.  Spooky!  Watch out for giant legomen at beaches near you!

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Wednesday 29 October 2008

Is gas Mozambique's answer to high fuel prices?

BP announced record fuel profits of £6.4 billion over the last 1/4, but fuel prices are still at a record high in the UK. In Mozambique and the rest of Southern Africa fuel as nearly doubled over the last 1.5years from 6 South African Rand/litre to over R10/litre. The result has been increases in food, transport and living costs which has also effected the tourism sector.

Mozambique struck gold with their offshore gas supplies in the Pande and Temane fields. A recent Reuters report estimated reserves at 3.6 trillion cubic feet, and it looks like Mozambique is going to take advantage of this resource by not just becoming a world supplier of natural gas but running it's local buses on it as well!

Mozambique has ordered gas powered public transport from china and as a result hopes to reduce its dependence on imported fuel. Here in Brighton chips are used instead of natural gas. The Lemon bus company are running their buses on chip fat from local cafes and restaurants. Now I know why I feel a craving for chips when I walk to work!

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Tuesday 28 October 2008

Is there something in the water?

A few out takes from the volunteer training weekend just gone......

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Dying to see an elephant on your Gap Year?

The first officially sanctioned sale of ivory in southern Africa for almost a decade opens on Tuesday.  Namibia, Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe will auction more than 100 tonnes of ivory from stockpiles to buyers from China and Japan.

Data shows that poaching figures dropped after the last official sale, but fears remain that this move will encourage illegal poachers to increase poaching.  The ivory trade was banned globally in 1989 because poaching was decimating elephant populations. This and the 1999 sale are the only exceptions.  Last week, the internet site eBay banned virtually all products containing ivory after lobbying from animal welfare groups.

Will this decision prevent or encourage the poachers? Let's hope the elephant populations continue to expand and live naturally all across Africa despite the politics of ivory trade.

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Monday 27 October 2008

Kunal Patel, Gap Year Guru

Thanks to a rather nasty facebook message from my good friend Kunal I have decided that if anyone wishes to send in photos or text about time spent with Quest Overseas or anything intresting they might be doing,I will feature them on the site. So as demanded for my angry little friend in Vanuatu, your ugly mug on the site.
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Gap Year Salsa Lesson

This weekend saw 33 young people descend on Dulwich Scout centre in South West London for 2 days of preparation for their travels to all parts of South America. The highlight of the weekend was the salsa lesson, instructed by our very own Jon Jon Cassidy, the master.......

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