Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Two Big Discoveries Announced in September

September 2014 – Volume Twenty-One, Number Nine


EXPEDITION NEWS, founded in 1994, is the monthly review of significant expeditions, research projects and newsworthy adventures. It is distributed online to media representatives, corporate sponsors, educators, research librarians, explorers, environmentalists, and outdoor enthusiasts. This forum on exploration covers projects that stimulate, motivate and educate.



100 MILES OF WILD: MADAGASCAR'S
LIMESTONE LABYRINTH EXPEDITION

Travel company Kensington Tours has partnered with Adventure Science to launch an expedition to the remote unexplored northern section of the Strict Nature Reserve of Madagascar's Great Tsingy. From Oct. 1-16, 2014, a highly skilled team of explorers and scientists will trek, climb and crawl through the UNESCO World Heritage Site to document the secrets of 100 miles of the region's labyrinths of sharp rocks, towering cliffs, endangered creatures and deep caves.

The 100 Miles of Wild: Madagascar's Limestone Labyrinth Expedition will showcase one of Africa's final frontiers. The expedition has multiple goals: to expand the knowledge of lemur distribution within the park to estimate population numbers; to identify diversity and potential new species; to locate Jurassic period dinosaur mega tracks that are believed to exist in the area; to conduct preliminary investigation into an unexplored system of caverns and caves; and to create a detailed map with accompanying photos and video in order to share their findings with the rest of the world.

The expedition will be led by Dr. Simon Donato, a Kensington Tours' Explorer in Residence, star of the Esquire Network's Boundless and founder of Adventure Science. Team members include George Kourounis, an elite global adventurer and host of The Discovery Network's Angry Planet series and Travis Steffens, a renowned primatologist who studies the biogeography of lemurs in Madagascar. Rounding up the 14-person team are an engineer, climbing experts, a former U.S. Army ranger, a communication specialist, Malagasy Park officials and a local Kensington Tours guide.

Sponsors include DeLorme inReach, Delta Airlines and Farm to Feet socks.

For more information: http://www.adventurescience.ca/madagascar/index.html

EXPEDITION UPDATE

Franklin Expedition Ship Believed Found

This has been a big year for marine discoveries, considering the news in May that the Santa Maria was presumed located off Haiti. This month Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced one of two ships lost more than 160 years ago in an ill-fated expedition to the Northwest Passage led by British Capt. Sir John Franklin has been found by Canadian archaeologists attached to the Victoria Strait Expedition. (See EN, August 2014).

It could be the HMS Erebus or the HMS Terror – researchers aren't sure yet. Harper's remarks at Parks Canada's laboratories in Ottawa follow an earlier announcement that two artifacts from the 19th-century Arctic expedition were found on an island in Nunavut, Canada's northernmost territory

Both the Erebus and Terror were icebound during the expedition that left England in 1845 in an attempt to chart an unnavigated portion of the Northwest Passage.

The well-preserved wreckage was found on Sept. 7 using a remotely-operated underwater vehicle recently acquired by Parks Canada. Its location remains confidential in an attempt to deter looting.

Sir John Franklin and 128 crewmen were lost in the original 1845 expedition. Skulls believed to be of the members of the expedition were found and buried on King William Island in 1945.

But for 167 years it has remained a mystery as to why Franklin and his men were never heard from soon after the Royal Navy had mounted one of the best equipped Arctic explorations in its history to find a possible trade route between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Harper's government has poured millions into the venture, with the prime minister himself taking part in the search. Read his statement here:

http://www.pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2014/09/09/statement-prime-minister-canada-announcing-discovery-one-ill-fated-franklin

Explorers Museum Hosts Inaugural Weekend

On Sept. 6 to 7 the new Explorers Museum near Dublin hosted an inaugural weekend (see EN, January 2014). The event was held at Charleville Castle, County Offaly, where the first expedition to Everest was launched under the leadership of Col. Charles Howard-Bury.

In 1921 he was the leader of the Mount Everest Reconnaissance Expedition, organized and financed by the Mount Everest Committee, a joint body of the Alpine Club and the Royal Geographical Society. In 1922 he wrote a full account of the expedition, published as Mount Everest The Reconnaissance, 1921.



(Explorers Museum co-founders Tim Lavery and Lorie Karnath with Sir Ranulph Fiennes. Photo by Anne Doubilet)

The opening weekend included a luncheon honoring museum patron Sir Ranulph Fiennes, and the first Explorers Film Festival, whose winner, The Aviatrix produced by Nylon Films, is the story of the journey of Lady Heath who in 1928 was first to fly solo from Cape Town to London, and Tracey Curtis-Taylor who 85 years later set out in a vintage biplane to fly that adventure again.

Sunday included an inaugural Explorers Museum "fireside chat" held next to a roaring fire at Charleville Castle, presented by Dr. G. Terry Sharrer, long-term Curator of Health Sciences (ret.) for the Smithsonian Institute.

Said co-founder Tim Lavery of the World Explorers Bureau, “Protecting and increasing the diffusion of knowledge of explorers past and present will serve to inspire a new generation of explorers.”

For more information: www.explorersmuseum.org

EXPEDITION NOTES

Newly-Discovered Dinosaur Feared Nothing

Scientists have discovered and described a new supermassive dinosaur species with the most complete skeleton ever found of its type. At 85 feet (26 m) long and weighing about 65 tons in life, Dreadnoughtus schrani is the largest land animal for which a body mass can be accurately calculated. Its skeleton is exceptionally complete, with over 70 percent of the bones, excluding the head, represented. Because all previously discovered supermassive dinosaurs are known only from relatively fragmentary remains, Dreadnoughtus offers an unprecedented window into the anatomy and biomechanics of the largest animals to ever walk the Earth.

“Dreadnoughtus schrani was astoundingly huge,” said Kenneth Lacovara, Ph.D., an associate professor in Drexel University's College of Arts and Sciences, who discovered the Dreadnoughtus fossil skeleton in southern Patagonia in Argentina and led the excavation and analysis.

“It weighed as much as a dozen African elephants or more than seven T. rex. Shockingly, skeletal evidence shows that when this 65-ton specimen died, it was not yet fully grown. It is by far the best example we have of any of the most giant creatures to ever walk the planet.”

The gold standard for calculating the mass of quadrupeds (four-legged animals) is based on measurements taken from the femur (thigh bone) and humerus (upper arm bone). Because the Dreadnoughtus type specimen includes both these bones, its weight can be estimated with confidence.

“With a body the size of a house, the weight of a herd of elephants, and a weaponized tail, Dreadnoughtus would have feared nothing,” Lacovara said. “That evokes to me a class of turn-of-the-last century battleships called the dreadnoughts, which were huge, thickly clad and virtually impervious.”

Read the complete story by Rachel Ewing of Drexel University here: http://drexel.edu/now/archive/2014/September/Dreadnoughtus-Dinosaur/

Dots All Folks!

How did we ever miss this? Morse code, the 160-year-old communication system, now has a new character to denote the "@" symbol used in e-mail addresses.

Late last year, the International Telecommunications Union, which oversees the entire frequency spectrum, from amateur radio to satellites, voted to add the new character.

The new sign, which will be known as a "commat," consists of the signals for "A" (dot-dash) and "C" (dash-dot-dash-dot), with no space between them.

The new sign is the first in at least several decades, and possibly much longer. Among ITU officials and Morse code aficionados, no one could remember any other addition.

"It's a pretty big deal," said Paul Rinaldo, chief technical officer for the American Radio Relay League, the national association for amateur radio operators. "There certainly hasn't been any change since before World War II."

Perhaps the most famous Morse communication is the international distress signal S-O-S. It consists of three dots, three dashes, and three more dots. Please, let’s not monkey around with that one.

QUOTE OF THE MONTH

“I just wanted all the wars to be over so that we could spend the money on starships and Mars colonies.”

― Grant Morrison, Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human (Spiegel & Grau, Reprint edition, 2011)

EXPEDITION FOCUS

Navy’s SEALAB Was a Game Changer

By Ben Hellwarth

This summer marked the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Navy’s first SEALAB, a prototype sea-floor base that was a historic game-changer for diving.

SEALAB I was a 30-ton steel vessel resembling a stout submarine that was placed off the coast of Bermuda. It enabled four volunteer Navy divers to spend 11 days nearly 200 feet below the surface instead of the mere minutes that conventional diving methods would have allowed.



(The U.S. Navy"s SEALAB I, in transit to Bermuda in 1964. Photo credit: U.S. Navy)

There had been just a few such forays into sea dwelling, including one staged by Jacques-Yves Cousteau a year earlier, but the SEALAB I venture in July 1964 was the first to demonstrate both a greater depth and duration than ever thought possible by using a revolutionary method known as “saturation diving,” so named because it involved allowing a diver’s body to fully absorb the gases breathed under the pressure of a given depth.

The concept of saturation diving had its skeptics because it ran contrary to conventional diving methods and the long-established limits that greatly restricted dive times in the name of safety – basically the deeper the dive, the shorter the possible stay, often just a matter of minutes, before a diver had to begin the gradual process of surfacing, known as decompression.

With the prospect of long-duration saturation dives came the need for a shelter like SEALAB I, which was about the size of a school bus. On the inside it was outfitted like a camper and – here’s the tricky part, very different from a submarine – the special mix of gases inside was pressurized to match the water pressure outside. That meant a hatch in the floor could remain open and the seawater stopped at the brim. The “aquanauts” could don dive gear and leave their habitat at any time of day or night, affording them access to the seabed of a kind previously available only in science fiction. SEALAB I, and later SEALAB II and III, opened new doors to ocean exploration and had a swift and lasting impact on military, civilian and commercial diving operations.

Hellwarth bemoans the lack of recognition for SEALAB in this Huffington Post blog entry:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ben-hellwarth/its-not-too-late-to-celeb_b_5813812.html?utm_hp_ref=science

For more information: see SEALAB: America’s Forgotten Quest to Live and Work on the Ocean Floor (Simon & Schuster, 2012), by Ben Hellwarth.

http://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/2014/07/21/is-the-final-frontier-under-the-sea/chronicles/who-we-were/

Ben Hellwarth is a Los Angeles-based freelance journalist who got his start in journalism after graduating from the University of California, Berkeley. In the 1990s he won a number of notable awards as a staff writer for the Santa Barbara News-Press, then part of The New York Times Regional Newspaper Group. Visit him at www.benhellwarth.com

MEDIA MATTERS

Starshade Will Help Peer at Exoplanets

Sara Seager, an astrophysicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is on the hunt for aliens. She thinks we might be able to find them within the next 20 years, according to an Aug. 23-24 interview by Alexandra Wolfe in the Wall Street Journal.

Prof. Seager, 43, thinks there's something out there, "just by the sheer numbers of planets," she says. "Every astronomer knows that every star out there has at least one planet, and we have over 100 billion stars in the galaxy, and upward of hundreds of billions of galaxies in our universe."

The problem is that the bright light from the stars makes it nearly impossible to see the surrounding planets. Prof. Seager is working with NASA to develop a "Starshade" to help block the light of stars so telescopes can better see exoplanets (planets outside our own solar system), which have become her specialty.

Read the entire story here: http://online.wsj.com/articles/an-astrophysicist-in-search-of-e-t-1408650066

Going to the North Pole? Here’s What to Pack

On May 6, Polar adventurer Eric Larsen successfully reached the geographic North Pole after a grueling 480-mile unsupported traverse across the Arctic ocean. Along the way he negotiated severe windstorms, unusually thin ice, arctic swimming and polar bears.

Larsen and his teammate Ryan Waters completed this unsupported, unaided Last North expedition in 53 days—setting a new American speed record (a Norwegian team did it in 49 days in 2006). They were the only team attempting a “land to Pole” crossing to reach the North Pole this season, and the only team since 2010 to accomplish the feat. They are only the second American team to ever complete the crossing, according to the story by Aaron H. Bible in Elevation Outdoors (July/August 2014).

Claiming six major polar expeditions notched in his proverbial belt, Larsen’s overarching goal now is to connect people with the last frozen places on earth, while highlighting the environmental issues impacting them. With the release of the National Climate Assessment in May (http://www.globalchange.gov/ncadac), his experiences and observations from the front lines of global warming seem especially relevant, writes Bible.

Our favorite part of the story is Larsen’s expedition gear list which covers everything on the trip, right down to his overboots, tent brush, Stanley insulated flask, pencil flares and Mossberg 500 pump action pistol grip shotgun.

Read the complete packing list here: http://www.elevationoutdoors.com/polar-explorer-eric-larsen/

EXPEDITION MARKETING

Adventurers Named to Granit Gear Team

Backpack manufacturer Granite Gear announced their official athlete roster of 2014-2015. Athletes include: polar explorers Lonnie Dupre, Eric Larsen, and John Huston, professional thru-hiker Justin “Trauma” Lichter, and blind hiker Trevor Thomas, each of whom has shown impressive persistence in pushing the limits of their specific disciplines.

All these internationally recognized outdoor professionals will be involved in gear testing and research and development.

“Both our athletes and our customers’ safety directly depends on the quality and durability of our gear,” says Mike Meyer, senior director of Design & Development. “Our athletes really put our gear to the test in some of the most extreme environments on the planet. Their product feedback is a tremendous asset.”

This year, the athletes are participating in various events such as climbing Denali in January, hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) through the winter months, an impromptu triathlon across the state of Colorado, and various week-long explorations and adventures around the U.S. They will also join Granite Gear during various trade shows and events throughout the year.

For more information: https://www.facebook.com/granitegearhq

EXPEDITION INK

Isabella – the Warrior Queen
By Kirstin Downey (Nan A. Talese, Doubleday, October 2014)

Reviewed by Robert F. Wells

Chances are, if you hear of Spain's Queen Isabella, you might imagine her and King Ferdinand waving goodbye to Christopher Columbus as he sails West in 1492. What you probably don't know is much about how this extraordinary leader became unquestionably the most powerful force in Europe during the latter part of the 15th Century. At the time, lineage dictated who ruled what. Isabella's was (and still is) suspect. But few can ignore her impact as the world shook off a medieval past, faced Ottoman intrusions laced with atrocities – and navigated through the inane intolerance of The Inquisition.

Europe grew up as a collection of city/fortress states. If you think of what it might be like for a gazelle in Africa to survive, knowing that lions, hyenas, crocodiles, etc. were just waiting for a chance to eat you... you have a pretty good idea what survival was like on the continent around 1450. Isabella? Nothing less than the right person at the right time.

She was a born leader, fair, honest, fearless, compassionate, intelligent and utterly devoted to Catholicism and its God. She unflinchingly shared or gave credit to her husband, Ferdinand, who often proved he seldom deserved it. Meanwhile, the French hated English hated The Turks hated the Portuguese hated the Italians... and the list went on. And to top it off, The Vatican offered as much piety as a petty party of pick-pockets.

Males (of course) thought no woman was "up to" leading nations. In fact, until Isabella's time, history was punctuated by perilously few leading ladies. Joan of Arc – one of Isabella's heroes – was burned at the stake a few decades earlier, primarily because "as war and in prison, she had worn men's clothes". (Someone should whisper to Hillary Clinton to avoid pant suits!)

But listen, Isabella and Joan preceded Catherine the Great and Queen Victoria by centuries. Face it, men have a wonderful ability to keep women from doing what they are fully capable of doing. And the Muslims during the 1500's initiated matters to extremes, forcing women to conceal their bodies in "voluminous robes... leaving them to stumble along the streets, when they were allowed to venture out of their homes.” Even tips of fingers were not to be seen... (What is it about men who create these strictures?)

Isabella, looking westward, was the one who saw promise in a New World. She took the risks against conventional thinking. She inspired explorers to treat natives with dignity and respect... which soon lapsed in disaster. The Europeans delivered smallpox to the islands. And in turn, the Caribes and others thanked them by passing on syphilis to Europe. What a trade!

As with many current historians, Downey plumbs newly accessible original sources to deliver fascinating insights to Isabella's reign. Credit to Isabella is due. And having the author bring forward a tapestry of tales about this laudable Queen and Spain's history during this period is equally overdue.

Robert Wells, a member of The Explorers Club since 1991, is a resident of South Londonderry, Vt., and a retired executive of the Young & Rubicam ad agency. Wells is the director of a steel band (see www.blueflamessteelband.com) and in 1989, at the age of 45, traveled south by road bike from Canada to Long Island Sound in a single 350-mile, 19-hr., 28-min. push.

ON THE HORIZON


Adventure Film Festival Returns to Boulder, Oct. 2 to 4, 2014

The 10th anniversary of Boulder’s homegrown Adventure Film Festival will be held in the Colorado city on Oct. 2 to 4. Organizers promise, “gritty, profound, shocking, visceral, and inspiring independent films that manifest the spirit of adventure.” The three-day weekend also includes the Adventure Street Fair featuring gourmet food trucks, climbing wall, interactive green screen, live music and more.

Adventure Film’s line-up was handpicked by a dedicated, Boulder-based selection committee from over 200 entries submitted from 19 different countries. With the support of filmmakers, sponsors, non-profits, partners, volunteers – all adventurers – Adventure Film Festival will feature the 2014 award winners on a world tour traveling from Boulder to Asheville to Mexico City to Santiago, Chile, with several major cities in between. Since its inception, Adventure Film has presented live shows to over 100,000 people worldwide.

For more information: www.adventurefilm.org


Explorers Club Lowell Thomas Awards Dinner, Oct. 11, 2014

The annual awards dinner named for the famed broadcaster is this year themed, “Imagination in Exploration,” Oct. 11 at Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, Calif. Awardees are distinguished entrepreneur, inventor and geophysicist Sheldon Breiner; shark researcher G. Chris Fischer of OCEARCH; ocean explorer David. G. Gallo of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; polar explorer and philanthropist Frederick D.A. Paulsen; and a strong supporter of education, Edward P. Roski, Jr. Tickets start at $300.

For more information: http://www.explorers.org/index.php/events/detail/the_2014_lowell_thomas_awards_dinner


Wings WorldQuest Women of Discovery Award, Oct. 16, 2014

With their cutting-edge science, spirit of adventure, and capacity to transport attendees to realms seldom seen, the Women of Discovery Awards, Oct. 16 in New York, have become a “must attend” event. Established in 2003 by Milbry Polk and Leila Hadley Luce, the WINGS WorldQuest Women of Discovery Awards recognize outstanding women who are making significant contributions to world knowledge through exploration. The awards come with a research grant, travel to New York, and opportunities to present field research to the press and the greater public. To date, 73 pioneering women have received the WINGS WorldQuest Women of Discovery Award.
Proceeds from this event will benefit the improvement and expansion of WINGS WorldQuest’s mission to inspire and support women explorers in the field.

Awards this year will honor: Arita Baaijens (Biologist, Netherlands), Daphne Soares (Neuroecologist, Brazil), Felicity Aston (Meteorologist, Great Britain), and Helen Thayer (Educator, New Zealand). Master of Ceremonies is the actor Uma Thurman. Tickets start at $275.

For more information: 914 522 2434, info@wingsworldquest.org

EXPEDITION CLASSIFIEDS

Documentary Filmmaker Available – Daniel Byers, documentary filmmaker, specializes in capturing adventure expeditions around the world, from Afghanistan to Everest, including several with Explorers Club members and National Geographic TV. His films have been featured internationally at major conferences, and won over a dozen festival awards including Banff Mountain Film Festival. He's always looking for a good adventure, so if you want the story of your expedition told, have a look at his work at skyshipfilms.com and give him a shout.

Get Sponsored! – Hundreds of explorers and adventurers raise money each month to travel on world class expeditions to Mt. Everest, Nepal, Antarctica and elsewhere. Now the techniques they use to pay for their journeys are available to anyone who has a dream adventure project in mind, according to the new book from Skyhorse Publishing called: "Get Sponsored: A Funding Guide for Explorers, Adventurers and Would Be World Travelers."

Author Jeff Blumenfeld, an adventure marketing specialist who has represented 3M, Coleman, Du Pont, Lands' End and Orvis, among others, shares techniques for securing sponsors for expeditions and adventures.
Buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/Get-Sponsored-Explorers-Adventurers-Travelers-ebook/dp/B00H12FLH2

Advertise in Expedition News – For more information: blumassoc@aol.com.


EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 1281 East Main Street – Box 10, Stamford, CT 06902 USA. Tel. 203 655 1600, editor@expeditionnews.com. Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Assistant editor: Jamie Gribbon. Research editor: Lee Kovel. ©2014 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1526-8977. Subscriptions: US$36/yr. available by e-mail only. Credit card payments accepted through www.paypal.com. Read EXPEDITION NEWS at www.expeditionnews.com. Enjoy the EN blog at www.expeditionnews.blogspot.com.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Explorers Vie for $50,000 in Grants

SEARCH FOR LOST FRANKLIN EXPEDITION
FOCUSES ON NEW LOCATION


The mystery surrounding the disappearance of the 1845 British Arctic Expedition commanded by Sir John Franklin is the most enduring in polar exploration history. This summer, the Government of Canada’s search for the lost Franklin ships, the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, will be enhanced by the inclusion of Canadian leaders in exploration, assembled with the help of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS).

The partnership, which includes The W. Garfield Weston Foundation, One Ocean Expeditions, Shell Canada and the Arctic Research Foundation, will add resources, technologies and expertise to the hunt, focusing on the Victoria Strait, which up to this point has largely not been targeted by search teams. The Victoria Strait is significant – it includes the last reported location of the missing vessels and crews.

The loss of the Erebus and Terror have played an important role in the exploration of Canada’s North and its mystique. The vessels were trapped in ice off the northwest coast of King William Island in what is now Nunavut. There was little left behind by the crews after they deserted the ships. No survivors were found alive to tell their tale.

The mystery surrounding the missing ships has become the stuff of Canadian lore that has inspired songs, stories and the imaginations of Canadians. The search has over time cemented Canada’s understanding and connection with the North. Moreover, much of Canada’s claim to sovereignty over its Arctic islands can be traced to the significant geographical advances made because of the Franklin search era.

This summer, the expedition team of experts, researchers, and others will be in the search area for a 10‐day period. One Ocean Expeditions will deploy the One Ocean Voyager equipped with navigation and scanning equipment (including multi‐beam sonar) and a state‐of‐the‐art autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV).



(Photo credit: William Jamieson)

“The 2014 Victoria Strait Expedition will be using technologies not used on previous 20th and 21st Century Franklin expeditions. One new piece of kit will be a synthetic aperture sonar from Defence Research and Development Canada. It is a military-grade, guided torpedo-like vehicle that can gather three-dimensional data with fine-grain definition along its search tracks,” says team member Joseph Frey (seen in photo). “It has the advantage of being more stable than side-scan sonar.”

Shell Canada is contributing to the expedition and to the development of the classroom educational program designed to excite interest in exploration history but also leverage public interest in broader issues concerning Canada’s Arctic.

Because of their importance, the ships were declared National Historic Sites in 1992, the only such designation applied to sites that remain unknown. Since 2008, the Government of Canada, headed by Parks Canada, initiated active searches for the missing ships. Though the ships have not yet been found, more than 746-mi./1,200 square km of the Arctic seabed has been surveyed during the course of modern searches.

For more information: http://www.canadiangeographic.ca/franklin-expedition/

WHAT IS MYANMAR’S TALLEST PEAK?

An American climbing dream team will attempt to determine the highest peak in Myanmar starting this October. There are two primary candidates: Hkakabo Razi and Gamlang Razi. Hkakabo Razi has been considered Myanmar’s highest peak since British botanist Francis Kingdom Ward explored this region in the 1930s. Hkakabo was climbed in 1995 by Japanese mountaineer Takashi Ozaki, who later died on Everest. Gamlang was climbed in 2013 by an American team lead by Andy Tyson.

According to Tyson’s GPS readings, Gamlang appears to be taller than Hkakabo Razi, however, accurate measurements have not been taken on the summit of Hkakabo. The six-person team hopes to climb Hkakabo (and perhaps Gamlang), to verify its elevation which currently stands at approximately 19,295-ft., according to Jenkins, based in Laramie, Wyo.

Team members are: Hilaree O’Neill, leader; Mark Jenkins, writer and expedition coordinator; Cory Richards, photographer; Emily Harrington, climber; Renan Ozturk, videographer; and Taylor Rees, base camp manager.

Jenkins estimates it will take 15 days of tough jungle trekking, using porters to travel through tiger-infested areas, just to reach the mountain – making it more remote than Everest or the North Pole. The team will carry a Juniper Systems GPS which uses 12 satellites instead of the traditional two or three. It can measure accuracy down to one meter.

Sponsors include National Geographic and The North Face.

EXPEDITION UPDATE

Breathe Easy Nepal 2014 Seeks to Battle Hidden Killer of the Himalayas

The Himalayan Stove Project project we wrote about in EN in February 2014 will return to Nepal this fall during the post-monsoon season to gather data on how its donated stoves have been performing. The Breathe Easy Nepal 2014 team, led by George Basch, 77, of Taos, N.M., will work with a local Rotary Club in Nepal that has helped distribute the small clean burning cookstoves to Gamcha, a village near Kathmandu. Data will be gathered with the assistance of Dr. Bruce Johnson, director of The Human Integrative and Environmental Physiology Laboratory of the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.



The organization, established in 2010, donates and distributes free, clean-burning, fuel-efficient, fully-vented Envirofit cookstoves (seen in photo) to people of the High Himalayas. It eliminates the choking, life threatening smoke spewed out by “traditional” cooking campfires on the floor of kitchens, or from inefficient cookstoves in most Nepali homes.

Worldwide, Household Air Pollution (HAP) is responsible for 4.3 million premature deaths annually – one of the world’s biggest killers. Clean cookstoves, which efficiently burn wood, yak dung or crop waste, help reduce that deadly toll.
Over 3,000 have been distributed to date in Nepal.

The team hopes to prove that as a result of using the more fuel efficient stoves, the Nepalese will experience a reduction in respiratory illnesses (e.g. asthma, COPD, respiratory infections), improved respiratory health, and improvement of other health problems (e.g. low birth weights, stunted growth, nutritional deficiencies, and cataracts).

Sponsorship for the Himalaya Stove Project continues to be sought with adidas already on board. Money will be used for travel expenses, the purchase of stoves, and completion of a documentary, The Hidden Killer of the Himalayas.

For more information: George Basch, george@himalayanstoveproject.org
www.himalayanstoveproject.org

Grandma Paddler Has 12 States, Two Countries to Go

Kayak for Safe Passage’s Deborah Walters, Ph. D., is a 63-year-old grandmother of four from Troy, Maine, paddling from Maine to Guatemala to benefit the children living in and around the huge Guatemala City garbage dump. At press time she was south of Boston near Plymouth, just beyond the first leg of her planned 2,500-mile solo kayak expedition (See EN, February 2014).



Walters (seen in photo) is propelling 385 pounds of supplies through the water in a Chesapeake Light Craft kayak (a custom redesigned Chesapeake 18), full of camping gear, food, water, clothing and lots of technology. Fighting the currents and confused seas, dealing with dense fog, and being snagged by a fisherman are some of the challenges thus far, she tells EN.

“I've camped on pristine wild islands, and been hosted at tony yacht clubs. In every town, people tell me that the next harbor along is the one where they almost lost their boat on the rocks or got swept away by the strong currents. It's a good thing I am not easily frightened, and can use their advice to double-check the charts and other navigation resources.”

She has 12 states and two countries to go. Walters has an enviable 47 mostly in-kind sponsors to date, the top four being Broadreach PR, Chesapeake Light Craft, Polaris Capital Management, and L.L. Bean which provided gear and clothing for field testing. She’s hoping to find a $50,000 level sponsor for kayak and expedition naming rights.

For more information: dr.deb.walters@gmail.com, www.KayakForSafePassageKids.org

Explorers Club Tells Johnnie to Keep Walking

A New York court has ruled that Diageo must now stop using the Explorers’ Club brand name after the New York Supreme Court granted a permanent injunction. Diageo said it would appeal the ruling, according to an Aug. 6 Wall Street Journal story by Peter Evans.

The judge ruled Johnnie Walker Explorers' Club, a range of the blended Scotch whisky sold in duty-free stores, profited from an unsanctioned association with the 110-year-old club of the same name (See EN, April 2014).

"It is clear that Diageo's adoption of the name of the Explorers' Club was for the purpose of leading the public to believe that it was connected or affiliated with the club," Judge Charles E. Ramos ruled, adding that Diageo had profited "to the tune of approximately $50 million in sales" since the launch of Explorers' Club in late 2012.

Diageo "has indisputably profited enormously from the purported unlawful and disputed use of the Club's name," Judge Ramos said.
Although it makes up only a small proportion of the 20 million cases of Johnnie Walker sold each year, losing the Explorers' Club brand would be a blow to Diageo.

Read the complete story here: http://online.wsj.com/articles/diageo-forced-to-drop-johnnie-walker-explorers-club-brand-1407338908#printMode

EXPEDITION NOTES

Everest Tragedy is Referendum on Risk and Inequity

Lapka Rita, the famed Sherpa who summited Everest 17 times, fought back tears as he recounted the deaths of 13 Sherpas and three other Nepali climbers buried when a giant serac casued an avalanche that roared through the Khumbu Icefall on Apr. 18. At the time Lapka Rita was in base camp. During an Aug. 7 presentation in the Sherpa Adventure Gear booth at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in Salt Lake, he said, “I tried my best to hide my tears in front of my Sherpa teams. There was no way they could have escaped the avalanche zone.”

In 2013, he was honored by Outside Magazine as an Adventurer of the Year for his role in orchestrating numerous rescues after several high mountain accidents.



(Photo by Tracy Frankel)

Norbu Tenzing Norgay (right in photo), eldest son of Tenzing Norgay Sherpa, Sir Edmund Hillary’s climbing partner in 1953, called the recent tragedy a “referendum on risk and inequity.” He added, “What happened will happen again on Everest. We feel Everest has become a cash cow and anyone going to Everest should ask what are the ethics of the (guide) companies they are working with.

“The amount of risk Sherpas bear are far greater than they should be taking.” Norgay, vice president of the American Himalayan Foundation, reports that when Sherpas died in the early 1970s, they received $100,000 in today’s dollars. But benefits now are only $15,000.

Tashi Sherpa, founder and CEO of Sherpa Adventure Gear, summed up the somber presentation by saying, “We are not here to condemn anyone. … profit is not a bad word, but profiteering is. … the status quo cannot be in the status quo any more. … I’m more sad than furious.”

Polar Photographers: Bring Plenty of Digital Cards

Lee Narraway, official photographer of the Students on Ice (SOI) expeditions, has been traveling to the Arctic for 15 years. She provides advice to budding photographers in a story that appeared last month on the SOI blog. Narraway says, “My passion is the wilderness but I never imagined a paradise like Antarctica where I can be surrounded by over half a million wild creatures and none of them are afraid of me. The stunning scenery and patterns of nature all combine to make this a sacred place for me.”

She advises, “You are about to be immersed in the magic and beauty of the polar regions. Shoot lots of images. Try to look for simple uncluttered compositions that will tell your story. … “Technical notes: bring LOTS of cards… I shoot 800 to 1,000 images a day (I admit to being out-of-control), extra batteries, battery charger, polarizing lens is effective on SLR cameras, cleaning tissue or cloths for your lens. Please protect your camera; it does not thrive in salt air or water so keep it covered when you are in a moving Zodiac. At least three cameras per expedition get broken, usually by sitting on them or dropping them…have a neck strap for the camera and keep it in a sturdy case when not in use,” Narraway recommends.

Read the rest of her interview here: http://studentsonice.com/blog/soi-educators/qa_lee_narraway/

Access Narraway’s website at http://leenarraway.com/

Learn more about Students on Ice here: www.studentsonice.com

QUOTE OF THE MONTH

“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”

¬– Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)

MEDIA MATTERS

1879 Voyage Is a Time Machine for Climate Change

A doomed Navy expedition kept exacting records that show the rapid weakening of the polar ice cap, according to an essay by Hampton Sides in the Wall Street Journal (Aug. 2).

They were trapped in pack ice north of the Bering Sea, yet for every hour of the day for two years, a group of U.S. Navy explorers in the early 1880s, led by Lt. Cmdr. George Washington De Long, braved the freezing cold and took measurements of air and sea temperature, barometric pressure, wind speed and direction, ice thickness and drift, as determined by the ship's daily position. It was arduous, sometimes tedious work, and De Long wondered whether his notations would do the world a whit of good.

Over 130 years later, an international team of climatologists and historians, working with the National Archives, has dug back into those historic logbooks and started digitizing and analyzing De Long's work. "The data De Long gathered is quite valuable and amazingly thorough," says Kevin Wood, a scientist affiliated with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "The Jeannette was well-equipped for science, and it was the first vessel ever to go through that part of the Arctic."

Read the entire essay here: http://online.wsj.com/articles/why-an-1879-voyage-is-a-time-machine-for-climate-change-1406937914#printMode

Like Going to Disneyland

The 2012 expedition by James Cameron to the deepest part of the ocean is the subject of a new film titled, “Deepsea Challenge 3D,” according to a New York Times story by Mekado Murphy (Aug. 3). Speaking about his dive to 35,787 feet, Cameron says, “All of my nervousness about the dive was before, like the day before I’d stop and think about it for 10 minutes,” he said. “But when I was there and closing the hatch, I was just excited to see what was down there, like a kid in the car going to Disneyland.”

New Yorkers Take to Bouldering

Bouldering is booming in New York, according to a July 16 story in the Wall Street Journal by Bob Eckstein. Some of the most popular spots are in Central Park and the Cloisters, with names like Rat Rock, Cat Rock, and Life is Beautiful. “Certainly there is more socializing here than with traditional mountain climbing,” he writes. Says one boulderer, “One friend of mine uses a climbing forum as her dating site. I don’t think she could date a non-climber.”

Read the story here: http://online.wsj.com/articles/with-bouldering-new-yorkers-reach-new-lows-in-rock-climbing-1405475777

Uncharted Waters

In the weeks after Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 vanished, most likely in the Indian Ocean, Australian officials said they knew less about the area they were exploring than is known about the surface of the moon.

It's actually even worse than that.

Surveys of Mars and Venus are considered around 250 times more accurate than existing maps of the underwater region where Flight 370 searchers are looking – a lightless, virtually lifeless seabed.

The hunt for Flight 370 has been overshadowed in recent weeks by the Malaysia Airlines jet shot down in Ukraine, but it remains one of the greatest mysteries in aviation history. Unlike the Ukraine tragedy, which left tons of debris, not even a stray suitcase has been found from Flight 370, which disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 with 239 passengers on board, leaving little more than a trail of cryptic satellite transmissions behind as it diverted off course.

In the Aug. 1 Wall Street Journal, Daniel Stacey explains how technology is being used in the search: http://online.wsj.com/articles/worlds-deep-sea-explorers-angle-to-solve-the-mystery-of-the-missing-malaysian-airliner-1406833389

Tastes Like Chicken?

One of the actors in the new reality series, Ice Lake Rebels, comments on her daily fare in a July 26 New York Times story by critic Neil Genzlinger. The Animal Planet series follows a small group of people who live on houseboats on Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories. Says one woman in the show about a Shackleton expedition staple, “Seal meat’s the greatest. Don’t hate me for it. They’re so cute, I love them, but they’re delicious.”

CLIMBING FOR DOLLARS

There’s Money in the Cloud

The goal of the Cloudbase Foundation is to enable hang glider and paraglider pilots to give back to the communities they fly high above. As we learned in a fascinating Outdoor Retailer Summer Market conversation with Nick Greece, editor of USHPA (Hang Gliding and Paragliding) magazine, the 501(c)(3) volunteer organization provides advice on how to develop small scale localized, sustainable projects. For example, development of hang glider schools in Pokhara, Nepal, that enable locals to become self-sufficient through establishment of adventure tourism companies focused on flying.

“We work with community leaders to determine the need,” Greece says.

Hang gliders have fixed wings and the pilots lay beneath in a prone “Superman” position; paragliders are specially-designed parachutes that fold into backpacks.

For more information: www.thecloudbasefoundation.org

Budding Explorers Vie for $50,000

It is said that exploration is imagination acted upon, and now National Geographic Channel (NGC) and 20th Century Fox are launching a crowdsourced search to find the next generation of inspiring explorers.

Developed by digital agency Campfire, a unit under SapientNitro, the Expedition Granted competition invites contestants to submit a video up to two minutes in length and a Tweetable elevator pitch at ExpeditionGranted.com outlining what their passion project is and why they deserve to have it granted.

It’s part American Idol, part Kickstarter – anyone with an idea to explore uncharted territory – and the passion to follow it through – can enter to win the $50,000 award to make it happen. Submissions will be accepted through August 31, 2014. Only U.S. residents over age 21 are eligible.

The campaign is designed to broaden NGC's audience by conveying that explorers aren't necessarily Indiana Jones-type adventurers. Rather, the aim is to attract entrants from all backgrounds and disciplines ranging from art and music to food, science and technology.

Sponsors Jeep and Dos Equis are helping to raise awareness via their own social media channels.

For more information: http://expeditiongranted.nationalgeographic.com/

BUZZ WORDS

Pagophile

A creature that is happiest in the ice.

– Source: In the Kingdom of the Ice by Hampton Sides (Doubleday, 2014)

ON THE HORIZON



Messner Keynotes American Alpine Club Annual Benefit Dinner, January 30 to 31, 2015, New York

Famed climber Reinhold Messner will appear at the 2015 American Alpine Club Annual Benefit Dinner in New York on January 30 to 31, 2015. Tickets include the dinner presentation by Messner, open bar, silent and live auctions, and access to other weekend activities including climbers gatherings and panel discussions. Price: $275 to $350, tel. 303 384 0110

For more information:

https://www.americanalpineclub.org/p/2015_annual_benefit_dinner?mc_cid=92cec9e787&mc_eid=3a4709d248

EXPEDITION CLASSIFIEDS

Get Sponsored! – Hundreds of explorers and adventurers raise money each month to travel on world class expeditions to Mt. Everest, Nepal, Antarctica and elsewhere. Now the techniques they use to pay for their journeys are available to anyone who has a dream adventure project in mind, according to the new book from Skyhorse Publishing called: "Get Sponsored: A Funding Guide for Explorers, Adventurers and Would Be World Travelers."

Author Jeff Blumenfeld, an adventure marketing specialist who has represented 3M, Coleman, Du Pont, Lands' End and Orvis, among others, shares techniques for securing sponsors for expeditions and adventures. Buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/Get-Sponsored-Explorers-Adventurers-Travelers-ebook/dp/B00H12FLH2

Advertise in Expedition News – For more information: blumassoc@aol.com.

EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 1281 East Main Street – Box 10, Stamford, CT 06902 USA. Tel. 203 655 1600, editor@expeditionnews.com. Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Assistant editor: Jamie Gribbon. Research editor: Lee Kovel. ©2014 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1526-8977. Subscriptions: US$36/yr. available by e-mail only. Credit card payments accepted through www.paypal.com. Read EXPEDITION NEWS at www.expeditionnews.com. Enjoy the EN blog at www.expeditionnews.blogspot.com.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Explorer Teaches Islanders to Swim

EXPEDITION UPDATE

Aquanauts Break Underwater Living Record

Fabien Cousteau, grandson of famous oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, has completed a 31-day stay in an underwater laboratory, thus breaking his grandfather’s “underwater living” record, writes Nature World News.

The team spent the month in Aquarius, which is a 43-feet-long underwater laboratory near a coral reef, off Key Largo (see EN, June 2014).
Fabien, along with two "aquanauts", dived 60 feet on June 1, 2014 to reach their underwater home. According to Reuters, Aquarius is air-conditioned and also has full Internet service, and is operated by Florida International University.

Fabien and his team named their expedition, Mission 31.

"This expedition's main goal was to reach as many people around the world ... to impassion future generations to care about the oceans, to cherish them, to be curious about them in a way that existed during my grandfather's era," Cousteau told a news conference after surfacing.
The team studied climate change, effects of ocean acidification, pollution, and predator-prey relations, among others.

Videos and photos can be seen here:

http://mission-31.com/

Access for River of Doubt Trek Restricted by Local Indians

Minnesota adventurers Dave Freeman and Paul Schurke’s expedition last month retracing Pres. Theodore Roosevelt's 1914 descent of the Amazon's mythical River of Doubt was stifled by access issues to those areas controlled by the Cinta Larga Indians. Yet they enjoyed a surprising grand finale to their Brazilian trek. Despite being cautioned that the natives may greet outsiders as intruders, Freeman and Schurke received heartwarming welcomes at Cinta Larga villages along their canoe route. (See EN, June 2014)

"We'd contacted tribal chiefs months ago seeking access permission and finally received a phone message indicating tacit approval. But we didn't know what to expect as we approached their villages by canoe," said Freeman. "However, they treated us like family. The kids and elders alike were keen to show us their community and share native gifts and meals with us."

It wasn't until 40 years ago that Brazilian officials made their first contact with the Cinta Larga. As Freeman and Schurke found, the tribe's transition from the Stone Age to the Space Age has been stunningly abrupt. "They still maintain their traditional hunting and fishing practices but the chiefs now connect with the rest of the world through Facebook," said Schurke.

"Just as we neared the first village, we heard a roar of elation erupt. It turns out they were all gathered in the village square watching the community's only TV as Brazil scored a goal in World Cup Soccer."

"Brazil is a country of such amazing contrasts," said Dave. "It's coastal cities are burgeoning industrial centers with cutting-edge, global hi-tech businesses.

But most of the country is comprised of the Amazon, a forest over half the size of the U.S. which is home to ten of thousands of people who live just as their ancestors did."

All told, Dave and Paul paddled about 400 miles of the Rio Roosevelt during their month-long trek, including about two dozen miles of rapids that they ran, lined or portaged with their folding "Pak Boat" canoe.

Learn more about the project at: www.wildernessclassroom.org

EXPEDITION NOTES

90 Years Later, Mallory Honored at Explorers Club

Ninety years after he disappeared on Mount Everest, climber George Leigh Mallory was honored at the Explorers Club by Conrad Anker and Wade Davis. The Explorers Club’s historic Clark Room was over capacity on June 12 when members and guests turned out for this dream team of exploration superstars, plus an art exhibit of original work by Thom Ross and Anker’s wife, Jennifer Lowe.

Both Anker and Davis recounted the history and vision of this unique and incredible man, the discovery of his body by Anker in 1999, and the mystery that endures about whether he was the first man to summit Everest.

Davis, hailed by dinner chairman Daryl Hawk as a scientists, scholar, poet and passionate defender of life’s diversity, is author of Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest (Knopf, 2011). He believes the conquest of Everest in the early 1920s “became a mission of imperial redemption.” At that time, “trying to reach Everest was like trying to go to the moon.”

Locating Mallory’s body was the “greatest discovery in the history of mountaineering.”

Davis shared the little-known fact that the world has been mispronouncing the mountain’s name for decades. “It’s supposed to be ‘Eve-rest,’ not ‘Ev-rest,’” he told the crowd of 100.

Anker remembers wistfully back to the heroic era of mountaineering, “The days of tweed jackets when climbers read Shakespeare to each other.” On finding Mallory’s body, Anker said, “It was a very humbling moment. I was awestruck. I couldn’t make sense of it. For a split second I thought of not telling anyone.” Knowing that his radio was being monitored, he used a code phrase to announce the discovery: “mandatory group meeting.”
Anker, who believes Mallory and climbing partner Sandy Irvine turned back at the base of the First Step, professes the greatest respect for Mallory, “He chose the safest, most logical route up the mountain – the North Col.”

Concludes Davis, “It doesn’t matter if Mallory and Irvine got to the top. It’s remarkable they got as high as they did. … these were the kind of men we’ll never know again.”



Teaching Islanders to Swim

For two weeks in May, explorer and filmmaker Jon Bowermaster’s One Ocean Media Foundation helped organize – and filmed – a learn-to-swim program on the remote Maldivian island of Eydafushi. Despite living just a couple feet above sea level, many of the locals there never learned to swim. With the support of the Slow Life Foundation and Soneva Fushi Resort, Bowermaster’s goal was to get moms and kids more confident in the water, in part as a way to impress upon them the importance of taking better care of the ocean that surrounds.

At the end of the two weeks the 48 third graders and 18 moms who had come for lessons each day put on masks, fins and snorkels and finally had a close-up look at the world below the surface.

“Like many corners of our ocean world the Maldives suffer from a variety of ills, mostly manmade: Overfishing. Plastic pollution. Rising sea levels due to a warming ocean. And acidification,” Bowermaster writes. “Teaching these incredible families to swim was a first step towards encouraging them to become even better guardians.

Swim lessons will continue; the film will be finished Fall 2014.

For more information: www.jonbowermaster.com/oomf/

QUOTE OF THE MONTH

“Difficulties are just things to overcome, that’s all.” – Sir Ernest Shackleton (1874-1922)

MEDIA MATTERS

Italian Cave Explorer Trains European Astronauts

Last month, Italian explorer Francesco Sauro, 29, won a 41,000 Euro ($55,780) grant from the Swiss luxury watch maker, Rolex, to explore caves in South America. The Rolex award will allow him to continue his work on the caves in the Amazonas region of Brazil and Venezuela, according to The Local, Italy’s English language news website.

“The mountains are completely different from every other environment in the world; the rock is about 1.6 billion years old. The mountains rose up after the opening of the Atlantic Ocean, he tells reporter Rosie Scammell.

“These are probably the oldest caves in the world,” he says.

Getting to grips with such an environment may be a challenge for the average person, but there is one group who can relate to Sauro: astronauts.
The geologist has been brought in by the European Space Agency (ESA) to train astronauts, due to the similarities between space and the caves he explores.

In the caves there is “no day and no night”, Sauro says, matter-of-factly, of the eternal darkness he endures.

“This is what happens if you go to space; the time is not controlled by night-time and daytime.”

Sauro continues, “Caves are three-dimensional features inside the mountains. You have to move in a three-dimensional way, on different gallery levels and at different depths. It’s much more complicated that at the surface,” he explains.

As an expedition leader, Sauro also helps them with safety training, preparing them for work outside the International Space Station: “They have to be rigged to the station otherwise they will fly away.”

Read entire story here:

http://www.thelocal.it/20140627/the-italian-explorer-training-astronauts

CLIMBING FOR DOLLARS

The Ice Cream Expedition is One Sweet Project

Stanford alumnus Caleb Kruse ’14, his brother Cameron Kruse and their friend Jordan Fatke received one of National Geographic’s Young Explorers Grants to give away ice cream across America in order to inspire “the next generation of explorers and conservationists.” If that’s the case, we can’t wait for them to visit Connecticut., EN’s headquarters state.

During their Ice Cream Expedition, the team plans to visit 33 states over a two-month trip and plans to stop along the way to teach kids about conservation while using ice cream as a conversation starter.

According to Caleb Kruse, one of the project’s founders, the team wants to encourage the children it meets to explore and preserve the natural world around them – anything from a national park to the garden in their backyards. Children will then be asked to sign a pledge to observe, explore and protect their chosen regions.

One sponsor is Magnolia Ice Cream, which is providing four unique flavors of ice cream: mango, avocado, guava and a mix of purple yam and coconut.

Read the complete story in The Stanford Daily (July 6):

http://www.stanforddaily.com/2014/07/06/stanford-alumnus-uses-young-explorers-grant-for-summer-ice-cream-expedition/

EXPEDITION MARKETING

Mountainsmith Sponsors Kayak Trek of North America’s Longest Waterway

Pack maker Mountainsmith is sponsoring the Blackwater Drifters’ kayak expedition of the longest navigable waterway in North America. The two-man team will traverse 14 states and almost 4,000 miles along the Jefferson-Missouri-Mississippi River System. Starting the journey in Brower Springs, Mont., during the first week of June, and paddling approximately eight hours per day, the team is expected to reach the Gulf of Mexico in about five months.

The Blackwater Drifters team consists of filmmaker Nick Caiazza and community activist Joe Zimmermann. The two kayakers aim to raise awareness about the many threats to the country’s longest waterway as document their trip. In addition to the long stretches of slow-flowing river water, Caiazza and Zimmermann will paddle across 16 reservoirs spanning over 1,200 miles in length and will need to portage (without any help from gas-powered vehicles) around 16 dams.

Mountainsmith will provide the explorers with Andy Mann signature Parallax camera carrying backpacks, new 2015 Mountain Dome 2 tents and 20-degree Arapaho sleeping bags.

Their candid blog is a delight to read. They write, “We’ve learned firsthand what a banner year for mosquitoes in Montana looks like. You can either sweat with three layers on or you can put on insect repellent – either way you’re cursing the pests.

While en route, Caiazza will capture video for an upcoming documentary and create product spotlight films showing how sponsor support is contributing to their journey and their cause.

For more information: www.BlackwaterDrifters.com.

Timex Seeking Adventurers to “Take a Licking”

In order to woo adventurers to its line of Expedition watches, Timex is running a large-scale effort on social media. Working with Vine and Instagram influencers who are posting their own content, the company is also inviting users to post #MyExpedition photos to Instagram, and in return, earn a 25% discount on their purchase, according to a story by Sarah Mahoney on MediaPost.com (July 8).

“We can't do the outdoors any better than the North Faces, LLBeans or REIs of the world, but we are trying to give a little spark to the sense of adventure our customers have,” Sam Martin, brand manager, tells Marketing Daily.

The target market, he says, is more likely to be aspiring to adventure than actually entering canoe marathons or attempting Mt. Rainier. “These are not the people climbing mountains and hanging off a ledge by one finger. That’s just not authentic to our brand. But that doesn’t mean they don’t see themselves as adventurers, and want more expeditions in their lives.”

Read the story here:

http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/229446/timex-turns-social-for-expedition-line.html

Nikwax Sponsors Japan to California Solo Row

Nikwax athlete and accomplished paddler Sonya Baumstein currently is training to be the first person to complete a 5,700-nautical mile solo row from Choshi, Japan to San Francisco, California in 2015.

Baumstein, 28, has an extensive adventure resume. Most recently in 2013, Baumstein became the first person to SUP the Bering Strait from Big Diomede to the Alaskan mainland, just north of Wales, Alaska. The year prior, in 2012, she sea kayaked from Seattle to Juneau; and in 2011, Baumstein successfully rowed across the Atlantic, from the Canary Islands to Barbados.

During her solo row from Japan to San Francisco, Baumstein will collect information that will be analyzed by NASA to increase knowledge of how global warming is impacting the oceans. Baumstein’s boat will be outfitted with a device that measures ocean salinity, temperature and depth.
To help Baumstein achieve her goal, Nikwax will outfit Baumstein’s boat with the Spectra Rowboat 150 water maker. Nikwax also will supply Baumstein with products – including Tech Wash, TX.Direct, Polar Proof and BaseWash Travel Gel – to help clean and maintain the water repellency of her gear to assure she stays dry and warm during her journey.

Baumstein is an accomplished ocean rower, paddler and backcountry adventurer. For more information: www.sonyabaumstein.com.

Watch Sonya’s Bering Strait journey here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ik4Eut9fGVU

Boot Manufacturer Stomps on Ridiculous Requests

Peter Sachs, general manager of LOWA Boots based in Stamford, Conn., took a moment to rant about the onslaught on sponsorship requests he receives. Remember this the next time you’re looking for support. He kvetches:

“I get at least one request for free gear sponsorship per week, 52 weeks per year. I hear a lot from college students wanting to spend the summer outdoors. Instead of actually getting a job and working to earn money so they can buy gear and then use it on their days off, they send atrocious letters asking for free gear, offering to be testers and willing to spread the good will of our brand name on their soon-to-be launched "Mysummersadventure" Facebook page.

“They need to tell me, the owner of the company purse strings, what their summer adventure will do in real terms to sell more of my company's product, to reach more consumers with our brand name and message and to ultimately drive sales and profits.

“I am not sure what college teaches in 2014, but this is a basic business thing. Sell more, earn more profit (and reduce expenses). Not increase vacation spending.

“Also, I am not sure why climbers/hikers/skiers, etc. think I should help underwrite their summer fun while I am sitting behind my desk busting my chops to earn a living so they can go outside and play. NO – I've been doing this for close to 40 years – working this outdoor business thing. It's time I was able to get outside once in a while and have all these young bucks work 55-60 hour weeks – and be grateful for their two days of skiing per year, six days of hiking and a few bike rides after work.

“That's my two cents.”

– Peter Sachs, General Manager, LOWA Boots LLC
www.lowaboots.com

Crater if You Want – You’re Covered

California-based production company Lucky Treehouse got one of the world’s best free climbers, Alex Honnold, to climb San Francisco’s Goodby, Silverstein, & Partners building and The Palace of Fine Arts for Stride Health.

Honnold picked out his first health plan and then headed to San Francisco for a day of urban free climbing. While a veteran rock climber, urban climbing is relatively new territory for Honnold, and he expresses his enthusiasm for the change in scenery. Lucky Treehouse captured the day’s events in a documentary video, running approximately five minutes. They also created a 30-second teaser spot for Stride Health.

The web site doesn’t pull any punches: “Okay, so maybe Alex is king of his free-soloing domain, but only once he carefully studies a route. Occasionally he’ll slip while roped in and ‘take a 40-footer.’ If Alex hits his head or breaks a bone, he’s only going to have to pay 10% of the doctor bill.”

Whew!

See the video here: www.stridehealth.com/alex

ON THE HORIZON



1st International Explorers Film Festival Comes to Ireland, Sept. 6-7, 2014

The 1st International Explorers Film Festival, presented by the Explorers Museum in partnership with the World Explorers Bureau, is dedicated to showcasing the work of adventure filmmakers of all experience levels from around the world. The EFF 2014 judging panel will shortlist the very best of these entries for various awards. All shortlisted films will be screened at Charleville Castle, Explorers Museum at Charleville Castle Global Expedition Headquarters in Tullamore, Ireland, during the festival event. There is no fee for entries; the deadline is July 18, 2014.

For more information: https://www.facebook.com/events/492975577470183/?ref=22



Save the Date for “Space Stories” at The Explorers Club, Oct. 25

Oct. 25, 2014, is a special all-day Space Stories event focusing on the history of human spaceflight at Explorers Club headquarters in New York.

This year's venue will feature astronauts and space-flight participants from several missions using the Cold War as a backdrop – Apollo, Soyuz, Shuttle and SpaceShipOne. The day will include a mix of straight-up talks, "Exploring Legends" interviews by Jim Clash, and panel discussions.

Among confirmed story-tellers so far are Charles Duke, Apollo 16 moonwalker (seen in photo above); Richard Garriott and Greg Olsen, both of whom flew aboard Soyuz to ISS; four-time Shuttle/Soyuz veteran Leroy Chiao; Walter Cunningham, Apollo 7 Lunar Module pilot; Cady Coleman, who performed a live flute duet with Ian Anderson aboard ISS (and who will play at Space Stories); and Brian Binnie, who piloted SpaceShipOne to win the Ansari X Prize in 2004.

Cost: $60 per person, www.explorers.org, reservations@explorers.org or 212 628 8383

EXPEDITION CLASSIFIEDS

Expedition Communications Specialist - For Hire

Paul Buijs is available to provide onsite communications for outgoing expeditions. He is a technology professional with experience in providing onsite solutions. He is interested in providing real time or near real time expedition photography, web development and social media coverage. Buijs is the founder and editor of Mud and Adventure (mudandadventure.com) – a site focused on adventure sports. He is also an internationally ranked obstacle racer and passionate photographer. (paul.buijs@mudandadventure.com, http://www.linkedin.com/in/paulbuijs)

Get Sponsored!

Hundreds of explorers and adventurers raise money each month to travel on world class expeditions to Mt. Everest, Nepal, Antarctica and elsewhere. Now the techniques they use to pay for their journeys are available to anyone who has a dream adventure project in mind, according to the new book from Skyhorse Publishing called: "Get Sponsored: A Funding Guide for Explorers, Adventurers and Would Be World Travelers."
Author Jeff Blumenfeld, an adventure marketing specialist who has represented 3M, Coleman, Du Pont, Lands' End and Orvis, among others, shares techniques for securing sponsors for expeditions and adventures.
Buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/Get-Sponsored-Explorers-Adventurers-Travelers-ebook/dp/B00H12FLH2

Advertise in Expedition News

For more information: blumassoc@aol.com.



EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 1281 East Main Street – Box 10, Stamford, CT 06902 USA. Tel. 203 655 1600, editor@expeditionnews.com. Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Assistant editor: Jamie Gribbon. Research editor: Lee Kovel. ©2014 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1526-8977. Subscriptions: US$36/yr. available by e-mail only. Credit card payments accepted through www.paypal.com. Read EXPEDITION NEWS at www.expeditionnews.com. Enjoy the EN blog at www.expeditionnews.blogspot.com.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Santa Maria Wreck Needs Further Study

MINNESOTA ADVENTURERS DESCEND AMAZON’S “RIVER OF DOUBT”

One hundred years ago, Theodore Roosevelt, America’s “Rough Rider” and “Wild West” adventure president, undertook his biggest physical challenge – the first descent of an unmapped, rapids-choked tributary of the Amazon, the legendary “River of Doubt.”

During the two-month trek, Roosevelt’s crew faced great hardship. They lost their boats and supplies to punishing whitewater. They endured starvation, Indian attack, disease, drowning and a murder within their own ranks. The ordeal brought Roosevelt to the brink of suicide and left his health debilitated. But he later said he wouldn’t have traded this epic experience for anything. It added the Rio Roosevelt, as it’s now called, to the map of the Western Hemisphere and prompted several books, including his own and the 2005 national bestseller The River of Doubt, by Candice Millard (Anchor, 2006).

This month, two Ely, Minn., guides, Dave Freeman and Paul Schurke, are teaming up with native Brazilians to retrace Roosevelt’s fabled expedition. Unlike Roosevelt, this centennial trip, which departed in late May, is employing lightweight Kevlar and collapsible folding canoes. In contrast, Roosevelt’s crew relied on one ton dugouts they crafted along the way – canoes they found nearly impossible to portage around the miles of whitewater rapids through dense jungle that define the river’s upper end.

That portion of the river remains unchanged, surrounded by impenetrable jungle that’s protected from development of any kind. And it remains the realm of the Cinta Larga, an Amazon tribe whose first significant contact with the outside world didn’t occur until the 1970s. Plans call for a six-week, 400-mile descent, through the end of June, starting near the headwaters and finishing where the Trans-Amazonian Highway crosses the Rio Roosevelt’s lower reaches.

For more information: Daily updates on the River of Doubt Expedition can be found on WildernessClassroom.org, a geography and wilderness education website targeting 85,000 students enrolled at over 600 schools.

EXPEDITION UPDATE

Cousteau Grandson Begins Month-Long Submersion


The grandson of explorer Jacques Cousteau has started a 31-day underwater expedition in the Florida Keys. Fabien Cousteau is among a group of five people spending a month inside the Aquarius Reef Base, a pressurized lab 63 feet below the ocean's surface nine miles off the coast of Key Largo. The mission began on June 1 (see EN, September 2013).

Mission 31 researchers will study the effects of climate change and pollution on the reef, while also making a documentary.

Jacques Cousteau is credited with creating the first ocean floor habitat for humans. Mission 31 expands on his ocean exploration while coinciding with the 50th anniversary of his underwater travels.

This is the first time the Aquarius lab, which is operated by Florida International University, has been used for a mission of such duration at the only underwater marine habitat and lab in the world.

Watch the mission live here:

http://mission-31.com/watch-live/

Solo New York to Gallipoli Row Postponed

Erden Eruc, the first person to complete an entirely solo and entirely human-powered circumnavigation of the Earth, has postponed by a year the launch of his solo 5,700 nautical mile Journey for Peace - New York to Gallipoli (Turkey) Memorial Row. The reason is a lower back injury requiring additional rest.

“Launching later this season is not possible (due to) increased hurricane risk for New York departures after mid-June,” he posted to Facebook. The injury happened on April 30 during a heavy workout; proper diagnosis was not made until 30 days later. (See EN, ¬¬¬August 2013)

Despite the setback, he was a cordial host when EN saw him during a fundraiser on May 31 at an Australian bar in New York. The Gallipoli Campaign, a notable failed offensive by the Allies in World War I, took place on the Gallipoli peninsula in 1915.

Learn about his plans here:

http://www.around-n-over.org/docs/Eruc_NY_Gallipoli_trim.pdf

EXPEDITION NOTES

It’s a Jungle Up There


“If only I had a tail I could explore so much easier,” says Dr. Margaret D. Lowman, aka Canopy Meg, during a May 23 presentation to the Northern chapter of The Explorers Club. Dubbed the "real-life Lorax" by National Geographic and the "Einstein of the treetops" by Wall Street Journal, Lowman has earned an international reputation as a pioneer in forest-canopy ecology, canopy plant-insect relationships, and devising ingenious canopy-access methods. Using climbing ropes, hot air balloons, construction cranes, inflatable treetop rafts, and walkways, she’s dedicated her career to conducting forest canopy research, a place she calls the “eighth continent,” where 50 percent of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity lives.

“The world has chopped down 50 percent of its forests,” she laments. “We must save what we have, replant what we lost.”

She believes that canopy walkways can generate more tourist income for local communities than logging and is working closely with Coptic priests in Ethiopia to save the last five percent of forests in the country's northern region.

Educating youth is another passion she shared. "One of the biggest issues facing the next generation is keeping our kids linked to nature," says Lowman, a sentiment reflected in her recent book, It's a Jungle Up There (Yale University Press, 2006), co-authored with her two sons Edward and James.

For more information: www.canopymeg.com

NASA Scientist Worried About Greenland Ice

“If the Greenland ice cap melts, sea levels would rise 22 feet,” warns Ian Fenty, Ph.D., a scientist from NASA’s JPL Science Division. He was speaking to guests from The Explorers Club on May 9 while docked at a Hudson River pier aboard the 116-ft. MV Cape Race, an expedition vessel restored for charter. Satellite images show the Greenland ice sheet is thinning, especially along the coasts; water from the melted ice is flowing into the ocean, he said.

Fenty displayed images of West Greenland’s Jakobshavn glacier, site of the longest calving (1.8 cu. mi.) ever videotaped. It has retreated 10 miles in just eight years and at 20 meters per day is considered the fastest-flowing glacier in the world.

“We know there’s a human effect, it’s not small and it’s causing the sea level to rise. In fact, half of global mean sea level change is due to Greenland melting.” He believes the U.S. needs to commit to climate science as France has done.

Communicating Field Work

It’s one thing to conduct field research, and quite another to tell the world about it. Gaelin Rosewaks, 34, of New York, grew tired of sitting at her computer so she developed a passion for field work. She told an audience at the Wilton (Conn.) Library on May 28 that she’s found her calling: these days her Global Ocean Exploration, Inc. works with scientists to communicate the research conducted on field expeditions, through video, photography, blogging, and public speaking, as she was doing that night in a presentation moderated by photographer and explorer Daryl Hawks.

She’s been a guest angler and scientific consultant on the National Geographic Channel's series, Fish Warrior with host, Jakub Vagner, catching and studying white sturgeon on the Fraser River. She was named one of six "Sustainable Stewards" at the Sustainable Planet Film Festival for her outstanding contributions to marine conservation. Rosenwaks also earned a master’s from Duke University, where she studied the migratory movements of Atlantic Bluefin Tuna.

“Scientists want to get their message out there and explain their work, but usually don’t have the time to do it,” she said. “I’ll do what’s right for the expedition: photography, writing, video or a combination of all three.”

She believes television exposure is the most effective means of reaching the widest number of people. “My ‘aha’ moment about the global power of television came when I was recognized in a spice market in Turkey.”

For more information: www.globaloceanexploration.com

QUOTE OF THE MONTH

“Floating above the clouds, materializing out of the mist, mountains appear to belong to a world utterly different from the one we know, inspiring in us the experience of the sacred.”

– Edwin Bernbaum, Sacred Mountains of the World (University of California Press, 1998)

EXPEDITION FOCUS

Santa Maria Believed Found Off Haiti


More than five centuries after Christopher Columbus’ flagship, the Santa Maria, came aground in the Caribbean, archaeologists now believe they have finally discovered the vessel’s long-lost remains off the north coast of Haiti. If confirmed, it’s likely to be one of the world’s most important underwater archaeological discoveries.

Eleven years ago, marine archaeological investigator Barry Clifford, 68, of Provincetown, Mass., believed he had found the shallow-draft ship in 10 to 20 feet of water, but there wasn’t enough proof to go public.

In May, after it became evident that the wreck site was looted, and a cannon – called a lombard – was missing, Clifford decided to announce his findings in hopes of protecting the site and return shortly for further study.


On May 15, Clifford held a press conference at The Explorers Club headquarters in New York, a media event that became one of the most visible held there in recent years. Over 90 people crowded into the historic Clark Room of the Club; there was a scrum of 13 video cameras in the back, and an equal number of still shooters.

After 522 years, there wasn't much left of the wreck site located in the Bay of Cape Haitien – no Santa Maria nameplate, no inscribed ship's bell, no “Chris loves Isabella” carved in the mast. Methodically, Clifford presented his findings to confirm the discovery.

“All the geographical, underwater topography and archaeological evidence strongly suggests that this is the wreck of the Santa Maria,” Clifford said. “There is overwhelming evidence this is the Santa Maria exactly where it’s supposed to be.”

Clifford added, “It has to be excavated properly, then put on display for posterity.”

As a result of his announcement, over 1,600 news stories appeared worldwide. It was a story that even broke through to popular culture. Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon facetiously congratulated CNN for finally moving on from coverage of the missing Malaysian airplane.

“Yeah, we were all wondering where the ‘Santa Maria’ has been all year,” he joked.

After Clifford held a late May meeting with Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, the Haitian government created a High Level Commission to monitor the possible discovery. The Commission will be composed of experts from UNESCO, ministries of culture and tourism experts from the Museum of Haitian National Pantheon (MUPANAH), and Clifford himself.

History Channel and October Films have snagged exclusive rights to Clifford’s exploration and will air the expedition at a later date.

Clifford, who believes the available evidence is irrefutable, nonetheless has work cut out for himself. Kevin Crisman, Nautical Archaeology at Texas A&M, remains cautious, noting that several Spanish ships were wrecked off Haiti and it will be difficult to confirm that this is the Santa Maria, adding that the ship sank so slowly in 1492 and that the crew had time to retrieve all objects, such as guns, which could allow to identify it.

Clifford expects to submit his exploration plan in June and return to the site this summer. He said, “We need to move quickly on this exploration to determine with certainty that these are, in fact, the remains of Christopher Columbus’ ship.

“This is an emergency situation. We need to preserve this ship for mankind. If we put it on display in New York City, imagine how many people will pay to see it. We should charge admission with the money going back to Haiti.”
See the Jimmy Fallon clip at approximately two minutes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5Rw2bQDFPI&list=UU8-Th83bH_thdKZDJCrn88g

http://fallontonight.tumblr.com/post/85814608100/cnn-is-finally-switching-up-their-coverage

Here’s the story that broke on May 13 in the UK Independent:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/archaeology/exclusive-found-after-500-years-the-wreck-of-christopher-columbuss-flagship-the-santa-maria-9359330.html

CLIMBING FOR DOLLARS

Amelia Earhart Search Hopes to Get Kickstarted


They’ve been looking for Amelia Earhart ever since she disappeared in 1937, but now searchers have a powerful new weapon: the crowdsourcing site Kickstarter.com. At press time, there was only seven days to go to raise $1.96 million to search for the aviatrix.

There has never been a credible artifact recovered from the flight, though it hasn’t been for lack of trying. It’s been less than two years since The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) failed in its efforts to find the missing airplane near the Pacific Island of Nikumaroro. This time, a different organization, Howland Landing Limited, Carson City, Nev., is preparing to launch Expedition Amelia, searching an area near Howland Island.

By donating money to the cause through Kickstarter, the group says supporters will receive daily updates on the progress of the expedition and a detailed look into the life and disappearance of Earhart. The information gathered during the expedition will be edited into a documentary.

The leader of the expedition, Dana Timmer, has been searching for Earhart’s airplane for 15 years. His team has used sonar equipment to search an area at a depth of over three miles in hopes of finding the Lockheed Model 10-E Electra. Analysis of the collected data by sonar experts has identified several targets that he says are the approximate size of the aircraft.

The effort is not an easy one, and industry insiders give it almost no chance of success. “The Earhart/Noonan Electra is 18,000 feet down in the vicinity of Howland Island and may even yield a range of artifacts that could rival the finds of the Titanic,” said Dr. Tom Crouch, senior curator of the National Air and Space Museum.

For more information:

http://www.expeditionamelia.com/

EXPEDITION MARKETING

Another Reason Why There’ll Always Be an England


The U.K.’s Calor Gas Ltd. will continue to support the plucky Nick Hancock, 39, in his revived attempt to set a world record by living solo for 60 days on Britain’s loneliest outpost. Rockall has been called the most isolated speck of rock surrounded by water on the surface of the earth.
Hancock had to abandon a previous effort in 2013 to reach the tiny remote Atlantic rock, after rough seas prevented him from landing. The English-born chartered surveyor from Ratho, west of Edinburgh, is now in the process of trying again.

His aim is to spend two months on the rock, the tip of a dead volcano 260 miles west of the Outer Hebrides. Success would mean beating endurance records for the longest solo occupation of the rock – the current record is 42 days set by three Greenpeace campaigners in 1997. Hancock also hopes to raise £10,000 (approx. $16,800) for the Help for Heroes charity.

The island of Rockall is just 100 feet wide and 70 feet high and supports no inhabitants except for the occasional mollusk. No wonder: due to the extreme weather and waves that regularly lash the top of the rock, nothing grows there, other than algae, seaweed and black lichen.

Calor will be providing all the natural gas Hancock needs for his 8-ft. survival pod perched on an 11- by 4-ft. ledge.

Follow Hancock at @rockallnick. For more information: www.rockallsolo.com

Here’s the Dirt: Explorers Wanted to Blog About Scrubba Wash Bag


The late explorer Norman D. Vaughan liked to talk about how he handled his underwear during Robert E. Byrd’s 1928-30 Antarctic expedition. He told of Byrd instructing his team to wear the same underwear for ten days, then switch to new pairs, then after 20 days go back to the old pairs. In a twisted sense of polar logic, that’s how team members convinced themselves they had clean underwear.

Today’s explorers? Well, often you can smell them before you see them. Now there’s hope.


The Scrubba wash bag, the “world’s first pocket-sized washing machine,” is a 5 oz. waterproof sack with a flexible internal washboard made up of hundreds of washing “nobules” which are backed by a patterned grip surface. To wash clothes, travelers add cleaning liquid and two to three quarts of water, seal the bag, expel the air and rub for as little as 30 seconds. Rubbing for a full three minutes is on par with washing machine performance.

Like a real washing machine, it has a transparent window to view clothes getting clean. Rinsing can be accomplished in the bag or in the shower, and then it’s simply a matter of hanging the clothes to dry.
The Scrubba wash bag was conceived in 2010 when founder Ash Newland took a four-month break from his job as an Australian patent attorney to climb Africa’s Mt. Kilimanjaro. Realizing he couldn’t possibly travel with 24 pair of underwear, nor return with well-worn, er, pungent pairs, he looked for a portable washboard to take along – not a particularly convenient option.

“It was then that I had the idea that if we could incorporate a highly flexible washboard into a waterproof sealable bag, we could change the way people wash clothes while traveling,” said Newland.

Newland is looking for a select group of explorers to take a Scrubba on their next trip, then blog about its performance. There’s no pay involved, but recipients will be sent a free Scrubba (value: $64) for the test. For more information: www.thescrubba.com. To apply, send an e-mail to info@thescrubba.com. Be sure to explain where you’re going and how you’ll give the product a good “scrubbing.”

World Explorers Bureau Opens U.S. Branch in San Francisco

The two-year-old World Explorers Bureau (WEB), a niche speakers agency based in Ireland, announced the opening of its first U.S. office in San Francisco to be run by Charlotte Baker Weinert. She has a 20-year career working in motion pictures and advertising. The announcement was made by Tim Lavery, the founder and CEO of the Bureau.

WEB represents 70-plus explorers and extreme adventurers, including the very best of British, Canadian and U.S. adventurers.

For more information: Charlotte Baker Weinert, charlotte@worldexplorersbureau.com, www.worldexplorersbureau.com

EXPEDITION INK

In the Kingdom of Ice – The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette
by Hampton Sides (Doubleday, August 2014)

Reviewed by Robert F. Wells


The year 2015 will be the 100th anniversary of Shackleton’s ill-fated Antarctic expedition, when his Endurance became frozen fast in an ice floe. Few recall a similar venture more than three decades earlier to the North Pole by commanding officer George De Long who hoped to enter the Arctic's "Open Polar Sea" and discover the North Pole, via a path through the ice created by the warm Kuro-Siwo currents. It was thought to be a “gateway to the pole.” But in the 1870's, who knew no such channel existed?

The voyage was funded to create news fodder for the slightly outrageous James Bennett – owner and publisher of New York's very successful Herald newspaper. Bennett put "colorful" to shame. Staging carriage races at night up Broadway – totally naked – was one of his trademarks. He won the first trans-oceanic yacht race and was (and still is) The New York Yacht Club's youngest commodore. One evening when visiting his fiancee at her family's fancy-dancy mansion, nature called through his inebriated fog... he unbuttoned his pants and arced a perfect line of pee precisely into her father's grand piano. What a perfect guest. And a perfect person to bankroll a polar voyage of discovery.

A bit of context: At the time, horrors of the Civil War stood tall in peoples' memories. In 1867, the U.S. bought Alaska from Russia. A financial crisis gripped the world during the mid-1870's. Good news was scarce. A legendary cartographer from a small town in Germany (Dr. Petermann) was cranking out maps touting the feasibility of polar exploration made possible by following temperate Pacific currents. De Long was gnashing at the nautical bit. Bennett was game. A capable craft was readied, as was a truly international crew. And in no time, the Jeannette was steaming up California's coast to parts unknown.

From here, Hampton Sides launches into a gripping tale of saltwater, endless impenetrable ice packs, a pressurized destruction and sinking of the Jeannette, dog sled treks to find relative civilization in Siberia, frostbite, boots oozing seawater, fearful footfalls over "messes" of rotten ice, walrus slaughters interspersed with starvation, a desperate scramble of three small boats over a hostile open sea to reach land... followed by fate. The author uses journals and logs from De Long, published by Emma De Long in 1883, as well as horrific tales from others in the crew. But that came later. From 1879 through most of 1881, the world revolved on an endlessly silent void of news, as the USS Jeannette was simply lost.

So today, before we all slide into the 100th anniversary of Shackleton's "endurance" in the Antarctic, warm yourself up with De Long's voyage to the North Pole. In the Kingdom of Ice will launch you into a mood, with "ice as far as you can see.” Don't forget to bundle up.

Robert Wells, a member of The Explorers Club since 1991, is a resident of South Londonderry, Vt., and a retired executive of the Young & Rubicam ad agency. Wells is the director of a steel band (see www.blueflamessteelband.com) and in 1989, at the age of 45, traveled south by road bike from Canada to Long Island Sound in a single 350-mile, 19-hr., 28-min. push.

EXPEDITION CLASSIFIEDS

Get Sponsored!
– Hundreds of explorers and adventurers raise money each month to travel on world class expeditions to Mt. Everest, Nepal, Antarctica and elsewhere. Now the techniques they use to pay for their journeys are available to anyone who has a dream adventure project in mind, according to the new book from Skyhorse Publishing called: "Get Sponsored: A Funding Guide for Explorers, Adventurers and Would Be World Travelers."

Author Jeff Blumenfeld, an adventure marketing specialist who has represented 3M, Coleman, Du Pont, Lands' End and Orvis, among others, shares techniques for securing sponsors for expeditions and adventures.

Buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/Get-Sponsored-Explorers-Adventurers-Travelers-ebook/dp/B00H12FLH2

Advertise in Expedition News – For more information: blumassoc@aol.com.



EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 1281 East Main Street – Box 10, Stamford, CT 06902 USA. Tel. 203 655 1600, editor@expeditionnews.com. Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Assistant editor: Jamie Gribbon. Research editor: Lee Kovel. ©2014 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1526-8977. Subscriptions: US$36/yr. available by e-mail only. Credit card payments accepted through www.paypal.com. Read EXPEDITION NEWS at www.expeditionnews.com. Enjoy the EN blog at www.expeditionnews.blogspot.com.