Sunday, October 12, 2014
October 2014 – Volume Twenty-One, Number Ten
Celebrating our 20th Anniversary!
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.
ON THE SHOULDERS OF SHACKLETON
A six-week expedition by Pax Arctica has departed this month to raise awareness about the impact of climate change on polar regions and to gather scientific data, pictures and films about Antarctica. The project is in collaboration with the National Centre for Scientific Research/Pierre and Marie Curie University (CNRS/UMPC), Laboratoire LOCEAN and Green Cross International (GCI).
Luc Hardy will lead a Franco-British team of nine professional adventurers, polar guides, scientists and sportsmen/women on this expedition retracing the 800-mile journey of celebrated explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton between ice-covered Elephant Island and the island of South Georgia in the Antarctic region. They will travel in a sailboat called the Australis, then plan to cross South Georgia on skis with pulkas (sleds) to trace Shackleton’s overland trek in 1916. They expect to return to Stanley, Falkland Islands by mid-November.
Luc Hardy, expedition leader
Luc Hardy, based in Cos Cob, Conn., founded the Pax Arctica expedition platform and is the vice president of Green Cross France et Territoires, part of the GCI network, a non-governmental organization addressing the inter-connected global challenges of security, poverty and environmental degradation.
During the expedition data will be collected for oceanographic research including measurements of salinity, atmospheric dust and CO2 concentrations in ocean waters and currents to gain a better understanding of changes occurring in the oceans due to climate change.
The corporate partners include SOPRA and La Française, among others.
For more information: www.paxarctica.org/
See the project video here: http://ow.ly/BIAnc
Speaking of the explorer affectionately known as “the Boss,” the Royal Geographical Society in London is planning an exhibition and series of events in 2015-16 to celebrate the centenary of Sir Ernest’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Featured will be 68 unique photographic glass plates from photographer Frank Hurley documenting the journey, each to be digitally mastered for 21st century use. The Society’s Picture Library offers numerous Shackleton images for sale, which are fascinating to browse through.
View them here: http://images.rgs.org/search_.aspx?personInPhotoID=9
UNESCO Questions Columbus Ship Discovery
Explorer Barry Clifford’s claim to have found the long-lost Santa Maria, Christopher Columbus' flagship from his first voyage to the Americas, has been dismissed by a group of U.N. experts (see EN, June 2014). A team from the U.N. cultural agency UNESCO said in a report earlier this month that bronze or copper fasteners found at the site point to shipbuilding techniques of the late 17th or 18th centuries, when ships were covered in copper. Before that, fasteners were made only of wood or iron, it said.
The Santa Maria
When reached by EN, Clifford said he stands by his discovery. He told us the UNESCO finding was politically motivated. He confirmed the accuracy of the UK’s Independent newspaper, which identified a number of flaws in the UNESCO study.
Said Clifford, “Having spent more than ten years investigating the shipwreck in question, surveying over 550 lineal miles within the Bay of Cap Haitian, and identifying and eliminating over 430 magnetic anomalies, I completely endorse Professor Charles D. Beeker, Ph.D., assessment of the ‘Lombard Wreck site’ as being the best candidate to date for the Santa Maria.
“To this end, it is essential that UNESCO investigate the entire area where the lombards were discovered, photographed and drawn in situ.
“I would be delighted to assist UNESCO and look forward to them getting in touch with me to review our photographs, drawings and survey records.
“The lombards are the smoking guns and, in my view, the most important pieces of evidence in the search for the Santa Maria.”
The story, written by David Keys, the Independent’s archaeological correspondent, can be seen here:
Much Better Than a Lawsuit
The Explorers Club and Diageo, owner of the disputed Johnnie Walker Explorers’ Club Scotch Whisky brand have settled in what appears to be the most amicable manner. In a letter to members, Club president Alan Nichols announced a sponsorship and licensing agreement which settles ongoing litigation (see EN, August 2014).
Under the agreement, Diageo will license The Explorers Club trademark for use in the Johnnie Walker Explorers’ Club Collection. The Explorers Club will be directly incorporated into the promotion of the product line, providing a unique global opportunity to raise awareness of the legacy and mission of the Club and its members.
“This agreement ensures the continued protection of the history, tradition, and strength of The Explorers Club name and trademarks, and the sponsorship serves as an extraordinary new platform for The Explorers Club as the World Center for Exploration,” said Nichols.
Under the settlement agreement, the specific terms of the license and sponsorship are confidential.
“The Explorers Club logo will be placed on each bottle, along with information about the Club and its mission,” executive director Will Roseman tells EN.
Now that EN has turned 20, we can say that few explorers or adventurers we’ve ever covered have the courage and fortitude of Erik Weihenmeyer, arguably the best blind adventurer in the U.S., perhaps the world. Most know him for his outdoor exploits like climbing the Seven Summits (including Everest in 2001), or mountain biking the Leadville 100. He also wrote a book, Touch the Top of the World (Plume, 2002), and runs a non-profit organization called No Barriers that encourages soldiers, others with physical limitations, and, basically, everyone else to get out and live beyond their physical or mental limitations.
In September, the 46-year-old father of two put his own philosophy to the test again, when he kayaked – in a solo boat – 227 miles of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, according to Tracy Ross covering his adventure for Colorado Public Radio.
On Sept. 7, Weihenmayer began his three-week No Barriers Grand Canyon trip with a support team and another blind boater, Navy vet Lonnie Bedwell.
Along the way, says Weihenmayer, they encountered all of the “mythic-sized waves” the Grand Canyon is known for. For 178 miles, Weihenmayer paddled with little incident. But at mile 179.2 sits the terrifying Lava Falls where he flipped. He survived to paddle it successfully the next morning, according to Ross, listening to directions from his guide through his Bluetooth headset.
The Weihenmayer-Bedwell team included professional filmmakers and photographers, as well as a film crew from HBO Sports. They captured both blind men doing something most people would never dare.
Ross continues, “They did it, they say, to show others that no matter what their physical, mental, or psychological limitations may be, they can dream big, follow through, and exceed their own expectations.”
See video from the adventure here: http://www.cpr.org/news/story/blind-adventurer-kayaks-harrowing-colorado-river-rapid
Reinhold Messner, 70, Conducts Pre-Event Interview
Reinhold Messner, the great mountaineer, turned 70 last month. To celebrate the milestone, adventure writer Jim Clash and mountaineer/photographer Robert Anderson visited him at his FirmianMessnerMountainMuseum castle complex in Bolzano, Italy, for a series of articles in Forbes, AskMen and other publications.
During the interview, Messner candidly touched on a number of subjects, including the death of his brother on Nanga Parbat in 1970, his memories on the summit of Everest in 1978 without supplemental oxygen ¬– and his prediction that, within 10 years, Sherpas will own and operate all climbing businesses on Everest. At one point, he joked about the death of alpinism and today's pampered guided climbs. "They go on Everest now like in kindergarten," he laughed. "It's okay, it's tourism. I never did that, but it's a fact."
Messner will be in New York Jan. 31, 2015, to keynote the American Alpine Club Annual Benefit Dinner.
"My time is becoming tighter and tighter, so I can't go to the U.S. as often," Messner said. "But I am anxious to see again American climbers to discuss mountaineering and to do a lecture."
The weekend event, sponsored by adidas, will also include programs with other great climbers including Chris Bonnington, Ed Viesturs and Ueli Steck.
For more information:
303 384 0110. Tickets start at $275.
Learn more about Messner’s Museum here: www.messner-mountain-museum.it
Don’t Laugh: If You’re a Beaver, This is Big News
Rob Mark, an amateur explorer from New Jersey, recently became the first person to reach the world’s largest beaver dam. It took Mark nine days to cover the 124 miles from Fort Chipewyan to the 2,789-ft. wide dam in Wood Buffalo National Park in the northeast corner of Alberta, according to the Sept. 18 Edmonton Journal.
Publicly identified in 2007 by an Ottawa researcher using Google Earth, the dam easily exceeds the largest known previously, a 652-metre structure in Three Forks, Mont. “It’s undoubtedly a first,” said Tim Gauthier, a spokesman for Wood Buffalo National Park, a UNESCO heritage site that encompasses portions of Alberta and the Northwest Territories. “That’s one heck of an odyssey through incredibly inhospitable territory.”
Read the entire story here: http://news360.com/article/257834286#
While EN tends to focus on expeditions, which we define as a “trip with a purpose,” we can’t help but admire the moxie of one Reza Baluchi whose dream was to cross from Miami to Bermuda in a 3mm thick plastic human-powered “hydro pod,” similar to the Zorb Balls popular at adventure parks in New Zealand.
Early this month Baluchi, an endurance runner, was rescued 70 miles off the coast of Florida – despite the Coast Guard warning him three days earlier that he was going to have a hard time punching through the Gulf Stream to make Bermuda.
Inside the homemade plastic bubble were protein bars, bottles of water and a satellite phone.
According to his website, Baluchi tested out his Hydro Pod by taking it from Newport Beach, Calif., to Catalina Island and back, which is 32 miles one way.
See what he has to say for himself at: http://runwithreza.org/bermuda.php
Heyerdahl Honored with Google Doodle
You can receive the Nobel Peace Prize or MacArthur “Genius Grant,” but what really impresses us is to have a Google doodle created in your honor. In numerous countries on Oct. 6, millions learned about Thor Heyerdahl’s expedition on the 100th anniversary of his birth. In the expedition, Heyerdahl and his crew of five successfully sailed a balsa wood raft 5,000 miles westwards from Peru towards French Polynesia in an attempt to prove his hypothesis that the islands were colonized from the Americas, rather than from the Asian mainland, as had previously been thought. The doodle also shows a moai, one of the huge sculptures found on Rapa Nui, or Easter Island, which Heyerdahl visited from 1955-56 on an archaeological expedition.
You can see the Heyerdahl doodle here: http://specblo.com/thor-heyerdahl-google-doodle/
Space Race: Private Museum Collector is Preserving American Space Culture
Space travel always had an allure for us here at EN. When we were younger, we made models of Mercury and Gemini capsules, suspended an X-15 from the ceiling, and watched nearly every launch on a black and white Emerson TV. Those relics of space age culture, sadly, were tossed along with our baseball cards. Thus it’s heartening to know that thousands of space-related cultural artifacts have found a safe home, albeit in an unlikely place.
Down a winding country road in Litchfield, Conn., about 120 miles northeast of New York City is an unassuming former hay barn with sunlight streaking through its cracked wooden sides – its exact location we’ve been asked to keep confidential. Beneath a roof where bats have been known to roost, is the Space Age Museum whose mission is to preserve, interpret and present the cultural history of the space age. Founder John Kleeman, 67, and his son Peter, 34, have relentlessly searched for cultural artifacts that capture the spirit and underlying meaning of human space exploration. It was Peter’s love for space toys at an early age that launched the collection.
The Space Age Museum tells the story of how everyday people expressed fascination with outer space and engaged in the epic adventure of space exploration.
The private 4,000 sq. ft. collection includes science fiction toys, space adventure amusement rides, robot advertising and period photographs that capture life in Space Age America. In one corner there’s a Mr. Bolts robot, the market for which, Kleeman admits, “is pretty thin.” Space artifacts ranging from R2-D2 and E.T. and the Jetsons cartoon are all represented.
The Kleemans are also passionate about photographing remnants of Space Age art and culture alongside American roads and highways, racing to save them before the weather and urban renewal sweep fiber glass rocket ships, aluminum flying saucers, and cast iron robots from the landscape forever.
Kleeman doesn’t consider himself an expert on Space Age culture, history or philosophy. He and his son simply enjoy learning how ordinary folks at the dawn of the Space Age strove to participate in humanity’s journey to the stars. One photo album includes a collection of black and white photographs ordinary people took of their TV sets in 1969 when Neil Armstrong first walked the moon. Elsewhere in his cluttered office sits a display case of 180 space-themed Cracker Jack toys.
Often trolling eBay for collectible items, he regrets missing out on a seat/plunger contraption used to support Buzz Aldrin when he suited up for the Apollo 11 mission.
“We don’t try to compete with space museums like the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center,” said the elder Kleeman as he points a Buck Rogers atomic pistol in our general direction.
“We focus on the people behind the scenes – the less glamorous, and less well known members of the NASA team whose stories are yet to be told.”
While the collection is closed to the public, museum curators often call to request items for public display, including a recent visit by the Museum of Modern Art which borrowed some items, such as an Omnibot 2000 electronic robot, for the 2012 exhibit “Century of the Child: Growing by Design 1900-2000.”
If you have an item for sale, or would just like to share an image of roadside space art, you can email the museum through its website. If the local Rocket Dry Cleaners or Astro Car Wash is going out of business, or if you have a souvenir from the A'Le'Inn, John Kleeman wants to know.
For more information: www.spaceagemuseum.com
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
“In the taxonomy of travelers, the word ‘explorer’ suggests a morally superior pioneer, a man or woman who braves the battle against nature to discover new terrain, expanding our species’ understanding of the world. ‘Adventurer,’ by contrast, implies a self-indulgent adrenaline junkie, who scares loved ones by courting puerile risk. The former, obviously, is the far better title, but it’s tough to claim these days. The world is Google-mapped. Reaching the actual virgin territory of space or the deep ocean requires resources that few possess.
“In short, the noble fig leaf of terra incognita has fallen away and laid bare the peripatetic, outsize bravado of (Robert F. ) Scott’s kindred spirits. The resulting itineraries are pretty strange. We now have guys like Felix Baumgartner sky-diving from a balloon-borne capsule at 128,100 feet.”
– Elizabeth Weil writing in the New York Times Sunday Magazine (Sept. 28) about Sarah Marquis, a woman who walked 10,000 miles in three years.
Today's Space Exploration Follows in the Footsteps of Early Engineers
Space exploration is a challenge to human ingenuity, and celebrations in October, under the guise of World Space Week, are an ode to it, according to a post by Chris Arridge on Phys.org, Oct. 10.
Spacecraft have to be kept warm against the cold of space, but cool against the heat of the Sun – think of traveling from Antarctica to Africa without taking your coat off. They have to make electricity for themselves. They have to be able to work out what way they are facing. They need to be able to communicate with Earth – but even traveling at the speed of light it takes a radio signal about 40 minutes to get from Jupiter to Earth, so robotic spacecraft have to survive on their own,” Arridge writes.
“A simple reason why space exploration is valuable is that in developing spacecraft to explore distant worlds, we get better at building spacecraft for more practical purposes. Engineers and space scientists today have their work cut out to meet these challenges, but they follow in the footsteps of the early engineers and scientists who pioneer space exploration.”
Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-10-exploring-space-big-humanity.html#jCp
CLIMBING FOR DOLLARS
Grant Available for Innova Inflatable Kayak
Innova, a Washington State manufacturer, makes tough inflatable boats that fit into small backpacks. PVC-free Innova kayaks have been used on expeditions led by Jon Turk and Kira Salak, among others. This month the company announces a grant program that will award an appropriate level inflatable kayak (est. value $900) to explorers who can demonstrate the performance of the kayak in harsh conditions. News value, support of a worthy cause, and a demonstrated ability to capture quality photographs and share the trip socially will rank high in Innova’s decision on who to fund.
The company will be making a decision and awarding a kayak by the end of the year.
To apply: Tim Rosenhan, firstname.lastname@example.org
Help Solve a Mystery and Receive a Planeload of Cash
There’s a rusted WWII airplane engine still visible along the Iron Door Mine Trail above Lake Havasu City, Ariz., near Crossman Peak. It attests to a disaster in which five servicemen tragically died when their B-25J aircraft, based at Yuma AAF base, crashed in a fireball on August 11, 1945. According to the mishap report, the aircraft flew into the mountain after encountering low clouds and rain. While that crash site is easily accessible to anyone with a pair of hiking boots, the site of two aviation mysteries are a bit harder to find, hence the need for someone to launch an expedition.
On Aug. 4, 1943 at 1900 hours, a Pursuit P-40 crashed between Site Six and what is now Havasu Landing. Flames were extending back to the cockpit as it filled with smoke. The pilot escaped by parachute without injury, writing in his report, “After the parachute opened, I attempted to steer for land but was unable to guide the parachute. When I saw I was going to land in the Colorado River, I pulled off my shoes and unbuckled my parachute then dived out of the parachute when I was approximately 15 or 20 feet from the surface.
“After swimming about ten minutes a motorboat from Site Six approached and picked me up.”
The plane, downed by engine failure, sank a complete wreck. It was there when Site Six ended its relationship with the U.S. Army in 1945, and is still somewhere beneath the lake surface.
Help find this lost plane
There’s another mystery as well: Lake Havasu holds the wreck of a war surplus North American AT-6C single engine fighter which went down in the lake on Jan. 2, 1960, taking the lives of two duck hunters – both brothers from California. It’s thought the carburetor froze up; the bodies were recovered but the plane has yet to be found.
“To budding Jacques Cousteaus, to all you Indiana Jones types, or fans of famed early 1960s TV diver Lloyd Bridges … find either of the planes, bring back photos, and the Convention & Visitors Bureau will reimburse you $1,000 for your help in solving the mystery,” said Doug Traub, president/CEO of the CVB.
“It’s not some Loch Ness monster down there, these are two real planes, piloted by real people. It’s fully documented.
One thousands dollars doesn’t go far for an underwater expedition, but it could help generate additional funding to the determined explorer.
For more information: Michelle Gardia, Lake Havasu City CVB, email@example.com
The Flying Classroom Delivers Learning Adventures to Students Worldwide
The Flying Classroom, a STEM+ learning adventure led by National Geographic Emerging Explorer Captain Barrington Irving, will be making stops throughout the Asia-Pacific region in the next two months on the first of three global trips to bring learning adventures to students worldwide. Students will have access to Irving's adventures through videos and a blog on www.flyingclassroom.com.
Captain Irving, who holds the Guinness World Record as the youngest person to fly solo around the world, is piloting Inspiration III, a Hawker 400XP business jet provided by title sponsor Executive Air Services in Miami. During the trip, Captain Irving will carry out ground, air, and sea expeditions designed to teach students about real-life life applications of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, History, Geography and Humanities (STEM+).
The expeditions include:
• Learning how to build sustainable cities in Shanghai
• Visiting wildlife reserves in Singapore to learn about animal conservation
• Diving to see coral reef regrowth from a bio-rock sculpture in Bali, Indonesia
• Learning how to balance an ecosystem challenged by the poisonous cane toad in Australia
"The Flying Classroom is more than just an aircraft," said Captain Irving. "It's an exploration vehicle for learning that will engage and teach millions of kids who follow the website by making them part of the expeditions and research.”
Other sponsors include Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and FlightSafety International. Educational partners include Skype in the Classroom, NASA, and National Geographic.
For more information: www.flyingclassroom.com
ON THE HORIZON
I Want to Be Under the Sea:
Sea Stories Comes to Explorers Club, Nov. 8
For the past 10 years, an impressive roster of scientists, shipwreck explorers, archaeologists and historians presented at the Manhattan headquarters of the Explorers Club to over 130 of their fellow members, peers and the general public. Sea Stories is a day focused on exploration, conservation, scuba diving, shipwrecks, nautical history and marine life. This will be a great opportunity for those who are interested in the ocean to interact. It’s open to the public and advance reservations are required. For more information: 212 628 8383, www.explorers.org.
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
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