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EXPEDITION NEWS is a monthly review of significant expeditions, research projects and newsworthy adventures. It is distributed online and by mail to media representatives, corporate sponsors, educators, research librarians, explorers, environmentalists, and outdoor enthusiasts. This forum on exploration covers projects that stimulate, motivate and educate.
A group of intrepid South African divers will beam underwater images of
living fossils onto the Internet. And while they may not be facing
flesh-eating dinosaurs, they will be taking considerable risks as they search
at a depth of 330 feet for the ancient coelacanth, a fish whose allure has
already claimed the lives of three divers. The expedition will begin early
this month and last for three weeks, of which nine days will be devoted to
deep or technical dives.
A species that has been swimming the seas for an astonishing 400 million years, the coelacanth was believed to have been extinct for 70 million years until one was caught by a trawler off South Africa in 1938 and identified by a museum curator. That catch stunned the scientific world and is widely regarded as the zoological discovery of the 20th century. The fish is so unattractively prehistoric, it was the inspiration for the classic horror film, "The Creature from the Black Lagoon."
Climbing for Dollars
Sometimes it may seem easier to climb Everest, explore the ocean deep, or ride a camel across Australia than it is to raise a small fortune to pay for it all. Luckily for explorers, grants totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars per year are available through various programs. This month we take a look at the best among them. For a reprint of the story, send US$4 to the below address, made payable to Blumenfeld and Assoc., Inc.
One Fossett You Can't Turn Off - American adventurer Steve Fossett plans to
try again to become the first man to float solo around the globe in a
balloon. Fossett hopes to take off from Kalgoorlie, a gold mining town in
the western Australian desert, on June 1.
Search for Andrew Irvine Begins - Eric Simonson's 2001 Mallory & Irvine Research Expedition began its search for the body of Andrew "Sandy" Irvine who lost his life with George Mallory on Everest's North Ridge in 1924. By late April, the team had located the advance base camp for Mallory's 1922 expedition and recovered vintage oxygen tanks, a stove and "an interesting piece of wood with leather straps bolted to it."
Camel Jockeys Pass Aussie Half-Way Point - Two adventurers are already
half-way along in their quest to achieve the first-ever circumnavigation of
Australia by a team of nine camels (yes, camels). The CAMELL project
(Circumnavigating Australia Motivating Environmentalists at Local Levels) is
led by Briton Alexandra Hughes Bannister, 35, and her Australian partner, Lew
Bailey, 54. In March, they reached Steep Point in Western Australia -- the
most westerly point of the Australian mainland. By press time in late April,
they were 6,510-mi. into their 10,540-mi. (17,000 km) journey.
All Girls Mountaineering Expedition Heads for Peru - The International Non-traditional Teaching Initiative (INTI) 2001 Expedition (www.oldfieldsschool.org/INTI), composed of a group of dedicated classroom and outdoor educators and 16 high school girls, is the first all-girls' expedition to attempt a 6,000-meter peak as part of their high school graduation requirements.
Life & Death at the Explorers Club - National Geographic Traveler's April
issue devotes six pages to the Explorers Club, including a first-hand account
of its annual dinner and legendary insect feast. Patrick Kelly writes, "With
some 3,000 members in over 60 countries, today's Explorers Club has stayed
true to its original charter, serving as a mecca and source of support for
many of the premier scientists and adventurers of the 20th century. Kelly
went on an expedition of sorts through the Club's library. Wallowing through
the archives, he uncovered little known books such as "Through Hell and High
Water," which includes a passage on how to stitch a wound with the heads of
Kelly also attended a club lecture by naturalist and author Sy Montgomery who described the Amazon's most feared fish, the candiru. "They like to swim up your urethra," Montgomery said, "where they lodge with spines that have to be surgically removed."
Hello! Can this be true, we wondered? Oh yeah. According to www.angelfire.com, "When candirus parasitize humans, it is usually only when they are skinny-dipping while urinating in the water." The description continues, "This is all said to be very painful for the poor person who had this happen to him or her .... Amputation of the private areas is the cheapest and most life-changing way to remove the fish." (Note to self: please no swimming in the Amazon).
Surviving K2 - Of the 183 men and five women who have reached the summit of K2 (28,251-ft./8611m), 19 of the men and three of the women never made it back down (according to Karakorum record-keeper Xavier Eguskitza). In May, mountaineer Heidi Howkins, 33, tells the story of her two bids not only to be the first American woman to summit K2, but also to climb in minimalist style -- without porters or supplemental oxygen. Her account is captured in a National Geographic Adventure Press book titled, "K2: One Woman's Quest for the Summit," and in National Geographic EXPLORER's program "Surviving K2," which premieres May 6 and May 12 on CNBC (check local listings).
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is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 28 Center Street, Darien, CT 06820 USA. Tel. 203 855 9400, fax 203 855 9433, email@example.com. Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. ©2001 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1526-8977. Subscriptions: US$36/yr.; international postal rate US$46/yr. Highlights from EXPEDITION NEWS can be found at www.expeditionnews.com.