The following are Highlights from our July 2001 issue. If you'd like to receive a free sample issue of the entire newsletter, send a long self-addressed stamped envelope (34 cents postage) to Jeff Blumenfeld, ed. and publisher. See adddress at the end of the newsletter or log onto www.expeditionnnews.com.
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.
TEENS PLAN MCCLIMB IN VIETNAM
A dedicated group of red-blooded British teens turned to their nearby fast food restaurant for sponsorship of a learning expedition to Vietnam. This month, eight students from the Banbury School in Banbury, Oxfordshire, plan to walk north to south 2,000-miles through Vietnam, climbing the country's tallest peak, Mt. Fan Si Pan (10,312-ft./3143 m) in the remote northwestern highlands. Sponsors include the home of the Big Mac, the Banbury McDonald's which provided gift certificates for free meals to give away as prizes at fund-raising events. Team member David Glover, 18, said, "I used to work for McDonald's and approached them during my term of employment."
Voyage to the Bottom of the Top of the World - Former Explorers Club President Capt. Alfred S. McLaren, U.S. Navy (Ret.), Ph.D., has postponed his planned deep submersible dive to the sea bottom beneath the North Pole for one year, until August 2002 (See EN, May 1998). As he searches for additional sponsors for the estimated $1-2 million project, he participated last month in the first manned dive of the German battleship Bismarck, sunk on May 27,1941, about 380 nautical miles southwest of Ireland.
Fuel Cells Will Power Antarctica Crossing - A team of adventurers in Japan are planning to cross Antarctica in late 2002 on fuel cell-powered vehicles to demonstrate the usefulness of the new energy source. Up to six members of Challenge Antarctica 21 will take part in the seven-week, 1,674-mi. adventure via the South Pole, according to team leader Mikio Chiba, a 51-year-old freelance journalist.
Midnight Sun Means More Hours for Exploring
What's with this midnight sun thing, we wondered the morning of our first day 180 miles north of the Arctic Circle in Ilulissat, Greenland? Traveling to the world's largest island on business, we were looking forward to experiencing the midnight sun for only the second time. However, we found the experience quite disconcerting for someone from the temperate zones. Here you are, after a big day, ready for some shut-eye. The clock says 12:15 a.m., yet the sun is streaming through your hotel window. The body refuses to sleep, thinking instead it's just laying down for a little nap. The only solution is to tightly draw the shades and wear a sleep mask pilfered from your flight over there. The end result: you spend five days dragging your butt in a constant state of sleep deprivation.
Is this agony just for newsletter editors? Apparently. Professional explorers don't seem to mind 24/7 sun in the least. Canadian explorer Richard Weber of Canadian Arctic Holidays in Chelsea, Quebec, thinks perhaps this midnight agony is all in our head. He writes, "I have never had much trouble sleeping in the sun. I sometimes pull my hat down over my eyes. If I am on an expedition and am tired at the end of a day, a little sun is not going to keep me awake. "Perhaps, it is just experience," Weber continues. "I spend almost three months each year in 24-hour sunlight. The hardest part is stopping and going to bed. With 24-hour sun, I just want to keep going. I love to go on 26 to 28 hour days. Isn't that everyone's wish? To have more hours in the day?"
Armchair Adventure at its Fiennes - We're not sure what the attraction is, but polar explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes OBE is leading the first public overflight from the United Kingdom to the North Pole. This shirt-sleeve "armchair adventure" requires no more skill than it takes to open a bag of peanuts. Goodwood Travel Ltd. is running the Flights of Fantasy "expedition" as a day flight in an all-club class Boeing 747 luxury jet with its "business class leather cradle seats, each with a massive 68-in. first-class pitch." The aircraft will fly a figure eight pattern over points of particular interest to give those on both sides of the aircraft a good view.
It's About Time - The last time Mt. Everest made the cover of the newsweeklies, a tragedy had to occur. Thus it was gratifying to see a good story this time: Time magazine's June 18 cover feature on blind climber Erik Weihenmayer titled, "Blind Faith." Karl Taro Greenfeld writes about Erik's trip through the famed Khumbu icefall, "For a moment (Erik) flashed on all those cliches about what blind people are supposed to do - become piano tuners or pencil salesmen - and thought maybe they were stereotypes for good reason."
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©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.