January 2004 – Volume Eleven, Number One – HIGHLIGHTS
EXPEDITION NEWS is the 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.
The following are highlights of our January issue, but this is only part of the story. For a year’s subscription, send $36 to the below address or e-mail us for a free sample copy. – The Editors, editor@ExpeditionNews.com
ACROSS SIBERIA THE HARD WAY
Just beyond the estuary of the River Kolyma in northeast Siberia, the permafrost is almost a mile deep and the remains of mammoths over 10,000 years old have been found, almost perfectly intact. For much of the year, daylight is nothing more than a faint glow on the horizon in the middle of the day. Howling winds of unimaginable ferocity sweep over these empty spaces where polar bears weighing up to one ton wander among the ice fields, sustaining themselves on seals, fish and the occasional reindeer.
The only people who manage to survive there are the Chukchi hunters who also tend reindeer and are perfectly adapted to survive under these extreme conditions. There is also a very isolated research station: the Northeast Siberian Research Station in Cherskii, near Ambarchik Bay, where three Russian researchers live throughout the year. Not only do they carry out research into the cold climate and the tundra, they also hunt and fish in order to survive, just like the native peoples.
Northeast Siberia is the destination for Swedish husband and wife Mikael and Titti Strandberg, 41 and 47 respectively, who plan a bold (and certainly cold), human-powered traverse of Siberia from south to north over the course of a year, beginning in the late spring of 2004. Joining them will be Johan Ivarsson, 19.
The team’s goal is to document, "in a down-to-earth, positive and fair manner, parts of our world that are unknown at the present time but very important for our future."
RESEARCH YACHT WILL FISH FOR ANSWERS
Worldwide, fisheries are in trouble, and habitats and species are being lost at an alarming rate. Callum M. Roberts and Julie P. Hawkins of the WWF Endangered Seas Campaign believe mankind needs new approaches to better manage the oceans. "A growing number of people now believe that there is a way to conserve marine biodiversity, restore dwindling fish stocks, promote sustainable tourism and safeguard ecosystem integrity.
"All of this can be achieved by using fully-protected marine reserves, areas of the sea completely protected from fishing and other extractive or harmful human uses," they write. "At the moment marine protected areas cover less than half a percent of the world’s oceans and few protect very much."
The U.K.-based Amadis Project will study the value of these marine reserves starting in mid-2004. The 3-4-person team will depart in the 38-ft. yacht Amadis from Falmouth, England, in July 2004, and sail westwards to New Zealand over 16 months. Their goal is to undertake research to promote further understanding of the use of marine protected areas in fisheries management in the Caribbean and South Pacific. The concept was developed by Lily Kozmian-Ledward, 24, who wanted to combine a love of sailing with her passion for marine biology.
The expedition, planned for 2004-05, will focus on just a few of the most important food fish species and through fish censuses and measurements of habitat quality, attempt to determine whether there’s a difference between protected marine reserves and fished areas.
Breaking the Ice – An atypical delegation of Israelis and Palestinians, tired of failed peace talks and treaties, will tackle a new kind of summit. At press time, the team of eight were to ship off for a 35-day expedition that will land them in Antarctica, to scale and name a previously unclimbed peak.
After flying to Madrid and then Chile, they were expected to board a yacht on January 1, and sail to the icy continent. There they will spend 7-10 days walking on glaciers, driving sleds, and finally ascending a virgin peak, to plant Israeli and Palestinian flags.
Postage Stamp Sought for First Americans to Reach South Pole
There are commemorative stamps for Dr. Seuss, Audrey Hepburn, and the Snowy Egret, so why not the 50th anniversary of the First South Pole Aircraft Landing? That’s the dream of Lt. Cdr. Billy Blackwelder, USN (Ret.) of Pensacola, Fla., a veteran helicopter pilot active in the U.S. Antarctic Research Program in the 1970’s. If Blackwelder is successful – the process takes years - the stamp would honor the crew of the Que Sera Sera, a Navy DC-3 aircraft that landed in treacherous minus 58 degrees F. conditions in 1956 as part of the Navy’s Operation Deep Freeze.
Thirty Year Controversy Haunts Messner - The well-cultivated reputation of Reinhold Messner, one of the world’s greatest mountaineers and adventurers, is jeopardized by renewed controversy over the death of his brother on Nanga Parbat in 1970. According to the Wall Street Journal, for the first time, four of the surviving members of the 1970 expedition have broken their silence about what happened. "They accuse Messner, who is now 59, of lying about the events and placing his goal of personal glory above the safety of his brother," writes Christopher Rhoads in the Dec. 10 Journal.
They believe his brother, Gunther, died somewhere near the summit, after Reinhold abandoned him. Messner is suing in state civil court in Hamburg, Germany, to have two critical books taken out of print so that what he considers inaccuracies can be corrected.
Messner, who makes millions of dollars from sponsorships, speaking fees, and more than 40 books, was first to climb Mount Everest without oxygen, the first to scale all 14 of the world’s 8000 m peaks and the first to traverse Antarctica without machines or dogs. He is preparing to return to Nanga Parbat in 2005 to scour the avalanche field on the western side of the mountain for his brother’s remains – to prove that he did not abandon Gunther at the top. He visited the mountain last October to begin training local villagers to help with the search. "I will do it as long as it takes," he said.
ON THE HORIZON
Adventure & Expedition Filmmaking Course – Often it’s what goes on in an expedition tent during fierce storms that makes for the most interesting scenes in an expedition film or video. An adventure filmmaking course in the U.K. on Feb. 28-29 and March 6-7 will focus on how to tell a story on bad weather days when it’s just you and your mates in a tent.
"The most compelling story is what’s going on in their heads when you’re inside waiting out a storm," says Phil Coates, course leader for the West Herts Media Centre at Leavesden Studios (Harry Potter, Star Wars, 007), about a 20-minute train ride from London. The four-day course covers the entire filmmaking process – from script to screen and from development to distribution. Cost is £450. (For more information: tel. (+44) 1923-681602; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.mediacentre.westherts.ac.uk)
Expedition Public Relations – Alex Foley & Associates specializes in international public relations for explorers, expeditions and adventure challenges creating maximum value for title sponsors.
Alexandra Foley is a dual British-American citizen, Honorary Secretary of the British Chapter of the Explorers Club and a Fellow of The Royal Geographical Society. Her firm has executed PR programmes for numerous expeditions including the Titanic 1996 Expedition, The Ice Challenger Bering Strait Expedition, Will Cross’s Novolog Ultimate Trek to Cure Diabetes, David Hempleman Adams’s Chase de Vere, Bank of Ireland and Uniq Atlantic Balloon Challenges, and his solo and unsupported trek to the Geomagnetic North Pole, and Rosie Stancer’s Snickers South Pole Solo Challenge.
Alex Foley & Associates Ltd.
Tel: (+44) 207-352-3144
Mobile: (+44) 797-671-3478.
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