Expedition News
March 2005 – Volume Twelve, Number Three

EXPEDITION NEWS, now in its 10th year, is the monthly review of significant expeditions, research projects and newsworthy adventures. It is distributed online and via snail 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 March issue, but this is only part of the story. Click here to subscribe to the full edition. or e-mail us for a free sample copy at editor@ExpeditionNews.com


Using the JAGO submersible of Germany’s Max Planck Institute, a series of dives is planned to document the Nautilus, the world’s first Arctic submarine that was scuttled in a fjord off Bergen, Norway in 1931. Serving as scientific advisor for the Nautilus Project is Stewart B. Nelson, Ph.D., an Honorary Member of the Norwegian Shipping Club and Fellow of the Marine Technology Society. Nelson has written and lectured extensively about the Nautilus.

The Wilkins-Ellsworth Trans Arctic Submarine Expedition was an attempt by the Australian Sir Hubert Wilkins to be the first to go across the Arctic Ocean, from Spitzbergen, Norway to Alaska via the North Pole. A surplus U.S. Navy submarine, built in 1918, was acquired and extensively modified for submerging beneath the Arctic ice pack. Chief scientist was Dr. Harald U. Sverdrup of Norway, later to become director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst provided primary support for the expedition.


Every June a strange phenomenon occurs in the waters off South Africa’s wild Natal coastline. Millions upon millions of sardines stream northward. Attracted to this seething mass are thousands of predators. Cape gannets dive bomb the shoals from overhead while common and bottlenose dolphins pluck the quarry from beneath. This mass of life in turn draws the biggest predator of all – the shark. Copper, dusky, blacktip and spinner sharks all join the feeding frenzy.

Further north, ragged-tooth sharks begin to congregate around Aliwal Shoal, a mountain of sandstone, honeycombed with a mass of caves, gullies and caverns, that juts into the warmer waters of the Agulhas Current. The so-called "raggies" are attracted to these waters by a range of various tropical fish species drawn down on the current from Mozambique. Accessible to divers, the sharks may be encountered, up close and personal.

These spectacular dive sites provide much opportunity for scientific research. The Scientific Exploration Society, based in Dorset, U.K., has been invited to join other leading organizations to assist with the exploration of these areas. Explorers with advanced or equivalent certificate or at least 30 dives logged under different conditions, are wanted to join the SES on May 15 – June 11, depending upon the precise timing of the run. Cost to participate is approximately $5,160.


Bancroft and Arnesen Begin Arctic Ocean Crossing – Four years after they crossed Antarctica together on foot, former schoolteachers – Ann Bancroft, 49, from Scandia, Minn., and Liv Arnesen, 51, from Norway – will launch a nearly 100-day, 1,200-plus-mile expedition from the last spit of Siberia on a springtime crossing of the Arctic Ocean, via the North Pole (See EN, October 2003).


There Goes the Neighborhood – A Volkswagen Touareg has set a new world altitude record for a motor vehicle of 19,947-ft. (6080m). This achievement, undertaken in a standard-engined Touareg 3.2-litre V6, has been officially recognized by the Guinness World Records Book.


Machíavellí, "jungle fever," and expedition sponsorships: a survival guide by William F. Vartorella, Ph.D., C.B.C.

Within the corporate jungle, sponsorship fever is a contagious malady and expedition leaders are especially susceptible. Nearly 7,000 expeditions worldwide will go into the field this year. Many are dangerously under-funded, risking life, limb, and reputations. The days of "bwana" in a pith helmet, slashing through the undergrowth of darkest wherever with a sponsor's decal plastered on his forehead are over. Modern sponsorships are not for adventurers in short pants. They are about real politik, Machíavellí, and high-stakes market share.

This is the world of the zero-sum game. One loaf of bread. Winner take all. To paraphrase The Prince, one must consider "whether a prince has a state of such resources as will enable him to stand on his own feet in case of need or whether he must always have the assistance of others." For expeditions, therein lies the rub.

Sponsorships are not altruistic in intent. Their goal is the achievement of commercial objectives. For a complete look at this story, contact editor@ExpeditionNews.com for a complimentary sample copy of our March issue.


Kokatat Picks Six to Sponsor in 2005

The folks at Kokatat Watersports Wear in Arcata, Calif., have picked six expedition projects to sponsor in 2005. They believe each will help educate and increase international awareness of conservation and preservation issues, cultural diversity, Global Warming, historical enrichment, mapping and youth mentoring. The company’s sponsored expeditions this year follow below:

  • 2220 Expedition
         Louisa Rolandsdotter Bichard and John Paul Bichard

  • Bering Strait Odyssey
         Dixie Dransercoer and Troy Henkels

  • Borealis Paddling Expedition
         Meg Casey, Nina Emery, Beth Halley, Karen Stanley and Emily Stirr

  • Hudson Bay Expedition
         Scott Miller and Todd Foster

  • One World Expedition
         Lonnie Dupre and Eric Larsen

  • Paddle the Passage: The Danish Northwest Passage Expedition - 2005
         Ravn Hamberg and Peter Unold


    No Barriers/Dolomiti – Some 500 disabled outdoor enthusiasts, family members, disability-related professionals, and sponsors from around Europe and America will gather in Cortina, Italy, on July 14-18, for inspiring presentations from disabled athletes, a technology symposium, and an equipment fair. Scientists, researchers, and athletes will showcase the latest prosthetic limbs, wheel chairs, and climbing and hiking tools. Experts will discuss the future of technology for the disabled.

    A highlight will be the outdoor clinics on rock climbing and hand cycling for paraplegics and quadraplegics, and trekking clinics, led by Erik Weihenmayer, for blind and visually impaired people. The event will include paraplegics learning to do pull-ups up a rock face, quadraplegics screaming down a mountain trail on hand cycles, and blind people trekking over rugged mountain passes.

    The event will end with a climb of one of the Dolomites' most classic and difficult ascents, the Tofana’s Pilastro Route, by a fully disabled, unsupported climbing team – Wiehenmayer; Hugh Herr, who runs Harvard's prosthetic leg institute; and Andy Holzer, a blind climber from Austria. (For more information: Erik Weihenmayer, (+1) 303-273-9076).

    ECAD 2005SpaceShipOne designer Burt Rutan and pilots Michael Melvill and Brian Binnie will receive The Explorers Club’s 2005 Explorers Club Medal at the 2005 Annual Dinner, Mar. 19, at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. The Corporate Award for Support of Exploration will be presented to the Boy Scouts of America; and first American woman in space, Sally Ride, will announce a cooperative venture between the Club and Space Adventures. Other speakers are Wangari Maathai, recipient of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize; Dr. James Watson, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA; Col. Matthew Bogdanos, who led the investigation into the looting of the Iraq Museum in Baghdad; and the president of Iceland, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson. (For more information: www.explorers.org).


    Book a Canadian Arctic SafariArctic Watch Lodge, founded in 2000 by polar explorer Richard Weber and his wife, Josée Auclair, of Quebec, is now taking reservations for the summer season, July 2 – Aug. 13. It’s the vacation of a lifetime, located at a world-class beluga whale observation site, 500 miles north of the Arctic Circle on Somerset Island.

    Arctic Watch is an important stopover on the migration route of some 2,000 belugas who come to nurse their young. Kayak, raft, hike, and whale watch while staying in the 5,000 sq. ft. lodge and surrounding 16 space-age structures with duvet-covered beds and private bathrooms.

    The food is prepared on site and includes home-baked bread and pastries, fresh soups, specialty meats such as musk ox, arctic char, cheeses, fresh vegetables, and homemade desserts. Experience the vastness of the Arctic. Children are welcome; discounted family rates available.

    Canadian Arctic Holidays
    Tel: (+1) 877-272-8426

    Himalaya Climbs and Treks – Join SummitClimb.com and Daniel Mazur. Basecamp Treks from $950. Climbs: Everest from $6950, Cho-Oyu from $5950, Amadablam from $1450; Pumori from $1750; Mustagata from $1690, and Lhotse from $2950.
    Novices, experts. Treks, video/slide shows!

    Tel: (+1) 360-570-0715

    EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 28 Center Street, Darien, CT 06820. Tel. (+1) 203-655-1600, fax (+1) 203-655-1622, blumassoc@aol.com. Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Assistant editor: Jamie Gribbon ©2005 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1526-8977. Subscriptions: US$36/yr.; international postal rate US$46/yr. Click here to subscribe to the full edition.. Highlights from EXPEDITION NEWS can be found at www.ExpeditionNews.com and www.WebExpeditions.net. Layout and design by Nextwave Design, Seattle.

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