Expedition News
March 2004 – Volume Eleven, Number Three –

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 February 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


Discovery of new lands and peoples, travel, and trade are integral to human evolution. There is no greater demonstration of this truth than the spectacular exchange of goods, ideas, and spiritual enlightenment through Central Asia along what historians call The Silk Road – the series of ancient tracks linking China, India, Africa, the Middle East and Europe.

Beginning next month, Alan Nichols, 74, from Belvedere, Calif., will bicycle over 2,000 miles of this ancient way, from Istanbul, Turkey, to Mashad, Iran. He has already cycled the first 1,000 mile section from Urumchi-Turpan to Kashgar, Xinjiang, and the 2,000 mile southern route through Tibet which was the subject of his book, Journey – A Bicycle Odyssey Through Central Asia (J.D. Huff, 1991). He has also completed the 2,300 miles through Central Asia from Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, to Almaty, Kazakhstan via Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and China's Turrugut Pass.


According to estimates, coral cover in the Caribbean has been reduced by 80% in the past three decades. This is particularly ominous – although coral reefs make up less than one percent of the earth’s marine environment, they contain a disproportionate amount of the ocean’s biological richness. The near-shore waters of Cuba, however, are thought to harbor one of the last refuges of healthy coral reef ecosystems in the Caribbean. But despite the relative health of these reef systems, Cuba’s coral reefs are undoubtedly being degraded by a host of human-induced factors such as global climate change, overfishing, recreational diving, urban runoff, and effluent. Unfortunately, due to Cuba’s present economic difficulties, coral reef research and monitoring are still very limited and fragmentary.

Although a number of Cuba’s reef ecosystems have been investigated beyond reconnaissance level, southeastern Cuba’s easily accessible reefs are among the country’s most poorly known. On June 20, Robert Foster, 28, currently studying for an MSc in Biodiversity, Conservation, and Management at Oxford University, departs on the £18,469 ($34,000) Oxford - Cuban Collaborative Coral Reef Research Expedition to train Cuban divers in internationally recognized monitoring protocol, and rigorously document the current health of two coral reef ecosystems.


"Mas Cerveza Por Favor"

Weary from writing The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck set sail from Monterey, Calif., in 1940 with his pal, Edward F. Ricketts, on a sardine boat that ferried them on a six-week scientific and literary adventure around the Baja California peninsula.

The expedition, made famous by Steinbeck's account, The Log from the Sea of Cortez, has long made scientists and armchair adventurers dream of re-creating the seafaring voyage of the novelist and the marine biologist who was the model for the character "Doc" in the novel Cannery Row.

"People have talked about doing this for decades," said Edward F. Ricketts Jr., the octogenarian son of Monterey's famous marine biologist, who died in 1948. "But it's never been done." Until now.

According to a story by Kenneth R. Weiss in the Los Angeles Times last month, in mid-March, 64 years after Steinbeck and Ricketts set off in a chartered fishing vessel, four men and one woman plan to board a similar 73-ft. wooden fishing boat in Monterey and trace the same 4,000-mile route to the Sea of Cortez and back again.


Wave Goodbye – Wave Vidmar, lifelong adventurer and athlete, left San Francisco for Russia last month to launch his WorldWideLearn.com North Pole Solo 2004 expedition (www.worldwidelearn.com/northpole).

He hopes to walk, ski and swim over 660 miles solo across the constantly moving Polar ice (See EN, August 2003). At the successful completion of his 60-day expedition, Vidmar will become the first American ever to attempt and accomplish this feat, the third person ever to attain this goal, and the second person to reach the North Pole from the Russian side.


No More Frontiers? – The Feb. 23 double issue of U.S. News & World Report devotes its cover story to "History’s Great Explorers." In one article, reporter Thomas Hayden believes we are an exploring species, faced with a distressing question. With one final frontier after another conquered, cataloged, and neatly described in travel guides, is there anywhere left to explore?

With some 700 million travelers hitting increasingly well-worn trails every year, Taras Grescoe, author of a history of travel called The End of Elsewhere, says, "there’s nowhere left on the face of the Earth to get away from other tourists."


George Harmon Tulloch – Titanic salvager

George Harmon Tulloch, 59, Fairfield, Conn., died January 31, 2004 in St. Vincent's Medical Center (Bridgeport, Conn.), after a long battle with cancer.

Early in his career, Tulloch worked for Chrysler Corporation in White Plains, N.Y. In 1974, he founded Competition & Sports Cars, Ltd. in Greenwich, Conn., an automotive dealership that for several years was the highest-volume BMW dealership in the U.S. From 1987 through 1999, he was the chairman of RMS Titanic, Inc., during which time he co-led five expeditions to the Titanic and recovered nearly 5,000 artifacts.

Tulloch was dedicated to the goal of preserving and protecting the memory of the Titanic with dignity and respect, and was committed to maintaining all of Titanic's artifacts together as a collection for exhibition to the public, without sale to private collectors. More than four million visitors attended Titanic exhibitions around the world during his tenure as the company's chairman.

In 1996, a 13-ton section of the Titanic’s hull was raised, but as 1,600 paying passengers watched on two cruise ships, a malfunction caused it to accidentally drop back into the Atlantic. An ugly debate raged around the commercialism surrounding the salvage efforts. The Titanic Historical Society in Indian Orchard, Mass. condemned the salvage efforts, viewing the wreck as a grave. Tulloch countered, "... to discover a wreck like this and not explore it would be immoral."


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.

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EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 28 Center Street, Darien, CT 06820 USA. Tel. (+1) 203-855-9400, fax (+1) 203-855-9433, blumassoc@aol.com. Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Assistant editor: Jamie Gribbon ©2003 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1526-8977. Subscriptions: US$36/yr.; international postal rate US$46/yr. Credit card payments accepted through www.paypal.com. 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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