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EXPEDITION NEWS, founded in 1994, is the monthly review of significant expeditions, research projects and newsworthy adventures. It is distributed online to media representatives, corporate sponsors, educators, research librarians, explorers, environmentalists, and outdoor enthusiasts. This forum on exploration covers projects that stimulate, motivate and educate.


June 2015 - Volume Twenty-Two, Number Six

Celebrating Our 20th Year!                                          




Canadian Astronaut Has the Right Mettle to Appear on Medal




In a running race where competitors vote on who is on the medal, retired Canadian astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield was named a "Great Canadian" by the Canada D'Eh Run, one of the largest and most bombastic patriotic Canada Day events in the country, held on July 1.


Commander Chris Hadfield was the first Canadian to walk in space. An engineer and former Royal Canadian Air Force fighter pilot, Hadfield has flown two space shuttle missions and served as commander of the International Space Station. "When he was at the International Space Station he made us all feel like we were with him for the entire mission, as if Canada had briefly opened it borders upwards and owned it. Something we have not felt since his mission," said Chris Uszynski Race Director at RunningFlat.


The 5K race started just Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada near Amherstburg Ontario. Read more at www.runningflat.com.




Often we hear from adventurers whose projects don't quite rise to the level of an expedition. No science. No field work. Yet we're still in awe of a carefully planned feat that's well executed. Guest writer Stefani Jackenthal, an adventure travel and wine journalist and wine educator (www.stefjack.com) kicks off this new section for us.


Keep Long Island to the Right




Jules Gismond departing New York's Pier 84, adjacent to the U.S.S. Intrepid. Photo credit: Manhattan Kayak Company 


As the morning sun hovered above the New Jersey skyline on May 9, Julieta "Jules" Gismond, loaded five dry bags filled with camping gear and enough food for 16-days onto her paddleboard. At 8 a.m., she departed Manhattan Kayak Company at Pier 84 in Manhattan where she works as deputy director, to embark on a foggy, windy solo, self-supported stand-up paddleboard (SUP) expedition 287 miles around Long Island, N.Y. Heading south on the Hudson River with the current, she rounded the choppy Battery and glided up the East River through the notoriously vicious Hell's Gate to City Island, where she spent her first night on her uncle's boat - a treat before camping the remainder of her journey.


"I really wanted to do a solo trip, but didn't dare to do anything too long or far away," says the 30-year old native of Buenos Aires, Argentina, who moved to New York in 2005 and started SUPing in 2008. "So, I chose Long Island, knowing it was sort of my waterways, my rivers, my little slice of Atlantic Ocean - home."


Her clockwise journey was hampered by gusting winds and rough water. At times, Jules navigated dense fog, black nights on rocking water that tossed her around like a toy boat - once crashing her into rocks - and a geography-driven harrowing 15-hour, 40-mile days against an unforgiving southwest wind. "I had never paddled 40-miles before." She said. "I didn't know what to expect and if I could handle it physically or mentally."


For the first few days she was in a "constant gut-stirring state of worry" about the chop, wind and water supply. "Then I realized that I needed to stop worrying and enjoy this as if it was a leisure 'expedition' paddle - and worrying, planning and being thirsty was all part of it," she says.


It worked. Despite marathon paddling days and unexpected re-routing due to harsh weather, on day 11, Jules arrived in familiar territory with hands so raw from the saltwater and sand that it "hurt to open a Ziploc bag."


As the sun set over the horizon, she crossed the Battery once again, this time heading north on the Hudson River to complete what is reportedly the first-ever SUP circumnavigation of Long Island. Much to her surprise, she was greeted by paddling pals who escorted her to Pier 84, where the small dock overflowed with cheering friends and family - and champagne. "I was super excited to complete the journey and be home and sad at the same time." She admits, "I knew I'd miss the tent, beach and time alone - and I'm already thinking about my next adventure." 


Kayaking Around South America Takes Four Grueling Years  


One of the greatest accomplishments in paddling history - the first circumnavigation of South America - was achieved on May 1 by German kayaker and endurance record holder Freya Hoffmeister, 51.Hoffmeister departed Buenos Aires heading south on August 30, 2011. Paddling into port from the north four years later in her Point 65 18-foot expedition kayak, Hoffmeister completed a voyage reportedly never before attempted, arriving with an escort from the Argentinian Coast Guard, according to Advenure Kayak Magazine.


Hoffmeister paddled along 13 countries, traveled as far south as the 55th and as far north as the 15thlatitudes, crossing the equator twice. She paddled almost 16,780-miles/27,000 km and averaged around 28 miles/45 km per day with more than 9 hours daily water time, on each of her 606 paddling days over a non-continuous 44-month period.


She paddled a heavy loaded solo expedition sea kayak with no engine or sail, spent most nights in her tent camping freely on the shores, with no support boat or car driving along. She carried all her water, simple food and camping gear by herself, being independent for three to four weeks between occasional city stops.



Freya's smart use of visual sponsor i.d. will undoubtedly help land sponsors for future projects. 

Sponsors included Point 65 kayaks Sweden, THULE, Hilleberg and Haglfs. Read the full story here:




Jersey Mother Paddles from the Big Apple to the Big Easy


How can one person help protect the waterways in our states, our cities and our backyards? One way could be dropping into these waterways on her outrigger canoe and paddling 2,000 miles from New York to Chicago, a project called Paddle4Blue - The Big Apple 2 The Big Easy. 

It's one woman's solo paddle journey across six states to raise awareness of the dangers facing U.S. waterways. Margo Pellegrino, a stay at home mom in her late 40s from Medford Lake, N.J., is paddling for two months to educate the public about watershed issues that impact drinking water, waterways, and the ocean. She also hopes to highlight the local groups working on these issues.


She departed May 20 from Newark, N.J. and at press time was just east of Cleveland hugging the southern Lake Erie coastline, according to here GPS-enabled SPOT Tracker.


Pellegrino has a scheduled tour of stops along the route that will include press conferences and meetings with members of the press, politicians and the public.

Margo will collect water samples at various points using Hope2o test kits provided by Blue Ocean Sciences.


The effort is a project of the Blue Frontier Campaign, with help from Earth Justice, Surfers' Environmental Alliance, and others including Clean Ocean Action, NJ/NY Baykeeper, Environment NJ, Food and Waterwatch and Waterwatch International. ACR, GoPro and Spot Tracker all provided gear.


For more information: http://paddle4blue.com



"The desire to fly is an idea handed down to us by our ancestors who, in their grueling travels across trackless lands in prehistoric times, looked enviously on the birds soaring freely through.

"If we worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true really is true, then there would be little hope for advance.

"The airplane stays up because it doesn't have the time to fall."

- Orville Wright (1871-1948), aviation pioneer, profiled with his brother Wilbur in the new book by David McCullough, The Wright Brothers (Simon & Schuster, 2015)



Amateur Radio Operators Help Defray Expedition Costs



Hams are willing to pay forQSLs, the calling cards of amateur radio. 

Amateur radio operators, affectionately known as "hams," of which there are approximately three million worldwide, are passionate about seeing how far their radio "rigs" can transmit. The further the better. Like peak-bagging climbers or high pointers, hams keep lists of the countries in which they have communicated. Often they'll go on DXpeditions ("distance" expeditions) to broadcast from relocate locations, the better to help their fellow hams record yet another geographic entity on their DX lists.


Stay with us here.


To prove that they've made these distant connections, hams will request in the mail a written confirmation - called a QSL card. These are ham radio's equivalent of license plates. Visit any ham today and you're likely to see dozens of exotic QSL cards taped to the walls of their radio "shacks."


Often hams are prepared to share the printing and postage costs by paying the DXpeditioners $5 or more for each card. In this era of Instagram and Pinterest it sounds old school and it is. Communicating by airwaves and receiving calling cards in return predate the explosion of digital social media websites by decades. Hams were on the cutting edge of science, the original nerds.


"Income from the QSL cards will be a significant source of funding for our private Heard Island Expedition next year, says expedition leader Dr. Robert Schmieder, also known by his call sign KK6EK. Schmieder and a team of about 13 other hams and researchers, each paying $18,000, will travel in spring 2016 to this Australian possession 2,300 miles from the country's western tip.


The world's hams are passionate about speaking to tiny Heard Island. In fact, so far 32 radio DX organizations, including the Northern California DX Foundation, have provided more than $82,000 in support. HDT Global has also signed on as a major sponsor to develop the main shelters to be used on the expedition.


"During a previous DXpedition to Clipperton island, an uninhabited coral atoll in the eastern Pacific, our team logged about 113,000 separate contacts mainly using voice and Morse code transmissions," Schmieder tells EN.


"Of that number, about 25 percent requested and paid for confirmation cards at $5 each. That 8-day expedition, which included some scientific research, cost $200,000, so the money we received from hundreds of hams helped defray some of the cost," Schmieder said.


The planned 21-day stay at Heard Island next year will include amateur radio operations, using the call sign VKEK. While there the team will also conduct a scientific program, including a search for new species that can enhance the understanding of biodiversity in the region and the effects of climate change.


Learn more about the coming Heard Island Expedition at www.heardisland.org, or email schmieder@cordell.org. But if you want a QSL card, you'll have to reach him over the airwaves.


How to Die on Mars


Many hopefuls have signed up for a one-way ticket to the Red Plant. But if they aren't prepared the trip may be a short one according to Loren Grush of Popular Science (posted May 26).

"NASA has a plan to land astronauts on its surface by the 2030s. Private spaceflight companies like SpaceX have also expressed interest in starting their own colonies there, while the infamous Mars One project has already enlisted civilians for a one-way trip to our planetary neighbor in 2020," she writes.

While many may dream of living their remaining days on Mars, those days may be numbered. The Martian environment poses significant challenges to Earth life, and establishing a Mars habitat will require an extraordinary amount of engineering prowess and technological knowhow to ensure the safety of its residents, according to Grush.

Among the hazards: you'll crush in the thin atmosphere; you'll freeze in Martian temperatures that average minus 82 degrees F.; you may starve - the amount of crops you could sustain just by using the CO2 produced by people is only sufficient to feed half of the crew's dietary requirements.

It gets worse. You may not even make it there. Barring any complications with the spacecraft's hardware or any unintended run-ins with space debris, there's still a big killer lurking out in space that can't be easily avoided: radiation.

Read the entire story here: http://www.popsci.com/how-youll-die-mars

Deep-sea Ph.D.

During his career, Roger Hekinian went on 38 oceangoing expeditions and explored the ocean floor approximately 50 times. His work led to a greater understanding of the Earth's deep-sea volcanism and tectonic activities, according to a story by Thomas Frazier in the Spring 2015 issue of Binghamton University Magazine. He received his doctorate at SUNY Binghamton in 1969.

"Each dive is an adventure, discovering a new and unknown sea-floor terrain. We never know for sure what we are going to find,'' says Hekinian, 79, who was born in Marseilles, France, and now lives in Saint-Renan, France.

"When I was young, I originally wanted to be an astronaut and explore the unknown world of space," Hekinian says. "The unknown world of the deep ocean seemed to be another place where I could combine a life of research and my desire for adventure in the same career."

Hekinian worked at IFREMER, the French Research Institute for Exploration of the Sea (IFREMER), until his retirement in 2000 at age 65 and then participated in seagoing missions and dives with the University of Kiel in Germany until 2008. During his career, he has written several textbooks and numerous scientific papers. He is author of the book, Sea Floor Exploration: Scientific Adventures Diving into the Abyss (Springer International Publishing, January 2014).

"Hekinian never realized his dream of becoming an astronaut. Instead, he made a career of exploring regions of our planet never seen before, the underwater mountain ranges and volcanoes that oceanographers will tell you are more mysterious to us than the face of the moon," writes Frazier.

Renowned deep sea explorer Robert D. Ballard was a close associate. "Working alongside Roger was not only a joy but was like going back to graduate school; extending my knowledge beyond the surface of the ocean floor I could see to the much deeper depths of the oceanic crust I could not see."

Read the full story here:


Eat Your Beans




In the Blue Zone of Ikaria, Greece, dementia is virtually nonexistent. Ikarians work their fields into old age, moving naturally, to stay in shape, physically and mentally. Photo by Gianluca Colla courtesy of Blue Zones.


According to explorer and author Dan Buettner writing in the Wall Street Journal (May 22), several studies have shown that the genetic markers of centenarians - including markers associated with cardiovascular mortality, cancer and inflammation - don't diverge significantly from those of the general population.


"Based on the work we did in Sardinia and four other blue zones, a team of researchers at the University of Minnesota helped us to reverse-engineer a diet of the world's healthiest populations. We gathered 155 dietary surveys from all five areas, covering the eating habits of the past century, and came up with a global average," Buettner writes.


"More than 65% of what people in the blue zones ate came from complex carbohydrates: sweet potatoes in Okinawa, Japan; wild greens in Ikaria, Greece; squash and corn in Costa Rica's Nicoya Peninsula. Their diet consists mainly of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and other carbohydrates. They eat meat but only small amounts, about five times a month, usually on celebratory occasions.

"The cornerstone of every longevity diet in the world was the humble bean."


Read the story here: http://www.wsj.com/articles/want-great-longevity-and-health-it-takes-a-village-1432304395


Or see for yourself: Buettner's Blue Zones, LLC, based in Minneapolis, is offering two 7-day Adventure Travel Tours to Ikaria, Greece, one of the five Blue Zones. While in Ikaria, participants will experience why Buettner dubbed it, "The Island Where People Forgot to Die," in his New York Times Sunday Magazine article (2012). The trips will be held October 4-10 and October 18-24, 2015. The cost of the trip is $3,250 per person plus airfare. (For more information: www.bluezones.com/services/adventure-travel/)

Filmgoers Can't Get Enough of Everest

In September, the same month that Baltasar Kormakur's film Everest, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Josh Brolin, is due to hit theaters, shooting will begin on another movie about the world's highest peak, called In High Places. 

Michael Sheen will star as George Mallory, the intrepid British mountaineer who may have been the first to climb the mountain.

Screen Daily reports the star of Frost/Nixon andMasters of Sex has signed on to appear alongside Kelly Macdonald and Andrew Scott, who will play his wife Ruth and fellow climber Noel Odell in the new film. Fledgling writer-director James McEachen, who plans to shoot the independently-financed film this September in South Tyrol, India, London and Cologne, described the film as "an epic story about the uncompromising nature of character and the sometimes overwhelming power of dreams."

In High Places will be an Anglo-German production, with backing from London-based Wind Fish Motion Pictures and Cologne's Medienparks NRW. The film is expected to have a relatively low budget.

A separate film about Mallory, with Tom Hardy attached to play the mountaineer and Bourne Identity director Doug Liman in line to direct, seems to have become mired in development difficulties. That project was initially titled Everest, but later renamed The Summit to avoid clashing with Kormakur's Everest film.

See the trailer for Everest here:





Wells Fargo Sponsors Warriors to Summits Gannett Peak Expedition


Wells Fargo & Company and No Barriers USA announced the team of 13 healing injured veterans participating in the 2015 Warriors to Summits expedition to Gannett Peak, the apex of the entire Central Rockies at 13,804 feet, located in Wyoming. The team of two female and 11 male warriors will be led by one of America's best-known mountaineers, Jeff Evans, when the expedition launches on September 4 to 14, 2015. Erik Weihenmayer, famed blind adventurer and the only blind person to reach the summit of Mt. Everest, will be one of the assistant expedition leaders, among others.


No Barriers Warriors helps veterans and service members overcome barriers, regardless of the emotional, mental or physical challenges in their lives. The 13 team members chosen for the Warriors to Summits Expedition face life-altering injuries ranging from emotional and physical trauma to impaired senses, chronic pain and amputated limbs. Some experience combat flashbacks and survivor's guilt, while others continue to struggle with readjusting to civilian life.


One assistant expedition leader will be Charley Mace, among America's most respected and successful Himalayan mountaineers, with numerous notable ascents including Everest, K2, the first American ascent of Manaslu, and every continental high point.


To see the list of climbers visit: www.WarriorstoSummits.org .


Drones in Antarctica: It Was Only a Matter of Time

After Antarctica was connected to cell and Internet service, and big ship tourists began plying its shores, it was only a matter of time before someone traveled there with a drone. While touring Antarctica for a few weeks with his 73-year-old father, Stockholm-based filmmaker Kalle Ljungbrought along a DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter to film their excursion from above. 

Putting aside the question of whether the buzzing of drones disrupts the life-changing experience of a visit to Antarctica, the footage he captured is extraordinary, from isolated shots of crewmates teetering on lone icebergs to pods of whales breaching the surface shot directly overhead. In a deluge of nature/travel films shot with GoPros and drones, this really stands out.


See it here:



Two Dutch Explorers Perish

In late April, the grinding slow-motion rivers of floating sea ice flowing around Canada's Arctic archipelago claimed the lives of Marc Cornelissen and Philip de Roo, seasoned Dutch polar trekkers combining an adventurous spirit with environmental activism and citizen science.

The loss of these men still reverberates through the environmental organizations that supported their work and among polar scientists whose research was aided by the data they collected, according to Andrew C. Revkin writing in the New York Times Dot Earth blog (May 9).

"To anyone who's spent time on Arctic sea ice, the tragedy is also a sobering reminder that even the most carefully mounted forays in this unforgiving region come with unpredictable risks," Revkin writes.

On April 6, Cornelissen, 46, and de Roo, who had just turned 30, had skied out of Resolute Bay, a stopping point for dozens of Arctic explorers and scientists, bound across the ice for uninhabited Bathurst Island, where they were to be picked up on May 4. Along the way, their plan was to collect measurements of snow and ice thickness that could help improve the accuracy of estimates made in the region by satellites and aircraft.

In a news release, the Cold Facts organization says Cornelissen "drowned by hypothermia" at the location from which an emergency signal was sent on April 29, about 124 miles/200 km north of Resolute. Cornelissen's body was recovered. De Roo is officially listed as missing and presumed dead.

British explorer Ben Saunders writes EN to say, "I didn't know Marc, but I met Philip a few times and was hugely impressed by his enthusiasm for the high Arctic, and his abundant energy, dedication and humility."


Read the New York Times blog story here:




Get Sponsored! - Hundreds of explorers and adventurers raise money each month to travel on world class expeditions to Mt. Everest, Nepal, Antarctica and elsewhere. Now the techniques they use to pay for their journeys are available to anyone who has a dream adventure project in mind, according to the new book from Skyhorse Publishing called: Get Sponsored: A Funding Guide for Explorers, Adventurers and Would Be World Travelers.

Author Jeff Blumenfeld, an adventure marketing specialist who has represented 3M, Coleman, Du Pont, Lands' End and Orvis, among others, shares techniques for securing sponsors for expeditions and adventures.

Buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/Get-Sponsored-Explorers-Adventurers-Travelers-ebook/dp/B00H12FLH2


Advertise in Expedition News - For more information: blumassoc@aol.com.





EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 1281 East Main Street - Box 10, Stamford, CT 06902 USA. Tel. 203 655 1600, editor@expeditionnews.com. Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Assistant editor: Jamie Gribbon. Research editor: Lee Kovel. 2015 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1526-8977. Subscriptions: US$36/yr. available by e-mail only. Credit card payments accepted through www.paypal.com. Read EXPEDITION NEWS at www.expeditionnews.com. Enjoy the EN blog at www.expeditionnews.blogspot.com






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