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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.

May 2019 - Volume Twenty-Five, Number Five

Celebrating Our 25th Year!                                   



An international, all-female expedition team leaves this spring to study plastic pollution in one of the world's most iconic waterways - the Ganges River.
The "Sea to Source: Ganges" river expedition, in partnership with the Wildlife Institute of India, the University of Dhaka and WildTeam, is part of National Geographic's journey to better understand and document how plastic waste travels from source to sea and to fill critical knowledge gaps around plastic flow, load and composition. The expedition will offer an unprecedented and unique opportunity to scientifically document plastic waste in a watershed and develop holistic and inclusive solutions.

The Sea to Source team. Photo by Bhumesh Bharti, National Geographic 
"Working hand-in-hand with local communities, from the Bay of Bengal to the Himalayas, we will explore waste, plastic, its flow through and potential impact on this important ecosystem," said Jenna Jambeck, a professor and researcher at the University of Georgia and a National Geographic Fellow.
Single-use plastic waste is a menacing global problem. The ocean is clogged with an estimated 9 million tons of plastic every year, and rivers play a significant role in this problem as they act as conveyor belts for plastic debris flowing into the ocean.
The "Sea to Source: Ganges" expedition is the first of several international river expeditions planned as part of National Geographic's Planet or Plastic? initiative, which aims to significantly reduce the amount of single-use plastic that reaches the ocean. After an initial expedition to the Ganges this spring, the team plans to replicate the expedition after the monsoon season to capture seasonal variations.
The expedition team of 15 scientists and engineers, co-led by National Geographic Fellows Jambeck and Heather Koldewey, will work with international partners to provide science-based, actionable information to build capacity for local solutions.

Jean-Jacques Savin is back on dry land.  

French Man Barrels Across the Atlantic

A French man who has spent more than four months floating across the Atlantic Ocean in a giant orange barrel has arrived at his Caribbean destination. (See EN, January 2019).
Jean-Jacques Savin set off from the Canary Islands, off the coast of Africa, on December 26, 2018 heading west in a barrel-shaped capsule he'd built himself. 

Savin, 71 at the time of his departure, spent the first four months of 2019 inside his barrel, traveling at about two miles an hour with no engine, and relying entirely on the ocean current to guide his journey.

He surprised locals as he came ashore on the tiny Dutch Caribbean island of St. Eustatius (Statia) shortly after midnight on May 4bringing a mammoth, 2,930-mile journey to a close. After 128 days of solitude at sea, the Maritime tanker Kelly Anne collected Savin and brought him ashore. The island lies in the northern Leeward Islands portion of the West Indies, southeast of the Virgin Islands.

Brush up on your French and read more here: http://www.atlantique-tonneau.com


Apollo 11 Lunar Module Timeline Book was flown aboard the Lunar Module Eagle and annotated by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin as they landed on the moon. 

Christie's Auctions Apollo 11 Flight Manual 

The Lunar Module Timeline Book, the detailed manual from the Apollo 11 moon landing, is up for auction at Christie's. The manual, "narrates the entire Eagle voyage from inspection, undocking, lunar surface descent and ascent, to the rendezvous with Michael Collins aboard the Command Module in lunar orbit," according to the Christie's listing posted earlier this month.

The Christie's listing says the book sat between Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, and contains about 150 annotations and checkmarks made by the astronauts. "This book is a unique witness to the first manned lunar landing, one of the most glorious adventures of all time," the listing says. 

The manual goes up for auction July 18 at Christie's One Giant Leap: Celebrating Space Exploration 50 Years after Apollo 11 auction in New York. It is expected to draw astronomical bids of $7 to $9 million.

No more significant document of space exploration history is ever likely to be created, because future manned missions will be more fully digitized and not leave a comparable human trace.

For more information:

Watch a fascinating video about the Heritage Auctions sales of 3,000 items from the Armstrong Family Collection last fall:

"I think this is the best time in history, the most precious time in history to be a pioneer, to reach out, to seize hold of adversity and challenges we face, to harness energy not only to transform our own lives, but to elevate the world around us."

- Erik Weihenmayer, American athlete, adventurer, author, activist and motivational speaker, and the first blind person to reach the summit of Mount Everest, on May 25, 2001. In 2014, he kayaked the entire 277-mile length of the Grand Canyon along with blinded Navy veteran, Lonnie Bedwell, featured in the film, The Weight of Water (2018), directed by Michael Brown.

Trade a Skill and Join the Team

By Jeff Blumenfeld

Excerpted from Travel With Purpose: A Field Guide to Voluntourism (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019) by Jeff Blumenfeld, editor of Expedition News, travelwithpurposebook.com

One way to join an expedition is to trade a personal skill, such as photography, medicine, or transportation logistics, then volunteer those services to an appropriate expedition. I've known In-Hei Hahn, MD, for three years now, having been impressed by her calm professionalism and dedication to providing volunteer medical support to a number of projects. An emergency medicine physician affiliated with hospitals in Utah, New York City, and California, her subspecialty is medical toxicology. Get bitten by a snake out in the field, and you'll want Hahn by your side.

In-Hei Hahn, MD
Being an inveterate traveler has allowed her to explore the world and deliver health care to people ranging from the Indians in the Brazilian Amazon jungle, ultramarathoners racing all over the world, and even race car drivers at the Lime Rock Park NASCAR track in Connecticut.
Her favorite assignments are the annual paleontological expeditions to the Gobi Desert in Mongolia and Transylvania, Romania. As a volunteer expedition physician, she has been called upon to treat heat stroke, seizures, dehydration, head trauma, infections, severe bleeding, diarrhea, and what sounds simply ghastly: foreign body extraction. She's there
to help volunteers and locals alike, whomever needs medical attention.
Constantly trying to improve her skill base, she is currently working to acquire her fellowship in Wilderness Medicine.
"My goal is to be able to take care of anyone everywhere. As an emergency physician, it appears as if I can volunteer almost anywhere project leaders need to ensure the health and safety of their participants. I enjoy being part of a team and love taking care of people in their specialty environment, especially serving as expedition physician to a group of 'rock star' paleontologists from the departments of paleontology at both the American Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian Institution," Hahn tells me.
"The challenge to develop a system of having the maximum amount of medical capability with the minimum amount of gear is unique and allows me to think outside the box whenever an emergency arises. I am passionate about learning about new fields, meeting amazing people, and travel.

"Variety is important. It's what keeps me going and avoid burnout. I'm reminded about a favorite quote from mythologist and writer Joseph Campbell: 'If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living.'"
Hahn adds, "My volunteer medical work is incredibly gratifying. I'm so glad I have a skill that project leaders value. What's more, I get to hunt for dinosaur fossils, which is pretty fun and cool."
Glacial Melt is Uncovering Everest Bodies
Mount Everest expedition operators are finding increasing numbers of climbers' dead bodies on the world's highest peak as high temperatures melt glaciers and snow. 
More than 200 mountaineers have died on the peak since 1922, when the first climbers' deaths on Everest were recorded. The majority of bodies are believed to have remained buried under glaciers or snow.
"Due to the impact of climate change and global warming, snow and glaciers are fast melting and dead bodies are increasingly being exposed and discovered by climbers," Ang Tshering Sherpa, former president of Nepal Mountaineering Association, told CNN (Mar. 21).
"Since 2008 my own company has brought down seven dead bodies of some mountaineers, some dating back to a British expedition in the 1970s."
Read about Everest body recoveries here:

Thanks for Nothing Jeopardy

The category is 1960s America. Two of three contestants, when shown a picture of the late astronaut Alan Shepard on a March 25, 2019 broadcast of the hit game show Jeopardy, couldn't identify the first American to travel into space. And we thought those contestants were smart. We have friend Steve Cohen of Briarcliff Manor, N.Y., to thank for a homemade video of the segment you can see here:

Use Points to Travel to Antarctica

With the right combination of rewards, points and cash back, Antarctica is within reach. We usually ignore hand-out content, but recent advice from CreditCards.com actually makes some sense for traveling to a rather pricey place on the planet.

A holiday in Antarctica takes some serious planning. There are no commercial airports, the number of visitors is regulated, the season is short ..... and you have to travel as part of an organized expedition, writes Stephanie Zito.

Hooked on credit cards? Use them to your advantage to redeem points to Antarctica. 
However, the primary reason travelers don't make it to Antarctica is trips to the frozen continent don't come cheap.

Depending on the number of days you want to explore and the level of luxury you're after, it costs from $5,000 to $50,000 for a voyage to visit the icebergs and the penguins. Add to that another $1,000 for airfare to Ushuaia, Argentina (USH), the primary jumping off point.

Zito advises you'll need a two-part credit card rewards earning strategy to cover your main Antarctica costs. Pay your airfare with points or miles earning cards. Cover expedition costs with cash back.

The two airlines that fly into USH are LATAM, a partner in the oneworld alliance, and Aerolineas Argentinas, a member of SkyTeam.

Flights on LATAM are bookable with American AAdvantage miles, British Airways Avios or Alaska Mileage Plan points. Flights on Aerolineas Argentinas are bookable with Delta Sky Miles or Flying Blue points (KLM/Air France).

"There is not yet a credit card that offers a 'travel to your seventh continent for free benefit.' Cash back points are your best bet to offset the cost of your Antarctic expedition," Zito advises.

Earn points on a cash back card with a fixed-rate redemption or "travel eraser" like the Capital One Venture Credit Card or the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard.

When you charge your expedition to your credit card you'll be able to redeem your cash back as a statement credit against the purchase.


Leonard David 
"Moon and Mars Exploration: Where are We Headed?"

As a follow-up to the most successful Explorers Club Annual Dinner in the organization's  history - a March 2019 space-themed dinner that attracted 1,700 attendees and raised $600,000-plus - the Club's Rocky Mountain chapter hosted Leonard David, the renowned space journalist reporting on space activities for over 50 years.

"Never have we seen as much space activity as we have in recent years," he told Club members and their guests on April 16, 2019. "There's space exploration everywhere."

David recently completed a new book for National Geographic: Moon Rush - The New Space Race. He is author of Mars - Our Future on the Red Planet published by National Geographic in October 2016. The book is the companion volume to Mars - a National Geographic Channel television series from executive producers Brian Grazer and Ron Howard. Leonard is co-author with Apollo 11's Buzz Aldrin of Mission to Mars - My Vision for Space Exploration released in May 2013 and published by the National Geographic Society.

He foresees that 3D printing will be used in space to create habitats, and expects people will return to the Moon within five years.

"The Moon looms. It's big. It's in our face. ... But we don't know about the moon. Just because we sent Neil and Buzz, we still don't know enough."

He is sure Mars hosts life. "It's there, it's deep in aquifers." But he worries, "what right do we have to change a planet and turn it in our image?"

In regards to climate change, David remarked, "If we destroy the launch pad we're not going to be able to go anywhere else."

Mallory's Body Discovered 20 Years Ago, But Where's Irvine and the Camera?

Climber Jake Norton was with Conrad Anker 20 years ago when the body of George Mallory was discovered on Mt. Everest. Norton writes on Facebook (May 1), "Once on site and all together, we began investigating the body, looking for evidence that would inform our understanding of the climbers' final days and hours on the mountain. After a bit of time, I noticed that while much of his clothing had been destroyed by rockfall over the years, his shirt collars were still intact, and I thought perhaps the manufacturer's label might still be there.

"I turned them over, and in addition to the company label was a small laundry label reading: 'George Mallory.' Here was proof-positive we had found one of the biggest legends of Himalayan mountaineering, an icon and a hero and an inspiration for so many."

Norton continues, "I still get goosebumps, chills, and a lump in my throat remembering the time we spent with Mallory and the things we learned about he and Irvine's final days and hours on the mountain."

The Vest Pocket Kodak Model B used by Mallory and Irvine on Everest.

The mystery of whether Mallory and his partner Sandy Irvine summited Everest still remains as explorers hope to return to the mountain to find the Vest Pocket Kodak Model B camera the two were known to carry, a camera that could reveal the first successful summit of Everest, almost 30 years before Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay.

Read the Facebook post here:


Jim Fowler (1930-2019)
Jim Fowler, the longtime host of TV's Wild Kingdom, who wrangled beasts and braved crocodile-infested waters for audiences across the nation, has died in Norwalk, Connecticut, his family announced on May 8. An honorary director and beloved member of The Explorers Club, he was 89.

The zoologist worked alongside Marlin Perkins on the Emmy-winning Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom beginning in 1963 until his retirement in 1985. Fowler then went it alone for a few years and returned to the show when it was revived in 2002.

He also appeared more than 100 times on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and served as a wildlife correspondent for NBC's Today. Fowler is survived by his wife, a wildlife artist, and their children Mark and Carrie.

Explorers Club president Richard Wiese writes in a May 9 email to members, "A giant of exploration, Jim died peacefully in his sleep, surrounded by family. We all met Jim in our living rooms, probably in our pajamas, but generations of conservationists, scientists and explorers were inspired by his words and deeds for decades. The world was a better place because of Jungle Jim Fowler, and he left a legacy for many to uphold."

A memorial service is tentatively planned for later this month. 

Take a moment, as we did, to review some of his many TV clips on YouTube. He appeared on The Dick Cavett Show in 1971 with a rose-eating sloth and wisecracking Groucho Marx:

On an episode of Seinfeld, he appeared with a hawk as a guest on a talk show hosted by the character Kramer out of his apartment:

Jim Fowler was a relentless advocate for the natural world.

Jess Roskelley (1982-2019)

Jess Roskelley, along with his climbing partners David Lama, 28, and Hansjörg Auer, 35, perished in a massive avalanche in the Canadian Rockies on April 16 after summiting Howse Peak via the difficult M16 route. These three young alpinists, who were among the best in the world, had already summited another peak on this trip, Mount Andromeda via Andromeda Strain, before attempting M16. 

Searchers in a helicopter reported seeing signs that the three were swept off Howse Peak by an avalanche. The bodies have since been recovered.

Jess, the son of renowned alpinist John Roskelley, was the youngest American to climb Mount Everest when at the age of 20, he and his father summited the world's highest peak on May 21, 2003 (it was subsequently summitted in 2010 by Californian Jordan Romero at age 13).

Since then, Jess had become known as one of the best climbers in the world as he forged innovative new routes, most notably in the mountains of Alaska, according to a statement by LOWA Boots on whose behalf he served as a member of its Pro Team. 

In Jess's words: "Mountains help me navigate what is most important to me. They balance the chaos that is regular life. Balance is what I strive to accomplish with climbing - a balance of life, love and mountains. Alpine climbing is a life-long commitment. I live and breathe it." 

Jess Roskelley, who was married, was 36.  

A celebration of life is planned for May 17 at the Crosby Theater in Spokane, Wash.


Global Exploration Summit, Lisbon, July 3-5, 2019
On the 500th anniversary of the first circumnavigation of the Earth, and the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing, explorers from every continent will gather in Lisbon to proclaim their commitment to preserve nature and its wildlife through scientific inquiry and their inspiring stories. The Explorers Club's Global Exploration Summit (GLEX) will bring together the world's leading explorers for an unprecedented gathering, where they will share cutting-edge technology and innovations.
Set in the stunning backdrop of the Champlimaud Center for the Unknown, the University of Lisbon, and the Lisbon Aquarium, the summit will showcase the latest discoveries, plan future expeditions, and connect with the public through mass media and audience participation. 

Join the Unconventional Travelers - Unconventional Travelers is a small personalized tour company that focuses on inspiring travelers to visit the world in a new way by experiencing first hand other cultures and lifestyles. These stimulating photographic explorations inspire and connect people with some of the world's most beautiful places.  It's owned by international documentary photographer and explorer Daryl Hawk. Trips for 2019 and 20120 will take place in Cuba, Patagonia, Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador. For more information: www.unconventionaltravelers.com.

Travel With Purpose: A Field Guide to Voluntourism (Rowman & Littlefield, April 2019) by Jeff Blumenfeld ­- How to travel and make a difference while you see the world? These are stories of inspiration from everyday voluntourists, all of whom have advice about the best way to approach that first volunteer vacation, from Las Vegas to Nepal, lending a hand in nonprofits ranging from health care facilities, animal shelters and orphanages to impoverished schools. Case studies are ripped from the pages of Expedition News, including the volunteer work of Dooley Intermed, Himalayan Stove Project, and even a volunteer dinosaur dig in New Jersey.
Available now on Amazon. Read excerpts and "Look Inside" at:

 tinyurl.com/voluntourismbook @purpose_book

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 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.

Advertise in Expedition News - For more information: blumassoc@aol.com.
EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, LLC, 290 Laramie Blvd.,  Boulder, CO 80304 USA. Tel. 203 326 1200, editor@expeditionnews.com. Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Research editor: Lee Kovel. ©2018 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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