May 2023 – Volume Twenty-Nine, Number Five
Celebrating our 28th year!
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.

Niamh has her eyes on the stars.
Ireland’s Female Bill Nye is Homeward Bound to Antarctica
An Irish celebrity, best known as a space reporter and educator, is looking to raise €15,000 (approximately $16,537) to accompany an all-woman group of 86 STEM educators to Antarctica in November 2023. The trip, called Homeward HB6, will focus on how STEMM (science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine) education can help address climate change.  

Founded in 2016, Homeward Bound was created by Australian leadership expert Fabian Dattner, who believed the world needed a program to unlock the leadership potential of outstanding women in STEMM, to upskill and support them to lead, influence and contribute to decision-making about the future of our planet.
The 12-month program, which began in March 2021 included online learning to increase leadership capacity, strategic capability, visibility and collaboration, and culminates in a meeting of all 86 participants in Ushuaia, Argentina, before embarking on a voyage to one of the most ecologically sensitive and inspiring areas on Earth.
Niahm (pronounced Neeve), 54, has a somewhat eclectic background and reminds us of a female Bill Nye the Science Guy: she’s a former actor on the popular Irish soap Fair City; host of a home school TV show about space; author of Dream Big: An Irish Woman’s Space Odyssey (Mercier Press, 2020); freelance writer for the Irish Times and the BBC’s Sky at Night magazine; has given two Tedx Talks; has two degrees in engineering and a Ph.D. in science; and participated in a simulated 15 sols Mars mission at the Mars Desert Research Station in the high Utah desert.
Shaw connects with the public through news articles, live reporting from launches, podcasts, videos, public talks, family events, workshops, social media, and chatting on TV and the radio. She writes theater shows and creates art installations about space.  
Currently residing in Strasbourg, France, she credits as her inspiration the unsung career of Irishman Tom Crean (1877-1938), member of three major expeditions to Antarctica during the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration, including Robert Falcon Scott's 1911–1913 Terra Nova Expedition. In fact, one of her favorite haunts is the South Pole Inn in Annascaul, County Derry, still owned by Crean’s family and covered in exploration memorabilia. (
“I've always wanted to follow in Crean’s footsteps and the footsteps of all those great women who have gone before me. I want to use this expedition to Antarctica as an opportunity to encourage other women throughout Ireland to go after their dreams, step out of the box, to believe in themselves,” she tells EN from her office at the International Space University campus south of Strasbourg.

“I live minimally on purpose because I care about my planet and I don’t think I need to own things anymore to be a good citizen.”
For more information:
Barneo Ice Station Closed to Explorers and Adventurers
Two outfitters in Svalbard confirmed in March that the Barneo Ice Station definitely won’t run this year. Permission from Norwegian authorities has not been forthcoming, polar guides Eric Larsen and Eric Philips told ExplorersWeb.
Nevertheless, the ice station, built each year from scratch in the 89-degree N latitude region, will be experimentally set up this spring through Russia, as a “proof of concept,” for next year, Philips tells ExplorersWeb. However, no tourists will go there.
Routing through Russia in 2024 would no doubt be controversial. Some clients from the Middle East or Asia might be open to the idea, but Westerners would face criticism for indirectly supporting what has become a blackballed state since its invasion of Ukraine, writes editor Jerry Kobalenko.
Polar explorer Eric Larsen, who trekked to the North Pole six times, posted on Facebook (April 4), “While Barneo, the company that runs Last Degree North Pole logistics is officially registered as Swiss, the majority of knowledge, manpower and equipment is Russian. Despite receiving a confirmation letter on February 20th that the season was officially a 'go', the Norwegian CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) denied the permit to operate from Longyearbyen in late March.
“The CAA cited environmental reasons for the denial but clearly this was a political move,” Larsen writes.

The remote base had served as a launching point for numerous arctic adventures over the years, including polar marathons, last-degree ski expeditions, and scientific research stations. But politics and the pandemic prevented Barneo from operating over the past three years, shutting off the “Gateway to the North Pole” for all travelers, according to Kraig Becker of
Drink Like an Explorer
When Explorers Club members gathered in New York for The Explorers Club Annual Dinner (ECAD) Weekend last month, it’s likely many sidled up to the HQ bar for a Club favorite: the blood red Mosquito Mojito. 

1 1/2 oz White rum
1 oz Campari
1 oz Fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons Sugar
6 Mint Leaves 
Soda Water
1. Lightly muddle the mint in the bottom of a cocktail shaker until aromatic. Add the rum, lime juice, Campari, sugar, a handful of ice and shake.
2. Strain into a glass filled with ice. Top with a splash of club soda and garnish with lime slices and more mint.
ECAD is the longest-running charity gala in New York City. Since 1896, it has raised funds to support yearly operations – from putting explorers in the field, to the Club’s yearly slate of 100+ public programs, to the maintenance of its HQ building and historic archives, to fieldwork, scientific research, and student grants, to name a few beneficiaries. Currently, there are 3,827 members, up eight percent from 2022. (
“I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of the strenuous life, the life of toil and effort, of labor and strife; to preach that highest form of success which comes, not to the man who desires mere easy peace, but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph.”
– Former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), The Strenuous Life”  
The 1899 speech was based on the assertion that Americans have a duty to advance two things: their race and their nation. Advancement is only possible if individuals choose to live a strenuous existence, an existence that is defined by strife, challenge, and honesty.

Who Was the Real Indiana Jones?
Who was the real inspiration for the cinematic character Indiana Jones? That question has been nagging us for 28 years since we first established Expedition News as a fax to friends. The image of the fedora, binoculars and bullwhip is so iconic, it’s pictured on Scouting’s Exploration merit badge.

Now the question is as relevant as ever as Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm are about to release the fifth and final Indiana Jones film.

RCA (Photo courtesy of Roy Chapman Andrews Society)
Ask most explorers and they'll tell you the inspiration for Indiana Jones was Roy Chapman Andrews (1884 - 1960). He certainly had the goods: RCA, as he’s known, was an American explorer, adventurer, and naturalist who became the director of the American Museum of Natural History. He led a series of expeditions through the politically disturbed China of the early 20th century into the Gobi Desert and Mongolia.
He also wore a fedora, carried a pipe, a bullwhip, and a six-gun, He collected animal specimens and discovered the first dinosaur eggs. So there’s that.
The Explorers Club has some skin in the game: Andrews was president of the Club from 1931 to 1934. In fact, the Club’s archives contain Andrews’ actual bullwhip from his series of Gobi desert expeditions.   
Watch Discovery TV host Josh Gates gush over it here with Club archivist Lacey Flint:
Michael Novacek’s book, Dinosaurs of the Flaming Cliffs (Doubleday Books, 1996) also seems to support the connection saying on page 24, RCA “… was a serious scientist but not without the frontier flare that many allege made him the inspiration for the movie character Indiana Jones.”
However, Charles Gallenkamp’s book Dragon Hunters (Viking Adult, 2001) appears to run that theory to ground, stating on page 309, “this assertion has been repeatedly denied by the character’s creator, George Lucas.”

Gallenkamp, to his credit, gumshoed this back to the source.

Excerpt of letter from Lynne Hale, director of public relations for Lucasfilm LTD. in April 1995. Our thanks to Clive Coy for providing this documentation.
We reached out to Clive Coy of Edmonton, Alberta, for his take on the original inspiration for the character played by Harrison Ford. Coy is the real deal – senior technician in the University of Alberta Laboratory for Vertebrate Palaeontology. He has collected and prepared a wide variety of vertebrate fossils for research and exhibition for over 30 years and writes a blog about Andrews (
“Personally I think Indy is an amalgam of real-life adventurers such as RCA, but also, Langdon Warner, Sven Hedin, Hiram Bingham, and others from that 1900-1930's era. 
“I think Langdon Warner of the Fogg Museum, Boston, most closely fits the Indy model. In that, he was a trained art historian, collected in China and was among many things involved in saving the ancient places in Japan from Allied Bombing during WWII,” Coy tells EN.
No matter who was the inspiration, you can guess where we’ll be on June 30, 2023, when the final film in the series hits the big screen.
What to Watch

There’s so much to watch these days in theaters and on streamers, it’s a wonder anyone has time to get outdoors. Sadly one source of documentaries and adventure films will dry up this September when Netflix abandons its iconic DVD-by-mail program. Until then, you’ll find us glued to one screen or another watching these:
•           Wild Life – The Ultimate DIY Approach to Saving the Earth: Buy It
From Oscar-winning filmmakers Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, Wild Life follows American conservationist Kris Tompkins on an epic, decades-spanning love story. After falling in love in mid-life, Kris and the outdoorsman and entrepreneur Douglas Tompkins left behind the world of the massively successful outdoor brands they'd helped pioneer ­­– Patagonia, The North Face, and Esprit – and turned their attention to a visionary effort to create National Parks throughout Chile and Argentina.
“On any scorecard, nature is losing,” says Thompkins in the doc.
Wild Life chronicles the highs and lows of their journey to effect the largest private land donation in history. See it now in theaters; its broadcast debut on the National Geographic Channel is May 25, 2023, and on the streaming service Disney+ the following day.
Vasarhelyi and Chin were the directors and producers of the Academy Award Winning documentary Free Solo.
Watch the trailer here:
•       nbsp;     The Kings of Kilimanjaro  
Tales about Kilimanjaro always commit the same sin of omission: focusing on the wageni – in Swahili, the “visitors” – who fly in to bag the peak, and then later aggrandize their achievement on social media. And history records the first person to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro was German national, Hans Meyer. But that history is wrong.
This documentary marks the culmination of a four-year journey for the filmmaking duo, The Frank Bros. Shot during a climb up the mountain, the film offers an immersive look into the little-known world of the Black indigenous Chagga mountain guides. Conveniently forgotten by history, these incredible athletes – chefs and porters, and guides – are the ones who make each ascent of the legendary Mt. Kilimanjaro possible.
Kings showcases the strength, tenderness, and leadership of these Tanzanian guides who wear multiple hats as athletes, first responders, personal coaches, and lifesavers. Without Chagga guides – the Kings – no one summits. No one survives. Rich or poor, young or old, no one hits that peak without their help.
The two-hour film is streaming free exclusively on
•           Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
Lest we not forget the long-awaited fifth and final picture in the series of Indiana Jones films. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, in theaters this June, sees Harrison Ford, 80, reprising his role as a death-defying and globe-trotting hero archaeologist with great hair. He’s seen at times digitally de-aged to appear as he did in his glory days.
The hugely successful franchise film is set in the 1960s, during the height of the Space Race between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. It is directed by James Mangold; John Williams, who has scored every Indiana Jones movie since Raiders of the Lost Ark, will return as composer.
Watch the trailer:
Who was the inspiration of the Indiana Jones character? It’s not who you think. See this month’s Expedition Focus.

•           Cool Archaeologists
SNL alum Andy Samberg is getting a bunch of his old friends together for Digman!, an animated series set in a world where archaeologists are treated like “the coolest people on the planet,” with the creators saying in a press release that it’s all about reflecting their “childhood dreams” of thinking that archaeologists are “badass, adventure-seeking rock stars.”

Even though, in the Digman! universe, archeologists are massively popular, its leading man Rip Digman (Samberg) is down on his luck – still – ten years after getting fired from the Smithsonian. Loaded with Indiana Jones Easter eggs, there’s even a bullwhip in the picture. Time to nerd out on archaeology. Now streaming.
Watch the teaser here:

Henson embraced Inuit culture during the
Arctic expeditions (Credit: Everett Collection Inc/Alamy)
Praises Sung for Unsung Black American Explorer
While other explorers may claim credit for discovering the North Pole, an unsung and largely forgotten former sharecropper has as good a case as anyone. The pivotal stage of Matthew Henson's career unfolded over an 18-year period starting in 1891, when he accompanied Robert Peary to the Arctic Circle in search of the North Pole, reports Robert Isenberg in (April 19).  
"Another world's accomplishment was done and finished," wrote Henson in his 1912 memoir, A Negro Explorer at the North Pole. And as in the past, from the beginning of history, wherever the world's work was done by a white man, he had been accompanied by a colored man."
Yet Henson's moment of glory was short-lived. For the next century, historians would be skeptical about Henson, who returned to the United States at the height of Jim Crow hostility. Peary wrote an effusive foreword to Henson's book, arguing that "race, color, or bringing-up, or environment, count nothing against a determined heart, if it is backed and aided by intelligence.”

Still, Peary gladly received most accolades for reaching the Pole, while Henson's name faded from the public eye.
Read more:

Felix Baumgartner is eccentric.
Felix Baumgartner, a skydiver, BASE jumper and aerobatic helicopter pilot was asked to comment on Eccentricity for the WSJ Magazine (April 2023).
“When you live an eccentric lifestyle, nobody wants to participate in your field and that leads directly to freedom because, on the business side, they let you do the things you do because they’re too scared to participate, he says.”
Baumgartner is known for a BASE jump from the right hand of the Jesus statue in Rio de Janeiro and a jump from space at supersonic speed.
Read the short interview here:


Kokatat Supports British Military Vets Expedition to Alaska’s Inside Passage
Six veterans with a variety of disabilities and two able-bodied civilians will embark this month on a 2,000 km (1,247-mi.) unsupported kayak expedition through The Inside Passage from Olympia, Washington, along the Fjordlands of Western British Columbia to Skagway, Alaska. 
Kokatat is providing a team of eight adventurers with dry suits, life vests, and various weather and safety protection apparel and gear. The veterans in the group have a variety of injuries including head/abdomen gunshot wounds, bilateral above-knee amputations, viral-induced paralysis, and PTSD, suffered in The Falklands conflict, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
The team originally planned to paddle the length of the Amazon River in 2020, but due to the global pandemic was forced to change its plans. Many of the team members have completed multiple rowing ocean crossings and first accents by disabled athletes and the Inside Passage is the next great challenge for the team. The team plans to complete its journey in early August.
Kokatat has provided each member of the team with a full kit of gear to keep them dry and safe during their journey. Each kit includes a Gore-Tex Pro Odyssey dry suitStorm Cag, a Gore-Tex Pullover jacket, and a Maximus Centurion Rescueor Guide Rescue Vest.
At press time, the team has raised approximately half of the expedition’s £250,000 budget (approx. $312,300).

To learn more about the Forces of Nature: The Inside Passage: Follow their expedition via Instagram at @kayak_the_inside_passage_2023 and Facebook at
Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly
An explosion.
Source: SpaceX Tweet reporting an explosion of the SpaceX Starship rocket on April 20 after the launch of an uncrewed test flight.
SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk said Starship, almost 400 feet tall when fully stacked, is the most powerful rocket ever built. “There’s a million ways this rocket could fail,” Musk said a few days before. And it did.
Nonetheless, Phil Larson, a former White House space official and former SpaceX communication manager remains optimistic. “Fireballs are the forge of progress,” he tells the Wall Street Journal (April 21).
What are we bid?
In a related story, want a piece of a previous Starship explosion? A detectorist on eBay (where else?) is offering a piece of Starship SN 11 he found while metal detecting at SpaceX Starbase in Boca Chica, Texas. Starship SN 11 exploded in the air during a suborbital flight on March 30, 2021. It’s yours for an astronomical $250.
See it here:
Explorers Club’s Global Exploration Summit (GLEX), June 14-16, 2023, Azores
The fourth edition of the Explorers Club’s Global Exploration Summit (GLEX) is set for the Azores from June 14-16, 2023, featuring the largest community of explorers and scientists in the world. The location is Terceira, an island that stands out for its historical reputation and growing geostrategic importance in the Atlantic.
This year, “Space, Ocean and Earth Insights” (SOE’23) is part of the GLEX Summit’s program, unveiling new perspectives and key insights into the latest scientific projects that will propel the discussion on the future of exploration. This is the result of a partnership between the organizers of the GLEX Summit (The Explorers Club and Expanding World), INESC TEC – Institute for Systems and Computer Engineering, Technology and Science, and the UT Austin Portugal Program.
This year's lineup includes archaeologist Kathleen Martinez-Nazar, marine biologist Nathan J. Robinson, planetary scientist Nina Lanza, and conservationist Alejandro Arteaga.
Early bird tickets are €120.
For more details:
Travel With Purpose, A Field Guide to Voluntourism (Rowman & Littlefield) by Jeff Blumenfeld ­– Travel has come roaring back and so has voluntourism. Be ready to lend a hand wherever you go. How to travel and make a difference while you see the world? Read excerpts and “Look Inside” at:
Get Sponsored! – Need money for your next project? Read about proven techniques that will help you find both cash and in-kind sponsors. If the trip is bigger than you, and is designed to help others, well, that’s half the game right droppable-1678305846407there. Read Jeff Blumenfeld’s "Get Sponsored: A Funding Guide for Explorers, Adventurers and Would Be World Travelers." (Skyhorse Publishing).
Buy it here:

Advertise in Expedition News – For more information:
EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, LLC, 290 Laramie Blvd., Boulder, CO 80304 USA. Tel. 203 326 1200, Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Research editor: Lee Kovel. ©2023 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1526-8977. Subscriptions: US$36/yr. available by e-mail only. Credit card payments are accepted through Read EXPEDITION NEWS at
Website hosted by