Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Columbia Expedition: 'Round the Horn!


We're back at it. Following the first American voyage 'round the world -- the Columbia Expedition. Our pilot took us across New England. Our second, to New York and Cape Verde. But now we're faced with the most daunting leg of our journey.
Rounding Cape Horn.
We'll head first to the Falkland Islands, visiting the site of the original English settlement and basis of the sovereignty dispute with Argentina. Then on to the jagged cliffs of Tierra del Fuego and the tip of Cape Horn. At last, we'll wrap up on Robinson Crusoe Island off Chile.
This close to Antarctica winter begins in May, so we have to get there soon. We're bringing a small crew, shooting in our run-and-gun style. Just enough to get in, talk to local experts, grab our story, and move on. Gumshoe Historians.
Funding will cover airfare and other travel to these three points. Along the way, we’ll shoot, edit and post a video at each location. When we get back, we'll start post-production on this third full-length episode (40-60 minutes).
This really is the end of the earth. To follow Columbia point-to-point around the world we have to go down here. Everything after is relatively easy: the Pacific Northwest, Hawaii, China and Japan. But we can't skip over the Horn. It's the toughest part. And it will be our best episode -- and greatest adventure -- yet.
Our story so far...
Commanded by Captain John Kendrick, the Columbia Expedition left Boston in 1787, just weeks after the Constitution was drafted. A private trading venture financed and crewed by a few dozen former privateers, slavers, refugees and POW's, this was desperate gamble by a country deep in post-war recession.
Young men in their late teens in early twenties, equipped with the latest technology and weaponry, were sent off to the uncharted and unpoliced other side of the earth, with instructions to bring back a profit for the owners.
This was no Lewis and Clark band of brothers. At their first stop in Cape Verde, swords were drawn in the streets to try to keep men from jumping ship. By the time they approached the Falklands, officers were at each other's throats.
This is a great unknown story, and we've found a great way to talk about it. Episodic documentary. Chapter-by-chapter. Part history, part travel, part adventure, part gonzo journalism.
Get in the car. There's history out there.
Watch our web series on WGBH
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Charitable Deduction: Hit and Run History is a project of the Cape Cod Community Media Center, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit corporation. All donations are processed through our dedicated account there and are tax-deductible (less the value of the reward pledge).

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