Tuesday, July 31, 2012

JW Fishers Pulse 8X Metal Detectors Assist in Recovery of Shipwreck Artifacts

Main Photo: Cannon recovered from the Warwick,  Bottom Inset - diver searches wreck site with Pulse 8X and deep seeking 16 inch coil,
Top Inset - James Davidson with Pulse 8X and recovered cannon ball.
   In October 1619 the naval warship Warwick sailed into the King’s Castle Harbour in Bermuda with an important cargo from England; the colony’s new governor, Captain Nathaniel Butler. After taking on provisions the Warwick was to travel onto the struggling colony at JamestownVirginia, but it never made the voyage. Before the ship could sail,Bermuda was hit by a fierce hurricane. Battered by strong winds the Warwick broke free from her anchors, was driven into the rocky shore, and torn apart by the pounding waves.
   In 1969 Mendel Peterson of the Smithsonian Institution and now famous Bermudashipwreck hunter EB “Teddy” Tucker located the remains of the Warwick and began an examination of the wreckage. What they found was a good part of the hull remained preserved under a pile of ballast stone. Fast forward another 50 years and a new group working under the supervision of the island’s National Museum began a more extensive examination of the site and recovery of some significant historic artifacts. The museum enlisted some renowned experts in the field of marine archaeology to assist in the project. One is Dr. Jon Adams, head of archaeology at the University of Southampton who says “the Warwick is one of the largest and most coherent pieces of early 17th century ship structures ever found.” Dr. Kroum Batchvarov with the maritime archaeology program at the University of Connecticut adds “very few wrecks of the early seventeenth century have been excavated which has limited our knowledge of shipbuilding and seafaring in this period. This makes the archaeological excavation and documentation of the Warwick an important contribution to that body of knowledge.” Professor Kevin Crisman of the Nautical Archaeology Program at Texas A&M also thinks this wreck holds enormous potential for educating archaeologists, historians, and the public. “It could illuminate the early years of England’s great century of overseas expansion, a time when the first English colonies were being planted in North America and around the world.”
   The location of Warwick’s remains makes it an ideal archaeological site. The wreckage lies in 15 to 30 feet of water in a protected harbor. Seventy feet of the hull structure is preserved and researchers are now beginning to excavate, record, and analyze it. During the work this summer divers recovered a cannon, navigational tools, rudder hardware, parts of barrels, and fragments of ceramic containers. One of tools aiding in the recovery work is JW Fishers Pulse 8X underwater metal detector. Diver James Davidson reports, “we have been quite successful with the detector finding a range of targets including cannon balls, musket shot, bar shot, and various lead artifacts at depths up to 3 feet below the seabed, and cannon buried as deep as 6 feet.”
   Professor Crisman says “Collectively these finds tell us an amazing story of the changes being wrought in Bermuda and around the world by mariners, merchants, and colonizers. The fabric of the Warwick, it’s framing timbers, planks, beams, and knees are also providing us with a new benchmark for understanding the ships that England sent around the world in the 17th century. We already know much more about the materials, design concepts and assembly practices of early English shipwrights than we did at the start of the excavation.”
   Another important archaeological project that is employing the underwater metal detector is the African Slave Wrecks Project. One of the primary objectives of the project is to locate and document the wreck sites of ships that carried slaves. Partners in this project include the IZIKO Museums of Cape Town in South Africa, the Slavery Museum of Angola, the US National Park Service Submerged Resource Unit, The Southern African Heritage Resources Agency, and George Washington University. The group intends to identify and preserve maritime cultural resources and promote them as tourism sites, an alternative to the commercialization of archaeological artifacts. Louis Mare, one of the researchers on the project reports, “We are very impressed with the Pulse 8X. In our first test on a local beach we recovered two cannon balls along with the usual coinage and some jewelry items. The team is now convinced this device will be an essential tool in our projects.”
   Other groups using JW Fishers detectors in their work are Center for Archaeological Studies at Texas State University, the Archaeological Institute at the University of West Florida, the Office of Underwater Science and Educational Resources at the Indiana University Bloomington, the underwater archaeology program at the University of Rhode Island, the Center for Marine Archaeology and Conservation at Texas A&M University, and the Israeli Antiquities Authority.
   For more information on JW Fishers metal detectors or their complete line of underwater search equipment go to www.jwfishers.com.

  JW Fishers Mfg.  Pulse 8X underwater metal detector
comes with everything needed for land & water detecting

 The Pulse 8X is a commercial grade underwater metal detector that works as well on land as it does in the water.  This detector will locate a variety of targets including jewelry, coins, shell casings, weapons, gold bars, anchors, ordnance, cannons, and pipelines.  The Pulse 8X uses state-of-the-art Pulse Induction (PI) technology to detect all metals, ferrous and nonferrous, while ignoring minerals in the environment such as salt water, coral, black sand, and high iron rocks.  Fishers detectors are not affected by the material between the metal object and the search coil.  The detection range remains the same whether detecting through air, water, silt, sand, soil, coral, or rock.  The detector has both audio and visual outputs. Audio is provided by an underwater earphone that tucks under the diver’s mask strap or into a hood.  The visual output is displayed on a large, easy to read meter.
   The 8X comes with a complete accessory package that has everything needed to use it on land, in the surf, or diving to depths up to 200 feet.  Included in the kit are land and underwater earphones, a PVC handle for underwater use, aluminum handle with telescoping coil shaft for land use, AC battery charger, DC battery charger, hip-mount kit, and a heavy duty cordura nylon carry bag.  Rechargeable batteries power the detector for 12 full hours. Batteries can easily be field replaced to provide around the clock operation. 
  One of the most unique features of Fishers detectors are the complete line of interchangeable coils available.  The optional coils available are a probe coil, 5 inch coil, 10 inch coil, 16 inch coil, 18 inch coil with 100 foot cable for boat deployment, and an 8 x 48 coil that is mounted on 4 small skis for dragging on the beach or in shallow water.
  For more information on the Pulse 8X go to www.jwfishers.com.  Click the Product tab at the top of the page, then click on hand-held metal detectors and Pulse 8X.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Inside Passage - Alaska, British Columbia and Washington


The Inside Passage stretches from Southeast Alaska through British Columbia to Washington State - some 1,000+ nautical-miles.

Here is a good detailed map: (http://www.google.com/imgres?hl=en&sa=X&biw=1366&bih=645&tbm=isch&prmd=imvns&tbnid=NXJl-ImdZoy-mM:&imgrefurl=http://mappery.com/map-of/Pacific-Northwest-Inside-Passage-Map&docid=2GJstFBTZKGBJM&imgurl=http://mappery.com/maps/Pacific-Northwest-Inside-Passage-Map.jpg&w=1666&h=2529&ei=kuASUMCRMMnq0gGQjYHQCA&zoom=1&iact=rc&dur=375&sig=113964948636091309931&page=2&tbnh=137&tbnw=90&start=21&ndsp=25&ved=1t:429,r:0,s:21,i:171&tx=45&ty=50)

What is along the Passage? E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G   W-O-N-D-E-R-F-U-L! People, places, wildlife, Mother Nature...

Cruising through the Inside Passage is really what has made Alaska cruising so popular. This trip captures so much of what people love about Alaska. There are glaciers the size of Rhode Island. Misty rain forests and ghostly blue fjords.  And spirited communities that celebrate their varied heritage. Be sure to take in every view as you sail through one of the most beautiful parts of the United States we call Alaska!

Kayaking the Inside Passage - http://kayak-insidepassage.blogspot.com/

Be sure to checkout the interactive map-pix at the above url

and the list goes on...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

$2.2 million Earhart expedition proves fruitless but search group remains confident for future success

A $2.2 million expedition that hoped to find wreckage from famed aviator Amelia Earhart's final flight is on its way back to Hawaii without the dramatic, conclusive plane images searchers were hoping to attain.

But the group leading the search, The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, still believes Earhart and her navigator crashed onto a reef off a remote island in the Pacific Ocean 75 years ago this month, its president told The Associated Press on Monday.

'This is just sort of the way things are in this world,' TIGHAR president Pat Thrasher said. 'It's not like an Indiana Jones flick where you go through a door and there it is. It's not like that — it's never like that.'

Amelia Earhart sits in the cockpit of her plane, circa 1925

Amelia Earhart sits in the cockpit of her plane, circa 1925

Thrasher said the group collected a significant amount of video and sonar data, which searchers will pore over on the return voyage to Hawaii this week and afterward to look for things that may be tough to see at first glance.
The group is also planning a voyage for next year to scour the land where it's believed Earhart survived a short while after the crash, Thrasher said.

Thrasher maintained touch throughout the search with TIGHAR founder Ric Gillespie, her husband, and posted updates about the trip to the group's website. 
The updates tell of a search that was cut short because of treacherous underwater terrain and repeated, unexpected equipment mishaps that caused delays and left the group with only five days of search time rather than 10, as originally planned.
During one episode, an autonomous underwater vehicle the group was using in its search wedged itself into a narrow cave, a day after squashing its nose cone against the ocean floor. It needed to be rescued.

Search crews had hoped to find conclusive evidence after clues such as this ointment bottle were found

Search crews had hoped to find conclusive evidence after clues such as this ointment bottle were found

'The rescue mission was successful — but it was a real cliffhanger,' Gillespie wrote in an email posted online last week. 'Operating literally at the end of our tether, we searched for over an hour in nightmare terrain: a vertical cliff face pockmarked with caves and covered with fern-like marine growth.'Thrasher said the environment was tougher to navigate than searchers expected.
The U.S. State Department had encouraged the privately-funded voyage, which launched earlier this month from Honolulu using 30,000 pounds in specialized equipment and a University of Hawaii ship normally used for ocean research.
The group's thesis is based on the idea that Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan landed on a reef near the Kiribati atoll of Nikumaroro, then survived a short time.
Previous visits to the island have recovered artifacts that could have belonged to Earhart and Noonan, and experts say an October 1937 photo of the shoreline of the island could include a blurry image of the strut and wheel of a Lockheed Electra landing gear.

The search for Amelia Earhart's plane probed the deep waters off Nikumaroro, a tiny desert island between Australia and Hawaii where the legendary aviator may have landed 75 years ago

The search for Amelia Earhart's plane probed the deep waters off Nikumaroro, a tiny desert island between Australia and Hawaii where the legendary aviator may have landed 75 years ago

The photo was enough for the State Department blessing, and led to the Kiribati government to sign a contract with the group to work together if anything is found, Gillespie said at the start of the voyage.

A separate group working under a different theory plans its third voyage later this year near Howland Island.

Earhart and Noonan were flying from New Guinea to Howland Island when they went missing July 2, 1937, during Earhart's bid to become the first woman to circumnavigate the globe.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

A passion for the Coast by Sandra McCulloch


A Saltspring Island couple captures the beauty of the Inner Passage in a book that's a work of art itself

Portrait of Pat and Rosemarie Keough in winter clothing in front of a wall of solid blue ice marbled with white fissures
Pat & Rosemarie Keough

Pat and Rosemarie Keough's full-leather bound portfolios, ANTARCTICA and LABYRINTH SUBLIME: THE INSIDE PASSAGE

A magnificent section of the Inside Passage lies within the province of British Columbia but is largely inaccessible for many of its residents.

Those who take B.C. Ferries or cruise ships up the coast may glimpse wildlife along the shore, spot waterfalls cascading down cliff faces or see whales sharing the waterway.

Coastal temperate rainforest covers less than 0.1 per cent of the globe, and more than a third of that is located in the Inside Passage.

The area is cherished by the First Nations, who have deep roots in coastal settlements. Others who have left their marks are European explorers and ambitious southerners hoping to score big in the Yukon and Alaskan gold rush.

Photographers Pat and Rosemarie Keough of Saltspring Island set out to capture the magic of the Inside Passage in their art book Labyrinth Sublime, which takes the reader from Seattle, Washington, to Glacier Bay, Alaska.

"Our desire is the body of work will be enjoyed as a visual symphony, where the crescendos of colour and majesty are at times followed by quiet intimacy," wrote the Keoughs in the introduction.

Despite serious health challenges, the Keoughs have created a book that captures the beauty in the majestic and minute features of the area.

The $5,000 cover price will put the volume out of reach for all but serious collectors. Today, the Times Colonist brings you the story of this adventurous couple and the making of Labyrinth Sublime.

Stretching from Seattle to beyond Glacier Bay in Alaska, the Inside Passage covers an astonishing 70,000 kilometres of shoreline - from lush rainforests and pristine beaches to settlements ranging from bustling metropolises to abandoned First Nations villages.

The marine life is equally varied, from humpback whales plying their way in the deep channels to sunfish and anemones basking in tidal pools.

When Pat and Rosemarie Keough of Saltspring Island decided to produce a photography book worthy of the Inside Passage, they knew it had to be big. Labyrinth Sublime is big all right, yet its print run is small - just 250 numbered copies.

Each copy costs $5,000, contains 340 photographs and weighs 17 kilograms - it's big enough to benefit from its own wooden stand, which is available at an additional cost.

Despite the hefty price during a global economic slump, several dozen buyers from around the world have lined up to purchase the tome, many of them won over by the Keoughs' previous art book, Antarctica, unveiled by Prince Charles in 2002 at St. James Palace. The 950 copies were bound and available for sale by 2006.

Pat and Rosemarie, now 67 and 52 respectively, have been taking photographs since they met on a whitewater canoeing expedition on the South Nahanni River in the sub-Arctic in 1984.

They moved to Saltspring three years later, and today live in a mountaintop home made of wood and rock, overlooking Galiano, Saturna and the smaller Gulf Islands. They seem quite serious when they suggest that one day, they'll do a book of photos taken from their bedroom.

A few pictures taken from home made it into Labyrinth Sublime, including one with two bald eagles perched in a treetop and another with a ghostly mist draping the islands.

Many of the others have been taken by the Keoughs over 25 years of coastal exploration.

The idea was not to document, scene by scene, the Inside Passage and all its flora and fauna. Each image and the entire book is meant to be a work of art, they say.

"If someone sculpts in granite, that's their art - this is what we choose to do," said Rosemarie during a recent interview at home.

"The normal books you'd find at Munro's and other bookstores, we've 'been there, done that.' "

They've had other books published commercially and choose now to oversee every step of the process themselves, from image enhancement on the computer to book binding, as part of their business, Nahanni Productions Inc.

"In the standard publishing industry, when you produce those things, there's always a need to compromise," Pat said. "When you're a photographer, you want the image to be the best you can get and you want the reproduction to be the best it can be.

"A lot of people who buy our books think of them as art."

Much time and effort is spent taking the raw image of a slide or digital photograph and making it suitable for publication. The goal is to end up with "something that reflects our feeling when we were in that place," Rosemarie said.

That place may be a golden carpet of big-leaf maple leaves on the Gulf Islands or a vast glacier in Alaska.

The book is assembled so that facing pages often have a connection: A photo of two Saltspring Island men clad in yellow slickers and red floater jackets stands opposite a picture of a yellow-leafed alder and red maple.

There are Pelagic cormorants on weathered posts of a wharf opposite a freighter southbound in Puget Sound, pushing a huge bow wave in wind-whipped seas.

There's a Douglas fir silhouetted against the yellow sky of sunrise and a harvest moon rising above the blue hills of Orcas Island.

The people in the photos are as captivating as the scenery: Bob Boucher of the Central Coast looks at home aboard his tug, the Monarch II, which is crammed with prawn traps, faded plastic tarps, ropes big and small and rusted cans of rust paint.

A Tlingit woman stands proudly wearing a button blanket over a dress handed down from her grandmother.

Jessel Boulton looks up from his work carving cedar corner posts for the big house at Hartley Bay.

Locals who know the wild areas best often assisted the Keoughs in capturing images of marine and terrestrial wildlife. An aboriginal escort from Hartley Bay took the couple to see the elusive Kermode "spirit" bear on Princess Royal and Gribbell islands.

Black bears with a recessive gene that gives them white fur, Kermode bears live in a small area of the Central Coast.

Long lenses allowed the Keoughs to take photos from a safe distance: "The bears are hunting salmon; they're not interested in us," Pat said. "They're comfortably fishing and we're comfortably watching them."

The couple got unusually close to humpback whales and orcas because they were travelling with mariners who knew the whales would show up at a certain place - they just had to wait.

They travelled up the coast on a sailboat owned by family friend Jim Allen, who "has a sixth sense for the orca," said Rosemarie.

"He will just stop the sailboat in a certain spot and will say, 'There will be whales here.' And you know what? In an hour, they're coming up to you."

They accompanied a researcher who studies humpback whales in hope of getting good shots, said Pat. After a couple of hours of waiting, about 50 humpback whales showed up "all blowing and logging around us," he said. (Logging is when whales lie on the water's surface.)

"This one went right down and came right up off the bow. It's so special because they're curious about us and it's a real feeling about communion."

The Keoughs spent a lot of time waiting for whales and, a crucial element, the right light.

Changing light "is a difficult thing," said Pat. "You can end up getting 30 shots of the same thing, each of which is quite a pretty picture ..."

Rosemarie interjects: "But one is magic because of the light. We can choose the elements and compose the picture, but we have no control over the light."

A case in point is the Keoughs' attempt at shooting an abandoned fish cannery at Namu. Pat said the day turned out to be a "yuck day with flat light." But at the last moment, things changed.

"At sunset that day, just at that last moment before the sun went down, it broke through and shone with that yellow, warm light," Pat said.

"If we hadn't been standing on that boardwalk, waiting for that precise moment, we wouldn't have got that shot. The light hit those buildings and changed it into something very magical."

The Inside Passage encompasses one of the world's grand fjordlands, he said.

"Most Canadians don't know they're sitting on top of one of the most majestic fjordlands on all of the planet. It's not just the thousands of feet of rock rising out of the ocean, it's the ghost towns, the old totem poles, the grizzly bears and the black bears," he said.

"There is so much that makes up this coast of ours. It's such a rich mixture of culture, the remnants of native culture. I don't think a lot of us who live here appreciate what a truly wondrous place this is."

Many people take their own backyards for granted, said Rosemarie. "The draw for us is the Inside Passage exists. You may not go there, but you know it's there. There's this wilderness right on our doorstep."

The Keoughs decided to focus on the Inside Passage after Rosemarie was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer in November 2005. She underwent surgery, 18 months of chemotherapy and daily radiation for six weeks. Active treatment concluded last month with her last tamoxifen pill.

Rosemarie had been spending a lot of time at the B.C. Cancer Agency in Victoria. She was also marketing Antarctica, which proved to be a tough slog once the economy took a downturn.

"I didn't want to stay in the office because I was getting so little back," she said. "I thought, 'This is the time to be inspired,' and taking pictures, creating something of beauty, is truly spiritually inspiring for me."

So the Keoughs set sail for the Inside Passage, staying close enough to home for Rosemarie to continue her cancer treatment.

Pat has health challenges of his own, with multiple sclerosis causing some weakness on his right side.

Today, Rosemarie is in good health and has regrown a full head of hair.

She is busy marketing both Antarctica and Labyrinth Sublime. On a recent trip to New York, she sold the very first copy of Labyrinth Sublime for $60,000. That collector also bought the Keoughs' book on Antarctica.

The couple has a following of loyal collectors who are waiting to receive their copies of the latest book - each book is made with care and production takes time. Some of these collectors have suffered financial hardship, but have told the Keoughs they still want the book, which has already won an international award.

The Independent Publishers Book Awards, representing 2,000 publishers worldwide, put the tome first in the "best book arts craftsmanship" category. The Keoughs' earlier effort, Antarctica, also won this honour.

Now they're looking forward to their next huge project, which will focus on the people, wildlife and landscapes of the Arctic. They've already taken photos in Russia and Greenland, and this summer, they'll travel through the Northwest Passage.

The publication date depends on the economic situation, but likely won't be until 2018 or 2019. Other projects underway include a photographic essay on the Mojave Desert in California and another on the Mediterranean.

The Keoughs insist they're not getting rich off these high-priced art books.

"From a dollar-and-cent value, we would have been better to do anything other than this, because it's not a moneymaking scheme," said Pat.

"It's something that costs a lot to do. At the end of the day, there's satisfaction and we know we've created something unusual on a world scale."

On the web: www.keough-art.com


We are amazed at how trees will grow on near-vertical rock, finding purchase in the smallest of fissures where moisture is retained by mosses and lichens. Impossible to put down taproots, trees intertwine roots laterally with those of their neighbours to create a network of mutual support. Forest fire is not a threat in the rainforest, but on the cliffs, avalanches, slides and wind blow-downs do occasionally peel wide swaths of trees, exposing rock utterly bare of soil. While the tenacious trees of the mountain slopes are remarkable, those growing along rivers and creeks of pristine watersheds are the most impressive of all. These reach immense height and girth thanks to deep-ocean nutrients brought to the coast by Pacific salmon returning to the clear, cool waters of their natal streams to spawn and die. Bears depend upon the annual salmon runs for the majority of their protein needs. They carry their catch into the forest away from harassment by bigger bears, there to feast upon fish heads and any roe. Over the spawning season, each bear will transport some 500 salmon from stream to forest. Coastal wolves eat salmon, too, preferring the fatty brains. Remnant fish carcasses are scavenged by eagles, ravens, gulls and maggots. Much later, flies and beetles hatch; in turn eaten by songbirds. Marinesourced nitrogen from the salmon fertilizes an entire ecosystem. Trees are stimulated to grow as much as double the rate as those without this boost of nitrogen.

A blur of movement in September pink salmon run, Ketchikan Creek conveys the energy of wild salmon. These pinks were headed upstream, having run the gauntlet of seals while pooled oceanside awaiting high tide to ease their climb up the manmade fish ladder. The importance of the Pacific salmon - sockeye, chinook, coho, chum and pink - to the wild predators is shared by the commercial fishing fleets and by subsistence and recreational fishermen. Among our cherished memories is a summer's day when, from the bow of our sailboat adrift in Johnstone Strait, we thrilled to photograph a pod of killer whales slowly surfacing and staying near us. Their bellies were full from gorging on chinooks, the king of salmon that can grow up to 55 kilograms.

Just as salmon bring marine nutrients to the coast, the sea is enriched with minerals from the land. Fed by snowmelt, rivers transport fine rockflour and glacial silt in suspension to estuaries and coastal waters. During the freshet, the Fraser River plume, milky-turquoise in colour, overrides the heavier saltwater of the Strait of Georgia, delivering minerals while influencing salinity through to the open ocean at Cape Flattery. In this enriched marine environment, plankton thrive; all biodiversity benefits. One August day while boating on Alaska's Frederick Sound, we counted more than a hundred humpback whales scooping plankton and small fish, slapping pectoral fins and at times resting. These whales migrate to the rich feeding grounds of the Inside Passage following a winter's fast in warm Hawaiian waters, where their calves are born. At the junction of Stephens Passage and Frederick Sound, we photographed sunrise, sunset and whales from atop Five Finger Lighthouse.

Along the rocky shore where waters are deep, a humpback emerged, draped in kelp, and exhaled immediately beside the lightkeeper - romantic for a second or two until Ed and his morning coffee were imbued with whale mucus and fishy bits. We have many more stories - all for another day.


Hilo Moreno and Daniel Lambert 1300 km Yukon paddle


In August & September long rivers, far from any inhabited town with lot of mosquitoes, grizzlies and black bears in the round, awaits the Antarctic glacier guide and the filmmaker.

For the past 4 Antarctic summers, Hermenegildo (Hilo) Moreno worked as a mountain guide for scientists at the Spanish research station, Juan Carlos 1. Back home from the Great White he ventures to other ice fields, like Svalbard and the Northern Patagonia Ice Cap, or paddle in Greenland, Scandinavia or North America.

Hilo shot over news to ExplorersWeb about his next canoe expedition. Currently he is preparing for a canoe expedition to the Yukon River and its tributaries during August and September he says.

The Yukon River and tributaries

Hilo and team mate Daniel Requena Lambert are planning to paddling first the Eagle River; from Dempster Highway (Yukon Territory, Canada) starting August 8th. If things go according to plan they will arrive at Dalton Bridge (Alaska) around September 15th to 20th.

“The route will be Eagle River, Bell River, Porcupine River, Yukon River, Dalton Bridge (end), a distance of around 1300 km,“ Hilo says to ExWeb.

Speaking from experience, as he worked in the Yukon River area the last two summers, Hilo says there will be a lot of mosquitoes, grizzlies and black bears. “It is a very interesting place,” he added.

“This August we will go to a very remote area (Eagle River and Porcupine River); "easy" rivers but long and very far from any inhabited town.”

“We are going to use a canoe for two and take all of the equipment and food that we will need for a 40 days trip.” Hilo and Daniel hope to fish during the expedition, but they prefer to carry all their food just in case the fish doesn’t bite. A First Nation village, Old Crow, in Canada close to the US border, is situated along their way and it will be possible to buy food there in case of need, Hilo says.


Daniel Requena Lambert is a long-time friend of Hilo and a professional cameraman and filmmaker who travels a lot. He produces nature and anthropology documentaries and made the films below. Daniel also works as an adventure tour guide and has been a kayak guide in south Greenland for three years.

This documentary The Tear of the Dragonfly is about a journey to the 8000 meter high Himalayas down to the shores of the southern tip of India. It is a visual poem centered around human beings, their surroundings and the different ways of surviving; the film goes through human history on earth.

The Tear of the Dragonfly from La Lágrima de la Libélula on Vimeo.

Below a video of Daniel Lambert Requena traveling with José Mijares and Hilo Moreno in the archipelago of Svalbard in April 2010. They were skiing 17 days from Ny Alesund to Longyearbyen.

Video of a 2007 Lapland trip - mixed pictures of the journey on skis with scenes from the annual Kaotokeino Sami cultural festival in Norwegian Lapland.

Hermenegildo (Hilo) Moreno, and adventure guide, lives with his wife in Ogden, Utah, at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains. During the Antarctic summer he works as mountain guide for scientists at the Juan Carlos I Station (Spanish Antarctic base). He says to ExplorersWeb, “I work guiding them in the glaciers and in other "difficult places": Next year will be my 5th season. I really love my work.”

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Dr. Robert Ballard launches new Nautilus expedition


Beginning today, Sea Research Foundation’s Dr. Robert Ballard and the Corps of Exploration—an international team of scientists, engineers, students and educators—welcome Mystic Aquarium guests aboard the E/V Nautilus as the team explores the deep waters of the Black, Aegean and Mediterranean Seas off the coasts of Turkey and Cyprus. At a press conference on July 12 at 1:30 p.m., Ballard will launch the 2012 expedition in Mystic Aquarium’s Nautilus Live Theater and connect live with Expedition Leader Dr. Katy Croff Bell, who is currently aboard the Nautilus in the Black Sea.

At the request of the Turkish Foreign Ministry, the Nautilus’ scientific expedition was postponed several days while Ballard and his team searched for, and subsequently located, a Turkish Air Force RF-4E Phantom jet piloted by two Turkish Air Force officers that were reportedly shot down by Syrian air defense off the coast of Syria. For the official press statement on the mission, please visit http://oceanexplorationtrust.com/press/20120711_Turkey.htm.

Located in Mystic Aquarium’s new Ocean Exploration Center, the world’s only exhibit space dedicated to Ballard’s work and home to the new Titanic – 12,450 Feet Below exhibit, the Nautilus Live Theater is a 50-seat, state-of-the-art theater space that delivers live expedition coverage in high definition onto the big screen. Through telepresence and two-way ship-to-shore technology, guests will join Ballard and the Corps of Exploration aboard the Nautilus as they search for undiscovered natural wonders of the undersea world, as well as lost chapters of human history.

"It always excites me when I look for one thing and find something else. Those are the moments of true discovery,” said Ballard. “I enjoy sharing my experiences at sea, and with this technology I don't have to wait to come home and tell people about it. They can come aboard the ship and be there at the moment of discovery. Rather than read about our findings, they can say, 'I was there.'"

Audiences will see footage from Ballard’s previous expeditions, hear about his greatest discoveries and expedition goals during an interview, get the latest news on shipboard activities and recent findings and see the tools and technologies used to explore oceans. Guests will also have the opportunity to talk with a Corps of Exploration member and watch images from the ocean floor in real time. A Nautilus team member monitoring the expedition’s progress from shore will host the daily live shows and explain to the audience what they are seeing on the screen.

“Through the Nautilus Live Theater, nautiluslive.org and social media platforms, Sea Research seeks to expand our understanding of the oceans and inspire the explorers of tomorrow,” said Dr. Stephen M. Coan, president and CEO of Sea Research Foundation, which operates Mystic Aquarium, the Ocean Exploration Center, and The JASON Project and its Immersion Learning program. “These components will forever transform the way in which scientists, students and the public experience deep-sea exploration.”

People worldwide can experience the next generation of deep-sea exploration 24 hours a day at the newly redesigned nautiluslive.org and on Facebook and Twitter. Each of these outlets is designed to give viewers the experience of being aboard the ship, looking over the shoulders of the scientists and crew and listening to their conversations during the two-month-long expedition, enabling participants to learn about and share discoveries in real time and communicate with each other as they watch live ocean exploration and shipboard activities during each leg of the journey.

Nautiluslive.org features multiple live video feeds from cameras aboard the Nautilus and her remotely operated vehicles, allowing visitors an intimate look at shipboard or underwater activity. Additional site features include a deep-sea simulation where visitors can take the helm of a Nautilus vehicle; status updates detailing current expedition activities and discoveries; a science event log, which features scientists’ descriptions of what they see on the sea floor; maps showing the ship’s current location; and blog posts from the Corps of Exploration.

The Nautilus Live Theater connects to Nautilus daily through Sept. 1, 2012, at 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. The Unknown Ocean, a brand new theater experience, shows daily at 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. The Unknown Ocean is an interactive experience that reveals how modern sonar technology accurately maps the deep ocean and fascinating biological life that is discovered using remotely operated vehicles.

Show tickets are distributed at the aquarium information booth at no additional charge on a first-come, first-served basis. Visit mysticaquarium.org for additional show details. For more information on Ballard’s expedition or to follow it live from your computer, visit nautiluslive.org

Monday, July 9, 2012

The grand delusion

We need to stop telling ourselves lies about the risks of mountain sports

By Will Gadd
The view from the top 
Photo by Will Gadd

The author says this is not a view to die for

I recently attended a rare event: a memorial for someone who didn’t die in the mountains. This particular high-achieving friend died of alcoholism, but was his addiction really so different than my own devotion to mountain sports? He knew alcohol would kill him, but chose to drink. And I am increasingly certain that if anyone spends enough time in the mountains, he or she will die there.

I often hear friends make statistically insane comments such as, “You can die on the way to the mountains just as easily as you can die in the mountains.” That statement, for the record, is a stinking pile of self-delusional excrement that does not smell any less foul with repeated exposure. The ignorance behind those words makes me seethe internally—because I once believed exactly the same thing.

I do a lot of presentations about mountain sports, and sometimes share a list of dead friends to remind myself and the audience that the hidden price for the stunning photographs is all-too-regularly life itself. There are 27 names on my list. Not one of those friends died while driving to the mountains. Not one died on a commercial airline flight. To equate the risks of mountain sports to everyday activities like driving or even the chance of death from cancer is completely idiotic. Every friend on my list drove to the mountains a lot, and some even wrecked vehicles and spent time in the hospital from those crashes. But they died doing mountain sports.

As the list grows longer, I have a harder and harder time understanding why I take the risks I do out there. Yes, I’m careful; yes, I use good gear; yes, I run away a lot in the face of peril—but there are always elevated dangers in sports such as climbing, whitewater kayaking and paragliding. Each friend’s death has been a crack in my mental foundation of “managed risk.” And then, two months ago, that foundation was shattered with the sound of someone’s spine breaking. I had launched my glider off Mount Lady MacDonald, north of Canmore, and was 500 feet above my friend Stewart when he plummeted into the rocks shortly after takeoff.

I almost puked in the air as I watched and heard him hit. I didn’t think anyone could survive the impact he took, and the spinning fall down the scree that followed. Thanks to prompt first aid from some great people who happened to be hiking in the area, and to a helicopter rescue team from Canmore, Stewart was in a good hospital only two hours after his accident. He remains there, with hopefully temporary spinal damage. I was thrilled when I heard that he had survived—unlike the dead, he would have the opportunity to say what he needed to his friends and family. He might even recover fully.

Just one week before Stewart crashed, I had the best flight of my life, straight over the iconic granite spires of the Bugaboos in southeastern B.C. Pure joy is how I’d describe that flight. But I haven’t flown since Stewart’s accident in August; the thought honestly makes me nauseous. Why?

Strangely, Stewart’s survival has affected me far more than if he had died. The difference with Stewart is that I can look into his eyes and see the damage. I can talk with Stewart and see the pain he is fighting through. While I admire the hell out of his courage and commitment to fight for every millimetre of progress, I also imagine not being able to hold my own children. Stewart’s wounds don’t fade into memory the way a fatality does—it’s hard to “get over” something that’s still staring you in the face. Some of Stewart’s comments are beautiful even as they are heart-rending: “If I could just get one hand back it would make all the difference.”

Some of my own anger probably comes from an ever-greater sense of mortality. I desperately love the fullness of life, and I desperately love mountain sports. I look at Stewart learning to eat again (he does have one arm back!) and feel true happiness that he is able to, but then I look at my glider in its bag and have to look away. I love sharing the mountains with people, but wonder how many of them will end up on my list. My world view is falling apart, and it’s about as comfortable as getting scalded in the shower: I want to jump away, but there’s nowhere to go.

No single day in the mountains is worth dying for, so it must be the sum of the days that is worth that risk. I tell myself that, but these days I have more empathy for the religious who have lost their faith. They, too, are often angry. The psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross said there are five stages of grief. If so, I’m only on stage two, anger, and a hell of a long way from the final stage of acceptance. How will I ever “accept” this level of carnage, year after year?

This article was originally published on December 5, 2011


Thursday, July 5, 2012

This cool infographic relates some fascinating info on the relatively unexplored oceans at http://www.mastersdegree.net/

If you’re pursuing a Masters degree in a science-related field, chances are you’ve become aware of how much our world needs its oceans. The Earth is literally covered in water: It makes up over 70% of our surface, and without it our planet would be inhospitable. When it comes to our Earth’s oceans, the vast majority of their expanse remains unchartered and unexplored. In fact, we have more comprehensive maps of the moon’s surface than of the bottom of our ocean floors. While the ocean floor seems distant and irrelevant at times, the fact of the matter is that our ocean floors are home to a whole host of mysteries. not to mention thousands of volcanoes and shifting tectonic plates. By learning about the bottom of the ocean, scientists may one day be able to understand and adequately prepare for earthquakes and tsunamis that are caused by movement along the oceanic floor. Though we do possess the technology to dive into our world’s greatest depths, no one has done so for over 50 years—until recently. James Cameron, notorious director of “Titanic” and general underwater aficionado, recently traveled to the deepest spot in the world: The Mariana Trench, deep at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. James Cameron’s innovation is being applauded widely, but more importantly, it’s opened up more doors for the ocean to be explored in the years to come. If you’re preparing to enter into a scientific field, your Masters degree might one day be used to understand and interpret what is being discovered in the depths of our waters. Or, who knows? You could be the next great innovator to make a James Cameron-esque dive.

Website: http://www.mastersdegree.net/explore-the-ocean/

Explore the Ocean

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

$2.2 Mil. Expedition Seeks Earhart Wreckage

A $2.2 million expedition is hoping to finally solve one of America's most enduring mysteries: What exactly happened to famed aviator Amelia Earhart when she went missing over the South Pacific 75 years ago? (July 2)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

2012 Seaward Pacific Expedition Underway - Solo from California to Hawaii


A few weeks back I posted a story about Wave Vidmar, the ocean kayaker who was preparing to paddle 3100 nautical miles (5741km) solo from California to Hawaii. At the time, Wave was putting the final touches on his preparation for the start of his journey, which included picking up his custom custom built Seaward Kayak in Vancouver.

Yesterday Vidmar officially launched the expedition, setting out from Horseshoe Cove in Sausalito, not far from the Golden Gate Bridge. He'll now spend the next 45-56 days out on the open ocean, completely solo, as he makes his way across the Pacific to Hawaii.

As far as I can tell there is no live tracking of Wave's progress. There is an official website for the expedition, which can be found here, but it has little in the way of information. Seaward Kayaks is posting updating on their Facebook Page however, so that may be the best place to follow along with the adventure.

It should also be noted, and this was pointed out in the comments section the last time I wrote about Wave and his journey, this isn't the first time someone has attempted this crossing. Back in 1987 Ed Gillet made a similar paddle, successfully completing his California to Hawaii crossing in 64 days. That was 25 years ago this year and Wave is celebrating that anniversary as part of his paddle as well.

Good luck to Wave and be sure to watch for updates.

Website - http://www.pacifickayaker.com/