Adventure in 60 Seconds: Last Week in Exploration
By Tetsuhiko Endo
It's been a slow season in the Karakoram, reports Explorersweb.com. With only 25 climbing permits sold for the entire region, we are going skip the usual climbing news this week, and look to other backdrops for our adventure fix.
It was not a good week to be a sailor. A few weeks ago, we reported on the launch of the "Bounty Boat" — a group of men lead by Captain Dan McIntyre who are trying to recreate the journey of William Bligh, the poor guy who was mutinied against in the famous story of Fletcher Christian. Apparently McIntyre takes recreating very seriously. He is copying Bligh's journey down to the rations that Bligh and his men ate. In the last week alone the men have suffered a knockdown and a decrease in their rations, which, according to their blog, they heartily disliked to begin with. Check out all the grousing, complaining, arguing, and occasionally mutinous thought on their blog.
It's hard to imagine things going worse for an expedition, but that is exactly what happened to 16-year-old Abby Sunderland. You may recall that Abby was one of the legion of nautical children hoping to become the youngest person to solo circumnavigate the globe, non-stop. Well, she was forced to stop to repair her boat, but decided to keep going. Thursday she ran into some real problems in the form of 50-knot winds and heavy seas that capsized her multiple times and knocked out her communication systems. For about 24 hours her home team feared the worst. Thankfully a Search & Rescue plane from Australia spotted her on Friday sans rigging, but alive. A French vessel was diverted to pick her up. Despite the happy ending, this mishap begs the question: How young is too young to allow children to attempt inherently dangerous feats? With more and more minors hunting for records, it is only a matter of time before the highest mountains and wildest oceans start claiming their lives. Read more on this in the L.A. Times.
While the sailors struggled, the surfers scored. Chile is not only a world-class surfing destination, it also happens to be one of the home of one of the world's newer big-wave riding communities. With incredible spots such as Punta Lobos and a dedicated group of locals including Ramón Navarro, Diego Medina, and Christian Merrello, it rivals more established big-wave centers like California, South Africa, and Hawaii. This week, the "hell men" from Chile, along with Hawaiian Kohl Christensen, towed into what is known in the surfing world as a "slab" — a wave that comes out of deep water and pitches onto a shallow underwater shelf in a violent and often unpredictable way. Check out the pictures on Surfline to understand.
Japan made the best and the worst of headlines this week. On one hand, they successfully unfurled the first "solar sail" in space, says the BBC. This thin membrane, which is attached to a small space craft, uses solar energy to propel the craft through space without using an type of fuel. The coming weeks will tell how well it works. On the other hand, Japanese cinemas are canceling screenings of the Oscar-winning documentary, The Cove, in fear of protests from Right-wing nationalist groups who denounce the film as being anti-Japanese, reports the Guardian. The movie documents the killing of dolphins in the coastal city of Taiji which is the world's largest distributor of show dolphins.
- Nat Geo Expeditions