Capt. Rich Abele and Nancy Miller - Dash to the South Pole: Stuck on the Ice
In late Dec 2010, a group of eclipse and "pole" chasers arrived in Punta Arenas, Chile,
to join a Travel Quest expedition bound for Antarctica and hopefully reach the South Pole.
While this intrepid group of eleven adventurers arrived on 4 Jan 2011 at
a newly created basecamp on a remote glacier 600 miles from the Pole,
no one could have predicted what was going to happen over the next 17 days...
and it was not all weather related.
TravelQuest Group in Union Glacier Basecamp
Rich Abele and Nancy Miller are veterans of this Antarctica expedition -
one that the employees of the basecamp’s operations are still talking about today.
They will take you on photographic and oral journey down to this frozen continent,
acquaint you with remote polar travel and camp life,
and introduce you to meteorite searching on a glacier.
Highlights include a flight to the South Pole and a visit to the new NSF research building
which houses many scientists and labs.
But the challenges that faced the group after returning to the basecamp is
where the excitement of this expedition begins.
Please join us on 9 January and find out what happened to this group of polar adventurers.
This is a Club meeting you will not want to miss.
Searching for Meterorites on Union Glacier
Rich Abele is an avid international adventurer who is following his passion for travel
all over the world.
He has now visited 148 countries and has reached both the North and South Poles
including five trips to the Antarctic.
His treks include the entire Inca Trail, the Huayhuash, Mt. Blanc and Torres del Paine Circuits.
In addition to summiting three of the Seven Summits, Rich has climbed Mt. Fuji,
Mt. Toubkal and recently Mt. Vesuvius and has mountaineered in India, Greenland, Scotland,
South America and Nepal.
Recent trips include visits to 17 West African countries, the NW Passage, Indonesia,
remote islands in the South and Mid-Atlantic oceans and various islands in Polynesia.
Rich enjoys sharing his exotic adventures with various civic groups, schools and
guests on expedition cruises.
He is currently a volunteer tour guide, fundraiser and training instructor aboard the
museum battleship USS IOWA (BB-61).
Nancy Miller is also an international adventurer who developed a passion for travel to
exotic destinations after a career as a registered nurse.
She has been on all 7 continents, has reached both the North and South Poles,
summited Africa’s highest peak - Mt. Kilimanjaro,
dogsledded in Greenland for 6 days on sea ice,
and has hiked into the jungles of Rwanda to see the mountain gorillas.
Other remote destinations include visiting Timbuktu, Mali -
(a place her mother threatened to send her during her rambunctious childhood).
Recent adventures include seeing the wild polar bears in Churchill, Canada,
riding elephants in India to view wild tigers and trekking to the Everest Basecamp in Nepal.
Nancy is a resident of Manhattan Beach and
has a daughter and son who also share her love for travel and adventure.
The Adventurers’ Club of Los Angeles thanks Mr. Ralph Perez for recommending these speakers.
Gary Shapiro - Borneo and Sumatra: Home of the Endangered Orangutan
Gary Shapiro Gary Teaching Young Princess
Orangutans, Asia’s only great apes, are found on the tropical islands of Borneo and Sumatra.
Like their African great ape cousins, (the chimpanzee, bonobo, and gorilla),
orangutans are sentient, sensitive, and ecologically important members of the hominoid family - a family that includes man.
The two species of orangutans, Pongo pygmaeus (Borneo) and Pongo abelii (Sumatra)
are considered endangered and critically endangered, respectively, according to the IUCN Redbook.
Only 40-50,000 orangutans remain on Borneo and 7,600 remain on Sumatra,
as human activities have reduced their numbers 80% over the past century.
Habitat destruction as the result of forest conversion to agricultural estates has been the principle driver of
the species decline, principally for commodities such as palm oil, rubber, and other plantation crops.
Other activities such as logging and mining also contribute to the species demise.
If their population is allowed to decrease at the current rate, the orangutan may become extinct
in most of its range in the next 10-20 years.
Orangutan Distribution Map
Gary has been working in the areas of research, conservation and education concerning the orangutans for the past 40 years.
He conducted his original orangutan research as a graduate student in the area of orangutan cognition and communication,
later studied black water rivers of Indonesian Borneo,
and since 1986 he has been administrating orangutan organizations to promote conservation and
conservation education concerning the species’ plight.
In 2004, Gary co-founded the Orang Utan Republik Education Initiative (OUREI) with his Indonesian wife and in 2007,
they obtained their tax-exempt foundation status as the Orang Utan Republik Foundation, based in Santa Monica, CA.
Mother and Baby
The mission of the Orang Utan Republik Foundation (OURF) is to support, coordinate and facilitate conservation education,
outreach programs, and other innovative collaborative projects regarding the endangered wild orangutan
so that it will be saved from extinction.
OURF seeks to transform the attitudes, values and beliefs of local Indonesians
who impact wild orangutan populations in culturally appropriate ways such that they become
the caretakers of the species and their rain forest habitat.
OURF works with local NGOs to implement the Orangutan Caring Scholarship Program which
has so far provided 61 four year scholarships to students in the fields of biology, forestry and veterinary science.
OURF and its Indonesian affiliate, Orang Utan Republik Education Initiative Indonesia (OUREII)
works with government and existing nongovernmental organizations in Sumatra and Borneo
that have education and outreach programs and partners with them with resources and information
to increase their efficacy in the field.
OURF and OUREII has also established the Orangutan Caring Club,
locally operated groups of young people in North Sumatra who conduct education, outreach, tree-planting,
and livelihood improvement programs in schools and village communities.
At the same time, OURF conducts outreach in the United States, works with schools to involve students,
and participates in other activities to further the mission of the organization.
OURF also partners with Orangutan Odysseys to offer quality ecotours to Borneo and Sumatra.
More information about OURF can be found at
Ladies Night -
Pierre Odier - Papua and New Guinea: Remote Western Sepik River Sandaun Region
Papua and New Guinea, the eastern half of the great bird-shaped island lying to the north of Australia
(together with hundreds of large and small islands nearby)
is one of the last places on earth where primitive man can still be seen at close quarters.
Age-old rituals still take place; bows and arrows, spears, and clubs are still used occasionally to settle disputes;
sorcery and other forms of magic still dominate men's minds.
West Sepik is also known as Sandaun (sun down) province, as it is, with Western Province, the most westerly of PNG's provinces.
The name Sandaun was adopted by the province in order to differentiate it from East Sepik.
It is a large province with mountains in the interior, jungles in the lowlands, and tropical coastlines.
There are limited road connections along the coast and most inland districts can only be reached by light aircraft or boats.
All but closed to outside visitors and influence, its public posture guarded and combative,
we see almost nothing from inside North Korea.
Award-winning photographer Mark Edward Harris has had rare access to this reclusive country,
traveling within its borders as well as documenting life along its northern border with China
and the highly militarized DMZ dividing North and South Korea.
His images are amazing:
the monumental architecture and empty streets of the capital;
tightly controlled zones of economic and tourist trade with South Korea;
mass games featuring 100,000 choreographed participants.
"I’ve been to some amazing places.
But to visit North Korea, which has been largely closed to the outside world for more than 50 years,
presented special challenges, particularly as an American.
The partition of the country, the isolation of the North,
and its often unusual and unpredictable behavior have made it,
in many ways, a strange and foreign place even to South Koreans -
and yet it isn’t, of course. After all, they’re the same people.
This is a particularly painful reality for the estimated one million families separated by the DMZ,
the great divide between North and South."
Mark Edward Harris has traveled and photographed in 80 countries.
His awards include a CLIO Award and an Aurora Gold Award for his photographic work and
an ACE Award for television directing.
His books include Faces of the Twentieth Century: Master Photographers and
Their Work which won the prestigious New York Book Show Photography Book of the Year and
Best of Show awards;
The Way of the Japanese Bath, winner of a Premier Print Award;
Wanderlust which led to him being named Photographer of the Year at
the 2004 Black and White Spider Awards and the book itself being named
the people/photography book of the year at the International Photography Awards
and the Prix del la Photographie Paris;
in 2007 Chronicle Books published Inside North Korea and in 2008 Inside Iran;
in 2009 an expanded 2nd edition of The Way of the Japanese Bath was released.
The Adventurers’ Club of Los Angeles thanks Mr. Ralph Perez for recommending this speaker.