Posing with the NCDXF T-shirts (NCDXF is one of our major sponsors, and certainly the biggest ham sponsor), we find from left to right: HB9AHL-Willy, K0IR-Ralph, KK6EK-Bob, ON6TT-Peter. The T-shirt only look was for the picture only, afterwards, the polar clothing was put back on again. Peter has not washed since 2 weeks, so was not able to peel off his clothes for the picture.
DINNER MEETING - Friday, February 28, 1997, St. Francis Yacht Club, San Francisco (see map )
Bob Schmieder, founder and leader of Cordell Expeditions, a non-profit oceanic research group based in Walnut Creek, CA, last described for us his trip to Easter Island to conduct tests of short wave radio reception over long distances, about two years ago. In addition to his fascinating narration of the team's stay on that remote island, his pictorial depiction of the actual encampment on the island, and of its final removal, was particularly memorable. As on Easter Island, DXpedition-97 will have been there and gone without leaving anything behind. All living accommodations, generators, radios, antennas, and yes, debris and refuse will be removed when they depart.
This picture is taken in the satellite/comms centre, in the main site. Bob N6EK is checking the log before transfer them via Pacsat to the log servers. All logging happens with CT (non networked). Each computer is linked to the radio, but still ops write band changes down on paper so that Bob can double check. Bob also makes great statistics out of the logs, which are used for propagation forecast, as well as to check which band/mode to what continent we need to pay more attention to.
The mission of DXpedition-97 was to attempt radio contact with as many locations around the globe as possible. it was anticipated the radios on Heard Island would make at least 60,000 radio contacts, but we now know that the figure was over 80,000. Ham operators world-wide were encouraged to attempt to raise and communicate with the expeditions call letters.
Through the miracle of satellites, PACSAT, and e-mail, here is Bob's own description of one day on the island (dated Jan. 26). We hope this will give you a feeling for what Bob will be discussing at the next meeting:
"My address at the moment is #1 Heard Island. The village we have erected here provides quite adequate comfort and security. It consists of four aluminum-frame shelters, with reinforced insulated plastic skins. There are two dormitories to house 20 men, each with his own bunk and locker. The communication shelter contains the PACSAT and the IMARSAT. The galley shelter contains two sinks and seating for 12. About a quarter-mile distant are the other two operating shelters, with the appropriate addresses, #2 and #3 Heard Island. Between these three sites are 24 radio antennas. Our team has an extraordinary amount of technical expertise and equipment: logistic experts, satcoms, RTTY, CW, computers, antennas, and seven Honda generators running continuously to provide more than 30 kWh of power.
Shot of Big Ben on Heard Island
Heard Island has all the feeling of an outpost on another planet. We constantly hear the throaty roar of the huge animals hidden in the hummocks nearby. Sometimes we practically trip over them when we are walking about at night. These elephant seals stare at us with their huge flat eyes as we step around them. The skuas fly at us like torpedo-bombers, veering off just inches from our heads at the last moment. The grass grows on the tops of the mounds of moist red earth to about two feet high, and everywhere there are gigantic pillows of deep green moss underfoot. The ground is littered with the bones of birds and mammals that glow bright white against the black volcanic rock.
To the North, we see the tip of a volcanic spire. To the West is a high glaciated peak with perhaps a dozen ribbon waterfalls that break up into mist after falling perhaps a thousand feet, never reaching bottom. To the South is a vast plain, so low that the wind blows the water across it from one bay to another. Colonies of penguins move almost imperceptibly across this plain in the distance. Above this all towers the gigantic Big Ben, 9000 feet tall, with steam issuing from a blackened vent on its west shoulder, creating a small cloud that rises to meet the huge omnipresent cloud layer enveloping the summit. To the East, on a clear day, one can see the gigantic ice falls, some thousands of feet high, and the feet of the glaciers as they fall into the sea.
a small colony of king penguins at 300 ft from our camp. King penguins are only one of the varieties on Heard. They are very curious. If you lay down, they will come to you, and look you all over. Here you see from left to right: Buddy, Ziggy, Yahoo, Brooks, JA7PIN and W7GUI
Cobblestone beaches that roar mightily when the surf washes out, penguins riding on the backs of elephant seals apparently for fun, fur seals frolicking with their new pups, an albatross killing a penguin by dragging it into the water and drowning it, a newly dead penguin skeletonized within two hours by the ravenous skuas, a waterfall running under a glacial mass, and emerging below into another waterfall.
But none of the above is as astonishing as the accomplishment of the team of 20 individuals, representing nine different countries, working together harmoniously, without the slightest hint of territoriality that usually characterizes these projects. In my 20 years of leading expeditions this is by far the finest team I have ever had the pleasure to work with .
In about 15 hours the expedition will come to a halt. We will have then about 36 hours to get ready for the helicopters that will lift us and our 30 tons of gear onto the ship. Then, after a brief stop at Kerguelen island, the long sail back to Reunion, and home. I am sure I will never see this place again, but I know it will be unaffected by our visit. When the next visitors come, no matter when that is, not a trace of us will remain on Heard Island. But trust me, for all of us it has been an "E" ticket ride."
The whole crew as they arrived on Heard
The Marion Dufresne in St. Dennis waiting to take the crew to Heard
The GPS antenna for the NCDXF beacon with Arno, OE9AMJ in the background. The beacon is now installed at OP3.
One of our FT1000mp's in operation. These are superb rigs. They are dsp enabled and have an excellent quiet receiver. We have 4 FT1000mp's, 3 FT900s and a bunch of spare rigs (which we did not have to use up to now). Thanks Yaesu Europe!
We have 10 nationalities in our team: USA, Australia, Belgium, Spain, Singapore, Switzerland, Austria, Netherlands, Russia and Spain.
NASA space shuttle picture of Heard, notice the clouds and wind
A Macaroni penguin in one of the large colonies on the island. There are zillions of these on Heard. A local inhabitant (Macaroni Penguin) says: "Now I can get some sleep!
Every Explorers Club member should plan to attend this event at least once. if this is your year you must get your reservations in early to assure a place. The event managers will make every effort to accommodate your seating requests if they are notified soon enough.
Northern California Chapter members who attended last year's ECAD will attest to the fact that packing up, flying to New York, putting up in a hotel there, and packing, then donning all those fancy clothes, are all worth the ECAD experience. Reservation forms can be found in the latest (Oct.-Dec. 1996) issue of the Explorers Newsletter. If you have lost your copy, or if it is stained with coffee rings, just e-mail, FAX, or phone any of your Chapter officers, and we will forward you one immediately. Time is of the essence with this event, and waiting until as late as March 1 to decide to attend may result in disappointment, either by finding the event sold out, or by being seated just behind the kitchen door.
Here's what you can do for us: If you know of any outdated or incorrect information which concerns you in the present roster, or If you wish to change or update any present information pertaining to you, Please notify Elsa Roscoe or Mike Diggles, Webmaster, within the next month. Information should be sent to Elsa, at 20 Holden Court, Portola Valley, CA, 94028, or Mike, at e-mail: email@example.com Here's what we can do for you: Provide you with a bright, spanking-new and fresh, up-to-date Roster, in vivid color, of Northern California Chapter members, and a lot of other general information about the Explorers Club, including the new Chapter members for 1996. To the best of our knowledge, so far, they are: Peter McMillan, Gregory K. Miller, and David Moyer
Bernie Krause, FN-93, introduced Dr. Evan Evans and his wife, Joan, at the last Chapter meeting. The Evans' have recently returned from Zimbabwe, where they had been making sand dune recordings. We asked why, too, and were told the obvious answer: When the wind blows the sand dunes sing, sometimes higher-pitched, sometimes lower, but a constantly changing phenomenon.
Don Bessey, MN-82, introduced his guest at the last meeting, Ann Pym, who has recently retired from Hayward State University, as Professor of Rhetoric. Ann was appropriately impressed, not so say overwhelmed by all the Rhetoric being practiced at the January meeting/
Ron Reuther, FN-74, has invited all who wish to visit the Western Aerospace Museum, to see the very extensive display on the life and achievements of Amelia Earhart. This is one of the most complete gatherings of Earhart photos and memorabilia in the nation, but still does not shed new light on the cause of her disappearance. Ron commented that it is now surmised that , as she was flying in a single-engine plane over a huge expanse of open water, she likely merely become lost, run out of fuel, and landed in the sea.
John Roush, FN-80, presently is writing another book, this one about tigers. he would be interested in talking, with, and perhaps interviewing in depth, any other members who have had experience with these animals. John's particular interest is in man-eating tigers. One of the little-known facts John has thrown out about tigers to stimulate your interest is that over the past 400 years of recorded history tigers are documented to have killed and eaten over a million people!
Alan Hutchison, MN-67, reports that he is planning two scuba diving/ marine biology expeditions this year and would like to invite fellow Explorers Club members to join him.
From June 1 to 15, 1997, he will lead a group sailing on the S.S. Thorfin from Truk Lagoon to Ponape in the Caroline Islands, visiting many remote atolls and reefs en route. Scuba divers know that Truk Lagoon has resumed its legendary place as one of the premiere diving venues in the world, for beauty and diversity of the underwater life.
In the fall, from October 13 to 24, 1997, he will be returning to Australia for another expedition aboard the Reef Explorer, diving in the northern Great Barrier Reef area, from Cairns to Thursday Island. If you or anyone you know are interested in joining Alan on either of these expeditions, please call or FAX to him at (702) 329-7554, or write to Alan Hutchison at P.O. Box 1051, Reno NV, 89504.
Eva, speaking first, described the geographic and economic setting of the Shamans they visited in Napo Province, at the upper reaches of the Amazon basin on the East of the Andean Cordillera (the "Oriente"); and on the Avenida de los Volcanos along the Pan American Highway in the Sierra of Ecuador. Eva's slides illustrated the multi-ethnic diversity of the population, the different linguistic groups of Quichua (an Inca language) speaking Indians of the highlands, from San Antonio de Ybarra in the North of Quito, to Otavalo, Salasaca, Baños and on to Amazonian Tena and Archidona. There, along the other side of the Napo river, live the traditional enemies of the Quichua, the "Auca" a belittling term for the huahua speaking, naked Huaorani, skillful hunters with blowguns and curare tipped arrows. Those Huaorani and the redoubtable head hunters and head shrinkers of bygone times, the Shuar-Achuar speaking Indians (Jivaro in Spanish), who live in the seclusion of the Rainforest away from the oil fields, have been better able to protect shamanic traditions from Western influence (tourism and industrialization) than the Sierra Shamans along the Pan American Highway.
Eva's photographs of Shamans in feather crown and feather necklace, of shamanic ritual fire cleansing, of guineapig healing, of the different tribes, their economic activities, artisanat, wool production, and even of the pigs grown for the dinner table and inter-village commerce, were spectacular. She showed fascinating pictures of Shaman spirit-helpers: two red and yellow macaws perch on a Rainforest tree; a toucan pushes his enormous beak through the leaves. Their feathers decorate the shamanic crown of Amazonian and Sierra Quichua Shamans to stand for his powers of sending his own soul during trance on a flight into the upper and lower spirit realms as he recaptures the lost soul of a patient. A temporarily peaceful looking ocelot rests, almost invisible, under cover of bush and grass. He is the fearsome "puma" (as all felines are called among the indigenous folk). The pre-eminent Shaman, he of the highest reputation, the greatest in power, the "Yatun Yachaj" is a PUMA-SHAMAN. He is fearless, fearsome, resourceful, swift, agile as a puma.
Such a one was Don Casimiro Mamallacta of Archidona, eighth generation Shaman from the Galeras mountain fastness. He had cured Sandy of a bad toothache in 1995. In a trance state induced by a secret brew of hallucinogenic plants, distilled sugar cane alcohol, flute music, chanting in Quichua, drum beat, tobacco smoke, he divined that Sandy's pain was caused by her stomach. She pointed out that there are major acupuncture connections between teeth and stomach. The cure consisted in "chupa", during which Don Casimiro sucked on Sandy's cheek and then on her stomach to pull out the "bad" and spat it into a bowl to be trapped and made harmless. She reported that the pain stopped. One month later, back home, her dentist was amazed that the necrotic process had proceeded so painlessly and without incident. But then, Don Casimiro was a paramount Shaman whose reputation had spread as far as the Ecuadorian Sierra!
When he was a youngster, as an apprentice Shaman, the boy Casimiro had done his ritual fasting in the Galeras mountains for months. Far from another human being, abstaining from salt, pepper, meat, sexual intercourse, intoxicating drinks, he underwent the trials required by the spirits. After he was hardened by the terrors of shamanic apprenticeship, young Casimiro was ready to encounter the puma; each unafraid of the other, they recognized each other, then each went on his way, unharmed. They were kindred spirits. That is how he became a Puma-Shaman. It was in the Galeras that the "Supai Huarmi", a woman spirit of the rain forest, instructed Casimiro in Shaman song, Shaman flute and drum, and the lore of medicinal and "spirit plants". She told him that there are two kinds of diseases, the natural ones for which a patient seeks help from curanderos and parteras (healers and folk-midwives) who use herbs to cure; and spirit-illness caused by witchcraft which requires shamanic power and wisdom to locate the harmful spirit arrow sent by a "bad" (black) Shaman; to suck it out of the victim's body and spit it into a special bowl which traps the "bitter arrow of envy" and prevents it from harming others, especially the Shaman!
The wood spirit of the Galeras, Supai huarmi, showed Casimiro the trance-inducing plants which would help him contact the spirit world: hallucinogens like the "soul-vine" ayahuasca (Banisteriopsis caapi), the several species of solenaceae, in particular the deadly beautiful white or yellow-trumpeted relative of datura stramonium, our loco weed, "ali huantuj", Brugmansia insignis. She told him where to find a pale lavender flower, resembling impatience but growing like an ornamental shrub, the "chiri guayusa" (Psychotria albuviridula) that makes him feel cold, but augments his trance state.
Entranced, a Shaman' soul is no longer trapped in time and space. He sees the past and future as though it were the present; his freed spirit is here and there; like the Scarlet Pimpernel, it is everywhere. That is how a Shaman diagnoses what in his patient's former life has caused another's envy and thereby sent evil his way; that is how he predicts the outcome of a hunt or the death of an enemy or, in the Himalayas, how he divines where the next Dalai Lama must be sought.
Eva alluded briefly to the resemblances of shamanistic world views and practices in Central Asia, the Himalayas, Karakorams and the Americas where the use of mindaltering substances (such as the intoxicating mushroom, amanita muscaria) to achieve a trance state is characteristic, as opposed to the many other methods extant. It is believed that the Altaic tribes from Siberia migrated to the Americas across the Bering land bridge during prehistoric times. Did they bring with them their camels, their use of hallucinogens and the yurt-shaped [ger] tents, structures which resemble Don Casimiro's and the Passion Flower Shaman's healing huts? Eva's slides clearly demonstrated the resemblance.
Another resemblance, in this case universal, is the shamanic world view. The similarity may be due to the special ecstatic-mystical quality of shamanic trance states, regardless of the method of induction. Trance abolishes dichotomies: the Thou is no longer opposed to the I; environment and self are one, ego and society are part of each other; the beast without is the beast within. When Don Casimiro dies, his family must not be present in the room, for at his death the Puma spirit that was his, will leave him. It will leap from his body and would attack anyone in his way as he streaks back to the Galeras mountains.
The strength of the community, of the family, of the marriage reside in this mystic merging of separateness into unity, so the Passion Flower Shaman of Salasaca taught Sandy and Eva and the rest of the Team. He told of the ancestors' story of a coming century when the Spirit Bird of the Andes, the Condor, dances in the Sky with the Eagle of the North; when the bird of rationality, science, economic know-how and enterprise flies together with the Southern bird of intuition and emotion bringing about harmony, peace and prosperity in the world. The elders say, this century is beginning now: "allow yourselves to feel" prays the Passion Flower Shaman's for his Western clients, as he stretches his arms wide towards a cloud flecked Andean sky.
Sandy and Eva's report included approximately 20 shamans and informants. In November 1996 they were ably assisted by an Ecuadorian Shaman guide and translator, Juan Gabriel Carrasco, a mountaineer who spoke fluent English. He located the Sierra Shamans. The previous year in Amazonia, they were assisted by an Ecuadorian biologist, Juan Jose Espinosa who worked at the Jatun Sacha Biological Station-partner of the Sandy's and Ed Ross' Health and Habitat Cabañas Aliñahui.
They learned that, in the areas visited, it is the reigning Shaman who chooses his successor, most often a member of his immediate family, usually a son or grandson, rarely a daughter. By the time a potential apprentice is a few months old, the Shaman will test his powers of endurance by putting hot peppers on his eyes. If the baby does not cry, he has passed the test and remains eligible. When he meets a puma in the rain forest, the puma will recognize him as kin. Eva showed Ed Ross' beautiful photograph of Don Casimiro's thirteen year old grandson wearing his grandfather's shaman crown, smiling proudly at his mother Mercedes, also bedecked with a harpy eagle feather crown. He had not cried during the hot pepper test. He might become the next Shaman says his mother.
Sandy reported on her personal experiences with Shamans in Amazonia and the Ecuadorian Sierra. She showed photographs of Don and Louisa Heyneman, and of Phil Rasori as they underwent different types of shamanic healing. One Sierra Shamanessa (female Shaman),Maria, asked her clients to purchase all the ingredients for the healing at the local market. There were carnations, green thread, candles, eggs, a special brand of cigarettes, eau de cologne and, most important, Trago (distilled sugar cane alcohol) the "Team" bought for her. She was the only Sierra healer who went into a trance state; the only one who did not allow photographs or tape recording. She used the greatest admixture of Catholic liturgy, displayed Catholic icons on the wall; dipped her rosary and crucifix into the beaker of Trago during an otherwise pagan healing ceremony. Sandy and Don Heyneman emerged from their healing with amulets of red carnations, with anointing of cinnamon, charcoal and Trago on their almost naked bodies, with recommendations not to bathe nor shake hands for the next four days, to leave the carnation bouquet on their chests until the petals had fallen off. All this was to make sure the spirit power would remain with them. Sandy reported that indeed it did: their feces retained the perfume of cinnamon and Trago for several days. All of the Sierra Shamans used sympathetic magic. A prophetic dream indicated that the "huaca", a rock with healing powers would be discovered on Imbabura volcano, and was. It has the strength of that mountain and confers it to the patient as he rubs himself with it, as did Don Heyneman during a healing. The "chonta " spear, made out of the hardest palm in Amazonia, must be held by the patient to transmit its strength to him. The photos show Don and Sandy holding the spears, and being blessed by the spears. Feather whisks, grass whisks, bundles of artemisia herbs are used to cleanse the patient of the "bad". A lovely perfume pervades the healing chamber as the artemisia bundle is rubbed over the patient. The most impressive and powerfully fragrant method of purification is with a ball of fire spewed on the patient. To achieve this the Shaman takes a big gulp of Trago liquor into his mouth and then blows it through a burning candle. Don Heyneman took several dramatic photographs of the burning liquor speeding towards Sandy, which he loaned for the slide show.
A gruesome method of diagnosis and healing consists in using a virgin guineapig (Peruvian Cavy) to absorb the patient's ailment. The guineapig must be of the same sex as the patient and it must perish during or immediately after being rubbed squealing over the entire body of the patient. Thereafter it is skinned and examined for blemishes which reflect the patient's problems. Sandy states that this method is surprisingly accurate. It is derived from ancient Inca healing practices. Ancient though it may be, the guineapig Shaman from Salasaca, has a modern practice on the side; he sells a variety of pills in his "pharmacy", as agent for an over-the-counter Western company.
Sandy, Eva, and their group are dedicated to experiencing, memorializing and to the extent possible, preserving shamanism in Amazonia. The importance of local Shamans, of curanderos and of parteras (folk healers and folk midwives) is self-evident in an area as inaccessible as the rain forest, where it may take four hours paddling a dug-out canoe on the Napo river to the one and only bus which may or may not arrive to transport a patient to Tena, the provincial capital with its one hospital. And yet the Ecuadorian Government has outlawed shamanism in the expectation of introducing modern scientific medicine to the indigenous population.
On the other hand, the Government through its Ministry of Health is training curanderos and parteras in sanitary methods; while scientists, under the leadership of Plutarco Naranjo, M.D. of the Andean University Simon Bolivar, are studying the effectiveness of Amazonian medicinal herbs, as are Western pharmaceutical companies. As Sandy emphasized 80% of Western drugs have their origins in the plant world and most of the world still use plants as their major form of healing. She spoke of the reinforcing effect of ritual and prestige on shamanistic cures. She quoted Jonas Salk who has written about "triggering" the body's immune system. Eva notes that the emerging field of psychoneuroimmunology may, in time, provide a sound scientific basis for the effectiveness of healing techniques, from shamanism, to hypnotherapy, to psychoanalysis.
Sandy and Ed Ross, through their Foundation, Health and Habitat, recently have been able to purchase Cabañas Aliñahui (Butterfly Lodge), comprised of eight cabins, dining facilities, and 340 acres of Rainforest at about 450 meters elevation along the eastern base of the Andes, in the upper Amazon basin. This is said to be one of the richest places in the world in terms of species diversity and endemism. Anyone interested in eco-touring to this rugged but remarkable area of the world should contact Health and Habitat at 76 Lee St., Mill Valley, phone (415) 383-6130, Fax: (415) 381-9214, for tour information, price lists, etc.
Reservations: MAIL BY Saturday, February 15, 1997
Please Return To:
William F. Isherwood
The Explorers Club
Northern California Chapter.
37 La Encinal
Orinda, CA 94563
Bill's Phone: (510) 254-0739
Please reserve spaces for the Bob Schmieder talk, at St. Francis Yacht Club on Friday, February 28, 1997.
$35/person... $40 if postmarked after Feb. 18. Business, 6:00 PM, Cocktails, 6:30 PM, Dinner, 7:30 PM, Speaker, 8:30 PM.
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