The Explorers Club, Northern California Chapter

The Northern California Chapter of The Explorers Club presents:

Olaf Malver, FN-92 Mountain Travel * Sobek

Irian Jaya - An exploration of the Bay of the Bird of Paradise

Friday, May 26, 1995 (see maps near bottom)

  • 4:30-6:00 Cocktails at Dan and Rusty Liebowitz's,
    175 Fox Hollow Road, Woodside

  • 7:00 Dinner at the Garden Court Hotel (gather at 6:30)
    520 Cowper Street, Palo Alto

  • 8:00 Program

  • $35.00 each

    This evenings program will be an account and slide show of an exploratory sea kayaking trip in the Tropics, which Dr. Olaf Malver, FN-92 led in October 1994. A total of nine expert paddlers visited as the first western kayakers the shorelines of remote Irian Jaya in Eastern Indonesia. Here, in Cenderawasih Bay, on Irian Jaya's Bird's Head Peninsula is an undisturbed Tropical Paradise. This peaceful setting offered clear tepid waters swarming with brightly colored fish, quiet lagoons, and white coral sand beaches where bright red parrots squawk overhead. In this tropical paradise there were no hotels and very few visitors. The only people Olaf and his fellow paddlers encountered on their kayaking trip were smiling Austronesian fishermen in their primitive outrigger canoes.

    Olaf and his friends kayaked and island hopped by boat, and camped overnight either at deserted coral sand beaches or at small fishing villages. The natives in these small communities shared their legendary Polynesian hospitality with the kayakers and often the dancing and singing would continue long into the tropical night! One of the highlights of the trip was a visit to the Auri Islands, a group of coral reef islands known for its marine flora, fish, and endemic birds; it was recently protected as a Marine Wildlife Reserve. The group also got a glimpse of the rare Birds of Paradise and even saw the great leatherback turtle lay is eggs at full moon.

    About the Speaker:

    Dr. Olaf Malver, FN-92, a native of Denmark has participated in and led sea kayak expeditions for many years to remote areas of the World, such as Northern Greenland, Northern Scandinavia, and the Southwestern Pacific, many of these journeys as "firsts." An accomplished outdoorsman and explorer, Olaf has climbed more than 200 major peaks worldwide and has also been a kayaking and rafting guide for more than 15 years. His enthusiasm and knowledge about adventure paddling has exited audiences all over the country. Olaf is currently working part time as the sea kayaking operations manager for Mountain Travel * Sobek, the leading outdoor adventure travel company. The rest of the time Olaf works as a consultant in international technology transfer and business development. He is also the founder and President of the Wings for the Earth, a non-profit organization that is devoted to preserving endangered tropical habitats by implementing sustainable butterfly farming.

    Last Meeting:

    Our last meeting was held at Fort Mason Center where we had a nice view of the Bay as we sipped wine and gathered for Jim Murphy's FN-80 talk. Jim, an expert in wildfire management, prevention, and suppression with Fire Science Systems, gave us a slide presentation on the art and science of fire. His slides took us to some of the disastrous fires of recent years and not-so-recent years: Mann Gulch, Yellowstone, Sundance, Oakland Hills... Jerry (MN-82) and JoAnn Athearn added to the list of people at the meeting with experience in fires since their house was lost in Oakland. Jim recruited a student and firefighter, Douglas Young, from among the guests and proceeded to ask him questions on aspects of line-cutting tools and fire behavior. Doug, an old hand for a young man, got to share his knowledge with us as well. We thank Jim and the others who participated for providing an informative and enjoyable evening. After Bob Schmieder FN-86 suggested Mike Diggles FN-92 torch the edges of last months' fliers (which he did), people began to worry what they might do to the flier if it were about, say... sea kayaks. Hmmm...

    Martha Schmieder presided over the business meeting that we had as a voluntary pre-wine gathering at 6:00 PM. The topic was the Explorers Club Golden Gate-Away (ECGG); the proposed west-coast answer to ECAD that our Chapter might hold in the Fall of 1996. Martha and Bob sent out a letter to us all on April 20 with ideas; more interaction among Chapter members is welcome. Please contact the Schmieders with additional ideas. Secretary Mike Diggles presided over the main evening's meeting and topped it off by recruiting Doug Young as a prospective Student Member (SM). We thank Martha Gilmore for helping with check-in and Ron Reuther FN-74 for introducing the speaker.

    Future Meeting:

    Erna Baldwin will treat us to the 15th annual Carey Baldwin Memorial Garden Party at her home in Fairfax on Saturday, June 17. We will get a flyer out soon about that as well and will include a map of how to get to 31 Wood Lane. The party will begin at 1:00 PM.


    David Howell, FN-86, of the Branch of Pacific Marine Geology at the U.S. Geological Survey, suggested that we try someplace new for dinner on the Peninsula. He recommends Il Fornio Cucino Italiana, at which both he and Mike Diggles have dined in the past with much pleasure. They provide food for gatherings at the Garden Court Hotel at which Mike planned the meeting. Valet parking is free (a two-dollar tip is nice, though).

    Ralph Craib FN-59 and Don Bessey MN-82 pulled Mike Diggles aside at lunch last month and emphasized the need to recruit Student Members. This is an excellent chance for both the students and the Club to grow. At the moment we have one de-facto Member in this category, Stephanie Wolf SM-92 at Cornell University who befriended this Chapter via the Internet and whom John (FN-54) and Elsa Roscoe met at ECAD. Mike Diggles left the meeting with Ralph and Don and signed up Douglas Young about the next day as a Prospective. Student membership is a special category which does not carry voting rights. It is open to persons who are enrolled full-time at an accredited school. Student members must submit a complete application for regular membership. Please look around you for more young talent and sponsor them into our midst. Contact Mike for any more information you may need and use the membership application in the back of your Chapter roster (the lavender pamphlet).

    The Chapter World Wide Web page is still up on the Internet and is likely going to be housed at U.C. Davis by the end of the summer at the . Information Center for the Environment (ICE) We thank the U.S. Geological Survey for the support we have received and Harvey Chinn at the University of California at Davis for the offer of expanded access. At present, the address (URL) to the Home Page is still: Mountain Travel * Sobek's Home Page is so you can Net surf it as well.

    News of Members:

    A project is underway to locate, retrieve and exhibit the Lockheed Electra aircraft lost in the Central Pacific during Amelia Earhart's historic around-the-world flight in 1937. Tiefsea Recovery, Ltd., a limited partnership formed in Nevada, is seeking funding for this $1.6 million, five-year project.

    Early in the morning of July 2, 1937, Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, ran low on fuel and disappeared somewhere near Howland Island. According to project manager Dana Timmer of Vienna, Austria, the aircraft is lying in 17,000 feet of water where cold and the absence of light is believed to have little negative effect on the airplane and the artifacts within. Adding credibility to the search effort is the involvement of retired Boeing 747 Capt. Elgen M. Long FN-72 of San Diego, a former pilot who has researched Earhart's disappearance for 24 years.

    The search site focuses on an 800 square nautical mile area. The Scripts Institute used a Sea-Beam bottom profiler to determine that the ocean bottom in the search area is a great flat plain with no upwind volcanic activity.

    After locating the plane, hopefully this summer, the group plans to recover it in subsequent years, then donate the aircraft and its contents to the Smithsonian Institution. The venture also plans live television coverage of the aircraft recovery, a television documentary, a book, a movie and various other fund-raising efforts.
    The first photographs of the summit of Mount Everest, taken from a plane in 1933, are being auctioned in early May at Christie's in London. The eight photos were taken by Indian army officer Colonel L.V. Blacker, who also flew the specially-designed high altitude plane. The 29,028-foot summit of Everest was first reached on foot in 1953 by New Zealander Edmund Hillary MED-53 and Tibetan sherpa Tenzing Norgay.
    Col. Norman D. Vaughan's (E-31) successful quest to climb the mountain in Antarctica named after him by Adm. Richard E. Byrd is covered in the May issue of Life Magazine. According to writer Elizabeth Royte, expedition members Vernon Tejas and Gordon Wiltsie chopped and stamped 7,000 steps into the 10,302-ft. mountain to help Vaughan, hampered by a plastic right knee and fused right ankle, summit his namesake peak. Many photos carried bold sponsor identification. Big winners were sponsors Eagle Pet Foods, Federal Express, Moonstone (sleeping bags), and Prodigy.
    These news clips are from Expedition News to which the Chapter subscribes. It is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc., 397 Post Rd., Suite 202, Darien, Conn. 06820 USA. and distributed to us via the Internet.
    Bill Isherwood FN-70 emailed: "Mike, I'm back in the country again...I had an interesting time with the Danish Polar Center in Copenhagen. I gave a paper at the working session of the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy."
    John K. Anderson FN-80 has retired and no longer able to attend meetings. He sends his regrets at resigning his membership to the Club. Mike Diggles doesn't let people out of our clutches that easily and has welcomed him to remain on our mailing list within our "Friends Of The Chapter" category as he enjoys hearing what we do. We wish both he and his wife a relaxing time.
    Ron Reuther wrote that in addition to the Chapter members listed in the last newsletter, Wally Downs MN-85 attended ECAD.

    Ron also wrote that the Western Aerospace Museum is having an interesting event on Saturday, May 27, from 4:00 to 5:30 PM. The public is invited to a special presentation at the Western Aerospace Museum Theater, 8260 Boeing Street, North Field, Oakland Airport, featuring the 1994 assembly and testing at Hamilton AAF. Featured is the 65th anniversary flight of the replica 1919 British Vickers Vimy bomber retracing the 14,000-mile record-breaking flight of the original from London to Sydney, Australia that same year. Also that year, this same airplane was the first to cross the Atlantic.

    Seating is limited to the first 200 persons. An admission charge of $3.00 per person over 13 years of age will apply. There is a $1.00 admission charge for children. Peter McMillan, winner of the 1990 Vintage Air Rally and a partner of Montgomery Securities in San Francisco and London, was the project director and one of the two pilots. Lang Kidby, and Australian, was the other pilot and operations director. McMillan will narrate this exciting presentation using film and slides. The flight will be featured in National Geographic this month.

    From the Chairman:

    Bob emailed Mike: "You did a fine job at the meeting last week--many thanks." We need to repeat that the "business meetings" that we hold prior to the regular meetings are voluntary but a nice chance for folks to have more input into Chapter actions. They will be held again starting next Fall from 6:00-6:30 PM before the regular schedules.

    Peninsula Meeting:

    Location of cocktail party at Dan (MN-66) and Rusty Liebowitz's house in Woodside.
    175 Fox Hollow Road
    (650) 851-2171
    Directions: See the map for details.

  • From North: S. on 280 to Highway 84; east on 84 about 3/4 mile to the village, and straight on past another half mile to Fox Hollow Road which is on the left. The Liebowitz's house is near the end on the left.
  • From East: W. on Hwy. 84 across the Dumbarton Bridge, stay on the Bayfront Expressway to where it becomes Marsh Road and meets Hwy. 101. Take 101 one exit north to Hwy 84 west/Woodside Road. Follow 84 about 4 miles through Redwood City, under the Hwy. 280 freeway and proceed as above.
  • From South: North on 280 and exit on 84 and proceed as above or north on 101 and proceed as second paragraph above.
    Location of dinner meeting and speaker presentation at Garden Court Hotel in Palo Alto

    520 Cowper Street
    Palo Alto
    (650) 322-9000
    Directions from Liebowitz's

  • go back east on Hwy. 84 to El Camino Real
  • turn south on El Camino and drive about 5 miles to Palo Alto
  • Take the University Avenue exit off El Camino and turn left ("east") on University
  • Take University less than a mile through town to Cowper Street
  • Turn right on Cowper, go half a block. The hotel and free valet parking are on the right
    Directions for those who meet us there:
  • From North: S. on 101 to University Avenue exit ("west"), drive to Cowper Street, turn left, the hotel is half a block down on the right
  • From East: W. on Hwy. 84 across the Dumbarton Bridge, turn left at the first signal after the bridge which is University Avenue. Proceed over Hwy. 101 into Palo Alto to Cowper Street, the hotel is half a block down on the right
  • From South: North on 101 to University Avenue exit ("west"), drive to Cowper Street, turn left, the hotel is half a block down on the right

    Date created: 5/12/1995
    Last modified: 01/21/2002
    Authorized by: Mike Diggles, Secretary, Northern California Chapter of the Explorers Club
    Copyright (c)1995; The Explorers Club, Northern California Chapter.

    c/o U.S. Geological Survey, MS-951, 345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025. (650) 329-5404 email to

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