The Explorers Club, Northern California Chapter

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Tom Hall, MN-97, and Liz McLoughlin

Searching Sea and Selves by Sail

Adventures on Exterior and Interior Terrain

DINNER MEETING - Friday, March 27, 1998, The University Club, San Francisco, California

(see map)

Click for Calendar of future events

  • 6:00 PM, Business meeting
  • 6:30 PM, Cocktails
  • 7:30 PM, Dinner
  • 8:30 PM, Speaker
  • $40.00 each ($45 after Feb. 20, and at the door)

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    Capt and Crew


    After sailing together across 7,000 miles of Pacific Ocean Drs. Tom Hall, MN-97, and Liz McLoughlin know from experience that each member of a couple brings individual hopes, fears and fantasies to the adventure. It is commonly said that one partner in such an undertaking has the "yearning" and the other has reasons to "go along." This presentation will explore not only the external adventure of two people who set off to cross the world's most hazardous stretch of water, but also how their relationship fared during transit.


    Although both Tom and Liz had had experience sailing small boats, neither had left the sight of land before they set out from Seattle for New Zealand. Tom had dreamed of a transpacific cruise for years, and shortly after trading his house in for a 38 ft. cutter he invited Liz to join in the adventure. They started their lives together just prior to the start of their journey, in 1984. The first and last legs of the voyage, from Seattle to Hawaii, and from Samoa to New Zealand, were shared with two other couples. The 2,400 mile middle segment, from Hawaii to Samoa, was for them alone. While under sail they sorted out roles, mastered new skills, coped with the unexpected, shared joys and fears, and resolved misunderstandings.

    During their presentation they will describe what it is like to buy and store over 400 meals with no refrigeration, spend 131 days and nights in 160 square feet of living space in the company of someone who is not known very well, at least not at the start, experience a near collision with another boat 1000 miles from the nearest land, share entire life stories with crewmates who are not psychiatrists, experience night watch and the challenge of single-handed sail-reefing during a nighttime squall, answer daily roll call on the Pacific Maritime (ham radio) Net, cope with medical emergencies far from shore, and accomplish the never-ending task of boat maintenance in a tropical maritime setting.

    After crossing the Pacific successfully, both Tom and Liz were gainfully employed in New Zealand for 18 months before returning to the US This, and a further 5-year "test" of their relationship led to marriage in 1990.

    In 1995, Tom and Liz sought to experience the fabled balmy weather and calm seas of Cape Horn. In December of that year they almost succeeded in rounding old "Cape Stiff", this time in a 42 ft. ketch, only to be forced back by 120 knot winds and seas exceeding 30 feet. They were able to reach relative shelter in a cove just 10 miles from their goal, but no farther. Sailing, flying light planes, hiking and biking have provided the couple with wonderful opportunities to learn more about the world around them, while at the same time coming to learn more and more about their shared interior space.



    Tom is a physician at UCSF primarily committed to improving the health of developing countries. He received his undergraduate, medical and MPH degrees from Harvard, and his doctorate in International Health from Johns Hopkins. After several years at a small rural hospital in Puerto Rico, he began an academic career which has included numerous faculty appointments, most recently with UCSF. His work involves primarily teaching, research and consultation on population issues and family planning, AIDS prevention, and health workforce planning. Prior to the sailing trip which will be the focus of this program, he directed a regional planning agency in Seattle, and upon reaching New Zealand he worked for 18 months on health services planning and research projects for the New Zealand Department of Health. Since 1995 he has been director of the International Health Program of UCSF's Department of Epidemiology. He continues to work as a frequent consultant to the World Health Organization, the World Bank, and to other countries on health workforce planning and development.

    Liz McLoughlin is a public health researcher and activist working at the Trauma Foundation at San Francisco General Hospital. After college she spent 10 years as a nun in a teaching order (starting out in full habit prior to the Vatican Council, and ending up in lay clothes teaching Harlem dropouts), and eight years as director of a burn prevention program in Boston. Her interest in injury prevention and advocacy led her to earn her doctorate in public health from Johns Hopkins University. During her studies her dissertation advisor, doubling as a "matchmaker", introduced her to Tom, who was then in Seattle. Immediately following graduation she joined Tom for the sail to New Zealand. While there she spent her time in research on injury problems and prevention in New Zealand. Currently her work is directed at the prevention of injuries, primarily resulting from burns, transportation (e.g. supporting the use of motorcycle helmets), and domestic violence. She presently serves on state and national advisory committees concerned with injury and domestic violence issues, and teaches a course on these topics at UCSF.



    The February 27 meeting, held at the Fort Mason Officers Club, featured Dr. Peter Duignan and David Tett, whose program was entitled "Africa's Great Rift Valley from Botswana to Ethiopia: Its History, Its Culture, Its Flora and Fauna".

    Tett, who is the owner of a safari company, "Bushtracks, Inc.", started off the program with his description of the remarkable flora and fauna of the great Rift Valley region, punctuated with magnificent photos. Some, though not all, of his safaris are facilitated by the use of a beautifully restored and maintained DC-4 airplane, which is needed to cover the great distances necessary when traversing the breadth and particularly the length of the Rift Valley area. Most of his stops are at encampments, though with all amenities. The use of small planes in addition allows for the surveillance of the land below for the great concentrations of animals which travel up and down the Valley.

    Dr. Duignan is Senior Fellow Emeritus at the Hoover Institution, specializing in the geological and cultural development of Africa. He described several little-known facts about Africa which make it unique: Because of its great size, roughly three times the size of North America, distances between communities or features are hard to contemplate unless experienced. For example, the breadth of Africa approximates the distance from San Francisco to Tokyo! This huge continent developed with almost NO natural harbors, a feature (or lack thereof) which played a great part in its isolation up to the late 18th century. Even most of the ports we are familiar with are actually man-made. The Rift Valley, which extends from Botswana through Ethiopia and into the Middle East, is a great geological depression which accounts for much of the great concentrations of game and vegetation in Africa. Several rivers, which at one time apparently traversed Africa, were trapped within the Rift, and there are only few outlets to the sea. Consequently the area is lush as it is the repository of most of the surface and sub-surface water.

    Since there was little chance for adventurers to travel inland in Africa over most of its existence, there was essentially no contact with Europeans until about 200 years ago. The African aboriginals did travel north and east into and beyond the Middle East over many millennia, but we now have evidence that some of those adventurers, or at least their descendants, traveled back to Africa. This is shown by the finding of lighter-skinned Africans, primarily in northern Africa, who apparently had intermixed with Asiatics.

    Dr. Duignan treats the exploration and development of Africa by the "white man" as a very recent occurrence, since the land has been known to be populated for at least 3 million years. Duignan pointed out that in most of the African Republics, the "colored" people, those of lighter skin than the deep black Central Africans, are thought to be the result of racial intermixtures with Malayan and some White progenitors, and enjoy a higher social standing in Africa than the pure Africans.

    The three major hominid sites in Africa, the "Lucy" site, of Don Johanson fame, in Ethiopia, the Leakey site in Olduvai gorge, and Ngorongoro Crater are all in the Rift Valley, though far removed from each other.

    Most of Africa is agrarian, and a great percentage of the population is undernourished. Consequently, the people are susceptible to various diseases, with several major scourges being endemic or epidemic. For example, HIV infection is rampant, with 81% of all infected females, and 62.5% of the total HIV infections in the world being in Africa.



    Stephen Dutton, MN-98 and his wife, Heidi Tiura, a master ship captain, will describe their five year project utilizing sea kayaks as the primary research vessels to study the entire life cycle and the annual 12,000 mile migration of the gray whales, from the lagoons of Baja California, where they give birth and breed, to their feeding grounds in the Bering and Chukchi Seas. The Duttons have developed a presentation utilizing photos taken from a unique vantage point, and a short video. They are anxious to bring their story to the Explorers Club, other outdoor and sea-life oriented clubs, and to schools, as the prolonged nature of their project requires continuing funding assistance.


    April 24, 1998: Stephen Dutton and Heidi Tiura, "In the Paths of the Giants", Gray Whale tagging program in Monterey Bay, Site to be announced.

    May 29, 1998: Art Ford, Antarctic Adventures, Site to be announced. This is the Peninsula Event.

    June 28, 1998: Summer outing and party. To be announced (likely at Angel Island again)


    Bill Isherwood, FN-70, reports that while his wife Dana was off to Antarctica and on to New Zealand to climb Mt. Aspiring, he spent a good portion of February in Alaska this year, where the weather was cold, cold, cold on a project in support of his interest in the development of sustainable sources of energy for Alaska. After only one day home he traveled to Maine on another business venture, and to thaw out. Dana meanwhile has reported in that her team, which included Phil Rasori and Olav Malver, FN-92, caught a Russian ship from the tip of South America, going to South Georgia and then on to Antarctica. They kayaked in both places. Arriving back in South America on February 12, Dana then left on February 13 for New Zealand, and Mt. Aspiring. Her group was pinned on the Mountain for six days by severe weather, did not summit, finally got the opportunity to return to base camp safely, to try another day.

    Stephen Dutton, who, with wife Heidi Tiura, will tell us about their gray whale tagging project in Monterey Bay at the April meeting, announces with that he has just become Stephen Dutton, MN-98. Give the Northern California Chapter's newest member a big salute of welcome when he comes in April.

    Stephen Smith, FN-96, announces that he will lead a group of volunteer divers to Kosrae, Micronesia, from April 29 to May 8, 1998, to gather information on the current state of the reefs. Divers will be trained to prepare fish counts, photo and video records, and take scientific measurements. This work continues the Kosrae Mooring Buoy Project begun in 1996, and is in cooperation with the Kosrae State Marine Resources Department. There is still room for interested individuals, who may call Steve at 510) 934-1051, or email to Stephen is the US Coordinator of this Project.


    By the time you receive this the Annual Explorers Club Meeting and Dinner, at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York, will be upon us. Watch your next Explorers Newsletter for a description of this always-interesting and exotic event. This is an annual event which every Explorers Club member should experience at least once.



    The GateAway Steering Committee reports that plans are proceeding apace, and it s now expected tickets will go on sale on March 21.
    The Exotics Encounter Reception will be at the California Academy of Sciences on Friday, October 16, time to be announced.
    The Forays will occur through the day on Saturday, October 17. Forays to be announced.
    The Grand Gathering of Explorers will occur at the Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco, on Saturday evening, October 17, 1998, time to be announced.

    Master of Ceremonies: Hugh Downs, Co-anchor, ABC News "20/20".

    Distinguished Speakers:

    --Wally Schirra, one of seven original astronauts.
    --Norman Vaughan, celebrated polar explorer, mountain climber and scientist.
    --Don Johanson, discoverer of "Lucy", our oldest ancestor.
    --Gisela Dreschhoff, noted Arctic and Antarctic researcher.
    --Jim Fowler, on of the worlds best known naturalists.

    Volunteers are urgently needed in the following categories:
    * Solicitor of patrons or corporate sponsors for tables.
    * Field trip leaders for various local expeditions in the Bay Area.
    * Volunteers for envelope-stuffing and stamp-licking parties on March 21 and 22 (lunch will be served). This is the weekend of the mailing of publicity for the GateAway.

    In coming months there will be a need for volunteers in several other categories, but the above are our immediate needs. If you would like to volunteer for any of the positions above, or have any comments or suggestions about the event, please contact Bob.

    Coupon for this month's Northern California meeting

    Please Return To:

    Bill Isherwood
    The Explorers Club
    Northern California Chapter.
    37 La Encinal
    Orinda, CA 94563-2122
    Bill's phone: (510) 254-0739 (h), or (510) 422-3000 (w)

    Please reserve spaces for the Tom Hall/Liz McLoughlin talk, at the University Club on Friday, March 27, 1998.

    $40/person... $45 if postmarked after March 20. Cocktails, 6:30 PM, Dinner, 7:30 PM, Speaker, 8:30 PM.

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    Date created: 03/10/1998
    Last modified: 06/21/2015
    Content from Charlie (Chapter Secretary) and Louise Geraci. email to Charlie and Louise
    Web page by: Mike Diggles, Webmaster, Northern California Chapter of the Explorers Club. email Mike

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