The Explorers Club, Northern California Chapter

Graham Hawkes, FN-86: "Exploring the Ocean Planet"

We are the first generation to view earth from space, and to recognize that we live on a blue, ocean planet. Why then, in the Twenty-first century, are humans still essentially captive to the outermost layer of our planet, while all other life moves about in the larger areas of our planet which are covered by water? At the October meeting, Graham Hawkes will talk about many of the projects he has undertaken to support manned and unmanned ocean exploration.

In the 1980's Graham Hawkes, Sylvia Earle and others began the Deep Flight program in an attempt to find an effective means of achieving access to the half of our planet that lies under deep water (16,000-36,000 feet). His is only one of two organizations worldwide designing manned submersibles for these depths. In 1996, Graham launched Deep Flight I, an experimental, prototype winged submersible. In the near future (pending funding), and hopes to build Deep Flight II, the full ocean depth vehicle which will fly to the bottom of the ocean, 36,000 feet down to the Mariana's Trench -- a project called "Ocean Everest."

In the meantime, Graham Hawkes have become enthralled with the idea of flying underwater, and is now building a two-seat underwater flight trainer called The Deep Flight Aviator. He hopes to introduce the public to underwater flight and open the world's first underwater flight school next fall. As part of the school, he will be issuing the world's first underwater pilots' licenses. If you missed out on the early days of air aviation, you may well be able to participate in the early days of sub sea aviation!

Graham Hawkes, an internationally-renowned engineer/inventor, has been responsible for the design of more than 70% of all manned (and more than 300 remote) underwater vehicles built for research or industry worldwide, including Deep Flight, a revolutionary one-man (winged) submersible. Mr. Hawkes currently holds the world record for the deepest solo ocean dive (3,000 feet), which he achieved while test piloting his Deep Rover submersible. Recent Hawkes Ocean Technologies (HOT) projects include: Deep Flight, a revolutionary winged submersible; the Deep Flight Aviator series, winged submersibles to explore the concept of underwater flight; Wet Flight, a radical new filming platform for underwater filming projects; and a mock up Deep Roversubmersible for a major motion picture.

DATE: Friday October 27, 2000
PLACE: Fort Mason Officers Club, Building One, Bay and Franklin Sts., S.F.
TIME: 6:30 PM Cocktails, 7:30 PM Dinner, 8:30 PM Lecture
COST: $37.50 ($42 if postmarked after Oct. 20)

Please call Lesley at (510) 527-7899 if postmarked after Oct. 20, 2000 for correct dinner count.

Betsy Crowder, FN-94, June 21, 1926 to September 29, 2000

Betsy near Ostrander Hut in the Sierra Nevada about 1994. Photographer unknown; photo provided by Rowland Tabor

With Betsy's death in a fatal automobile crash on her way home from an Explorer's Club meeting, all of us lost a good and stalwart friend, and the world lost an intrepid fighter for the environment. She was forthcoming in her opinions as a director of the Mid-Peninsula Regional Open Space District, "there was no waffling, you always knew where she stood," said her long-time friend, Nonette Hanko, who also serves on the MPROSD board. Betsy never hesitated in the face of opposition and never hesitated to stop and help. Integrity, helpfulness, presence of mind, improvisation, grit, especially grit are some of the qualities she will be remembered for by her large family and her many friends who crowded the Portola Valley Presbyterian Church on Sunday October 8 to pay their last respects.

Betsy grew up during the depression days, the oldest of four sisters in Boston. Summers were spent in the family log cabin on an island in New Brunswick, Canada where she learned to make do without running water and electricity. There she also learned to love the outdoors among rabbits, birds, fish, seals and occasional moose and wildcat. She became self reliant and enduring as she walked every evening a mile through the woods to a farm to buy milk and fresh vegetables. During her college days at Radcliffe, she became an active member of the Outing Club and later, of the Alpine Club at Stanford while studying for an M.A. in anthropology. Her future husband, Dwight Crowder, a geology student after whom a mountain in the North Cascades would be named, was also a member. Mount Crowder (7,082') is in the Mount Challenger 7.5' quadrangle in Whatcom County, Washington. Betsy writes they were married in 1950, "I have led an adventurous life ever since. Dwight and I spent every summer in 'the field' in the North Cascades Mountains of Washington where he did field work. Our daughters (Wendy and Anne) grew up with that life, learning to walk on steep slopes and playing with marmots in holes near our camp"

The family moved to Oslo, Norway where Dwight received his Ph.D. in 1958. They returned to build a home in Portola Valley with their own hands and the help of a roofer and an occasional carpenter. Both became active and dedicated environmentalists, campaigning for the 1964 Wilderness Act and for the establishment of the North Cascades National Park as well as for local issues. In 1970 Dwight was killed in an automobile accident on the same stretch of Portola Road as did Betsy - thirty years later.

After Dwight's death, Betsy returned to Stanford, received a second M.A., this time in civil engineering/urban planning. She worked as an environmental planner for Palo Alto. In 1980 she was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Mid-Peninsula Open Space District; she served twice as President. A true explorer, Betsy was always learning, whether clearing the local trails in the Foothills, or on safari in Africa, or trekking in South and Central Asia, or hiking the Pamirs. Her last report to the Explorer's Club on the evening of her fatal accident described what she had seen recently in Tibet: monasteries plundered; the town of Lhasa overshadowed by a newly constructed, high-rise Chinese city; no trees; in the over grazed valley meadows not a blade of grass left; the Tibetan population outnumbered by imported Chinese settlers - an ecological and human tragedy. That evening she struck one last hammer blow for the cause she had devoted her life to - conservation.

Betsy is a coauthor on Peninsula Trails: Outdoor Adventures on the San Francisco Peninsula.

Her aim had been, in her own words: "to support land protection and restoration." But she went far beyond that. Betsy, ever-ready to lend a hand to all creatures, grasses, trees, rabbits, people, died as she had lived: helping a crashed motorist who had driven into a telephone pole in the dark of the night. A third car ran over the downed-pole cable and Betsy was struck herself as the cable whipped around her.

The Explorers Club has lost a good friend and wishes to extend our deep sympathy to Betsy's family; to Wendy and Anne, her daughters.

Memorial donations may be made to Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST), 3000 Sand Hill Rd. 4-135, Menlo Park, CA 94025.

--Eva Maria Spitz-Blum, Ph.D.

Betsy in Norway in the mid 1980's. Photographer unknown; photo provided by Rowland Tabor

Cover of Peninsula Trails

Opportunity to Showcase Your Expedition

We have been contacted by Kari Jersch, an Associate Producer with National Geographic, who has presented an opportunity for explorers going into the field by about April 2001. The television arm of National Geographic is currently producing a series of documentaries, exclusively designed to premier on their channels worldwide, that capture people on truly global adventures to unlock the secrets and chart the boundaries of Earth. It is this series' intent to give audiences a first person experience of the real action behind the mission and the gritty reality faced by those who are pushing the limits of cultural, scientific, and geographic exploration. With this in mind, they are attempting to find the innovative and exciting research or exploration projects that will be occurring over the next year. They aim to remain as diverse as possible so that the series will be both intriguing and creative. The filming of such projects will take place between now and May of 2001. This places a major limitation on your participation. If the series is successful, however, it may open the door to continuing opportunities of the same kind. Ms. Jersch expressed interest in some of the previous expeditions undertaken by The Explorers Club, and felt that similar expeditions would be ideal to feature in their series. In discussions with Bill Isherwood, she indicated that the approach would be to send a self-sufficient two-person team along with the expedition to film and record its real life activities, frustrations, and successes. She assures us that their teams are very competent in the field and would not be a burden. Although no wages will be paid for acting, Ms. Jersch suggests that modest contributions to the expedition are possible. If you have an upcoming expedition you think fits these criteria, please contact Bill Isherwood to get further information and arrange contact with Ms. Jersch. Bill can be reached at, or by phone at (925) 423-5058 (daytime) or (925) 254-0739 (evenings).

Click for Calendar of future events

September Meeting

Dr. Paul Perreault, FN-97, provides a wonderful account of the 1995 expedition to Mt. Everest to establish a repeatable network of GPS (geographic positioning system) observation stations in the area of the peak. Objectives included determining the current height of the summit and the South Col, the rate of movement of the Khumba Glacier, and tectonic movement in the area. He had fabulous slides from Wally Berg of Everest, Ama Dablam, the world's highest beach, and the Khumba Glacier. His talk integrated technical discussions on GPS and solar energy panels, with stories of local history, people and geology. The expedition team searched for competent rock into which they could drill survey holes that "graduate students" will be able to use for location and elevation measurements to compare with those taken by the 1995 expedition. The most current "height" of Everest, at the top of the snow cone, was averaged from numerous measurements taken by the group and found to be 29,035' +/- 10'. South Col is moving NE at about 5 mm/year. The 10' error doesn't come from the GPS accuracy but from uncertainties in area sea level.

Because the summit of Mt. Everest is snow and ice, there is another uncertainty on how much the top of the ice varies over time. Ice measurements cannot be reliably repeated. To resolve that issue, lightweight ground- penetrating radar, with adequate resolution, must still be developed. At least now there is a bedrock station high on the mountain from which the ice thickness can be measured.

News from other members

Joe Rychetnik, E-67, and Stephanie Klein went on a highly recommended high-calorie cruise on the Danube.

Jim (MN-80) and Maria Van Buskirk, visited both China and Russia this summer and remarked upon the different approaches that these two countries have taken to enter the 21st century.

Dr. Jeff Mantel, MN-97, will be an associate guide for an expedition out of Siberia to the North Pole. Their base camp will be close to the French mammoth excavation site. They are looking for volunteers to test responses to hunger and thirst at -40 deg. conditions. Contact Dr. Mantel if you want to join the expedition and, for the base camp experience, bring nose plugs and your favorite mammoth fricassee recipe.

Jerry Hughes, AE-98, continues to work with the USS Glacier restoration group. They would like more volunteers, so contact Jerry if you want to join the USS Glacier group.

Dr. Steve Smith, FN-96, had joined the faculty of St. Mary's College, working with their maritime Archeology program. They are trenching and recording an unidentified 16th century wreck and hope to identify it this winter. He is also returning to Micronesia for a 5th Karine and Lee Langan, FN-99, visited the Lowell Thomas Building while in New York City and got a personal tour by Faanya Rose. She was very excited about the Millennium Award that will be presented in London this November, and hopes that h Hillary and Clark will be at the 2001 ECAD.

Ann and Alan Hutchison, E-67, spent a week in the Kamchatka wilderness. Russia recently turned over all environmental review to the same agency charges with oil and as exploration and the Hutchison's are not optimistic about the future of wild areas, like the one they visited. On a brighter note, Alan reported that the Channel Islands has honored Sir John Bashford-Snell with a stamp. A reporter once called Sir John Bashford-Snell an adventurer and he replied, adventurers go into an unknown area to learn about themselves. Explorers go there learn about the world and bring back knowledge. I am an explorer. (General paraphrase, not exact quote.)

Merle Greene Robertson, FN-90 reported that work continues at Palenca and she hopes to carry an Explorers Club flag there soon.

Mary and Hank Grandin, MN-81, returned for 2 weeks in Cuba. Hank has a slide show from this trip that was shown at the Saint Francis Yacht Club noon October 3rd Betsy Crowder, FN-94, returned from 3 weeks in Tibet where she flew to Llasa and they traveled over land toward, but not to, Mt. Kailash. She observed that there are now more Chinese than Tibetans in Tibet; most of the forests have been cut and the grasslands are being overgrazed; and, the area has been colonized and is in sad condition.

Eva Blum, MN-84, fell in love with totem poles while she and her daughter were in British Columbia giving papers.

Bob Fabry, FN-90, showed off his new LED flashlight that can stay light for two weeks. The web site for these flashlights is:

Mike Diggles, FN-92, was at the Yosemite Association meeting in Wawona last month with Betsy Crowder's two grandchildren and Betsy's daughter, Wendy. Betsy didn't attend that meeting because she was in Tibet. On October 8, instead of attending Betsy's memorial service, he was on the summit of Tryon Peak in the northern Sierra Nevada during a Humboldt State University alumni backpack he organizes each Fall. Nine of them toasted her in Markleeville that evening as we're sure she would have it.

Reservations and directions for the October meeting

Fort Mason Officers Club
Building One, Bay and Franklin Street
San Francisco, CA 94123

From North: South on 101 to San Francisco. Take Marina Blvd. Exit, follow Marina Blvd. To Bay Street, turn left of Bay, go 3 blocks to Franklin, turn left on Franklin into Fort Mason

From East: South on 80 (Bay Bridge) to San Francisco. Take the Harrison St. Exit, turn right onto Harrison St., and continue to Embarcadero. Turn left onto Embarcadero. Continue on Embarcadero to Bay. Turn left of Bay, continue on Bay to Franklin, and turn right into Fort Mason.

From South: North on 101 to San Francisco. Take Golden Gate Bridge/Mission St. exit. Turn right on Mission, turn left on S. Van Ness, and continue to Bay. Turn left on Bay, continue to Franklin. Turn right on Franklin into Fort Mason.

Once inside Fort Mason, go to 1st stop sign and turn right. The Officers Club is on the left, about 1 block.

Lesley Ewing
The Explorers Club
Northern California Chapter
1679 Tacoma Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94707-1826

Please reserve ____ spaces for October 27, 2000 at the Fort Mason Officers Club


Address (if changed): _________________________________________________________


Guests: ______________________________________________________________________

Dinner Choices ________Chicken Marsala ________Sole Almandine

Please make your checks out to The Explorers Club and mail with this form to:

Lesley Ewing
1679 Tacoma Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94707

$37.50 per person if postmarked by October 20, 2000.
$42.00 per person if postmarked after October 20, 2000.

If reserving late, please call Lesley Ewing at (510) 527-7899.
ONLY for changes or reservations on the day of the event, use (415) 904-5291.

Date created: 10/10/2000
Last modified: 01/20/2002

Content from Bill Isherwood, Sue Estey, Lesley Ewing, and Mike Diggles, Northern California Chapter of The Explorers Club; email to Sue (
Web page by: Mike Diggles, Webmaster. email to Mike (
c/o U.S. Geological Survey, MS-951, 345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025. (650) 329-5404

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