Explorers Club Searching for Adventurers

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110308.explorersclub.jpg Explorers Club members Josh Lewis of Kodiak, left, and Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell talk about upcoming expeditions at a recent gathering of the Alaska Chapter held at Treadwell’s home in Anchorage. Jacob Resneck/KMXT photo

Jacob Resneck/KMXT

The Explorers Club, a self-described professional organization for the people that scour the ends of the earth and into outer space in the name of scientific research has been recruiting lately. The Alaska Chapter gathered at the home of Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell in Anchorage. A number of Kodiakers attended, including KMXT’s Jacob Resneck.

explorers club pkg 5:50 "The informal … In Anchorage, I’m Jacob Resneck."

The informal gathering was a mix of explorers, scientists and just plain folks with an adventure streak. Host Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell opened things with a toast.

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Much of the talk revolved around the Arctic Ocean, seen by many as commercial shipping’s next frontier. Among club members was Captain Lawson Brigham who, as a commander of a Coast Guard ice breaker, co-led the first surface crossing the Arctic in 1994. He said the Explorers Club brings together all types of people.

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The Explorers Flag – carried on expeditions – is an integral part of a tradition that dates back to the club’s founding in New York in 1904. Others in the room carrying the flag were adventure pilot Art Mortvedt. Next month he plans to fly his single-engine plane, nicknamed the Orange Pumpkin to the North Pole.

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But like many in the club Mortvedt’s solo mission isn’t just for thrills. He’s in talks with scientists from Austria, Russia and the U.S. to carry scientific equipment designed to detect microbial life in ice sheets.

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Other club members are interested in deep sea diving. Josh Lewis, principal of the St. Mary’s Catholic School in Kodiak was part of the team that has been salvaging century old shipwrecks off Kodiak Island. One of those was the 375-foot steamship S.S. Aleutian, lost in 1929.

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Another find was the Kad’iak, a merchant ship that ferried ice from Woody Island to San Francisco during the days of Russian colonization.

But according to legend the powerful wife of the director of the Russian-American Company strong-armed the captain into diverting course so she could visit the site of St. Herman’s hermitage on Spruce Island. The result, Lewis says, was disastrous.

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Lewis had invited a contingent from Kodiak who might be interested in joining the club. Among them was commercial fisherman Nick Szabo who related his experiences of pioneering the herring fishery in Togiak Bay.

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To join the Explorers Club one needs two sponsorships from existing members plus some hefty dues. But the organization line isn’t about bragging rights as much as a social club for those who successfully mix their sense of adventure with intellectual curiosity.

In Anchorage, I’m Jacob Resneck

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