The Explorers Club, Northern California Chapter

The Achuar: Dream People of the Amazon

With Larry Lansburgh

photo of Larry Lansburgh
Larry Lansburg. Face painting done with achiote juice, symbolizes the Anaconda

Bring a Holiday spirit to our December meeting, and celebrate Larry Lansburgh, an Oscar-nominated film maker. For over twenty years, he has made documentaries on many far ranging cultures - from the Eskimo culture in south west Alaska to the traditional Hawaiian culture, to young adults in Oakland (for which he won an Emmy). Earlier this year he received exclusive permission from the leaders of the Achuar nation to make a documentary motion picture about their undisturbed culture and remarkable way of life.

photo of Walter Vargas
Walter Vargas, an Achvar guide

The Achuar, indigenous people of the Amazon jungle in eastern Ecuador, had no contact with the developed world until the 1970's. They still live in what is literally a dream culture, in harmony with nature. This talk will explore the global importance of the Achuar culture. The evening talk will discuss the rain forest issues and some new ideas for solutions, sacred psychedelic and curative plants, the geopolitics of oil, the global consequences of the Achuar dreams, and why such an undisturbed culture wanted to have a film about themselves.

photo of an Achuar home
An Achuar home, eastern Ecuador

Date: December 3, 1999

Place: The University Club, Powell and California, San Francisco (Entrance on Powell), 415-781-0900

Time: 6:30 PM cocktails, 7:30 PM dinner, 8:30 PM lecture

Cost: $45 ($50 if postmarked after November 22)

Call Lesley: at 510-527-7899 if you mail your check after November 22, in case of holiday postal crunches.

photo of Chumpi Washikiat
Chumpi Washikiat, the first Achuar to study English in the U.S.

Volunteers Run The Chapter

As of this Newsletter, we are fortunate to have a new Editor, Sue J. Estey, who has extensive newsletter experience with other organizations, including the Northern California Underwater Photographic Society. Sue has resisted the title of Secretary, and is looking forward to sharing the responsibilities with Jerry Hughes, who has volunteered to take care of Membership, which will include maintaining a current mailing list, developing a program to encourage new members, and preparing a new roster for distribution. Please take advantage of the form in this newsletter to update your contact information, and answer a few questions for us.

Please email all changes in addresses and such to Jerry at and send a copy to Mike Diggles if there is an email address change or addition (

As he has been doing for some time, Mike Diggles continues to maintain our web site. We thank Mike for keeping the newsletter and the membership database alive during previous lapses in other support.

Tom Hall has graciously consented to take on the job of Treasurer, phasing in over the next month. We thank Jerry Athearn for his dedicated service in that role over the last few years. Jerry has computerized our files and hands over the books in good shape.

Fortunately, Bill Isherwood and Lesley Ewing will remain at the helm as Chair and Vice Chair for the Chapter.

photo of an Achuar family
An Achuar family

Ramblings and Explorations

Dana Isherwood is returning to Antarctica to climb the Vinson Massif in December, following an aborted expedition last January, when weather conditions were never adequate to allow the C130 aircraft to take off for the southernmost continent.

Bill Isherwood's objective this winter is the summit of Ama Dablam, in Nepal. He'll warm up with an acclimatization climb of Imja Tse (Island Peak). Wish them luck.

Bonnie Neel is on the airwaves from Moss Beach with her new callsign: KF6VYR.

Alan Hutchison has been diving at Aldabra Atoll in the Indian Ocean from the vessel Indian Ocean Explorer. He reports healthy reefs and many land tortoises. The fish population seemed a bit thin, perhaps due to Malaysian live fish boats angling for groupers and wrasses, reputed to bring $500 each on the Hong Kong market. An attempt to see whale sharks in the Andaman Sea resulted in no sightings, but fishermen reportedly caught 18 of the great fish the previous month. The sharks are sold for their skin, fins, and flesh. On visits to Vava'u and Samoa, Alan found hard corals in good shape, and reefs populated by small fish.

Joe Rychetnik reports his new book on Hunting and Shooting came out yesterday (October 28).

Krist and Laurie Jake celebrated their anniversary in Hawaii, where they inspected fresh hot lava, but left no footprints.

Leel Langan, our newest member, traveled to Santa Fe to bury a fellow explorer, Jesuit Father Anderson Bakewell, who explored polar regions for 50 years. Is this the same man who founded the Scout Troop at Loyola School in Jamshedpur, India?

Lee Pryor and Julie Smith (Edgar award-winning mystery writer) have recently moved out to Berkeley from the east coast.

Shirley Woods has been doing medical work in Guatemala.

Liz McLoughlin spent the summer bicycling the width of the United States. After starting from Boston and pedaling into the wind as far as Chicago, reason prevailed and the cyclists flew to Seattle to pedal eastward with the wind to complete the route. Tom Hall, meanwhile, flew a Cessna to Alaska, British Columbia, and the Yukon, and rafted down the Copper River delta.

Closer to home, Charlie and Louise Geraci paid a visit to family in Oregon. Jack and Marguerite Troster visited art studios in Santa Fe but came home when 3" of snow decorated the town.

Bob Fabry has gone to Patagonia.

Elsa Roscoe is back from an archeological dig in Huahine, northeast of Papeete in the Society Islands. John is in Riverside, working on his book on the Knights Templar.

Dan and Rusty Liebowitz cruised Alaska, stopped in Jackson Hole (cruising Jenny Lake by canoe?), and enjoyed a book tour in Scotland and England, where they met David Livingston's great grandson.

Elgen and Marie Long have published a book on Amelia Earhart, The Mystery Solved.

Bob Stinnett has published his 2nd book, Day of Deceit about Pearl Harbor; he mentioned that Roosevelt was warned of the attack.

Dave and Barbara Shirley, who live part time in Hawaii, took a South Pacific cruise through 3,200 miles of Polynesia and Micronesia, visiting little-known atolls along the way. They also attended an archeological conference on Meso-American studies.

Lesley Ewing has been busy organizing and running a conference about the coast in Ventura, and has some surplus posters that she may turn into note cards (in what spare time?).

Mike Diggles, accomplished CD producer, brought in a carload of USGS CDs with information about earthquake preparedness and photos of structures that failed in the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989. He laid one at every place setting, and no doubt would part with more upon request.

group of photos of Russian travel
Mort Beebe (see also Into The Field, below), provided this link to the RUSSIA TRIP of the Globecombers "Behind the Iron Curtain" of 1959. "...I will be contrasting these 40 year old images with the current photographs I am editing today, screening 16mm film transfered to DVD (via digital betacam) at the conference. is the link to a Web site about the project.



Mort Beebe sent this to Mike Diggles: "...I hope to change plans and attend to source network sponsors for the overland journey across Russia, a project we researched in June "99 based on the Globecombers Expedition of 1959. has more information.


NOVEMBER 20-21, 1999

46 East 70th Street

New York, New York 10021

The conventional wisdom is that the money to underwrite field exploration is just not available. The conventional wisdom is wrong.

"Into The Field", a two-day conference, will provide proven strategies for funding exploration: identifying, soliciting, and securing cash, in-kind donations (equipment), and long-term support (endowments, etc.) from individuals, corporations, foundations and government entities in the U.S. and abroad.

Participants - including divers, climbers, polar explorers, field scientists and archaeologists - will learn the specifics on how to develop fundable ideas based upon their exploratory and scientific expeditions and how to present them to a host of constituencies, including charitable foundations, corporate sponsors, the mass media, and their own Boards.

Sponsored and hosted by The Explorers Club, "Into The Field" will focus on developing new channels of opportunity for field explorers. The conference will show established explorers how to initiate new and novel mechanisms for funding, documentation, and publicity - critical skills for an era of decreased governmental support and diminished academic resources. Two fund raising specialists, Dr. William Vartorella and Don Keel, will present an overview and specific recommendations for making one's exploration aspirations a reality and taking the expedition "Into The Field".

Representatives of The Discovery Channel, National Geographic Television, and independent producers will present strategies for turning interesting field explorations into dynamic presentations for wide television audiences.

Charitable foundations will be in attendance as well, providing the donor's perspective on solicitations for funding not-for-profit endeavors.

A cocktail reception for all attendees will be held in the Explorers Club's Trophy Room on Saturday evening followed by a baanquet dinner and lecture about one of the most spectacular shipwrecks ever found (separate registration and charge).

On the second day, a select group of pre-approved field explorers will have an opportunity to make individual presentations of their research and estimated future monetary needs to the funding experts.

Explorers who wish to submit their ongoing field research for a private Sunday session must submit an abstract by mail or fax to The Explorers Club at the address below.

"Into The Field" attendees are encouraged to bring video and/or slides of their expeditions (audio visual facilities will be available) and to prepare a poster describing their research for weekend display and for inclusion in the conference proceedings to be published afterwards.


Conference fees are $150 for members of The Explorers Club and $200 for non-members. This price includes lunch on Saturday, refreshments, all symposium handouts, private sessions, and use of the audiovisual facilities. The cocktail and banquet on Saturday night will entail a separate charge.


A block of rooms has been reserved for your convenience at The New York Athletic Club at 180 Central Park South. To reserve call (212) 247-5100. Be sure to identify yourself as part of The Explorers Club group when you make your reservation.

For more information, or to register, please contact:

Odalis Martinez
The Explorers Club
46 East 70th Street
NY, NY 10021
Tel: (212) 628-8383
Fax: (212) 288-4449

ECAD March 25, 2000

The ECAD (Explorers Club Annual Dinner) will be on March 25 in NYC, and we are trying to put together a table from our Chapter. There are always numerous other events besides the Dinner, and this is a great opportunity to visit headquarters and have your photo taken next to the narwhal tusk. Mort Beebe represented us last year and has a video of the event.

Please take this opportunity to update your information for our next roster

Return this "page" to Lesley whether you will attend the meeting or not.

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To attend the meeting, please make your payment by November 22 (to avoid $5 late fee) to:

Lesley Ewing
1679 Tacoma Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94707
email to Lesley

Date created: 11/15/1999
Last modified: 01/21/2002

Content from Sue Estey, Secretary, 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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