Explorers Talk evening with Jude Isabella, Isabelle Groc & Phil Nuytten, hosted by Jett & Kathryn Britnell. Nov 5th 2019, Aquaquest Theatre at Vancouver Aquarium, Vancouver Canada. Photo by Craig Minielly.
The Gods Were Smiling
It hit me last night soon after I started Explorers Talk with some opening comments. Kathryn had just introduced the first speaker, Jude Isabella, Chief Editor of Hakai Magazine, when it occurred to me that all the months of organizing, coordinating and preparation leading up to this evening was all in the lap of the gods now. Jude was about 2 minutes into her presentation and I’m sitting in the audience thinking… “Ohhh, this is good!” Clearly, the gods were smiling.
Indeed, the Explorers Club – Canadian Chapter Fellows from the BC / Yukon Region who had graciously agreed to give presentations all knocked it out of the park.
Jude Isabella presented “Taking the Measure of a Mysterious Monkey” which was about the plight of Borneo’s fascinating Proboscis monkey.
Isabelle Groc’s stunning photography visually illustrated her long-term study of Sea Otters in a presentation titled, “A Journey into the Sea Otter Coast.”
Phil Nuytten’s presentation “Land that Devours Ships” was about the first High Arctic dives in 1981 on the Breadalbane (a British merchant ship which sank in the Barrow Strait near Nunavut’s Beechey Island in 1853) using the WASP, an atmospheric diving suit similar to the Newtsuit. Phil also gave us an enticing glimpse into some ongoing modern-day undersea exploration being conducted in Greece wherein the Hellenic Navy is surveying what has been called “the Titanic of the Ancient World,” the Antikythera treasure shipwreck.
Among the sunken treasures discovered in this Roman-era shipwreck dating from the second quarter of the first century BC, was the celebrated “Antikythera Mechanism,” an ancient Greek analogue computer used to predict astronomical positions and eclipses for calendar and astrological purposes decades in advance. All the statues and other treasures onboard when the vessel sank were gifts destined to be delivered to Julius Caesar. Just pause to think about that… gifts destined for Julius Caesar.
Time, He’s Waiting in the Wings
Our primary concern was to respect the audience’s time by not running overtime. As it turned out, we ended the three presentations with 30 minutes to spare. I asked the audience if they would like to see a brief presentation of some underwater images from British Columbia? It was unanimous, so I gave a presentation called, “Tropical Splendour…in a Cold Sea.” Afterwards, a heartfelt thank you to all… some gifts of appreciation for our speakers… and wham bam… we had all exited the theatre spot on time at 9PM.
We are filled with gratitude to all who attended Explorers Talk. Some attendees came from as far away as Abbotsford, Whistler, Salt Spring Island and Vancouver Island. Apart from the Explorers Club members who came, I feel we succeeded in creating greater awareness about the The Explorers Club through our outreach to the general public with this event.
No event of this magnitude just happens, nor is it the reflection of work by just one person. Along with the speakers, the Vancouver Aquarium supported us in providing a theatre and Audio Visual and Security personnel at a price far below what they usually charge. My multi-talented wife, Kathryn, coordinated the event insurance through SBC Insurance Agencies Ltd., and also took on the duties of introducing each speaker and inviting them to the stage.
We also were the beneficiaries of support from three amazing volunteers. We enlisted the assistance of local photo pro, Nikon Ambassador, and TEC Member, Craig Minielly to photograph the event. In return for his photographic prowess, I promised him he would be handsomely rewarded with EXPOSURE (yes, we both chuckled over that). Coleen Clancy, TEC’s Social Media Goddess, performed her social media voodoo during the event, took some photos, and supported us in promoting Explorers Talk in the days and weeks leading up to the event. Coleen messaged me last night, “I have more that I will post tomorrow. Thanks again! It was a great night. My friend Erzsi now wants to become a member.” And last, but certainly not least, our friend and fellow Royal Canadian Geographical Society Fellow, Ruby Banwait, answered our call to check off names on the guest list as people arrived. Craig, Coleen and Ruby, you are the best! Thank you for your friendship and support in helping to make Explorers Talk a success.
Inhale love, Exhale Gratitude
Well, that as they say, is a wrap. There were several people in the audience who enthusiastically wanted to know when the next Explorers Talk will be? Good question? As I said to Kathryn over a late dinner last night, that question is somewhat akin to asking a mother just moments after she has given birth… “When are you going to have your next baby?” In that moment, you just want to absorb what just happened. Ask me again… in a few months. At this moment… I’m inhaling love… and exhaling gratitude.