Here is some underwater video footage of some of the Archaeological sites in Egypt, hosted by the delightful Italian Art News reporter Lavinia Filippi after her visit on site to promote the opening of the exhibition in Turin in 2009
Dive Into Volcano; Climbing Licancabur Volcano in the Andes to Study The Origins of Life in Extreme Environments For NASA
In 2006 I was invited by NASA/SETI Scientist Nathalie Cabrol to Dive into the Crater lakes on top of Volcano's in the Bolivian Andes as part of a study on the origins of life in Extreme Environments that would help direct future investigations of the Planet Mars. Here is my version of the experience.
( Alternative title;) A Mountaintop Food Review By Eric Wartenweiler Smith
Ascent Day 1
Licancabur Volcano, Bolivia
0500; Breakfast at the Refuge; Fresh bread rolls, jam and honey we brought from Antofogasta, powdered milk,” Hapi”. and Mate de Coca.
At 0530, I am informed by team logistician Christian Tambley that I appear out of my element, and my capacity to adapt to and survive in these environmental conditions is in question.
Christian is a very experienced extreme altitude mountaineer. He is wise, honest, and totally unsympathetic to my attempts to get used to life on the Altiplano. His view of our toils is measured from the geological perspective. ‘The scientific equipment for the entire expedition did not arrive? All life on earth is about to be eliminated by the inevitable impact of a meteor, and you are worried about some mislaid equipment. Stop weeping.”
Buddha meets Jack-ass....
Ascent Day 2
Breakfast at Mid Camp
is not hurried.
I have 2 ramen packets and tea. Macario and the rest of
the Bolivian guides arrive, with more of our
scientific equipment and diving
gear. They had started carrying gear up the
mountains in stages 3 days ago. Macario will have climbed Licancabur 398
times as of today. He is 59 years old.
About the Altitude;
As an ex-paramedic, I was elected medic for the
expedition, and so have
studied up on some of the maladies we might
encounter, such as diving accidents and altitude sickness.
Here are some notes;
La Paz, Bolivia, is the
Highest National capital in the world. The
Bolivians we meet and work with
have lived a life above 13,000 feet. Macario has never been lower than
In planning to join the expedition, a friend told me of
people dropping dead
upon getting off the train in La Paz,
others warned of
Cerebral edema, Pulmonary edema,
and other ailments that come with
a sudden ascent to
The NASA Safety Review Board reviewed
our expedition acclimatization....
Diving Day One.
was up early. I tried the
freeze-dried Omelet de Jambon, but it was terrible,
so had more Ramen Noodles
and extra sugar in my tea. I strained out the
copepods, ostrocods, and
chubby shrimp that had gotten into my water bottle
it through my balaclava as a sieve before boiling the water.
The lake is made of snow melt, and should be relatively safe, but I am
reminded that Laguna Verde down below is rich source of arsenic, and
also remember from Tibet that some
high altitude lakes have a parasitic worm that goes directly from drinking
water to your brain, where it causes seizures, coma, and death. I boil it