In what appears to be an extremely dangerous expedition, recently British explorer Pen Hadow and two of his colleagues set-off for the Catlin Arctic survey.

They will swim a thousand kilometres across ice pans, frozen ridges and endure temperatures as low as -90C, and potentially face attack from polar bears, according to media reports.

Their mission is simple; to explore and study how the Arctic is being affected by climate change, and determine how long it will take before the Arctic sea ice disappears.

Is this an exploration for fame or service? In the past there have been people who have taken similar dangerous tours.

Interestingly, entertainment industry never lags behind in man’s adventures.

End of the World Encounters

Werner Herzog in the film “Encounters at the end of the World” also goes to Antarctica to meet people who live and work in the area.

His interest is to capture footage of the area’s unique locations to fully appreciate its natural, scientific and geographical landscape.

Unlike Hadow whose mission is nothing much more than a scientific expedition, Herzog targets the inhabitants of the Antarctica to lead him from one scene of the film to another.

He starts by interviewing iceberg geologists Douglas MacAyeal, next David Ainley the penguin scientists and then moves on to catch a glimpse of fumaroles.

Herzog later joins guitarist Henry Kaiser (who had previously been to the area) in an effort to make his adventure a hit film.

Grizzly man

Grizzly Man depicts the life and death of GRIZZLY MAN (Timothy Treadwell real name) a man who lived among dangerous animals for 13 seasons.

Treadwell was an American environmentalist, naturalists and film maker, who chose to dwell in the open among the coastal grizzly bears of Katmai National Park.

He sometimes dangerously got so close to bears that game rangers warned him he starred in the face of death!

Albeit he continued his encounters and was occasionally seen “touching them and playing with bear cubs”.

Bear death

The closing scenes of Treadwell’s life and encounters with bears in Grizzly Man show him standing by the river.

Behind him there is a bear diving into the river over and over for a piece of dead salmon, and though he enjoys the encounter, Treadwell admits that the episode isn’t all that well!

This happens in real life before he devoured by the bears.

When his associates contact him by satellite phone, he however tells them all is well.

But the next day when air pilot Willy Fulton goes to fetch him, he finds Treadwell’s disfigured head, partial backbone, and left forearm/hand still wearing his wristwatch!

Partial remains of Huguenard his girlfriend are also found near the encampment, somewhat buried in a mound of twigs and dirt.

Dilemma

It is difficult to understand whether he wanted to fame or was motivated by service for the entertainment industry.

Hadow has also embarked on a similar mission that potentially can give him fame or threaten his life.

He will swim through the area home to dangerous bears, the same animals that devoured Grizzly Man only less than a decade ago.

Can Hadow’s mission then be an entirely scientific exploration?

Can one be wrong to suggest that behind the major picture of service for mankind, lies another serious motivating factor – ego for fame?

Photo by Ville Miettinen
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To the extreme for art and science

By: Hyde Haguta