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Diving Guide 1
2 3 Island Guide Shipwrecks SCUBA Expeditions Bio
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Women Divers' Hall of Fame
• • Elected President WDHOF • • WDHOF Report
United Nations Environment Program
• • Hurricane Hunting 1 2 • • 2010 Diver Of the Year 12
Dolphin Rescue Articles 1
2 3a 3b 4 • • CSI Whales Alive! • • Explorers' Club 2001 Dinners 200120062010
With the President of the Phillipines
• • Wyland Icon Award • • Press Releases 1 2 3
   
  

 

Martha Watkins Gilkes

   Martha Watkins Gilkes
Explorer's Club 2001 Dinner

 

AN AMAZING EVENING!! experienced for the second time in my life!!!

I’ve just returned to Antigua from New York where I attended the 97th Annual Dinner of the EXPLORERS CLUB on Saturday, March 26th, 2001; a black tie event which was sold out and was described as the hottest event in New York City this past weekend!

1200 “explorers” and guests were seated at tables of 8 in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldolf Astoria Hotel on Park Avenue! The evening honored “GREAT EXPLORATIONS OF THE 20th CENTURY”. This is something too exciting and wonderful to keep to myself, so I want to share it with my buddies who could not experience this!

For those who want to enjoy the visual aspect some digital photos are included here.

Click on image for large photo
Click on image for large photo
Diners sharing this experience with me
(Martha in center)

The evening started with cocktails and “exotic” hors d'oeuvres which included wine marinated lightly roasted tarantulas (yes…spiders!), barbequed scorpion canapés on toastettes (hey, here in Antigua we have tarantulas – locally called horse spiders- and scorpions so I have some new cocktail recepies); also on the menu, Mealworm sushi (yes; worms in the middle of the sushi roll) and roasted crickets on toast with a dollop of honey (thank goodness for the honey!).

Meats were Alligator a la Creole, rocky mountain oysters, beaver, kangaroo, caribou, bear chunks, wild boar sausage and turtle meat… and other too numerous to name STRANGE THINGS (and some too strange to eat!). I really did eat the scorpion… but could not stomach the tarantula -- I know… sissy, my brothers would say).

Diners were then piped into the dining room by the New York Police Force Pipers…

The dinner menu was not as “exotic”, thank goodness… but was a dining delight with smoked trout and green apple salad appetizer, main course of sliced filet of beef with horseradish whipped potatoes and string beans or sea bass and a dessert of coconut mango gelato topped with chocolate palm trees… mixed with a nice Cabernet Sauvignon… gourmet dining experience…

Click on image for large photo
Click on image for large photo
Bam, Nini and Martha

During cocktails, a silent auction was held, which is the main fund raiser of the club, with equally strange things on offer such as a zero gravity flight for two from the Yuri Gargarin Cosmonaut training Center in Russia on board a llyusin-76 jet outfitted for cosmonaut parabolic flight training (you had to have a medical letter stating you could withstand 3Gs force!!)... which was valued at a mere $11,000! (Did not bid on this one…). Then there was a $27,000 trip to Peru (all First Class) to explore the ancient Inca ruins (another I passed on)… You could adopt a Siberian tiger for life thru the Wildlife Conservation Society.

I had donated 5 nights in TREETOPS, our guest cottage, (a repeat from last year when a young engaged couple bid on and won and came to Antigua on their honeymoon; as I was tour guide, I had a super time on their honeymoon!!) Not sure who the winner is this year, but hope they are as much fun as the honeymoon couple!

I met some fascinating people during the course of the evening. Girl Power was very evident among the “explorers”. One very attractive young woman I chatted with is studying grizzly bears in the high altitudes of Yellowstone Park and spends months camping in the region documenting them; another, HARA, has written several books on African wild life.

Click on image for large photo
Click on image for large photo
Jim Fowler, of The Wild Kingdom

A highlight was meeting JIM FOWLER of THE WILD KINGDOM who was part of the program (see below). I think everyone in attendance had done something strange and wonderful and the entire evening was filled with meeting people like this!

The program was equally fascinating with an audio visual presentation on a large screen … one breathtaking sequel (which I saw as young girl, but had forgotten the impact it makes) was THE first Step of man ON the moon… AND THIS WAS FOLLOWED BY speaker NEIL ARMSTONG…THE MAN WHO was the first to land ON THE MOON. CBS’s own Walter Cronkite who had covered this historic moment on national TV introduced him.

Some of the other speakers were Dr. Caroline Alexander, a Rhodes scholar who has published five books including several on the SHACKLETON legendary Antarctic expedition (enhanced by a breathtaking audio visual on the artic adventure).

CONRAD ANKER, a climber specializing in the most technically challenging terrains possible, shared his adventures, including Patagonia, Alps and massive Himalayas peaks. During a climb in 1999 he actually DISCOVERED the body of George Mallory, the preeminent Everest explorer of the 1920s. His disappearance had been one of mountaineering’s great mysteries and the find was significant.

Marine Biologist Dr. Sylvia Earle (horary president of the Club) shared some of her exciting adventures. She holds lots of diving records including deep ocean exploration.

And SIR WALLY HERBERT, the greatest polar explorer of our time, spoke; he is known for an epic 3800-mile trek with 3 companions and forty dogs, making the first surface crossing of the Arctic Ocean…now recorded as “the last great journey on earth”

Click on image for large photo
Click on image for large photo
Baby lion cub on show,
hugging his handler!!

Jim Fowler of WILD KINGDOM was there and brought along some of his “furry and feathered friends (as he does every year) including several Birds of prey (which took to flight among the audience) and an adorable 2 week old baby wolf pup (wanted to bring him back to the islands!) There was a baby lion cub (see digital attached) and a Celebes ape. There were also 2 young camels (don’t know if the carpet of the Waldolf will be the same!!)

The entire evening was filled with excitement and unusual happenings and is one I won’t soon forget. This was the second year I attended and I hope to make this an annual event in my life, as it is an evening not to be missed.

I do some wonderful and wild things in my adventures in the islands and around the world, (which I sometimes question…) but being part of such an evening reimburses the quote from Teddy Roosevlet… “Far better it is to dare mighty things, even though chequered by failure, than to dwell in that perpetual twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”

So, on to more adventures!

  

FantaSea Island Divers SCUBA Courses - Great Diving in the Caribbean!

 

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Diving Guide 1
2 3 Island Guide Shipwrecks SCUBA Expeditions Bio
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Women Divers' Hall of Fame
• • Elected President WDHOF • • WDHOF Report
United Nations Environment Program
• • Hurricane Hunting 1 2 • • 2010 Diver Of the Year 12
Dolphin Rescue Articles 1
2 3a 3b 4 • • CSI Whales Alive! • • Explorers' Club 2001 Dinners 200120062010
With the President of the Phillipines
• • Wyland Icon Award • • Press Releases 1 2 3
   
  

For Reservations, send email to
fantasea@caribbeanavenue.com

 


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