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News/Blog & Recent Events - George Kourounis

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Dec. 26 2015 - Hull, Quebec
 
Merry Christmas everyone. I hope your holidays are going well. I'm visiting family in Quebec for a few days. I hope your new year is filled with adventure and discovery!
 
Watch for some cool announcements that will be coming early in the new year.
 
- George.


Dec. 14 2015 - Los Angeles, California
 
After only being home for a couple of days, it was time to head back out. This time, I flew off to Los Angeles last night to shoot some promo material for Angry Planet.
 
Today was a great day. We arrived pre-dawn at Matador Beach, a place with dramatic surf, rocks, arches and sea caves. The weather was good and we spent the entire day filming interviews, promos, still photos, drone shots, and a bunch of other material.
 
The crew was fantastic and we were able to breeze through all the material. We even had time to wait for the tide to drop so that we could get some even more dramatic vistas along the beach.
 
The visit was short but sweet, tomorrow I head back home to Toronto.

Matador_Beach

Dec. 11 2015 - Toronto
 
It's nice to be home. Getting here was a bit of a struggle. My delayed flight from Port Vila to Nadi, Fiji was delayed which caused me to miss my connecting flight to Los Angeles. Luckily, the airline was expecting me, and they put me up for the night at a hotel. There's only one flight per day from Fiji to Los Angeles so I had to wait around for 24 hours.

Of all the places in the world to be stuck for a day, Fiji is not the worst!

Dec. 08 2015 - Port Vila, Vanuatu
 
The helicopter picked us up yesterday and the whole team is back in Port Vila where we enjoyed and nice meal, a shower, and cleaned all our gear.
 
One fun thing we did while at the bottom of Benbow crater was to bring a guitar down with us (thanks to Nik Halik for the idea). It made for some epic photos beside the lake of lava.
 
Did the guitar come back up with us?... Nope, it got thrown into the pit, never to be seen again.

Guitar

Dec. 06 2015 - Benbow Crater Floor!
 
We made it!!
 
All the effort was worth it. We made it to the bottom, and the lava lake was spectacular! After some delays, we only had one day left to get to the bottom, and the weather gods smiled on us.
 
The trip to the bottom requires a two-stage rappel down very steep crater walls, vertical in some spots, with very loose rocks. The falling rocks actually pose more of a danger than the lava.
 
Once at the bottom, we were able to get as close as possible to the churning lava. What a sight to behold. The lava forms these fountains that shoot high into the air, and it's fascinating to watch the lava change colour as it flies through the air, cooling slightly as it goes.
 
We got some amazing photos and video, and I'll be sharing more when I can.
 
Extra kudos to Erik, who injured his leg due to a falling boulder yesterday while hiking near base camp. After a bit of first aid, pain medication, and a good night's sleep, he felt well enough to do the descent with us.
 
If you're wondering how we get back out... We use special, gas powered rope ascenders that clip to our climbing harnesses. They act like a personal elevator. Without them, this would be practically impossible.

Benbow Lava LAke

Heat Suit

Dec. 02 2015 - Benbow Volcano Base Camp, Ambrym Island, Vanuatu
 
It's been a few days since my last update. Things have been going well. I made it to Ambrym Island and we have set up a base camp. The weather has been generally good, there has been sporadic rains, but no big storms thankfully.
 
The lava lake inside Benbow Crater is very active, churning away. We've begun to set up the anchors and ropes for the descent and hopefully, within the next couple of days, I'll be at the bottom.
 
One of my favorite things is the glow at night. The lava illuminates the clouds and fog, making for a surreal scene that feels like a science fiction movie set on another planet.
 
There are several lava lakes here on Ambrym Island, and this is my 3rd expedition here. The last two times, I went down inside Marum crater which is a bit deeper. Benbow *should* be a little easier to get down inside and out again. We shall see how things go. As long as the weather holds, we should be OK.
 
Many thanks to the rest of the team... Geoff, Brad, Chris, Nik, Kevin and Erik.

Benbow Camp

Benbow Crater

Nov. 28 2015 - Off to Vanuatu
 
Today, I start the very long journey to the small island nation of Vanuatu. It is an archipelago of about 80 islands that lies between Australia & Fiji in the south Pacific. This will be another volcano expedition, my 4th to Vanuatu and this time I'll be re-visiting Ambrym Island, were there is the world's highest concentration of active lava lakes. I've already been down inside the Marum crater 3 times. On this journey, I have my sights set on the bottom of Benbow crater.
 
I'll try to update when I can, but we'll be at a very remote campsite inside the volcanic caldera. Expect stunning images to come...

Vanuatu_Map

Nov. 25 2015 - Edmonton, Alberta
 
I'm on my way to Edmonton for a very brief visit. Tomorrow morning I'll be giving a talk out there and then flying back immediately. There is a very big expedition looming, which I depart for later in the week, and it requires a tremendous amount of preparation. An announcement will be coming soon. I checked the temperature in Edmonton, and it was -29C this morning. Where I'm off to next will be MUCH warmer!

Nov. 18 2015 - RCGS Dinner - Ottawa
 
It was an honour to be invited back to once again be the master of ceremonies for the annual gala dinner of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. The event, held at the Grand Hall of the Museum of History is a combination fundraiser, dinner, awards presentation and auction.
 
The guest of honour this year was renowned author Margaret Atwood, and it just so happened to be her birthday! Also, Wade Davis was appointed as honorary Vice-President of the RCGS

RCGS DInner 2015

Oct. 14 2015 - Reno, Nevada
 
I flew down to Reno, Nevada last night to be the opening keynote speaker for the Dynamic Communities conference down here.
 
What an event! The audience this morning was a packed house with almost 5000 people. The stage was also amazing, with a 120 foot wide video screen where I could project all kinds of photos and videos during my talk. It was great fun, and I want to thank the organizers for the opportunity to share my stories, and hopefully inspire a few people to take a few steps outside their own personal comfort zones.
 
Back to Toronto this afternoon.

Reno, Nevada

Oct. 06 2015 - Historic Flooding in South Carolina
 
A rare meteorological setup in the southeastern USA caused a tremendous amount of moisture to be driven from the Atlantic Ocean inland, right over South Carolina. The result... A LOT of rain, all in one place, for days. Some areas received over 600mm of rain. Knowing that this was likely going to be an extreme event, a team from The Weather Network was assembled and we headed straight into the flood zone. Myself, Mark Robinson and Jaclyn Whittal spend four days in Columbia and Charleston, South Carolina, documenting this historic event.
 
Usually, I don't see flooding like this unless it is from a hurricane.

South Carolina Flooding

South Carolina Flooding

Sept 22 2015 - New York City - Storm Chasing: The Anthology
 
It was a great honour to be invited by film maker Blake Naftel to be a part of "Storm Chasing: The Anthology" Blake has taken it upon himself to compile countless hours of footage and over 100 interviews to create THE definitive documentary series on the history of storm chasing. When asked if I was available, I hopped on a plane to New York where we met up at the home of good friend (and fellow storm chaser) Scott McPartland.

The on-camera interview went on for close to four hours. It was great fun, and a great gift to be considered worthy of inclusion in such an anthology.
 
Learn more about the project here.

Storm Chasing: The Anthology

Sept 08 2015 - Giant's Causeway - Northern Ireland
 
The weather cooperated with me, and I was able to get up to the north shore of Northern Ireland and eventually to Giant's Causeway.
 
This place is pretty spectacular, The ancient hexagonal basalt columns just go on and on. They are great for climbing and scrambling around on as the waves from the north Atlantic crash against the rocks. If you find yourself on the emerald isle, I highly recommend taking the time to go here.
 
Tomorrow, I head back to Dublin, then onward back home.

Giant's Causeway - Northern Ireland

Sept. 06 2015 - Charleville Castle, Tullamore, Ireland
 
The Explorers Museum Film Festival has been going great. Charleville Castle is an amazing place that is perfect for holding an event for explorers.
 
I'm very proud to announce that at the film fest I was awarded a medal "For Courageous Contribution to Scientific Research".
 
Thank you so much to Mark Terry and Lorie Karnath for organizing the event.
 
At the gala dinner, the special guest was the Canadian ambassador to Ireland, Kevin Vickers. Mr. Vickers became a national hero in Canada during his previous role as the sergeant-at-arms on Parliament Hill. He thwarted an attack by a gunman who had managed to get inside and opened fire. What an honour to meet such a celebrated Canadian.
 
 
Ireland is fantastic. Everyone has been so friendly, and the countryside has been just beautiful. Now that the film fest is winding down, I still have a few days, so I think I'm going to take my rental car and head north, into Northern Ireland to go see some of the coastline, and to eventually make it to Giant's Causeway which is a spot I've been wanting to see for a long time.

Charleville Castle - Tullamore, Ireland

Explorers Museum Film Festival Medal

Sept 02 2015 - Off to Ireland
 
Tomorrow afternoon, I fly off to Ireland, where I will be attending the Explorers Museum Film Festival. The event, hels at Charleville Castle in the town of Tullamore will be showcasing films with a Canadian theme this year, either films about exploring Canada, or by Canadians. I'm proud to be showing "Die Trying: Crater Of Fire" at the festival. Which is about the expedition I let for National Geographic to the fiery Darvaza gas crater in Turkmenistan.

I'll be flying to Dublin, then renting a car, so hopefully, I'll have some extra time to tour around the country a bit after the festival.

Ireland

Aug. 30 2015 - Washington D.C.
 
I've relocated to Washington D.C. to be interviewed for season two of the TV show "What on Earth?" for The Science Channel. The program looks at odd things spotted by orbiting satellites. I was one of the commentators for season one, and they've asked me to return for the second season.
 
After filming, I had the chance to wander around a bit and got to see the White House, Washington Monument and more.

Washington D.C.

July 18 2015 - Churchill, Manitoba
 
Northern Manitoba is a pretty special place.
 
While staying at Nanuk Lodge, we were able to see many polar bears as they walked up and down the coastline of western Hudson Bay. Without spoiling too much about what we filmed there, it's safe to say that we were successful in what we were hoping to capture on video.

We witnessed large males, mothers with cubs, you name it. The weather started off cold, but as the week went on, it improved and we eventually got sunny, clear skies, which also helped us at night to see the awesome displays of northern lights.
 
The bears are here because the sea ice on Hudson bay has melted, and there's nowhere for them to go right now. They have no choice but to wait out the summer on land until the winter brings the sea ice back, and they can go out hunting for seals again.
 
Seeing these huge predators in the wild, on the ground, and sometimes up close... Was impressive to say the least. These bears are HUGE, and I sure wouldn't want to find myself having to fight one off. Luckily, deadly encounters between bears and humans are not very common.

Bears_05
Aurora_01

Aug 08 2015 - Polar Bear Filming
 
Today the Angry Planet team heads off to Churchill, in northern Manitoba, the "polar bear capital of the world". Once there, we'll be hopping onto a small chartered plane to the remote Nanuk Lodge on Hudson Bay. Polar bears a re common here, and they are on land now, waiting for the sea ice to reform so that they can get out onto the ice an hunt for seals. Our mission is to document their behaviour, gather scat samples, and see how they're doing without their primary food source.
 
Joining me is bear expert Matthias Brieter, who is a friend I met in the Northwest Passage a few years ago. He'll be helping me get close to these bears on the ground. Most tourists who visit the area view the bears from inside special "Tundra Buggies". Not us. We'll be walking along the tundra and beaches with them.

Manitoba

Aug 04 2015 - New Orleans, Louisiana
 
The past few days have been busy ones.
 
I'm currently in New Orleans, filming some promos for Pivot TV. They are having a special week of programming for the ten year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina which is coming up later this month.
 
"Project Katrina: A Decade of Resilience" features numerous programs that look at what happened to the city in terms of more than just the storm, there's also the economic, social, and cultural impacts.
 
I love this city. The food is the best in the world, and the music is just fantastic. It has been a pleasure working with a great crew on a cool project in a really fun city.

New Orleans, Louisiana

July 29 2015 - Dhaka, Bangladesh
 
Tte past 10 days or so have been a whirlwind. Bangladesh is such an interesting country, filled with friendly people, very crowded streets, and some wonderful places to visit.
 
We spent time in Dhaka, filming monsoon season flooding in the city as well as one of the major slums. We experienced the Eid celebration, marking the end of Ramadan as well as the Hindu Rath Yatra festival (in the pouring rain). We journeyed across the Ganges river to visit places like the Sundarbans, where Bengal tigers roam, and Bhola island, a place where the land is lioterally disappearing into the sea. It is being washed away by the rising seas and tides.
 
The episode of Angry Planet that we filmed will showcase how the people of Bangladesh are coping with the immediate threats of climate chaning in their country.

Bangladesh 2015
Bangladesh 2015

July 14 2015 - Heading to Bangladesh
 
Tomorrow, I head off to south Asia, specifically the country of Bangladesh. We'll be filming another, brand new episode of Angry Planet that will be focusing on how Bangladesh is ground zero for climate change. The people living there are the most affected by climate change and are frequently subjected to flooding monsoon rains, cyclones, rising sea levels, and even tornadoes.

I've been wanting to visit this fascinating country for many years now... Let the adventure begin.

Bangladesh Map

June 21 2015 - St. John's, Newfoundland
 
I just love Newfoundland. The people are so hospitable & friendly, and the scenery is fantastic... Especially the icebergs! We saw lots of them!
 
- From a Coast Guard ice survey airplane
- From the shoreline
- Underwater, while SCUBA diving
- From on top, while ice-climbing on one of them
- From several boats, including an operation that harvests the pristine, 10,000 year old ice to use in the production of iceberg vodka!
 
It was a great experience, and the material we filmed will end up becoming a great episode of Angry Planet.
 
In case you were wondering, yes I got "Screeched In". It is a ceremony where visitors become honorary Newfoundlanders. Part of the ceremony involves drinking Screech (a type of rum), and kissing a cod (yes, the fish).

Iceberg_01

Iceberg_02

June 12 2015 - St. John's, Newfoundland
 
The Angry Planet team has just touched down in Newfoundland. We'll be out here for a while, filming a new episode, centered around the icebergs that drift down the coastline every spring. The icebergs mainly come from Greenland, and travel a long way before eventually melting in the north Atlantic.
 
A tradition around these parts is getting "Screeched In" It involves a ceremony, drinking some of Screech (Newfoundland rum) and kissing a cod. Yep, a fish. Now that the ceremony is complete, I'm now officially an honorary Newfoundlander!

Newfoundland Map

June 05 2015 - Kjerag Mountain, Norway
 
Norway is just amazing! I've met up with adventure-buddy Nik Halik, and we've hit the road, looking for some extreme places... The craziest is Kjeragbolten.
 
It took 5 1/2 hours of hiking up the snowy, windy Kjerig Mountain to get to this spot. Kjerigbolten is a boulder that's wedged 1000 meters off of the ground, which is about two-thirds of a mile. If you slip, it's down to the fjord below....
 
Just don't slip. Oh, did I mention, that they had a long winter, so there was plenty of ice & snow, and that it was so windy, I had to lean into the wind while standing on the boulder?
 
My heart rate is going back up just thinking about it.

Kjeragbolten

June 03 2015 - U.N. Environmental Emergencies Forum: Oslo, Norway
 
The entire reason that I came to Norway was because I was invited to give the closing keynote talk at the United Nations Environmental Emergencies Forum. It was an honour to be invited to speak at this event. I had such a great time, and met so many fascinating people. I look forward to meeting them again.
 
The forum, held every two years, brings members of the United Nations, other NGO's, and industry together to discuss natural & man-made disasters and how to prevent, mitigate, and recover from them on a global scale.
 
I spoke about my firsthand experiences witnessing disasters up close, worldwide, as well as what I've observed in terms of climate change over the past decade and a half.
Thank you so much to the organizers and all the delegates, who came from every corner of the world to attend.

UN EEF

United Nations. Environmental Emergencies Forum

June 01 2015 - Heading To Norway
 
The travel craziness continues. I've just finished up my tour of duty with Cloud 9 Tourism and now, I'm ready for the next leg of my travels. I connect from Oklahoma City to Houston, then on to Istanbul, finally arriving in Oslo, Norway. I know, it's a convoluted route.

I'll be spending some time at a conference, then taking a few extra days to see some of the sights around the Norwegian countryside.
 
Thanks so much to all my Cloud 9 friends. The past month has been a blast, as always!

Norway Map

May 27 2015 - Tornadoes in Canadian, Texas
 
Wow, what a day! We started off in Abilene, where an unfortunate slip down the motel stairs sent one of our tour guests to the hospital with a shattered left ankle & a fractured right foot. It was just one of those unfortunate accidents that could've happened to anyone. She's safe at the hospital, but had to undergo emergency surgery.
 
The rest of us blasted north to where a nearly stationary storm had set up near the town of Canadian, in the Texas panhandle. It sat there for hour after hour, barely moving at all. It had good rotation, and put down several tornadoes, including one very photogenic one. As it touched down, we had a hard time seeing it due to trees in the way, but we eventually repositioned on the edge of town and got a great view!
 
More pictures to come.

2015_05_27A

May 16 2015 - Canada's Top 100 Explorers List
 
It is a serious honour to be named by Canadian Geographic magazine to be among Canada's top 100 explorers. It is quite the list, with many friends, colleagues and expedition partners listed as well.
It's surreal to end up on a list that includes: James Cameron, Chris Hadfield, Elon Musk, Les Stroud and David Suzuki.
 
See the entire list here.

Can_Geo_Top_100

May 02 2015 - Storm Chase Season Has Begun
 
I'm on my way to meet up with the rest of the Cloud 9 Tours team for a month of chasing storms across the Great Plains.
 
I'll be doing daily updates HERE so be sure to check back to see the latest storm photos, videos and tales from the chase.
 
Update. I've been so swamped that the daily blog section will be updates when I have time.

Tornado Chase 2015

April 30 2015 - Boston
 
I've flown to Boston for the day to team up with a British TV crew who are shooting the third season of "Strangest Weather On Earth" for The Weather Channel. We spent the day filming me talking about various weird weather topics.

Interestingly, the weather itself was a bit strange. In the morning, it was cool but sunny, so I ended up getting a sunburn on half my face. In the afternoon, the clouds rolled in and were freezing cold and shivering. I see that Mother Nature has a sense of humor!
 
It's back home to Toronto in the morning to finish up my last minute preparations for the tornado chase season.

April 17 2015 - Angry Planet on Pivot TV
 
Angry Planet season four is now on the air!
 
The new episodes that we've been filming all over the world for the past six months are now ready for broadcast and are airing on Pivot TV Friday nights at 10PM EST.
 
Check with your cable/satellite provider.
 
These new shows were filmed in such diverse locations as:
 
- The Amazon Jungle, along the "River of Doubt"
- Southern Australia, during bushfire season
- The Cape Verde Islands off the west coast of Africa
- Inside a volcano in Vanuatu
- The tiny island nation of Vanuatu in the South Pacific
 
I hope you enjoy the new shows. It was very rewarding combining travel, adventure and documenting extremes of nature while also showcasing the effects that humans are having on our global climate.
 
Watch the first episode online now.

Angry Planet

Pivot TV

April 17 2015 - New York City
 
I'm doing a brief, whirlwind media tour of New York City. In town for only 24 hours, I've been doing appearances promoting the new Season of Angry Planet (which premieres TONIGHT 10PM EST on Pivot TV).
 
One of the highlights was visiting the studios at The Weather Channel to meet Al Roker and Stephanie Abrams on the "Wake Up With Al" morning show. I've frequently worked with TWC over the years, but this was the first time I've visited their New York studios, which is by the way, just down the hall from where they film The Tonight Show.
 
New York truly is one of the great cities of the world. I love going there, but it seems that every time I go, I'm only there for enough time to do what I need to do, then leave. One of these days, I need to take some extra time to see more of the things I've always wanted to.
 
Learn more about Angry Planet on Pivot TV.
 
We're still in production on the remaining five which will air later in the year.

New York

The Weather Channel

March 24 2015 - Men's Journal Magazine
 
Journalist Mark Adams was embedded with us during the Madagascar Limestone Labyrinth Expedition and wrote an excellent article about his experience as we explored deep into the Tsingy de Bemaraha and made some amazing discoveries including a brand new cave, never mapped before.
 
The article, in the April issue, is on newsstands now.
 
Read the full article here: The Devil's Obstacle Course.

Men's Journal April 2015

April 08 2015 - Vientiane, Laos
 
What a trip this has been. First to Siberia, then directly on to Laos.
 
Laos has been amazing. Our travels have taken us across much of the country to see:
 
- The massive limestone caves.
- An elephant rehabilitation center.
- Agricultural slash & burn practices that cover the country with a thick blanket of smoke for the entire dry season. These fire often burn out of control, and we even witnessed numerous "fire tornadoes."
 
The country is also littered with unexploded ordinance (bombs) left over from the Vietnam war.
 
Despite all the difficulties the country has been through, it was a lovely place to visit, with warm, generous people and stunning landscapes.
 
Now, for the long flight home.
Enjoy the photos and video.

Video: Fire Tornadoes - Laos

Laos Caves

March 27 2015 - Yakutsk - Beijing - Laos
 
On the move again. We had a very frustrating experience leaving Russia. The officials in Yakutsk refused to recognize our carnet upon exit (It's basically a passport for our equipment). We had to split up in the airport in the middle of the night and leave Brian behind to fend for himself with no translator, and abut 10 big bag of gear that we were not allowed to exit the country with. It got very tense for a while at the airport. Now, Peter and I are moving on to Laos and Brian has to somehow get himself and all the gear back to Moscow to get the proper paperwork stamped, then somehow meet up with us in Laos. What a mess!
 
I've never experienced such a disaster while travelling. We were literally separating the gear out and re-packing at the check in counter at midnight as the plane was waiting for us, and we were scrambling, trying to figure out what to do. I feel so bad for Brian, because now, he's going to have to deal with whole bunch of B.S. over the next few days, alone. Sorry, buddy.

Laos Map

March 20 2015 - Oymyakon Siberia
 
It took quite a few days, but we're here in Oymyakon, the coldest town in the world!
 
Travelling along the Road of Bones was an experience... Cold, poor visibility at times due to snow, many accidents and wrecked vehicles on the side of the road, and don't get me started on what can be found in Siberian roadside outhouses. Yikes!
 
I've been rather sick as well. I started to develop a fever a couple of days ago. I suspect it might be a result of eating 10,000 year old woolly mammoth meat. I wonder if I've woken some long-frozen virus and that I've started a chain of events that will bring the next global pandemic... I try not to think about that too much.
 
Along the way, we did a bit of a detour to one of the old gulag prison locations. It was eerie walking through the decrepit old buildings and guard towers, knowing that so many people suffered and died there. A haunting experience, for certain.
 
We were greeted warmly in Oymyakon. The locals even celebrated our arrival with a cultural display of song and dance and we even met the mayor.
 
The coldest temperature measured here was -71.2 degrees Celsius. I was hoping for a really cold stretch of weather while we were here, but it only got down to about -40. Cold, but for this part of the world, that's comfortable.
 
Click any of the photos on the right to see more.
 
The next phase of the journey is the long drive back to Yakutsk, then directly on to the next filming location... Which will be MUCH warmer.

Road of Bones

Oymyakon, The Pole of Cold

March 15 2015 - Yakutsk Siberia
 
We have made it to Siberia! We're in the city of Yakutsk after connecting through Moscow. It's not as cold here as we were expecting. It's actually not bad at all, a bit of a heat wave. We've been filming with permafrost scientists, learning about how the permafrost has been melting more in recent years.
 
At a place called Permafrost Kingdom, I was allowed into a room that had a a full woolly rhino body and the head of a woolly mammoth. Both had been found frozen in the ice for thousands of years. I even managed to taste a small piece of the mammoth. Not a great idea, but I wanted to say that I've eaten 10,000 year old woolly mammoth! How did it taste?... Like the worst freezer-burned meat you could imagine.

Soon we head off on the "Road of Bones" towards Oymyakon.

Woolly Mammoth in Yakutsk

March 15 2015 - Yakutsk Siberia
 
We have made it to Siberia! We're in the city of Yakutsk after connecting through Moscow. It's not as cold here as we were expecting. It's actually not bad at all, a bit of a heat wave. We've been filming with permafrost scientists, learning about how the permafrost has been melting more in recent years.
 
At a place called Permafrost Kingdom, I was allowed into a room that had a a full woolly rhino body and the head of a woolly mammoth. Both had been found frozen in the ice for thousands of years. I even managed to taste a small piece of the mammoth. Not a great idea, but I wanted to say that I've eaten 10,000 year old woolly mammoth! How did it taste?... Like the worst freezer-burned meat you could imagine.

Soon we head off on the "Road of Bones" towards Oymyakon.

Woolly Mammoth in Yakutsk

March 11 2015 - Heading to Siberia
 
I guess I've not had my fill of winter weather. Tomorrow I head off to Russia, specifically Siberia, even more specifically the small town of Oymyakon which has the distinction of being known as the coldest permanently inhabited place on Earth. The journey will be a long one. We fly through Moscow to Yakutsk, then drive along the "Road of Bones, built by prisoners during Stalin's iron-fisted rule. Any gulag prisoners who died there were buried into the road itself as it was being constructed

Oymyakon, Siberia Map

March 04 2015 - Royal Canadian Geographical Society Event
 
It was a great honour and privilege to be invited to be the master of ceremonies at an event put on by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society to celebrate the discovery of Sir John Franklin's lost ship, the Erebus.
 
The shipwreck, was discovered last summer, during the Victoria Strait Expedition.
 
The event, held at the Royal Ontario Museum was attended by Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper and his wife, Laureen who supported the expedition. Awards were given out to expedition members, and it was announced that a dive team will be returning to the wreck site in April.

Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper

Feb. 13 2015 - Stefansson Medal
 
What an incredible honour to have been awarded the Stefansson Medal by the Explorers Club Canadian Chapter. It is the highest honour they bestow, and I'm blown away that my efforts have been acknowledged by the exploration community.
 
The award was: “for outstanding contributions to science and to public education by documenting extreme environments through filmmaking”.
 
Read the press release
 
I am extremely grateful and humbled by this award, and I promise to continue what I do until I eventually feel deserving of such an honour.

Stefansson Medal - George Kourounis

Feb. 10 2015 - Discovery Channel Canada - Daily Planet
 
The video from our Adventure Science/Kensington Tours Madagascar expedition has been broadcast on Discovery Channel and now is online. Check out Daily Planet on Discovery Channel Canada.

- Select the the Jan 28th episode.
- Go to the 8:20 point in the video.
- Enjoy!
 
 
Daily Planet

Tsingy_Daily_Planet

Feb. 09 2015 - Scholastic SuperScience Magazine
 
A profile of my Darvaza, Turkmenistan expedition with National Geographic is featured in the latest editions of ScienceWorld & SuperScience magazines. Published by Scholastic, these magazines are distributed in schools across North America.

Scholastic SuperScience

Feb. 05 2015 - Back Home
 
Back home now... with the mother of all cases of jet-lag.

Here's some statistics about this latest Angry Planet filming trip, by the numbers:
41 - Number of days travelled.
4 - Countries filmed in.
3 - How many new Angry Planet episodes we filmed in this one trip.
17 - Number of flights in total.
75 - Number of hours it took to get home.
17 - Maximum number of pieces of baggage we carried (3 people).
31,589 - Miles flown (50,838 km) Thats more than the circumference of the equator.

The
new shows will start airing in April on Pivot TV.

Angry_Planet_New

Jan. 23 2015 - National Geographic
 
A big thank you to National Geographic for the acknowledgement in their 2014 "Highlights from Our Explorers"
 
Take a look.

Nat_Geo_Highlights

Jan. 09 2015 - Big Announcement - Angry Planet is Coming Back!!
 
The Angry Planet TV series has been renewed for a 4th season for Pivot TV and production company, Cineflix. I've been waiting to make this public for a long time now and I'm so very excited about the new season. We've already started production and will continue throughout 2015 with plenty of action-packed episodes that will be focusing on extreme forces of nature and climate change.
 
Read more about it here.

Pivot_TV_AngryPlanet

Jan. 27- Feb 05 2015 - Tuvalu, South Pacific - Record Breaking Rain!
 
The epic month-long journey is coming to and end.
 
We've just spent the past week or so on the South Pacific island of Funafuti, part of the nation of Tuvalu. Tuvalu is one of the lowest-lying countries in the world, and the threat of sea level rise due to climate change is very real and immediate there. The citizens are concerned that they may have to abandon their homeland if the water gets much higher.
 
The biggest problem is not that the islands will completely disappear... They will be uninhabitable long before that happens. It is the saltwater intrusion that ruins fresh water supplies and destroys what few crops they do grow there.
 
Of course, as soon as we landed, the chaos began... Record breaking rainfall. The day we arrived, they received 347mm of rain (13.6 inches)!! Large portions of the island were flooded, including the airport runway.
 
It was dfficult shoot for a variety of reasons... The weather, I got sick, and our local helper disappeared after the first day... He was off getting drunk on a beach with his buddies, so we were on our own with no local fixer.
 
We managed, and now we're on our way back home to Toronto. Here's more pictures from Tuvalu

Tuvalu, South Pacific

Tuvalu, South Pacific

Jan. 04 2015 - Adelaide, Australia - Worst Bushfire in 30 Years!
 
I was on the scene, embedded with Australian firefighters on Jan 2nd as the worst fire in decades broke out in the Adelaide Hills. The Sampson Flat Fire spread quickly under extreme fire conditions and myself, plus a TV crew were in the middle of it all, right from the beginning. The timing could not have been any better. Luckily there were no fatalities, but numerous houses were destroyed.
 
We were able to get up-close footage from within the fire and at times we had to scramble to get out of the way as fast-burning Eucalyptus trees burst into flames around us.
 
Photos
 
Many thanks go out to the Country Fire Service and the Department of Environment, Water & Natural Resources for helping us out, and for doing such a great job dealing with such a massive blaze.

Australia 32

Australia 30

Jan. 01 2015 - Happy New Year
 
2015 is here. I'm about as far away from home as possible, but I'm so excited about what's going on and what's coming up in the next few weeks!
 
Thought for the day: If you want something you've never had, you must be willing to do things you've never done!


An Archive of Previous Year's News Items Can Be Found Here

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

 

Any Questions/Comments?

Send E-Mail To George Kourounis

george@stormchaser.ca


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