2016 Archive News/Blog & Recent Events - George Kourounis

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Dec. 28 2016 - Guinness Book of World Records 2017
The 2017 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records acknowledges my Darvaza, Turkmenistan expedition with a 2-page spread. The goal of the expedition, which I led for National Geographic was to gather soil samples from the bottom of the world's longest-burning methane crater.

Learn more about the
flaming gas crater expedition.

Guinness Book of World Records 2017

Dec. 25 2016 - 9 News Australia - Volcano Expedition Feature
9 News Australia - A news article about the 2016 Nyiragongo volcano expedition in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Canadian adventurer's journey into 'Hell on Earth'.

9 News Australia

Dec. 17 2016 - Discovery Channel, Daily Planet
Last night, Discovery Channel Canada's flagship show Daily Planet did a 2016 year in sci-tech special episode. Included in that program was a segment on exploration. Featured in that was my 2016 expedition to go down to the bottom of Nyiragongo volcano in eastern Congo.

A more detailed profile on the expedition will be coming up in another Daily Planet episode in the new year.

Discovery Channel - Daily Planet - 2016 Year In Sci-Tech

Dec. 16 2016 - Ontario Science Centre - Another Talk
Another set of presentations at the Ontario Science Centre. This time, I teamed up with the good folks from the engineering department of Western University. Specifically, the people that operate the most sophisticated wind tunnel in the world. The WindEEE Dome can simulate tornadoes in small scale for research purposes. I've actually been inside the wind tunnel., and it is awesome!

We gave a talk to a large group of students who were at the museum on a field trip.

Ontario Science Centre

Dec. 15 2016 - Huge Lake Effect Snow Squalls - Shelburne, Ontario

It was clear that today was going to be one of those days when the forecast conditions come together to create very dangerous lake effect snow squalls. One main squall formed off of Lake Huron, and was drifting south across southern Ontario when it stalled over the town of Shelburne. I joined a team from The Weather Network (Mark Robinson and James Stamos) and we did quite a few live reports from the middle of the squall. The warm summer and autumn had left the Great Lakes quite warm, and when the cold snaps came, the cold air picked up moisture from the lake and deposited it as snow. Lots of snow.

The snow squall eventually drifted into the greater Toronto area, causing traffic chaos that left some commuters stuck in traffic for hours.

Huge Lake Effect Snow Squalls - Shelburne, Ontario

Dec. 10 2016 - Ontario Science Centre - Talks & Vehicle on Display
Today, I'm joining two other Ontario storm chasers (Mark Robinson and Patricia Martel) at the Ontario Science Centre museum to give a couple of talks about severe weather. As part of the event, I've brought my storm-chase vehicle inside the museum to have on display so that people can see my ride that I use when chasing weather.

This is to promote the ongoing "Wild Weather" exhibit which continues until Jan 7th.
Interestingly, this is not the first time my vehicle has been on display at the museum. A few years ago, it was at the Science Centre for a week during March break while I was giving a series of talks.

Ontario Science Centre

Nov. 30 2016 - Trent University
Tonight I am giving a free talk at Trent University, all about exploring Earth's extremes. This talk is being held at the Durham campus in Oshawa,Ontario.

Trent University

Nov. 16 2016 - Royal Canadian Geographical Society Diner - Ottawa
Every year the Royal Canadian Geographical Society has their annual general meeting, then in the evening is their big gala fund raising dinner. There have been a couple of occasions when I have been the MC of the evening, but this year, I could sit back and enjoy it as a spectator.

The venue this time was the Canadian War Museum. It was a beautiful space to have the dinner. We were surrounded by tanks and artillery on all sides.
Learn more about what went on at the dinner here.

Royal Canadian Geographical Society Diner - Ottawa

Oct. 26 2016 - Machu Picchu - Peru
The Peru trip continues to be incredible. I just love this country. The people are friendly, the food is some of the best in the world, the landscapes are truly epic, and of course, the historical sites are simply breathtaking.
We're just wrapping up two days at Machu Picchu, as we got very lucky with good weather. The first day was mostly clear, with good visibility, then early on the second day, a group of us got up early to hike part of the Inca Trail up to the Sun Gate. It was cloudy, and looked like it might rain, but eventually the clouds parted, and we got a fantastic view of the ancient Incan city.
Soon, we'll be back on the train, then eventually on to Cusco again to spend a little time in the city before returning to Lima, then eventually home.
There's still several days left in this adventure, and it has been absolutely wonderful. It has been a tremendous honour to be invited along as a representative of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Many thanks to them, and also to Lindlbad Expeditions, who really know how to organize a trip. No detail has been overlooked!
Once I get home, I'll assemble more photos from the trip. Right now, we've beer far to busy, and I've barely had a chance to review any of my photographs at all.

Machu Picchu - Peru

Andes Mountains - Peru

Oct. 23 2016 - Cusco, Peru
I've made it from the Galapagos to Peru for stage 2 of this South American adventure. We flew from the Galapagos to Guayaquil, Ecuador, then on to Lima and eventually Cusco. Where I can definitely feel the altitude, especially after spending the past week at sea level.
I was here a couple of years age, and I'm lokking forward to spending some more time here. Tomorrow, we start checking out some of the ancient Incan ruins.

Peru Map

Oct. 22 2016 - Galapagos Islands
The past week on board the National Geographic Endeavour has been outstanding, and kind of nice to be "off the grid."

The Galapagos is truly, an amazing place. Each of the islands is so different, with diverse geology, and even more diverse wildlife. The animals are simply not afraid of humans, so they frequently will walk right up to you. We sea lions, marine iguanas, giant tortoises, blue footed boobies, flightless cormorants, penguins, sea turtles and so much more. A wildlife photographers paradise.
It's almost surreal how close the wildlife gets. One day, I just sat on a beach for hours, taking pictures of the wildlife. The sea lions would pose for me, then play around with each other, then get into a fight, then settle down and pose again. We would cruise along some of the rocky shores in Zodiacs and get very close to the nesting birds and basking iguanas on the rocks, while multiple turtles swam around us.
Living on board the ship for the past week has been a joy. The staff and crew have been so amazing and helpful. Thank you Lindblad and the RCGS for this wonderful opportunity. If you have ever considered going to the Galapagos, I cannot recommend it highly enough.
We disembark the boat today and continue on to the next leg of the journey. Tomorrow I'll be in Lima, Peru then moving on to Cusco, Machu Picchu and other sites.

Galapagos Islands

Galapagos Islands

Oct. 12 2016 - Heading to the Galapagos Islands & More
On Friday, I'll be headed to The Galapagos Islands and Peru!

I've been invited by the
Royal Canadian Geographical Society to be their Ambassador/representative on this trip. I've always wanted to go to the Galapagos, so this is extremely exciting.
The trip is with Lindblad Expeditions, and the ship I'll be on board is the National Geographic Endeavor. I'll be posting pics of giant land tortoises, blue-footed boobies, marine iguanas, and much more! Then it'll be off to the land of the Inca Empire & Machu Picchu.
The itinerary is: Toronto - Miami - Guayaquil (Ecuador) - Galapagos - Lima (Peru) - Cusco - Machu Picchu - Cusco - Lima - Miami - Toronto.
It is a great privilege to be asked to join this trip, and I thank everyone at the RCGS for allowing me to represent the society.

Galapagos Map

Oct. 09 2016 - Hurricane Matthew
The chase of hurricane Matthew is now over and I'm on my way back to Toronto.
It was a bit of a frustrating chase. The angle of the storm track as it approached the U.S. kept the strongest winds just offshore by a few dozen miles or so. The strongest part was also at night, which makes filming more difficult, especially when the power goes.
Myself and the entire team are all safe and sound. One member did have to go home early due to illness (pneumonia), but she's recovering. Going into a hurricane chase with no sleep and being cold and wet is always a bad idea if you are already sick.
The storm ended up being devastating in Haiti, as well as parts of Cuba and the Bahamas. After passing to our north, Matthew did significant damage in Daytona Beach, and the Carolinas before eventually turning back out to sea and dissipating.
Because it didn't officially make landfall as a major (category 3 or higher) storm, it is now over 4000 days since the U.S. has had a major hurricane hit (Wilma in 2005).
Now it's time for me to dry out my gear and prepare for the next upcoming adventure... In less than a week!

Hurricane Matthew

YouTube - Hurricane Matthew

Oct. 05 2016 - Wild Weather Exhibit at the Ontario Science Centre
I was invited to be part of the official launch of the newest exhibit t the Ontario Science Centre. "Wild Weather" is an interactive, multi-media exhibit that showcases some of the most violent storms and weather phenomena. In the morning, I was onstage, helping to launch the exhibit to the media. I spoke briefly, then did numerous interviews, then in the evening, there was a panel discussion for VIP's and a Facebook live event.
The show runs until Jan 7th, 2017.
Learn more about it.
In other news, hurricane Matthew has lashed Haiti and Cuba and is working its way through the Bahamas. The major hurricane is likely going to impact the east coast of Florida, and I'm scrambling to get onto a flight first thing tomorrow morning.

Wild Weathe Exhibit - Ontario Science Centre

Sept 19 2016 - The Great Canadian Bird Debate - Ottawa, Ontario
It was tremendous honour and joy to have been asked by CanGeo Talks & The Royal Canadian Geographical Society to be the panel moderator for The Great Canadian Bird Debate. The purpose of which was to help select Canada's official national bird... That's right, we don't have one... Yet.
The 5 contenders which were selected via almost 50,000 votes were: The Black-Capped Chickadee, The Gray Jay/Whiskey Jack, the Snowy Owl, The Common Loon & the Canada Goose.
The event was held in a packed full theater at the Museum of Nature in Ottawa where a panel of 5 experts battled it out, each one representing a different nominated bird. My job was to keep the flow moving, and to get the debaters ready for each of four different rounds.
In attendance was Canada's minister of Environment and climate change, The Honorable Catherine McKenna, as well as Canada's Parliamentary Poet Laureate, George Elliott Clarke.
The final decision will be made by the editorial staff at Canadian Geographic magazine and announced in November, with the winning bird being presented to the government for official recognition in the new year.
The event was a great success, and was a lot of fun, hilarious even.
Learn more about The Great Canadian Bird Debate.

Moderating The Great Canadian Bird Debate

VIP's at the Debate

Sept 05 2016 - Tropical Storm Hermine - New York/New Jersey
The past few days have been spent with the Weather Network team (Jaclyn Whittal & Mark Robinson), documenting the effects of Tropical Storm Hermine on the east coast of the U.S. The storm has remained offshore, and has been difficult to predict, but its effects are certainly being felt along the coast. Heavy surf and waves have been battering the shores in New Jersey and New York.
We're heading back to Toronto now, waiting to see what will become of the rest of this hurricane season.

Tropical Storm Hermine - New York/New Jersey

Aug 18 2016 - Nanuk Lodge, Northern Manitoba
I'm sitting by the fire at the lodge, reflecting on the past few days... What an incredible trip this has been. We had the great fortune of not only seeing plenty of polar bears, but we also encountered beluga whales, black bears, and a surprising number of wolves.
We even experienced two times when we had a bear and a wolf interacting! That is practically unheard of, especially at close range. I would like to thank Churchill Wild and the Royal Canadian Geographical Society for hosting me on this trip. It was an honor and a privilege to have been invited.
What a great group of people too. We had people from Canada, the United States, Australia, Switzerland and China all travelling together.
The icing on the cake was the outstanding display of northern lights. We had 2 very clear nights with fantastic aurora activity. I didn't get much sleep, but that was OK, I didn't mind a bit.
Click the images to the right to see the collection of wildlife and northern lights photos from the trip.

Nanuk Lodge 2016 - Polar Bears

Nanuk Lodge 2016 - Northern Lights

Aug 11 2016 - Heading to Manitoba
Last year I had the great experience of filming polar bears, on the ground and at quite close range at Nanuk Lodge in Northern Manitoba, on the shore of Hudson Bay.
This year I will be returning as a special guest of Churchill Wild and the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.
Tomorrow, I fly to Winnipeg, then up to Churchill, where I'll spend a few days looking for bears and snorkeling with beluga whales before eventually taking a small plane over to the remote lodge. Expect plenty of awesome photos.
Here's what last year's trip looked like - Polar Bears and Northern Lights.


July 11 2016 - New York City
I'm in New York again. I've returned to the big apple to do on-camera interviews for the new season of 'What On Earth?" a show on the Science Channel. It is about interesting and puzzling things seen by orbiting satellites.

As usual, this is a very short trip, just one night, then back to Toronto.


July 05 2016 - National Geographic
The latest National Geographic Kids "Weird But True, Ripped from The Headlines" book has a two-page photo spread featuring one of my trips down inside Ambrym Volcano.

National Geographic Kids: Weird But True, Ripped from The Headlines

June 30 2016 - National Geographic & Netflix - 72 Dangerous Places To Live
I'm featured in on-camera interviews in the six-part series "72 Dangerous Places to Live" for National Geographic Channel. Also, my footage from around the world was used. The series can also be found on Netflix.

National Geographic & Netflix - 72 Dangerous Places To Live

June 27 2016 - Sickboy Podcast
The cool guys over at Sickboy podcast had me on as a guest, and it is now available to listen to. It was a LOT of fun, I hope you enjoy it.

Sickboy Podcast is hilarious, ridiculously insightful and absolutely determined to break down the stigma associated with illness and disease! The show started with three best friends who recognized that when faced with difficult situations, illnesses and diseases, people tighten up, they get awkward, and they simply don't know what to say.

Sickboy Podcast

June 18 2016 - Sable Island, Nova Scotia
What a unique place... And I didn't get seasick!
The Sable Island voyage has been amazing. It took a full day at sea to get there, and when we did, the surf crashing along the surf zone of the sand island made it a bit tricky to land our Zodiacs on the beach. Over the course of a few days, we were able to make three shore landings thankfully. We were greeted by hundreds of seals and of course, the island's most famous residents, the wild horses. We saw lots of them.
The geography there is so odd. It's just a thin strip of sand about 26 miles long and a mile wide. There's no trees, and no other land mammals other than the horses, who have been there since humans left them behind in the 1700's.
We had plenty of time to hike around and film, cruise the shoreline, and just soak in this unique spot. The crew of the Ocean Endeavour and the staff at Adventure Canada were so great, and a lot of fun to work with. Very few boats get the opportunity to visit the island because it is such a remote (and protected) place. It was a true privilege to be able to not only visit, but to film the place for The Weather Network. More details and photos.
On the way back from Sable, we passed over the protected marine area known as "The Gully". It's a deep water trench that is home to a wide variety of sea birds, dolphins and whales. We had special permission to sail through it area because an official wildlife survey was being conducted on board. Very cool.
We also stopped for a day in St. Pierre & Miquelon, a small set of islands that are an overseas territory that belongs to France. We ate croissants, and walked around the quiet town of St. Pierre. It was very nice, plus I had never been to France before... Technically, now I have.

Sable Island

Sable Island

June 10 2016 - St. John's, Newfoundland - Headed to Sable Island
This is going to be interesting. Mark Robinson and I are in St. John's Newfoundland right now and we're about to get on board the Ocean Endeavour as guests of Adventure Canada. The tour operator takes their ship to polar regions and other interesting places. Tomorrow, we head for Sable Island, off the coast of Nova Scotia.
The island is a thin strip of sand (about 26 miles long and a mile or so wide) that is best known for its population of wild horses. During the journey, we'll be filming a new episode of Stormhunters for The Weather Network... Sable Island is one of the foggiest places in Canada and it is the most likely spot in the country to be hit by a hurricane. The island itself is shaped by the wind and waves as the sands move from one part of the island to another. The area has a long history of shipwrecks, with over 350 on and around the island.

Sable Island Map

June 08 2016 - Stormhunters: Ultimate Risk
The first of two programs about the recent expedition to Nyiragongo volcano in the Congo is about to be broadcast on The Weather Network.
A new episode of Stormhunters premieres on The Weather Network on Sunday June 12th at 7p ET & PT.
In Stormhunters: Ultimate Risk, Meteorologist/Stormhunter Mark Robinson joins Adventurer George Kourounis and a team of scientists on an expedition to explore the world’s largest and most active lava lake at Mount Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Stormhunters: Ultimate Risk

May 18 - 29 2016 - Tornado Alley, USA
The chase is on!
My annual tornado chase is now underway, and things are going to be a little different this year. Instead of driving the lead van for Cloud 9 Tours as I have been doing for the past twelve years, I'll be teaming up with The Weather Network.
Myself, along with TWN meteorologists Jaclyn Whittal and Mark Robinson will be spending the next two weeks or so chasing storms and filming across Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas & wherever else the weather forecast takes us.
The forecast looks good for the upcoming week, so keep checking back for updates. As usual, I have created a separate daily page for updates for each day of the chase:
Daily tornado chase updates & news.
Update: What an unbelievable season! We experienced tornadoes on 5 consecutive days, a feat I have never been able to accomplish before. Also, on May 24th, a single storm near Dodge City, Kansas produced at least 9 tornadoes! At times there were two on the ground at the same time, even possibly three!
What an unbelievable week. it just kept going and going and going. The photos to the left are from the Dodge City day, but even more pictures of all the days can be found on the daily updates page.

Tornado Chase 2016

Tornado Chase 2016

May 13 2016 - Victoria, British Columbia
The unexpected trip out to Fort McMurray threw a bit of a wrench into the gears of my plans for the month, but luckily I was still able to make it directly from Alberta to Victoria, British Columbia for a speaking engagement.
My camera bag and all my gear still smells like smoke and probably will for quite some time.
Victoria is a beautiful city, and the weather was absolutely perfect. I've been to Vancouver Island several times before, but never to Victoria. I must come back to visit again when I have more time... But for now, I'll have to dash back to Toronto as soon as possible. I depart for tornado chase 2016 in just a few days and there is much to prepare.


May 12 2016 - Fort McMurray, Alberta
The past few days have been difficult. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have been enforcing a very strict roadblock south of Fort McMurray, so we filmed there for a while, then decided to go to one of the evacuation centers to see how some of the people who have fled are doing. Many evacuees drove to Edmonton to stay with friends & family, but some were at Lac la Biche, a couple of hours south.
The outpouring of aid and generosity was overwhelming. There were so many volunteers and donations that they didn't know what to do with it all. It was really nice to see.
Eventually, the road opened, and we were able to get into the city. Luckily, most of Fort McMurray was spared. The hospital, water plant and airport were all OK. The worst hit areas were the residential suburbs. We were only able to get limited access, but it was obvious that the damage in these parts was extensive.
I've heard that 2400 buildings/homes were destroyed. The amazing thing is that the fire didn't cause any major injuries or fatalities. there were a couple of people killed in a car accident during the evacuation, but the fire itself harmed no one, which is hard to believe.
It'll be a long, difficult recovery for the residents. Fort McMurray in an oil sands town, and the industry has been hit hard recently with falling demand. This disaster certainly won't help. Luckily though, the town's infrastructure managed to survive relatively unscathed.
I was walking around in some of the burned-out forest areas south of town, and there was still so much heat in the ground that I managed to melt the soles of my boots!

Fort McMurray Fire

Fort McMurray Fire

May 09 2016 - Toronto, En Route to the Fort McMurray Fire
The news has been plastered with incredible images of tens of thousands of people evacuating the northern Alberta city of Fort McMurray. Some of the video that was filmed by the evacuees as the drove south on the only road, through the heart of the fire were unbelievable.
I'm flying to Edmonton today (I was just there not long ago) then driving up to the fire line at Fort McMurray. I suspect the road will be blocked, but we'll see what happens...

Fort McMurray Evacuation.

April 28 2016 - Edmonton, Alberta
Currently I'm in Edmonton doing a talk, but soon it will be the peak of storm season in the United States In less that two weeks, I'll be teaming up with Weather Network meteorologists Mark Robinson & Jaclyn Whittal as we track tornadoes across the Great Plains.
This will be the first time in 12 years that I won't be driving the lead vehicle for Cloud 9 Tours.

April 20 2016 - Angriest Whopper Commercial
One of the strangest things I've ever done....
I can now talk about what I was doing in Guatemala and Brazil recently.

I was invited by Burger King to assist them with a plan to descend down inside the Pacaya volcano in Guatemala (We believe a world's first), ignite a lantern flame from the lava inside, then hand the fire off to a group of contest winners who then took the eternal flame on a road trip through Central & South America to Sao Paulo, Brazil. Once there, I met up with them again and used the flame to symbolically light the grill for their new "Angriest Whopper".

Watch the video!

Burger King - Angriest Whopper

April 18 2016 - New York City
Back to the Big Apple. I frequently travel to New York, usually for some kind of TV shoot or promotional appearances. This trip is no exception. I'm in Manhattan for just one night, filming an on-camera interview for the Science Channel. This will be the third season of "What On Earth?" a show about odd or interesting things that have been spotted on satellite imagery.
I've been involved with this show since the beginning, and I'm excited to see how season three turns out. Watch for it in a few months when it eventually is broadcast.

New York City

April 11 2016 - Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii
The past few days have been wonderful. I love Hawaii so much.
Some of the highlights include:
- Exploring Hualalai Volcano Lava Tubes.
- Going to the summit of Mauna Kea for the sunset.
- Visiting Kilauea Volcano to photograph the glow from the Halema'uma'u summit crater lava lake. I would have liked to have been closer, but the crater area is currently off limits.
Tomorrow I start heading back home. I must take a moment to thank everyone at the Gartner Group who brought me to Hawaii to meet with and give a talk to their top performers. What a treat... And they really know how to throw a party!!

Kilauea Volcano - Hawaii

Lava Tubes - Hawaii

April 05 2016 - Off to Hawaii
Tomorrow I hop onto a plane and head to the Big Island of Hawaii. I'll be giving a talk in Kona, then after I'm finished up with that I'll be exploring parts of the island. This will be my third visit to the Big Island and I just love it.
Of course, I plan on visiting Volcanoes National Park while I'm there to see what's going on at Kilauea. Aloha!

Hawaii Map

April 01 2016 - New Angry Planet Episodes Premiere!
Tonight on Pivot. New episodes of Angry Planet begin with a journey to Siberia where George studies the melting Siberian permafrost, which threatens to release huge amounts of methane gas into the atmosphere. Along the way, he travels along the notorious "Road of Bones", built by gulag prisoners, and camps out with nomadic reindeer herders, eventually reaching the coldest permanently inhabited place on Earth, the village of Oymyakon, where the temperature has dipped down to -71.2C !!

The Angry Planet team doesn’t shy away from danger, it goes looking for it. Watch all-new episodes of Angry Planet beginning Friday, April 1st at 7 p.m. ET / PT as part Earth Month on Pivot, Participant Media's television network.

Angry Planet Premiere

March 13 2016 - Sao Paolo, Brazil
Now I can say where I've been for the past few days... Brazil!
We've just finished up filming the secret project that started several weeks ago in Guatemala. I must say, it is going to be pretty amazing. It's too bad I didn't have more time to stay and see more of the city, but I'm flying back to Toronto tonight.
It's been kind of crazy around here with incredible rain and flooding affecting the city, and a huge demonstration, protesting government corruption, that has brought parts of the city to a halt. Luckily, neither of these things had too much of an impact on what we were doing.

Sao Paolo, Brazil

March 09 2016 - Southampton, Ontario
So, yesterday I returned from Guatemala, then drove four hours to Southampton, Ontario where I gave a talk at the Bruce County Museum and Cultural Centre as part of their Adventure Talks series. Now that I'm done with that, I'm driving back to Toronto where I'll be hopping onto another plane. I can't say where to yet though.

Bruce County Adventure Talks

March 07 2016 - New York City
I've been in New York City for a few days now. We've been filming a LOT of promos for the upcoming season of the show, plus special bits to promote the other programming as part of Earth Month. I've also been doing some promotional appearances for the network. I love New York, and it was so awesome and a bit odd to see myself on a billboard in Manhattan, right beside the Empire State Building.
Life is weird.
Back to Toronto tomorrow.

Angry Planet Billboard - NY City

March 02 2016 - Fuego Volcano Erupts
As I was leaving the hotel in Guatemala yesterday, I was able to snap a few pictures of the nearby Fuego volcano as it had a rather large, explosive eruption.
Clouds of ash rose from the summit as blocks of lava tumbled down the slopes of the mountain. Fuego erupts frequently and is one of central america's most active volcanoes.
I'm back home in Toronto now, getting ready for the next trip.

Fuego Volcano - Guatemala

March 01 2016 - Antigua, Guatemala
I can't really say what I've been up to for the past few days, but it's been pretty epic.What I can say is that it involved a trip to Guatemala, a volcano, and a company that has hired me to do something that nobody has ever done before. There were cameras, ropes, abig crew, and a helicopter involved.
As usual, there were a lot of challenges to overcome along the way, but it all worked out in the end.
Interestingly, A lot of the planning and preparation for this trip was done while on the summit of Nyiragongo volcano in Congo last month. Yay for satellite communications.
In a few weeks, I'll be able to give more details about what's going on.
I'm actually on my way to the airport now to fly back to Toronto, and as I was leaving the hotel, the nearby Fuego volcano started erupting. I'll add some photos as soon as I get the chance. What a lucky coincidence.

Guatemala 1

Guatemala 2

Feb. 28 2016 - Guatemala
I've travelled to Antigua, Guatemala for a secret filming project that I've been working on for the past few months. If all goes as planned, it should be pretty wild.

Guatemala Map

Feb. 27 2016 - New Angry Planet Episodes Coming in April
Pivot TV has announced that the newest episodes of Angry Planet will start airing in April as part of Earth Month. We'll have five brand new, never before seen episodes that we filmed in places such as: Newfoundland, Bangladesh, Manitoba, Laos and Siberia.

Angry Planet

Feb. 26 2016 - Ottawa to Toronto Ontario
Yesterday I flew out to Ottawa to give a talk this morning, then back to Toronto just in time to attend the monthly meeting of the Explorers Club. It was a great pleasure to present Cory Trepanier the chapter's highest honor, the Stefansson medal. Cory is an explorer, film maker and painter who has done numerous large canvas paintings of remote national parks in Canada. Congratulations.
Tomorrow morning I'm back to the airport to begin my next adventure. Details to come.

Cory Trepanier Medal

Feb. 18 2016 - Toronto
I'm finally back home after the recent volcano expedition to the Democratic Republic of Congo. It was a roller coaster of problems, challenges and ultimately success! I'm going to sleep for a couple of days, but there are many more adventures coming up in the next few months.

Feb. 16 2016 - Nyamuragira Volcano
So, while were on top of Nyiragongo, we heard from the United Nations. They felt bad about not being able to help us get up here with their helicopters so they offered us a flight to the nearby Nyamuragira volcano to compensate. Wow! we had no expectation of being able to go there on this expedition so we were very excited about the opportunity.
Well, it wasn't without drama. We came down off of Nyiragongo a day early so that the whole team could get on the chopper flight but the visibility was not good and we couldn't land. Half the team had to leave the next morning so they missed their chance, but Mark and I were staying on an extra couple of days, so when the weather cleared, we jumped at the chance to try again, joined by a couple of scientists from the Goma Volcano Observatory. This time with success! The South African helicopter crew flew their Oryx right into the caldera, a short walk from the crater.
As suspected, the bottom contained a lake of lava! It happens here occasionally, and is very rarely observed, so this was as incredible privilege to be able to see it first hand.
We spent 4 hours at the volcano, filming the churning lava and feeling the heat convecting up. The crater was about 200 meters deep and the lava lake was an odd shape. Every other one I've seen has been round or roughly oval.
The chopper flight back to Goma was as exciting as the volcano. Because of the great number of armed M-23 rebels in the area, we had to fly extremely low and extremely fast over the jungle between the volcano and the city of Goma. It was a thrill, especially with the chopper doors open.
Tomorrow we start our way back home back to Toronto.



Feb. 13 2016 - Successful Descent!! Nyiragongo Volcano - Virunga National Park
So much has happened over the past week... Despite the helicopter problems, and countless other issues, we decided to scrap the whole chopper idea and climb the volcano on foot. I think we ended up hiring about 75 porters in total over several days to trasport all the gear, water, food and supplies up the 11,000 foot volcano.
Life at the summit was difficult with cold, windy conditions, volcanic gas, and bad weather. Despite the hardships, we did manage to make it to the bottom, 500 meters almost straight down!!
Standing on the edge of a 200 meter wide lake of lava, one step from dropping in was an experience I find hard to put into words. I've been dreaming about this for the past ten years, since the first time I visited the volcano in 2006. I'm so grateful to the entire team, and to everyone along the way who has helped us out. This has certainly been one of the most epic adventures I've ever been on. So many obstacles had to be overcome to do this once in a lifetime expedition.
But wait, the expedition is not quite over yet, there's potentially another chapter to this story to come.... Stay tuned.
See the Nyirigongo page to read more and see photos from this extraordinary expedition!



Feb. 03 2016 - More Helicopter Madness - Goma, D.R. Congo
More bad news... We loaded everything back up for the third day in a row, and went back to the United Nations air base... Again. This time we were going to try to get to the summit of Nyiragongo volcano with a smaller helicopter, but then there was confusion as to whether they could fly up there at all. We were told that it was not possible and that they had never landed up there before.... We've been getting mixed messages about what is possible and what isn't. Nobody seems to know what the f*ck is going on!

We're several days behind schedule now and are getting desperate. We're got some good connections here and we're looking at other options, but it looks like we'll probably have to go up on foot. Not the end of the world, it'll just require dozens and dozens of porters to carry everything up.

We had to leave Mark behind this morning because he was even more ill than yesterday. Boy was he surprised when we walked back in this afternoon. BTW, he's feeling a bit better.


Feb. 02 2016 - Attempting to land a helicopter on Nyiragongo volcano
Murphy's law strikes again... We had good weather this morning and we went through the whole process of loading up the 1000kg or so of equipment, water and food into the helicopter. We managed to get up there, but the pilot couldn't find a place to land. We know that people have taken helicopters up there before, but part of the problem was that we were in a very large MI8 chopper. The landing area was apparently too small. We had to abort.... again! Second day in a row.

So frustrating. We have now changed the plan for the 12,000th time. We'll be sending 300 kg of water up with porters to lighten the load and we'll try again tomorrow. The U.N. people assure me that there is a crew with experience who can do it. They've been really helpful, and we're tremendously grateful. I'm cautiously optimistic, but the terrain up there is incredibly steep.

In other news, Mark is not feeling well, so he's spending the rest of afternoon resting and hydrating.

UN Helicopter

Feb. 01 2016 - United Nations Compound - Goma, D.R. Congo
Unbelievable! We spent the morning at the United Nations peacekeeping compound and actually got on to our helicopter.... Unfortunately, the drama of the previous day's has been eclipsed with even bigger drama. I was tasked with helping the Russian pilots find a landing spot at the volcano summit but the visibility was terrible. At one point, I was in the cockpit and we were flying between two ridges when the visibility dropped to zero in the clouds. It was frightening to lose sight of the ground. I was fully expecting to witness us crashing into the side of the volcano. The pilot and I decided to abort the flight.

Our two tons of freight and the entire team has reconvened at the airport and we will try again tomorrow. I don't think I could write a drama this wild!


Jan. 30 2016 - Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo
The insanity continues. We finally made it to Goma in The Congo... Entry visa problems continued, 3/5 of the team were in the process of being deported back to Ethiopia! A 5000 Euro bribe was suggested, and a standoff ensued. They were on the tarmack with the plane waiting to be forced back on, while the rest of us scrambled to try and get help.
Moments before getting on the plane, the governor called and suddenly, we were OK. Other complications followed, but we're here. A day and a half late, and without all our freight yet. What a morning!!
Update... Even more insanity. After the debacle at the airport, we tried to go into town to get some supplies, but there was a soccer match and Congo beat Rwanda. At that instant, the city erupted in chaotic celebration. Thousands of people filling the streets, cheering, fighting, standing on the roof of moving vehicles. There was just no way that we could get anything accomplished. All the shops closed, and city descended into mayhem around us. Stay tuned for more...

Goma, D.R. Congo

Jan. 29 2016 - Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Huge problems right off the bat. A typo on my entry visa + the others are having visa issues + another one of us lost his luggage claim tags We're stuck in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia because our flight to the Congo is cancelled due to a mechanical problem. Now we have to try to sort out the ripple effect caused by the delay, AND we get to try this all again tomorrow. All of this is after a 13 hour flight and no sleep since Wednesday night. Ah, the glamour!!
Our cameras have been confiscated by the airport authorities and we have not slept yet. We will be heading back to the airport at 5AM to try this again.

Jan. 27 2016 - Next Expedition - Eastern Congo & Nyiragongo Volcano
Last minute preparations and packing are happening. Tomorrow, the journey to eastern Congo begins.
This will be my second time visiting the Democratic Republic of Congo. The last time was in 2006, while filming at Nyiragongo volcano for season one of Angry Planet. This time, the expedition is going to be much bigger. I'm teaming up with some of my regular adventure partners... Geoff Mackley, Bradley Mabrose, Chris Horsely and Mark Robinson, to not only visit the volcano, but to also go down inside of it. Something that is not done very often.

We will be helped out by the Goma Volcano Observatory who are responsible for monitoring the volcano which is very close to the city of Goma, the provincial capital, home to 800,000 people.
We're also getting help from the United Nations. The UN has a very strong peacekeeping presence in eastern Congo, and they will be supplying helicopter support for the expedition.

More updates to come as the expedition progresses.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Jan. 25 2016 - What On Earth?
Tuesday on Science Channel - Season 2 of What On Earth? premieres. I appear in a few episodes, adding commentary on stories about strange & bizarre imagery from around the world caught by orbiting satellites.

What On Earth?

Jan. 24 2016 - Stormhunters
Hey Canada... A brand new episode of Stormhunters is on tonight! It will be showcasing the record breaking South Carolina flooding we filmed back in October.
7PM EST on The Weather Network.
Photos from this flooding event


Jan. 22-24 2016 - U.S. Mid-Atlantic - Washington D.C. to New York City
The Blizzard of January 2016 will go down in history as a record breaking event. The winter storm prompted multiple states across the Mid-Atlantic United States to declare a state of emergency. Six states observed snowfall in excess of 30 in (76 cm), with accumulations peaking at 66 in (170 cm) on Mount Mitchell, North Carolina. The storm took aim at the most densely populated part of the U.S. including New York, Washington D.C. Philadelphia, and Baltimore. Total economic losses are estimated between $500 million and $3 billion. The storm ranked as a Category 4, "crippling", storm on the Regional Snowfall Index for the Northeast and Southeast regions.
I teamed up with Tim Millar and Mark Robinson to document this event. We started in Baltimore, then travelled through D.C. and up to New Jersey and eventually New York City.

Mid-Atlantic Blizzard 2016

Mid-Atlantic Blizzard 2016

Jan. 13 2016 - Angry Planet now on Manoto TV
So... Angry Planet is now airing on the Persian language channel, Manoto TV which broadcasts to: Europe, Northern Africa & the Middle East (including Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan).

Manoto TV

Jan. 08 2016 - Ontario Science Centre - Special Screening
Hey Ontario weather people. This Saturday, you can come to a preview screening of "Myth or Science: Eye of the Storm" at the Ontario Science Centre. After the screening, there will be a panel discussion with myself, Dr. Jennifer Gardy (the host of the program) and Mark Robinson. The panel will be moderated by CBC Toronto New Meteorologist Jay Scotland.

This is a once only event

In The Eye Of The Storm

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




















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