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2020 Archive News/Blog & Recent Events - George Kourounis

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Dec 31 2020 - So Long 2020... Hello 2021
 
Happy New Year everyone. 2020 has been a really tough one for so many people, and the world won't simply reset at midnight... So, we're still in for some challenging times but I'm really enthusiastic about what 2021 may hold, and I hope you and your family & friends have a safe, healthy, and prosperous year ahead.
 
Here's to some better times and grand adventures in 2021!!

Dec 22 2020 - Port Burwell Erosion Canyon
 
In recent years, near Port Burwell, Ontario, erosion has caused a gaping chasm to form on the north shore of Lake Erie. It keeps getting worse every year, and the erosion appears to be accelerating with no way to stop it. The photos really show how the canyon (technically a very large gully) has expanded. The Weather Network and I teamed up to do some reporting on the phenomena, and any time there's a huge hole in the ground, I'm always interested in dropping down inside, so we rigged up some ropes for safety, and dropped down inside to the very bottom.

Port Burwell Canyon

Dec 14 2020 - The Northern Take Podcast
 
RBC's Avion Collection has launched a brand new travel-focused podcast, and I was one of the first people to be interviewed on it. The Northern Take is hosted by Jon Montgomery (Host of The Amazing Race Canada), and in each episode he talks to some of Canada's most interesting personalities. Our discussion ranged from how I started storm chasing to some of my favourite places in Canada and why every Canadian needs to visit our territories in the north.
 
It was a lot of fun, and I hope you enjoy it.
The Northern Take

The Northen Take Podcast

Dec 02 2020 - New Science Channel TV Show - Conspiracies Decoded
 
I appear in the brand new Science Channel series "Conspiracies Decoded" which has its premiere on Thursday evening at 10PM EST.
My role is as a contributor that helps to debunk & separate fact from fiction around various conspiracies, crimes and other stories.
While I still don't know how many of these episodes I appear in, I suspect quite a few. This is the third Science Channel show that I'm currently involved with. (Along with "What On Earth?" & "Strange Evidence").

Science Channel - Conspiracies Decoded

Nov 19 2020 - TEDx Ashbury College
 
I gave a new TEDx talk this week. Ashbury College, a school in Ottawa, Ontario that has been organizing their own TEDx events for years invited me to be part of their 2020 event. Due to the Covid pandemic, the event was held virtually, and I pre-recorded my talk. The theme for this event was Uncharted Waters, so I talked about what the terms means, how it relates to exploration, and how we are all explorers at heart.
 
Among the other speakers were: Rawlson King - Ottawa City Counselor, Cindy Blackstock - Executive Director: First Nations Child & Family Society, Sheila Copps - Former Deputy Prime Minister, as well as several of the students themselves gave talks. It was a great evening.
 
This was my 5th TEDx talk!

TEDx Ashbury College
Science Channel - Conspiracies Decoded
 
I'm a contributor in the new Science Channel TV series Conspiracies Decoded where help to discuss and debunk some of the most interesting conspiracies and true-crime mysteries by looking at the science behind them.

Nov 18 2020 - RCGS Fellows Show
 
At this time of year, I'm usually in Ottawa, attending the Royal Canadian Geographical Society's annual College of Fellows Dinner, but because the event was canceled, an online virtual show was put on instead. Because it is one of my favourite nights of the year, frequent expedition partner Robin Brooks and I decided to have our own Covid-style celebration. The 2 of us got dressed up, had dinner and watched the show while video-calling other RCGS fellows. It was a great compromise in these plague-times.
 
The show was hosted by MTV host Aliya Jasmine and featured appearances by: Michael Palin, Les Stroud, Margaret Atwood and many more. There was also a touching tribute to Alex Trebek, the society's honorary president who lost his battle with cancer only a few days ago.
 
A special shout-out and congratulations to my good friend (and storm-chase partner) Weather Network meteorologist Jaclyn Whittal who was just elected to the society.

2020 RCGS Fellows Show

Nov 15 2020 - Wild Waves and Flooding on Lake Erie
 
With Covid-19 still spreading out of control across much of the world, and no real opportunities to travel for months, this historically potent autumn storm on the Great Lakes was a welcome treat for me.
 
The forecast was unlike anything I've seen before on Lake Erie. I ended up going to a few of my favorite spots along the shore whenever a southwest wind blows through. The waves at Crystal beach were as big as I've ever seen them, but the big problem was the storm surge flooding. The winds blew water from the western side of the lake to the eastern side, similar to a storm surge during a hurricane.

2020_11_15_02

2020_11_15_09

Nov 02 2020 - Egypt Trip Auction to Support the RCGS
 
The Royal Canadian Geographical Society is holding an online fund raising auctions and one of the items up for bid is a trip for 2 to join me in Egypt as we explore the pyramids & sphinx of Giza, the mighty Nile river, Alexandria, Aswan and more. The trip will almost certainly go for much less that the retail value, so it is a great opportunity.
 
The trip is scheduled for late Nov. 2021 (more than a year away) with flexibility due to any potential pandemic restrictions.
 
There are all kinds of other great trips & items also up for bit. Check them all out.

Egypt Trip Auction to Support the RCGS

Oct 25 2020 - BBC News Reel - The History of the "Doorway To Hell"
 
BBC News recently did a profile on the history of the Darvaza "Doorway To Hell" crater in Turkmenistan, so I'm not surprised that they reached out to me for the feature. They did a great job of going into detail about the mystery surrounding the real origin of the crater. The truth is, we don't know exactly when it formed, or the exact circumstances surrounding it's formation and subsequent ignition.
 
Check it out

BBC News - Darvaza History

Oct 23 2020 - Angry Planet on The Weather Network
 
The Weather Network has recently started re-airing some of the season 1-3 episodes of Angry Planet again. To help promote these episodes, I've been shooting some bonus behind-the-scenes bits. Today we had such incredibly good weather, that we filmed a few of these in a nearby park with some great fall colours in the background.
 
Angry Planet is airing on The Weather Network in Canada on Saturday evenings at 7 PM & 11 PM.

Angry Planet on The Weather Network

Oct 21 2020 - Ontario Science Centre Auction
 
Ready, set, bid! The Ontario Science Centre's RBC Innovators' eAuction is back, and bigger and better than ever. This year, one of the items that you ca bid on is a video meet & greet with me. Over the years, I have developed a great relationship with the Science Centre, and I'm delighted to have been asked to help out.
 
There are all kinds of great items and experiences to bid on. Learn more

Ontario Science Centre Auction

Oct 15 2020 - What On Earth? - Science Channel
 
Season 6 of What On Earth? is currently being broadcast internationally on the Science Channel. I appear in quite a few of the episodes, commenting on various unusual or mysterious satellite images.
 
Thursday nights on Science Channel. Check your local listings.

What On Earth? - Science Channel

Sept 28 2020 - Travel Channel - Doomsday Caught On Camera
 
Tonight on Travel Channel. I'll be showing up on a new program featuring extreme weather caught on camera.

9/28 at 7 PM and again at 11 PM PT on the Travel Channel

Travel Channel - Doomsday Caught On Camera

Sept 14 2020 - My Life Through A Lens
 
Metro.co.uk showcased me in their "My Life Through A Lens" feature.
My Life Through a Lens is a series that looks at one incredible photo, and shares the story that lies behind it
 
Read the article here

My Life Through A Lens - Metro UK

Sept 13 2020 - UNILAD Video Feature
 
UNILAD online mag did a feature/interview with me for their People & Culture section. I talked about many of my global expeditions, chasing extreme weather and other fearsome forces.
 
Check it out here

UNILAD

Sept 02 2020 - Daily Mail Article
 
The Daily Mail just published an interview/photo essay on some of my most extreme expeditions from around the world, from volcanoes in Congo and the South Pacific to chasing tornadoes across the U.S. Midwest.
 
Read the article here

Daily Mail online

Aug 26 2020 - Wild Deer at the Cemetery - London, ON
 
Today I got to photograph deer at the Woodland Cemetery in London, ON. There's a population of them that frequent the area and they very used to humans. A great little local wildlife adventure.
 
See more pictures here.

Deer - London ON

Aug 15 2020 - Leif Erikson Exploration Award
 
What an honor to have been selected as the 2020 winner of the Leif Erikson Exploration Award, which is handed out annually by the Exploration Museum in Húsavík, Iceland.
 
A small ceremony was held online, which also included the winners in the other categories:
 
- George Kourounis - The Leif Erikson Exploration Award, recognizing an explorer for a recent or a lifetime achievement in the field of exploration.
 
- Dr. Ulyana N. Horodyskyj - The Leif Erikson Young Explorer Award, awarded to an explorer under the age of 35 for great achievements in exploration.
 
- Jeff Blumenfeld - The Leif Erikson Exploration History Award, which recognizes a person or an organization that has worked to promote and preserve exploration history.

Leif Erikson Exploration Award

July 14 2020 - 100 Women In Finance
 
Many thanks to everyone over at 100 Women In Finance for inviting me to be the speaker for their global webinar "Unlocking Inspiration During Change".

100 Women In Finance

July 07 2020 - Beyond The Chase - The Weather Network
 
This special was a behind the scenes look at what it's like to chase storms for The Weather Network. This panel discussion, moderated by Amanda Weldon featured myself along with Mark Robinson, Jaclyn Whittal and Kyle Britain.
 
You can watch it here.

Beyong The Chase - The Weather Network

June 30 2020 - Popular Mechanics - Floor Is Lava
 
I had fun being interviewed for this Popular Mechanics article.
They wanted to know what would happen if the new Netflix obstacle-course gameshow "Floor Is Lava" used REAL lava.

Spoiler alert: It wouldn't go well for the contestants.
 
Read The Article.

Popular Mechanics - Floor Is Lava

June 28 2020 - New TV Shoot
 
Things are very, very slowly returning to "normal". Today I just spent the past two days in front of the cameras, as a contributor for another new television series. More details to come later when I can announce when and where the program will be broadcast.

New TV Shoot

June 25 2020 - CanGeo Talks
 
Despite the pandemic, I'm still able to speak to large groups of people, just not in person right now. Many thanks to Canadian Geographic for inviting me to give an online talk about my explorations as part of their Virtual Speakers Series.

CanGeo Talks

June 10 2020 - Goderich, Ontario
 
I managed to squeeze in a social-distancing storm chase today and made it all the way out to Goderich Ontario, which is on the shores of Lake Huron. There I met up with some other chasers and we all watched a photogenic shelf cloud come in over the lake. Once it passed us though, it was gone. It was moving too swiftly to catch up to it. There was a confirmed tornado reported at one point later in the day, very close to where I was.

Goderich Ontario Storm

May 31 2020 - Canadian Geographic Challenge 25th Anniversary
 
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Canadian Geographic Challenge. A nation-wide competition for students to showcase their geography knowledge. It was a great honor to be invited to not only submit a video question (which I recorded while I was in Japan) But was also brought in live via Zoom to congratulate the finalists.

Canadian Geographic Challenge

May 25 2020 - Weather Network Filming
 
Back in the saddle again!
Yesterday I did my first post-Covid TV interview. This one was for 2 episodes of “Captured” on The Weather Network. Suit jacket + shorts and sandals!! The newest fashion trend? What do you think?

Filming For Captured On The Weather Network

March 23 2020 - Quarantined in Toronto
 
My 14 day quarantine period is almost up and I've never experienced a global crisis like this before. Countries have shut down their borders, air travel has almost completely ground to a halt, and the virus is expected to have serious consequences globally for many months to come. I don't know what that means for the rest of the trips and expeditions I have planned for the rest of the year, but my trip tp New York City for the Explorers Club Annual Dinner has been cancelled. The dinner has been pushed back to October. Hopefully it isn't completely cancelled altogether.
 
At least I have a new dog to help keep me company during the lockdown. Meet Cali, she is a rescue dog that came from the Cayman Islands.

Cali the Pooch

March 12 2020 - New Episodes of "What On Earth?"
 
Watch for me on new episodes of "What On Earth?”
 
Starting tonight on Science Channel 9PM

What On Earth? - Science Channel

March 11 2020 - Kobe, Japan
 
Goodbye Fukae Maru. We got off the ship in Kobe, and I, m getting ready to finally fly back to Canada from Osaka.
 
My time aboard the Fuae Maru was great. Many thanks to the scientists ans crew who were a joy to work with. We spent quite a bit of time towing a special magnetometer from the stern of the ship, studying the seafloor.
 
The material I filmed aboar will be part of an upcoming TV series that I'll be able to share more information about in the months to come.
 
I absolutely loved my time in Japan, and I cant wait to come back. The last leg of my journey will finish my trip around the world that started a month ago and took me through Tanzania, The Seychelles, Hong Kong and Japan.
 
It looks like the Covid-19 virus is really spreading more and more internationally now, and as soon as I get home, I'll have to go into a 14 day quarantine period.

Kikai_Caldera_12

Kikai_Caldera_11

March 05 2020 - Nagasaki, Japan
 
The Fukae Maru... My home for the next 5 days.
 
It's a scientific research ship from the Kobe Ocean-Bottom Exploration Center, and I'll be on board filming their operations. The expedition team studies the plate tectonics around Japan as well as the Kikai Caldera underwater super-volcano using sonar, a magnetometer and other instruments to map out parts of the sea floor.
 
Fingers crossed for calm seas...

Kikai_Caldera_10

March 04 2020 - Kagoshima, Japan
 
I made it to Japan!
 
I'm here in Kagoshima to meet up with a TV crew that are producing a show about various disasters, and I've been spending quite a bit of time in front of the camera.
 
Looming over the city of Kagoshima is the Sakurajima volcano
 
Sakurajima erupts pretty much daily, sometimes more than once per day, and has become a part of everyday life in the area. There are even several villages right on the flanks of the volcano. The last big eruption was in 1914 when 58 people were killed, and the lava flows connected the island of Sakurajima with the mainland. We spent a great deal of time talking to and interviewing people who live there including people from the volcano visitor center, a local fire chief, and even a Buddhist priest and his family.
 
We got as close as you can legally get to the volcano. What a treat.
 
I wish that I'd had more opportunity to stay and witness more eruptions with better weather. I guess I just have to go back.
 
The crew and I are now relocating to Nagasaki where the next leg of this adventure begins...

Sakurajima_2020_01

Sakurajima_2020_06


March 01 2020 - Hong Kong
 
Sometimes getting around is a big part of the adventure! My goal over the past few days has been to get from the Seychelles to Japan... No easy task it would seem. My overnight flight from Seychelles to Abu Dhabi was uneventful, but now I'm stuck in Hong Kong for 2 nights due to my flight being cancelled. I'm trying to make it to the city of Kagoshima, and there are not many direct flights.
 
Fingers crossed I'll make it there after almost 4 days of travel! To make things even more surreal, the Covid-19 virus has been spreading in plces like China and Italy, and the airport here is dead quiet. Most people are wearing masks and most flights to mainland China, and some other Asian destinations have been cancelled.
 
I hope this virus doesn't continue to spread. I'd hate to get stuck overseas with no way to get back home. It'll be a month of travelling in total by the time I'm back in Toronto, and I will have flown completely around the world.
 
I can't wait to get to Japan, I've been wanting to go there for years. Hopefully tomorrow.

COVID19_Hong_Kong_02

COVID19_Hong_Kong_01

Feb 20 2020 - Aldabra Atoll, Seychelles
 
The past few days have been amazing!
 
I've been aboard the expedition ship Le Bougainville, skipping from one remote island to another here in the Seychelles. The seas have been calm, the snorkelling has been outstanding, and we've had the opportunity to get to some islands that are very seldom visited, like Aldabra Atoll. The tiny islands has a spectacular lagoon, mangrove forests, and a huge population of wild, giant tortoises. Many more than a re found in the Galapagos!
 
We took inflatable Zodiacs ashore, and got to hike around for a while, and meet with some of the researchers who are studying the tortoises and the other biodiversity on the island. My ability to post updates is limited, but rest assured, I'm doing fine. This ship is an amazing, luxury vessel.
 
 
I'm on board, shooting some video of the sales & marketing team at Zegrahm Expeditions. It's a tough assinment, but someone has to do it!

Seychelles

Seychelles

Feb 15 2020 - Zanzibar, Tanzania
 
I have arrived at the first stop on my round-the-world trip. The island of Zanzibar, in the indian Ocean, off the coast of Tanzania.
 
Zanzibar is known for a few things... It's exotic spices, as a major hub during the slave trade... And the fact that Freddie Mercury form Queen grew up here.
 
We spent the past few days wander around the narrow streets of Stone Town, enjoying the vibrant seaside, and visiting a few other locations around the island such as a spice plantation, and the national park where we saw several different species of monkeys.
 
Zanzibar has such a great vibrant feel to it. Lots of activity, freindly people, and plenty to see.
 
Soon it'll be time to leave Tanzania behind me and board the ship Le Bougainville. I'll be on board filming some videos for the Zegrahm Expeditions marketing department, and I'm really looking forward to it. Tonight is my last night on dry land.
 
More pics from Zanzibar

Zanzibar_01

Zanzibar_02

Feb 10 2020 - Upcoming Travel to Zanzibar, Seychelles & Japan
 
I'm just finishing up packing for my latest series of adventures that'll take me all over the world to Africa, the Indian Ocean then the Far East.
 
I depart tomorrow for Zanzibar Island, Tanzania. After a few days there, I'll be hopping on board a ship and will be headed to the Seychelles, north of Madagascar. I've been invited on board by Zegrahm Expeditions as a special guest. I'll also be shooting a bunch of photos and video for them, so watch out for more on that.
 
It'll be nice to spend some time in that tropical paradise. This will be my first time in that country and I'm really looking forward to it.
 
As soon as I'm done in the Seychelles, I'll be heading directly to Japan. I can't say too much about what I'll be doing there, but I'll be involved in a TV project that will include some extremes of nature!
 
I can't wait for that leg of the trip as well. I haven't been to Japan before, so this next month will be filled with plenty of new places and experiences. I'll be updating social media as much as I can, so be sure to follow me on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram to see the day to day pics from this trip.

Seychelles_Map

Japan_Map

Feb 08 2020 - Guinness Book Of World Records
 
Guinness Book of World Records 2020 - The 2020 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records acknowledges my Darvaza, Turkmenistan expedition and the record I set for being the first to ever set foot at the bottom.
 
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_2020


Feb 04 2020 - CanGeo Talks - Ottawa, Ontario
 
The morning after flying home from Denver, I drove out to Ottawa to take part as a panelist and moderator for an onstage event at the Alex Trebek Theatre at the Royal Canadian Geographical Society headquarters.
 
Canadian Geographic Magazine declared their top 90 Canadian explorers of all time, which included 45 living and 45 deceased... From the early pioneers and indigenous explorers, all the way up to modern times.
 
The event was a debate/discussion with fellow Explorers-In-Residence Adam Shoalts and Johnny Issaluk.
 
Because there are so many different explorers from different eras, that span a wide range of fields, we found it impossible to name just one who was "Canada's Greatest" but a few of the names that ended up towards the top of the list after the discussion were Bill Lishman, Joe MacInnis, and Samuel Champlain.
 
It was a fun evening, and it is an honour to be considered amongst Canada's top 45 living explorers.

CanGeoTalks_01

CanGeoTalks_02

Jan 31 - Feb 02 2020 - ChaserCon - Denver, Colorado
 
This weekend I flew down to Denver for ChaserCon 2020, the National Storm Chaser Convention. This was the 22nd year of the convention, and the very last ChaserCon. Organizers Roger and Caryn Hill have decided to make this the final one.
 
The weekend was filled with great talks, vendors, and retrospectives of the past several decades of storm chasing. Lots of my friends were there, and I got to make many new ones as well.
 
In the parking lot were the TIV 2 (Tornado Intercept Vehicle, as well as one of the DOW trucks (Doppler On Wheels).
 
I wasn't just attending the convention, I was one of the presenters. As a matter of fact, I had the honour of giving the very last talk of the final ChaserCon. My topic was all about expanding storm chasing from the Great Plains and going international.
 
I can't possibly list all the great friends and colleagues who were in attendance, and many of the legends of storm chasing were there.
 
I will be back out in Tornado Alley again this spring. Like last year, I'll be teaming up with Tom Dolan and his Tornado Verification And Doppler Radar Analysis Project.

ChaserCon_01

ChaserCon_02

Jan 24 2020 - Insider
 
Insider web magazine recently did a feature about the Darvaza crater in Turkmenistan, and I was inteviewed about my experiences there.
 
"Astonishing photos show the Gates of Hell, a fiery gas crater that's been burning for decades in the Turkmenistan desert"
 
Read the article here.

Insider

Jan 16 2020 - What On Earth? - Science Channel
 
Brand new episodes of the show "What On Earth? are now airing on The Science Channel on Thursday evenings.
 
This is season 6 of the show, and I appear as a commentator in numerous episodes this season, talking about interesting things that have been spotted by orbiting satellittes.
 
Tune in, or learn more here.

What On Earth

Jan 15 2020 - Raw Talk Podcast
 
I was invited to be guest on the Raw Talk Podcast. This latest episode is all about the health impacts of climate change.

Raw Talk is a graduate student-run podcast about the journeys, experiences, and perspectives of some of the most accomplished medical researchers and professionals at the University of Toronto.

Raw Talk Podcast

Jan 01 2020 - Happy New Year
 
As we embark on a brand new year (and decade I suppose), I wish you all health, prosperity, adventure and discovery. I have some big plans for 2020 that will, of course, include plenty of travel around the world. Look for upadtes here and on all my social media platforms.
 
At the bottom of this page are links to previous year's posts. Enjoy!

Happy New Year


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

2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

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


All Images Copyrighted G. Kourounis

All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized Use Is Prohibited