| Outside magazine, January 1996|
The Outside Prognosticator: Haven't Been There. Ain't Done That.
It's not easy being a world-beating adventurer these days. On a planet teeming with energetic busybodies, you have to find something to be first at. But fear not. In 1996, there will be a few expeditions worth writing home about.
- Zacatón Cave Diving. This March, after putting the tragic death of partner Sheck Exley behind him, renowned deepwater diver Jim Bowden of Austin, Texas, plans to make what he says will be his final attempt to reach the bottom of Zacatón. Many consider the 1,080-foot-deep cave in northeastern Mexico to be the world's deepest water-filled cavern.
- Around-the-World Backward. Last October, 28-year-old Briton Samantha Brewster left her native shores aboard a 67-foot sloop in an attempt to become the first woman to sail alone and nonstop around the world. Harder still, Brewster is trying to do it in reverse--east to west, against prevailing winds--and hopes to reach England again in April. "I know the boat. I know the route," she said before departing. "And I can't wait to be alone!"
- 24 Miles High. In June, three Albuquerque balloonists will don NASA-engineered space suits and pile into a pressurized capsule in hopes of becoming the first team to circle the earth in a helium balloon. Why the shiny suits? Setting new altitude records, Odyssey Expedition will cruise 24 miles above the earth's surface--the edge of space. "We've been practicing our parachute jumps," says cocaptain Bob Martin, not too reassuringly.
- Expedition Paratoari. This August will find anthropologist Gregory Deyermenjian, an amateur adventurer in the grand tradition, sweating it out in southeastern Peru. There he and his team will search for the Pyramids of Paratoari, ruins first photographed from space in 1976 and thought to be part of a lost Inca city. In his ninth slog to the region, the 46-year-old Bostonian hopes to find and carbon-date the vinewrapped pyramids and to compile the first known maps of the area.