Geographical

The monthly magazine of the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers. Covers a broad range of subjects related to geography in articles on people, places, cultures, adventure, responsible travel, history, science, and the envir

Articles from Vol. 74, No. 5, May

All aboard the Oceans: This Month, in a New Geogrophical Diary Series, Orla Doherty Describes Her Life on the RV Heraclitus Expedition, a Nine-Month Trip on an 82-Foot Ocean-Going Research Vessel. Supported by the Planetary Coral Reef Foundation, the Expedition Is Undertaking Coral Reef Research, Drawing on Diving, Seamanship and Maritime Skills, International Teamwork and Cultural Interactions
Jacques Cousteau was almost single-handedly responsible for several generations of divers, not just because he invented the aqualung, but because he enticed one and all to join him in his underwater world. On the RV Heraclitus we don't wear red...
Artic Year. (Letters from High Latitudes)
With the long-awaited return of the sun, the worst of the Arctic winter is now behind us, as daylight makes life so much easier. After storms that raged for several days, producing winds that were at times off the scale of our anemometers (beaufort...
As Safe as Houses? Mark Townsend Highlights the Chemical Threat Lurking in Everyday Household Products and What European Governments Are Doing to Combat It. (Global)
Hundreds of household chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects and other major adverse health effects are on the brink of being banned following the completion of sweeping new regulations this month. European officials are currently finalising...
Bags of Sleep: Steve Watkins Asks, What Better Wilderness Experience Can There Be Than Being Snuggled Up Inside a Cosy Sleeping Bag and Listening to the Gentle Pitter Patter of Rain on the Tent? (Geographical Crucial Kit)
Over the last ten years or so there have been some notable improvements in sleeping gear, which mean we can now be out in the hills without foregoing many of the comforts of home. Sleeping bag construction, in particular, has been a major focus...
Borderline Security. (US Border Conflict)
eVERY YEAR MILLIONS OF MEXICANS ATTEMPT ILLEGAL ENTRY INTO THE USA attracted by the wealth of unskilled jobs. On a 320-kilometre stretch of border near Douglas, Arizona, around 25,000 are arrested each month. However, officials believe that between...
Bushmen Driven from Ancestral Home. (Botswana)
Time may be running out for the Gana and Gwi bushmen of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) in Botswana, who are fighting to remain on their ancestral land. Earlier this year the Botswana government dealt them a potentially fatal blow by cutting...
Calling Robinson Crusoe: The Maldive Islands Are Renowned for Their Pristine Beaches and Spectacular Diving. but Global Warming Is a Dark Cloud on Their Horizon. (Responsible Travel)
THE FOUR SEASONS RESORT AT KUDA HURAA in the Maldives understands well the `Robinson Crusoe' factor, identified by the Maldivian Ministry for Tourism as key to the Maldives appeal. All Maldivian resorts occupy islands that are otherwise uninhabited,...
Cambodia: Once the Centre of the Ancient Khmer Empire, Cambodia Is Finally Emerging from Years of Turbulence in the Aftermath of Pol Pot's Despotic Rule, during Which Millions Were Killed. (Factfinder)
Official name: Kingdom of Cambodia Population: 11,851,000 Currency: Riel Official language: Khmer Religion: 95 per cent Theravada Buddhism, Five per cent other Area: 181,035 sq km Visions of a lady According to legend, the capital...
Eating Out: Piping Hot Asparagus Soup, a Feisty Chilli Con Carne, Fruit Dumplings with a Creamy Butterscotch Sauce ... Sound like a Restaurant's Menu? Actually, This Meal Can Be Served at the Summit of a Mountain. (Geographical Crucial Kit)
The boom in popularity of camping and mountain sports has led to a surge of outdoor-specific food products hitting the market. When combined with the latest and lightest backpacking stoves then there really is no excuse for not making every night...
Energy Rush: How Will We Power the Future? While Escalating Instability in the Middle East Highlights the Danger of Our Reliance on Fossil Fuels, the Race to Find a Cheap, Sustainable Energy Source Hots Up. (Renewable Energy)
THE PLANET CRAVES A NEW SUPERPOWER, AN ALL-conquering energy source that can finally replace our slavish, destructive addiction to oil. And this time it has to be renewable. Escalating political uncertainty in the oil-rich Middle East, combined...
Farmers' Markets. (Editorial)
With farmers on the breadline, consumers concerned about the safety and quality of what they eat, and green pressure groups bemoaning the state of the environment, it is fair to say rural affairs have been in a mess during the last decade. An emerging...
First Aid and Hygiene: This Month, Expedition Kit's Tim Simpson Investigates the Best First Aid Equipment for Use in the UK and Farther Afield. (Gear)
Lifesystems Expedition Sterile Kit 30 [pounds sterling] This is a technical pack for foreign travel. It contains hypodermic needles, syringes, suture kit, wound closure strips and an intravenous canula. The initial kit was put together 13...
Flying Colours: The Rainforest of Trinidad and Tobago Are an Ornithologist's Dream. Julie Cohen and Photographer Stuart Conway Take a Trip Deep into the Jungle to Catch a Glimpse of the Bird of Eternal Darkness. (Responsible Travel)
DARLINGTON CHANCE SAUNTERS TOWARDS us just before 7 am. We are caught without time for breakfast as we hoped he would follow Tobagonian custom by arriving at least half an hour late. Darlington is Tobago's only Rastafarian guide. Wearing shorts,...
Forbiden Fruit: Visitors to Phnom Penh Used to Be Charmed by the Women Who Sold Oranges in the City's Beautiful Parks. but as Times Grew Harder These `Orange Girls' Were Forced to Offer Less Savoury Extras with Their Fruit. Today They Face the Threats of Gang Rape and Infection from HIV in the Aids Capital of Southeast Asia. (Phnom Penh's Sex Trade)
AT ONE END OF A SEMI-DERELICT building in central Phnom Penh is a tiny lean-to shack. Its rough walls are made of scavenged planks and its roof of corrugated iron sheets. The ground around it is a swamp of sewage and mud, the result of daily monsoon...
Gadgets & Gizmos: Although Major Pieces of Kit, Such as a Backpack and a Tent, Are Essential for Outdoor Life, It Is Often the Less Obvious Accessories Which, Once Used, Become the First Thing on Your Packing List. Steve Watkins Discovers Size Isn't Everything. (Geographical Crucial Kit)
Multi-Tools A simple knife is no longer enough for the wilderness. Nowadays you need to have a multi-tool that can cut, screw, skewer and file, among other things. Luckily, there are whole ranges of funky ones available. Victorinox led the way...
High and Lightly: Kings, Poets and Romans Have All Enjoyed the Beauty of the British Countryside, Whether Hiking for Pleasure, Inspiration or Simply to Get Somewhere in the Shortest Possible Time
High and lightly: Kings, poets and Romans have all enjoyed the beauty of the British countryside, whether hiking for pleasure, inspiration or simply to get somewhere in the shortest possible time. While the reasons why people venture into the hills...
Hungary for Discovery; Late, Great Geographers. (People)
Sir Aurel Stein (1862-1943) Described in 1942 as "the greatest explorer of our time", Aurel Stein, the Hungarian-born archaeologist and traveller, rediscovered and unfolded the mysteries of the Silk Road, armed with a ferocious appetite for discovery...
Leader of the Pack: Whether You Are off on an Afternoon Ramble in the Surrey Hills or a Highlands Expedition, Steve Watkins Thinks There's a Rucksack on the Market Perfect for You. (Geographical Crucial Kit)
Standard wisdom on the size of pack to buy is as follows: for day trips, 25-35 litres is enough, depending on how much poor-weather clothing and cooking equipment you wish to carry; on overnight hikes, with a lightweight tent and sleeping bag, you...
Life in the Shadow of Death. (Living with Volcanoes)
LYING IN THE PACIFIC OCEAN 1,000 KILOMETRES FROM THE COAST OF ECUADOR, THE GALAPAGOS Islands are best known for their endemism and as the inspiration for Darwin's theory of evolution. But despite the azure seas and lush greenery, this is no tropical...
Life on a Volcanic Planet. (from the Editor)
ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO THIS MONTH, A VOLCANIC ERUPTION on the island of Martinique in the Caribbean killed all but one of the 29,026 inhabitants of the town of St Pierre. The scale of the catastrophe prompted wide-ranging research into how volcanoes...
Miami Goes Green: A Long-Time Destination for Fashionable People, the South Florida Hotspot of Miami Has Launched a Range of New Eco-Adventure Tours and Activities for Holidaymakers. (Travel)
Eco-tourism is an important marketing force for encouraging tourists to visit Florida. Annually, an average of 43 million visitors holiday here with 12.5 million of those visiting one or more of the state's parks and nature reserves. Miami's parks...
Poles Apart: Tents Have Come a Long Way since Genghis Khan's Time, but While Today's Lightweight Tents Are Incredibly Portable, Mongolian Nomads Enjoy Creature Comforts That Adventurers Can Only Dream about. Steve Watkins Asks If We Are Really Any Better off. (Geographical Crucial Kit)
Make & Model: Mongolian ger (pronounced with a guttural `g' followed by a rolling `r', like a growl, only more clipped). In Russia they're called yurts. Cost: Three camels, a year's supply of animal dung, and a small goat (give or take the...
Present Tents: No Matter How Good the Rest of Your Gear Is, Any Overnight Trip into the Outdoors Will Be Rendered Miserable by Spending a Stormy Night in a Poor Tent. Thankfully, Contemporary Lightweight Shelters Are Not Only Sturdy and Weather-Resistant but Some Are Positively Spacious Too. (Geographical Crucial Kit)
New lightweight fabrics, lighter-but-still-strong poles and some innovative thinking have produced a clutch of superb tents that can fit two at a squeeze, if space to sprawl is not a prerequisite but saving ounces is. MSR's recently launched...
Stay on Course: Understanding the Basics of Wilderness Navigation Is Relatively Straightforward and Well Worth the Effort. but Turning Those Basics into the Art Form That Is Advanced Navigation Can Take Years of Practise. Steve Watkins Orients Himself. (Geographical Crucial Kit)
You could spend your whole lifetime honing your navigation skills and till not quite know it all, but you don't need to be an expert in order to embark upon a good trek. One thing is for sure, though -- it is extremely dangerous to wander off into...
Striding Ahead: In the Fast Changing Outdoor World, New Technologies and Innovative Thinking Are Having a Greater Impact Every Year. Steve Watkins Takes a Peek at the Latest, Funkiest and Cleverest Bits of Kit That Have Recently Arrived on the Market. (Geographical Crucial Kit)
Ortlieb Box-It Mobile phones are becoming indispensable tools for use in the outdoors, yet until recently these often fragile items have had to be lovingly protected against the rain and dirt. Ortlieb's new Boxit, which costs just 25 [pounds...
Tasty Wart Hog Is the Dish of the Day; between the Lions, Cheetahs and the Game Meat Hunters, Nairobi's Wild Wart Hogs Are Having a Tough Time of It at the Moment. Jonathan Scott Reports on One Who Had a Lucky Escape, and Receives Sad News about Shadow's Cubs. (out of Africa)
It has been a bad week for wart hogs. The Dig male who had begun to think of our garden as a second home, and who was already missing his antenna-like tail, ended up with an arrow embedded in his head. Fortunately, wildlife veterinarian Dr Dieter...
The Tragedy of St Pierre: One Hundred Years Ago This Month a Volcanic Eruption Obliterated the Most Beautiful City in the Caribbean, Killing All but One of Its Inhabitants. Scientists Would Never Again Underestimate the Power of Volcanoes. (Living with Volcanoes)
AS YOU APPROACH THE LITTLE TOWN OF St Pierre on the northwest coast of Martinique, there is nothing to suggest disaster or tragedy. A huddle of houses dominated by a twin-spired church front the calm bay. Streets climb gently from the waterfront...
Travel Doctor
DEAR DOCTOR Recently, while on holiday in the forested north of Hungary, I was bitten by a kullancs, or forest tick. This resulted in prolonged illness and frightening visits to local hospitals, where mild encephalitis was diagnosed. Is it not...
Wind-Up Merchant: Trevor Baylis Is Britain's Most Celebrated Inventor. His Revolutionary Radio Has Brought the outside World to People of Developing Countries. (Geographical Interview)
MEET TREVOR BAYLIS, INVENTOR OF the clockwork radio -- a beautifully simple device which has changed the lives of millions of people. A salt of the Earth kind of fellow from the university of life (despite a recent plethora of honorary degrees),...

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