"Operation Drake", a two-year round-the-world sailing-ship expedition, involving young people from over twenty countries, has entered its final phase during July in kenya.
SV Hot air balloon being filled at Masai Mare, kenya (2 shots)
GV Balloon rising in air
AERIAL VIEW Starting site
AV Herd of wildebeest galloping across plain
AV Herds of zebras and gazelles (2 shots)
SCU Balloonists in basket
GV Balloon in air with lions in foreground (2 shots)
GV Balloon in air with giraffes in foreground
GV Herd of monkeys
SV Balloon landed with crew climbing out of basket
GV Balloonists waiting to be picked up
From about 60,000 hopeful applicants, between the ages of 17 and 24, only 300 were finally chosen, passing a series of tough tests, to participate on the various location projects. These projects included historical work and inspecting underwater wrecks in Panama, research in Galapagos Islands such as scouring the island for dangerous wild cats and dogs, pets left by tourists, and surveying Indonesia's newest nature reserve, "morowali"
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: "Operation Drake", a two-year round-the-world sailing-ship expedition, involving young people from over twenty countries, has entered its final phase during July in kenya. The Operation began in October 1978 when a two-masted sailing ship, called "The Eye of the Wind" set off from Plymouth in England with a crew comprising mainly youths. Teams of twenty-four different groups of young explorers and scientists spend three or four months with the expedition at one of several stops to carry out planned programmes of exploration and scientific surveys. The kenyan programme includes clearing archaeological sites, a marine diving project on the Indian Ocean, and helping Masai tribesmen to survey wildebeest during migration.
SYNOPSIS: Although the real survey is completed by Land Rovers, and aircraft, the you explorers are first trained to spot and count from slow-moving balloons.
As in the earlier projects in Panama, the Galapagos Islands, Papua-New Guinea and Indonesia, the nine senior crew members and the 24 internationally-sponsored explores were joined by locally-sponsored young people.
The mass migration of hundreds of thousand wildebeest also marks the arrival of their natural predators. The larger herds are surveyed by photographers and all information is analyzed at the kenyan Rangeland Ecological Monitoring Unit. It's the largest such unit in the world, and is sponsored by the Canadian government.
One of Britain's leading explorers, Lt-Colonel John Blashford of the Royal Engineers, is the driving force behind the expedition. But the scheme was launched by its patron Prince Charles, who sailed with the first group from Plymouth.
The organisers hope he will be on hand to welcome "The Eye of the Wind" when she returns to port this December.
The round-the-world tour and its important research has been welcomed by the countries visited. The cost is expected to total over half a million pounds (about 1.2 million dollars).
The young people on this final survey, come from Papua-New Guinea, Zimbabwe, Panama, the U.K. and kenya, with a New Zealand balloon pilot. The practice session over, they wait a pick-up to start the real count.