Pasquale Scaturro calls, he is at Montreal's airport, on his way
to Bismarck, N.D., where he will meet up with a group from Missouri.
fact, a world-class explorer and geologist should be calling from
an airport in Canada, waiting for a flight — or from a police station
in Ethiopia, waiting to be released from custody — and not from
a Lay-Z-Boy in his den, watching Seinfeld and eating Cheetos.
Great Escapes," he says of the next "adventure" in a life already
filled with enough expeditions and stories to fill a book or two.
"I am leading an expedition from the source in the Centennial Mountains
downstream to the mouth of the Missouri River," he shouts, as the
planes and recorded announcements drown him out.
it's just the latest in a long line of adventures for the AAPG member
that have taken him from the world's great seas to the top of the
world — literally — often with film crews close by, documenting
his trips for TV, documentaries or commercial films.
soft core," he adds of his next venture, an almost 2,600-mile journey
he's leading for an MSNBC special, equating these types of excursions
with those of a professional golfer playing in a Pro-Am.
love doing these things," he adds, "and it helps being a geologist,
because I'm more intimately familiar with what's around me."
long way and a welcome diversion from the hardcore Christmas day
in 2003, when Scaturro and a team of explorers set out to become
the first to complete a full descent of the Nile River, from its
Blue Nile source in the mountains of Ethiopia to its terminus just
north of Rosetta, Egypt.
later, he and his expedition partner Gordon Brown reached the mouth
of the Nile at the Mediterranean Sea, completing the 3,250-mile
their destination, Scaturro and Brown overcame:
IV and V rapids of the upper Blue Nile, where two capsizes forced
one team member to quit the expedition.
crocodiles and hippos.
by Ethiopian and Egyptian militia.
from Sudanese bandits.
of course, while attempting to film the journey's events with an
over-sized IMAX camera — a camera, Scaturro says he worried would
be confiscated by any number of armed militias.
was daunting," he says.
down the Nile, which took them through the remote desert gorges
of Ethiopia, through the arid plains of Sudan to Khartoum where
the Blue Nile merges with the White Nile to form the Nile proper,
through the port cities of Egypt and on to the Mediterranean Sea
is the focal point of a new IMAX film, called "Mystery of the Nile."
is slated for release in February.
doing these things," he says.
to ask an explorer "why." But if you wait, they'll tell you anyway.
this expression," Scaturro says. 'How hard can it be?' You get on
a raft, try not to drown; you try not to be eaten by crocodile.
And if it gets too hard, you stop."
time of the trip, Scaturro was quoted as saying, "The Nile is the
most magnificent river in the world. And no other river in the world
is as closely associated with a particular culture and society as
is the Nile. And without (it) there would be no Egypt, no pharaohs,
no pyramids. The history of the Western world is inextricably tied
to the Nile."
doesn't mean the frontier is accommodating to visitors.
being arrested, Scaturro laughs. Well … now he laughs.
occurred in Ethiopia.
about to set up camp one night in Ethiopia, when we were approached
by soldiers from Benishangul-Gumuzo (a region inside Ethiopia that
isn't happy with the government). That night, we set up perimeter
guards. Two on guard, one for each raft. After going to bed, I heard
yelling across the camp. I come out and saw that the militia commander
was sitting in my chair, telling us to come with him. I told them
we're not leaving the camp, we're not leaving the equipment, the
camps, the rafts, and we're not going anywhere."
saw dozens of armed men and thought, "Ahh, ——!"
was resolved the next day, but only after satellite cell phone calls
to Addis Ababa, hours of negotiations and overtures to both the
Ethiopian and American embassies.
arrested the second time when the team tried to get into Egypt.
was scary," he said. "Egyptian soldiers are serious."
who just turned 50, is having a mid-life crisis. But men who have
climbed Mt. Everest with blind men (at least, as the joke goes,
that's where he told the blind guy they climbed) have different
kinds of mid-life crises than the rest of us.
laughs. "Yeah, we joke with Erik (Weihenmayer, the blind explorer)
about that, and he gets pissed. We tell him we took him to Rainier."
talk gets a little serious.
50 is kind of sobering, and then it's a matter of getting your ass
in gear," Scaturro says. "I decided not to worry about getting old,
just to enjoy myself."
I am heavily involved in oil and gas," he continues. "I'm not a
commercial guy; I usually prefer a career in the oil and gas industry.
For one thing, the money's better."
again, how much he enjoys the industry and those in it.
them are just drunks," he laughs, knowing he'll see many of these
geologists at an upcoming convention or other meeting and have to
explain this comment. "I don't know why they're in science. But
petroleum geology is a fun science and geologists are fun guys —
not like engineers."
As for the
difference between climbing up Everest or rafting down the Nile:
different game, operationally more difficult than Everest," he says,
specifically about the ordeal of the six-month journey and the matter
of the Ethiopian crew, which, surprisingly, could not swim.
lost someone, you might never pick them up.
were the crocodiles," he says.
when there are crocs," he laughs, "Ethiopians can swim.
is exploration, I get a thrill out of it," he says. "And you know,
there are only so many months in life left. I wouldn't do the Nile
again, but there are other rivers I would."
there's that group from Missouri waiting in North Dakota.