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George Kourounis: Escapades Of Wild Weather Adventurer & Guiness World Record - Travel - Nairaland

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George Kourounis: Escapades Of Wild Weather Adventurer & Guiness World Record by Macsjebs(m): 4:52am On Sep 07
George Kourounis from Canada started professionally chasing extreme weather and environments in 1997. He famously descended inside the Darvaza flaming gas crater in Turkmenistan to set a world record

George Kourounis, the fearless Canadian admits that he is addicted to wild weather and wild landscapes and that he's a self-confessed 'nature junkie'.

Kourounis says that he has had lightning strike so close that he felt the heat on his face and that he was on the ground when Hurricane Katrina hit Gulfport in Mississippi - an experience he likened to 'being in a blender for hours and hours'.

On another perilous outing, he had a tornado push a farmer's irrigation system over, smashing the windshield of the vehicle he was driving and when he explored a cave on Mount Elgon in Kenya he had a different kind of near-death encounter.

He explains: 'I was filming a TV show in Kenya, trying to document the herds of elephants that go into the cave at night to scrape the cave walls with their tusks (yes, you read that right).





'They then chew on the rocks to add some minerals to their diet. It's the only place in the world where this behaviour is seen.

'Unfortunately, there is a population of fruit bats that live in the cave have been linked to several cases of Marburg Haemorrhagic Fever (similar to the Ebola virus).

'While deep in the cave one day, I managed to catch one of these bats in my hand, and as I was getting ready to show it to the camera, it bit through my glove and into my thumb.

'If you catch Marburg, you get a terrible fever as your internal organs start to liquefy, and in about a week, you die, bleeding from every orifice.

'Spending days not knowing if I was going to live or die a horrible death was the worst.'

When it comes to epicness, Kourounis says his most memorable trip was when he famously descended inside the Darvaza flaming gas crater in Turkmenistan to set a Guinness World Record in November 2013.

Nicknamed the 'Doorway To Hell', it's a sinkhole 100 feet (30 metres) deep and 130 feet (70 metres) wide, which formed when the Soviets were drilling for natural gas.





At some point, the leaking methane gas was set alight and the whole crater has been burning for close to 50 years.

Kourounis was the expedition leader on behalf of National Geographic as part of a project which involved going inside the crater and gathering soil samples for DNA analysis.

This was to look for 'microscopic life forms that are capable of surviving in these intensely hot, dry conditions', Kourounis explains.

It took a year and a half of preparation and getting government permission.

To get into the crater, Kourounis and his team stretched fire-resistant ropes across the flaming pit and he was able to go out on the ropes, using pulleys and wearing a heat-protective suit with a self-contained air tank.

Then he had to rappel down to the bottom, where he had 17 minutes to collect his samples, take some temperature readings and get out safely.

Recalling the scenario, Kourounis says: 'It looks like a glowing volcano in the middle of the Karakum Desert, but it's burning methane gas.

'To say it was hot would be an understatement. At one point I measured a ground temperature of 400 degrees Celsius. That's about as hot as a pizza oven!

'Beyond the obvious hazard of the literal giant pit of fire, some of the other hazards were not as evident. We were spied on by the government the entire time and even venomous snakes out there in the desert with us.

'The expedition was a complete success. We found extreme bacteria that lived in the hot crater, we made a cool TV programme out of the whole effort, and I was awarded a Guinness World Record for being the first person to ever set foot at the bottom.'

Kourounis' passion for exploration started as a child, with ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau and fictional archaeologist Indiana Jones among his heroes.





The adventurer, who recently turned 50, started professionally chasing his first storms back in 1997, and his expeditions have now taken him to about 75 countries on all seven continents. Some of the harder to reach places he has visited include the Democratic Republic of Congo, North Korea and islands of Vanuatu.

When it comes to packing, Kourounis says he always carries a few essential items with him when he travels.

One of his must-have gadgets is some kind of satellite communication device with built-in GPS and emergency SOS function so he can stay in touch anywhere regardless of cell phone coverage.

A roll of toilet paper is also very handy. Kourounis says: 'I like to keep it secured in a ziplock bag to keep it dry… I've been in some unusual places when the call of nature strikes.'

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Kourounis found all of his travel plans cancelled this summer and he remains locked down at his home in Toronto.

He says he doesn't think he's 'stayed in one spot this long in well over 20 years'.

For now, he has been looking ahead to future plans and when quizzed about his dream expedition, he says that he would love to explore Mount Michael on Saunders Island in the South Sandwich Islands.





Last year remote sensing satellites discovered a 'hot spot' inside the active crater.

Kourounis muses: 'This new discovery proves that there is a lake of boiling lava there but nobody has ever seen it.

'People have set foot on the island, but the mountain has never been climbed, and no one has ever witnessed the activity inside the summit crater.

'It would be a monumental expedition to attempt to get to that remote island, overcome the obstacles of terrain and weather, and take a peek inside.

'Even more ambitious still would be to go down inside the crater, but I'm dying to try. '

For those wanting to follow in Kourounis' footsteps, he advises: 'Embrace your curiosity and learn as much as you can. Read, study, research, and get outside and explore.

'Try to meet up with other people who share the same interests as you and learn from them. Build your skillset and do a little bit to advance towards what you want every single day.

'Also, try to remember why you want to do something. I document nature's extremes because I want the world to see and be inspired by how powerful and beautiful the natural world can be. Figure out your own why, and never forget it.'





Source: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-8685263/Extreme-weather-chaser-George-Kourounis-reveals-dangerous-escapades.html

2 Likes 2 Shares

Re: George Kourounis: Escapades Of Wild Weather Adventurer & Guiness World Record by janedonez(m): 5:02am On Sep 07
Some people are daring I must say.

11 Likes

Re: George Kourounis: Escapades Of Wild Weather Adventurer & Guiness World Record by LawLab247: 5:07am On Sep 07
Hmm
Re: George Kourounis: Escapades Of Wild Weather Adventurer & Guiness World Record by bigseank(m): 5:37am On Sep 07
It must surely be a whitey. This guys dont just value their lives, as if its two lives they have. you cant see a typical blackman perform all this kind stunt, for why now?. navigating the world as a blackman you are already slightly disavantaged, you would now knowingly put yourself in harms way because of one mumu thrill.

22 Likes

Re: George Kourounis: Escapades Of Wild Weather Adventurer & Guiness World Record by Truth801(m): 5:54am On Sep 07
No guts no glory

3 Likes 2 Shares

Re: George Kourounis: Escapades Of Wild Weather Adventurer & Guiness World Record by Freestainworld(m): 6:04am On Sep 07
what ever makes you feel fulfilled is worth taking the risk for.

11 Likes

Re: George Kourounis: Escapades Of Wild Weather Adventurer & Guiness World Record by backtalkG(m): 6:17am On Sep 07
Nigerians can relate because bubu is putting us through worse economic weather

27 Likes 1 Share

Re: George Kourounis: Escapades Of Wild Weather Adventurer & Guiness World Record by illicit(m): 6:59am On Sep 07
I have been to worse places and back
Re: George Kourounis: Escapades Of Wild Weather Adventurer & Guiness World Record by Samylekey(m): 8:54am On Sep 07
cool
Re: George Kourounis: Escapades Of Wild Weather Adventurer & Guiness World Record by Samylekey(m): 8:54am On Sep 07
illicit:
I have been to worse places and back

Like Sambisa?

4 Likes 1 Share

Re: George Kourounis: Escapades Of Wild Weather Adventurer & Guiness World Record by money121(m): 12:01pm On Sep 07
Ok
Re: George Kourounis: Escapades Of Wild Weather Adventurer & Guiness World Record by Careemjay: 12:01pm On Sep 07
Hmmm
Re: George Kourounis: Escapades Of Wild Weather Adventurer & Guiness World Record by Findschoolnews: 12:01pm On Sep 07
Re: George Kourounis: Escapades Of Wild Weather Adventurer & Guiness World Record by Juan4: 12:01pm On Sep 07
Gsgsg
Re: George Kourounis: Escapades Of Wild Weather Adventurer & Guiness World Record by ForeThinker: 12:02pm On Sep 07
It's well

1 Like

Re: George Kourounis: Escapades Of Wild Weather Adventurer & Guiness World Record by obicoolnino: 12:03pm On Sep 07
A
Re: George Kourounis: Escapades Of Wild Weather Adventurer & Guiness World Record by Mowsid(m): 12:03pm On Sep 07
He's just playing 1 million ways to die but luck keeps shining on his part. To some this is fear factor grin
Re: George Kourounis: Escapades Of Wild Weather Adventurer & Guiness World Record by paulolee(m): 12:03pm On Sep 07
leave these people abeg, thier country set and they gat Nothing disturbing them and its boredom dt makes them seek such adventures..
an average naija man av soo many things disturbing him and dnt av time to think about going for such adventures except if it involves quick money..
if you see or hear about the risks that our naija guys are passing through jus to leave this county illegally to Europe, you would kno dt they is more to the power of naija..

2 Likes

Re: George Kourounis: Escapades Of Wild Weather Adventurer & Guiness World Record by Matrimonous: 12:03pm On Sep 07
Scary. I wouldn't have dared.
Re: George Kourounis: Escapades Of Wild Weather Adventurer & Guiness World Record by Originality007: 12:04pm On Sep 07
grin
Re: George Kourounis: Escapades Of Wild Weather Adventurer & Guiness World Record by SegFault: 12:04pm On Sep 07
bigseank:
It must surely be a whitey. This guys dont just value their lives, as if its two lives they have. you cant see a typical blackman perform all this kind stunt, for why now?. navigating the world as a blackman you are already slightly disavantaged, you would now knowingly put yourself in harms way because of one mumu thrill.
Simple question for you, what is your business?
Re: George Kourounis: Escapades Of Wild Weather Adventurer & Guiness World Record by joelbooks: 12:04pm On Sep 07
Adventure, the best is the Morocco's Blue City


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LL-qz00iH0

1 Like

Re: George Kourounis: Escapades Of Wild Weather Adventurer & Guiness World Record by classicfrank4u(m): 12:04pm On Sep 07
R
Re: George Kourounis: Escapades Of Wild Weather Adventurer & Guiness World Record by saphiere(f): 12:04pm On Sep 07
I love adventures
Re: George Kourounis: Escapades Of Wild Weather Adventurer & Guiness World Record by Oizee(f): 12:05pm On Sep 07
Confirm risk taker
Re: George Kourounis: Escapades Of Wild Weather Adventurer & Guiness World Record by SegFault: 12:05pm On Sep 07
Better to live dangerously than to have never lived, really nice. Even if he does at least he has lived.
Re: George Kourounis: Escapades Of Wild Weather Adventurer & Guiness World Record by Burchester: 12:05pm On Sep 07
I ow
Re: George Kourounis: Escapades Of Wild Weather Adventurer & Guiness World Record by afroxyz: 12:07pm On Sep 07
bigseank:
It must surely be a whitey. This guys dont just value their lives, as if its two lives they have. you cant see a typical blackman perform all this kind stunt, for why now?. navigating the world as a blackman you are already slightly disavantaged, you would now knowingly put yourself in harms way because of one mumu thrill.

Blacks that value their lives where are they in the echelon of the world? Rubbish

6 Likes 1 Share

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