September 22, 2014

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A giant brass bell tolled in a dark mahogany stairway as explorers young and old chanted “Earle – Earle – Earle – Earle,” their candles flickering. Dr. Sylvia Earle led guests to their seats in front of a roaring “Great Fire of Exploration” and took her seat at the front of the room. This ritualistic procession is not an everyday occurrence at the Explorers Club – New York’s legendary gathering place for researchers of land, sea, air, and space. Friday night’s tribute ceremony marked a very special opportunity for the club to honor Dr. Earle as one of its most beloved and accomplished members – and the first woman to receive this distinction, paving the way for female explorers in the Explorers Club and beyond.

Once seated with candles extinguished, the crowd grew silent as Faanya Rose – the club’s first female president – opened the tribute ceremony with a humorous and touching speech that compared Dr. Earle’s career to a tootsie pop because “it goes on and on.” Then, one by one, each member gave a heartfelt toast to Sylvia Earle and dashed their cognac snifter into the flames. The packed house included the President of Palau Tommy Remengesau, numerous Mission Blue board members, Ocean Elders founder Gigi Brisson, underwater photographer David Doubilet, and Dr. Earle’s daughter Gale Mead. Earle acknowledged this stream of reverent tributes with an inspiring speech about how every person can make a difference for the ocean if they keep their minds open and never stop asking questions – never stop exploring. The evening concluded with a screening of the Mission Blue film and a Q&A with Dr. Earle.

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Explorers Club members chanted Dr. Earle’s name © Courtney Mattison

 

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Sylvia Earle giving a toast to members © Courtney Mattison

 

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Sylvia Earle with Mission Blue Board Members and Explorers Club Members – Patty Elkus, Gigi Brisson and Jenifer Austin. © Jenifer Austin

 

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Guests included President of Palau Tommy Remengesau Jr (right of center), Carl Page and Barbara Hibino. © Courtney Mattison

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One Comment

  • Sylvia A. Earle says:

    Am deeply honored to have been toasted and roasted while the Great Fire of Exploration sparked, sizzled and rang with good spirits! Thanks to everyone for a wondrous evening — and a big salute to a world where
    exploration shall never cease . . . or if it does, we will find ourselves, back where we started, and know how to
    do a better job of taking care of this, our ocean-blessed planet.

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