July 7, 2013: Falling 1,000 Feet off The Andes, Saving The Great Barrier Reef, and More

A school of Diagonal-banded sweetlips swim along the Great Barrier Reef. The reef already faces threats from the environment, but now faces potential damage from a plan by the Australian government to dredge the ocean surrounding the reef. (photo by Julia Sumerling/Nat Geo Your Shot)

Every week, embark with host Boyd Matson on an exploration of the latest discoveries and interviews with some of the most fascinating people on the planet, on National Geographic Weekend.

Please check listings near you to find the best way to listen to National Geographic Weekend, or pick your favorite segments and listen now below!

Episode: 1327 – Air Date: July 7


Climber Isabel Suppe fell 1,100 feet to the bottom of the Andes and still lives to tell about what it was like to drag across the ice to help for two straight days with a broken leg and foot. Unfortunately, her partner that also fell did not make it. Her book, “Starry Night”, tells her story of losing her friend and the effort to fight for her life. She tells Boyd she wanted to push as hard as possible so that if she did die, those who found her would know she tried her best to make it. Listen here.

In the second half of Isabel Suppe’s interview she talks about her latest adventure: bicycling throughout America to promote the book. She says bicycling is less painful that walking and her injury is not stopping her from climbing. Listen here.

Salmon were once found in 50 rivers in Japan, but are now scarce. Peter Rand, with the Wild Salmon Center, is using a sonar camera to track the rare, giant Salmon still found in some Japanese rivers. Listen here.

Photographer and National Geographic Young Explorer Becca Skinner isn’t like most young adventurers – her idea of adventure is going to post-disaster areas like Katrina (and she hopes one day Chernobyl).  But on a recent ascent to El Capitan, she shares what it was like to sleep on a natural rock ledge and assures Boyd she used every precaution so she wouldn’t fall off while sleeping. Listen here.

Boyd goes back in history with author Matthew White about his latest book “Atrocities: The 100 Deadliest Episodes in Human History”. Matthew explains the surprising reason why Genghis Khan earned the number two spot on his list of deadly events. Listen here.


Perhaps one of the most mysterious of planets in our solar system, Mars is also the planet many of us wonder – or even hope – for signs of life. National Geographic Emerging Explorer Bethany Ehlmann is on the NASA Mars Rover Curiosity mission and explains what it’s like to shoot lasers at rocks on Mars, while still being here on Earth. Listen here.

Women’s rights in Afghanistan are not just limited to covering their bodies with traditional burkas; they are also not allowed to ride bikes outdoors. A 2013 Adventurer of the Year, Shannon Galpin sought to change that through her foundation Mountain 2 Mountain. Out of that organization was born the Afghan National Women’s Cycling Team, which is the subject of a new film, Afghan Cycles. Listen here.

One of the world’s most iconic and beautiful natural wonders is the Great Barrier Reef, but the Australian government wants to dredge millions of tons from the sea floor around the reef to make room for cruise harbors. Bob Irwin, with the Australian Marine Conservation Society, says dredging the ocean will do irreparable harm to the reef. He tells Boyd his plan of action to stop the Australian government’s plan. Listen here.

We all have the same organs and material inside our bodies, but it’s not usually until we go to the doctor’s office that we start to think about what our organs look like. Hugh Aldersey-Williams, author of “Anatomies: A Cultural History of The Human Body” discusses the amazing history and secrets of the human body. He talks with Boyd about lungs, bladders and the widely different opinions doctors used to have about what makes up the body. Listen here.

In this week’s Wild Chronicles, accompanied by Marcus Manderson, Boyd discusses his mission to visit as many churches as possible in one day in a Macedonian town where there are 365 churches in all. He discovered churchgoers can’t sit during service because there are no pews. Listen here.

Changing Planet

Meet the Author
Gina Cook is an intern for the weekly radio program National Geographic Weekend. She is a graduate student studying multimedia journalism at the University of Missouri.