Volume 00 Issue 17

Dear Fellow Rotarians,
Happy New Year to all of you. I trust that all of you have had an enjoyable holiday and are now fully refreshed and ready for the year ahead. This also marks the halfway point in the Rotary Year. It does seem to be passing quickly. This certainly gives me incentive to redouble my efforts on behalf of the Club. I also encourage the Service Directors to take inventory of their accomplishments so far, and determine now what else they would like to acheive during this Rotary Year. There is still plenty of time left.
As promised, I have prepared a report with photos on my recent visit to the “Three Schools”. This can be viewed on the Club Web Site at: http://www.rotary3450.org/kowloon-north/
Last week I made a stop in Hawaii on my way back from spending Christmas with my family in the U.S.  The purpose of this stop was to climb the Mauna Loa Volcano (13,677 ft)  Myself and two partners began last Friday at the 6600 level and climbed that day to a small hut situated at just over 10,000. Having come directly from sea-level we were definitely feeling the effect of the thin air. The following day we started off with the intention of climbing directly to the summit and then descending to spend the night at a hut at 13,250. The altitude took its toll on my two partners and both of them elected to proceed directly to the hut and skip the summit bid. I was inclined to do the same, especially because the hour was growing late, and I was not sure that I would be able to make the summit and return back to the hut before dark. However, I was determined to fly our Club Flag on the summit so I threw caution to the wind and proceeded on alone.
Despite the tropical location, there is no vegetation of any sort above 10,000 feet
Note the sea of clouds in the background
By the time I reached the summit it was nearly 4:30 and there was only two hours of daylight left. I hoped that I could travel the 4.8 miles back to the hut before darkness. Unfortunately, this was not to be. I made it to within about 1 mile of the hut when darkness fell and I lost the trail. The temperature was dropping fast after sunset, and I was facing the prospect of a cold night alone on the mountain without shelter. Fortunately, my partners had not forgotten about me, and set out to search for me. After a cold couple of hours they found me and we all made it back to camp safely.
This week we have a gentlemen with a most unusual profession to speak to us. Mr Dominic Brittain of the Hong Kong Police Bomb Disposal Unit will be talking about his experiences in Hong Kong. I have always been curious about whether or not professionals are terrified when they are diffusing bombs, or is it just another day at the office. Perhaps Mr. Brittain will be able to shed some light on this.
I look forward to seeing all of you there.
Yours in Rotary,
President Bill