National Geographic : 1992 Jun
On Assignment CC e belly crawled about 200 yards through the most ant-infested wilderness I'd ever seen." GEOGRAPHIC writer DON BELT was moving across Tonkiy Island in Lake Baikal behind Sasha Timonin, a Russian biologist who served as guide and all-around trou bleshooter. He led Don and photog rapher Bill Curtsinger down a cliff face to observe endemic Baikal seals as they sunned themselves on rocks in the shallows. "We saw that one had gotten tan gled in a seal hunter's net," Don recalled. "It was digging deep into her neck; she was going to either strangle or bleed to death." The team mounted a rescue. Splashing through waist-deep water, Don grabbed the seal and, kneeling, held her (right) as Sasha cut the net and then gently examined the wound. For Don, who has written about the twisting glories of the Chattooga River and the sere beauty of Baja California, the friendship with the unflagging Sasha confirmed his sense that it is people who make the most remote places memorable. Standing out in a crowd once terri fied free-lancer JOANNA PINNEO. "I was painfully shy in college." As an aspiring photojournalist, she knew that being bashful was no blessing. After graduation she attended BILLCURTSINGER(ABOVE); TANNENMAURY,ASSOCIATEDPRESS public events just to watch profes sional photographers at work. Land ing a job with a Christian magazine, she soon was shooting pictures of missionaries in Asia, Africa, and South America. More confident, she covered sports and politics for the Associated Press, then did a stint on a news magazine. On her first GEOGRAPHIC assign ment, Joanna entered Kuwait City two weeks after the Persian Gulf war to meet local Palestinians. She found a crowd standing grimly in a breadline where their ration was half that of Kuwaitis. Despite the bleak circumstances, Joanna says, "When I focused on the people, they seemed incredibly beautiful. And that's a miracle to me." NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC (ISSN0027-9358) IS PUBLISHEDMONTHLYBYTHE NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY,17THANDM STS. N.W., WASHINGTON, D.C. 20036. $21.00A YEAR,$2.65A COPY. SECOND-CLASSPOSTAGE PAID AT WASHINGTON,D.C., AND ELSEWHERE.POSTMASTER:SEND ADDRESS CHANGES TO NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC,P.O.BOX 2174,WASHINGTON,D. C. 20013.