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Expedition Staff

Aurora is proud of its expedition staff and we are fortunate to have a team of expert naturalists, historians, earth scientists and special guest lecturers that make each journey an unforgettable adventure. Education and interpretation are key elements of our voyages and we have built up a team whose experience and enthusiasm ensures you come away with a deeper understanding and appreciation of these magnificent, far flung corners of the globe.

Marcos Benavides

Originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Marcos started to cook at the age of seven for his family, which has a mixture of Russian, Italian and Spanish roots.

After trying his hand at various technical and banking jobs, he decided to pursue cooking as a career in the late 1980s.

Marcos became a professional chef in 1990 and moved to Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego as Executive Chef for an international hotel.

Marcos’ first foray into the polar regions was in January 1994, when he took a job aboard a ship going to Antarctica. Since then, he has completed more than 20 full seasons working in both the Arctic and Antarctic.

Marcos loves Asian cooking as well as traditional Middle Eastern tastes. Nowadays, when he is off the ship, he enjoys cooking for friends and family. One of his hobbies is to watch movies with his teenage son (who is reported to enjoy his Dad`s meals).


Elena Wimberger

Elena's penchant for adventure began at a young age while reading tales of polar explorers such as William Scoresby and Ernest Shackleton. The pull to the wild and unknown has taken hold ever since. Between various levels of academic education, she has directed her energies towards developing her skills and knowledge of the great outdoors.

An avid outdoor enthusiast, her primary pastimes include skiing, climbing, hiking and mountaineering. Born and raised in the pacific northwest of the United States, Elena grew up enjoying the various mountain ranges her home area has to offer. She has worked asa ski instructor and Wilderness First Responder in the Cascade and Olympic mountains.

After receiving her B.A. in Politics and Spanish, Elena backpacked 4000kms across the United States, starting at the Mexican border and finishing in Canada. Other favourite trips include a two-month backpacking trip through Patagonia and tramping through the hut-systems in New Zealand.

In between her own adventures, Elena loves sharing her passion and energy for the great outdoors with our expeditioners on board the Polar Pioneer.


Dr. Roger Kirkwood

A polar fanatic, Roger has been exploring and working in the Polar Regions for well over 20 years. Whether playing the role of Expedition Leader or Naturalist, he is always willing to share his extensive wildlife knowledge with our curious passengers.

After 10 research stints with the Australian Antarctic Division and more than 10 Antarctic seasons with Aurora Expeditions, Roger recently had a ‘pole change’. In 2013, he packed up his young family and moved to the Dutch Wadden Sea island of Texel, where he currently spends his time researching the human impacts on grey seals, harbour seals and harbour porpoises on behalf of the Netherlands’ IMARES Wageningen University.

Roger has a huge amount of experience having worked on a number of interesting research projects throughout his career. These include joining an extended marine science cruise studying krill, wintering in Antarctica to study emperor penguins, assisting geologists in remote field camps in outback Australia, as well as working as a fisheries biologist and seal researcher in Tasmania and as a research scientist at Phillip Island Nature Parks for 15 years.

Throughout his career, Roger has published over 100 research and public articles, book chapters and has even found the time to write two children’s books!


Dr. John Kirkwood

This ‘mad scientist’ has been involved in polar and marine research for over 30 years, studying animals ranging from microscopic crustaceans to dugongs and whales. His love of travel and the natural world, as well as his passion for sharing his knowledge about the planet’s wild and wonderful places, makes him the ideal candidate for an Aurora naturalist.

John worked as a Marine Biologist with the Australian Antarctic Division in the 1980’s as part of Australia’s first dedicated Antarctic marine science expedition, then completed a PhD on the ecology of an Antarctic fjord. He has since worked as a Lecturer at Griffith University, a Fisheries Scientist with the Queensland Government and a Senior Lecturer at The University of Queensland. He has also been a keen collaborator on the University of Queensland’s Dugong program, and is adept at catching dugongs and then sexing them using his patented ‘6-pack’ method.

Some of John’s other experiences over the years have included overwintering in Antarctica, catching dugongs in Moreton Bay, under ice diving in Antarctica, leading marine eco-tours to the Great Barrier Reef and studying fish in the North Atlantic. In recent years, he has been fortunate enough to travel more extensively, and has spent time in some remote and spectacular places such as the Namibian desert, the Galapagos Islands, the Amazon rainforest and the Norwegian fjords.

Whether in the Arctic or Antarctica, each time John travels with Aurora he says he always experiences something new and exciting, and he always eagerly anticipates each and every voyage.


Heidi Krajewski

Venturing out to sea as a Sea Cadet during her teens, Heidi then left home to work as a deckhand ona schooner on the west coast of her native Canada. Further travels to Bermuda and Canada’s west coast ignited a keen interest in the natural world.

Following her passion, Heidi worked on wilderness adventure boats to put herself through a Marine Biology degree at the University of Victoria in British Columbia. She has been enthusiastically interpreting the natural world ever since.

Heidi is a director of the Marine and Education Research Society, and has helped with the first Photo ID catalogue of Minke Whales in British Columbia. She has also run a research vessel with her husband, completing many projects including a large baseline study of all marine mammals and sea birds on the British Columbia coast for Raincoast Conservation Society.

For the past three years Heidi has been exploring the South Pacific on a small yacht, and she is exciting to be sharing her passion for nature and wildlife with our expeditioners!


Sappho Brothers

Growing up in beautiful Tasmania, and having already travelled extensively to many extraordinary places, it didn't take much for Sappho to join the Aurora Expeditions' team in 2011.

Since then she has remained part of the team on numerous voyages to the Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia, East Antarctica, Macquarie Island, Scotland, Norway and the European Arctic; including some time in between to thaw out in Papua New Guinea.

With Antarctic exploration running in her family, Sappho recently joined her cousin as a crew member for a special BBC Antarctic expedition to film the Deadly 60’s Pole to Pole series.

Having completed a double major in Communications and Art History through Griffith University, Sappho now works in functions and events organisation at Hobart's Museum of Old and New Art. She also manages to find the time to put her yoga teaching qualifications to use, write, sing and play music, as well as work with her business partner (her sister) to prepare their health food van for one of Tasmania's many cultural events.

Sappho loves nothing more than to share her passion for the environment and experiences in remote and amazing places with Aurora Expeditions’ enthusiastic expeditioners aboard the Polar Pioneer.


Stephen Anstee

Stephen was born and raised mostly in Sydney, but his fascination for travel and other cultures came to him after spending a few years in Fiji at a young age. A degree in surveying took him to the SE China Sea before extensive worldwide travels led him tosettle in Canada. Having grown up in and around boats he later made a lifestyle change into marine wilderness tourism which has satisfied his fascination for wildlife and enjoyment of sharing it with others.

Since 1996, Stephen has operated a wide variety of vessels from 92' schooners on multi day wilderness tourism and research trips to a small ferry doing short mountain lake cruises. He currently holds a Master 5 Certificate. Stephen has also spent several seasons in the Arctic and Antarctic occupying various roles, always sharing his knowledge and love for the environment.

Sailing has been Stephen’s lifelong pastime and he and his wife have completed two Pacific Ocean crossings. On their return journey to Australia, they had the chance to explore many of the Pacific’s marine mammals and endemic shore birds. They are now ready to explore Tasmania’s rich wilderness where they’ve just relocated.


Catherine Bone

An Australian artist and biologist with a life-long passion for animals and wild places, Catherine has lived on the Antarctic andsubantarctic islands for extended periods overthe past 20 years.

Before working in the Antarctic regions she had a marine-oriented career dedicated to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, an involvement that continues today from her home in the Daintree World Heritage area where the reef is right at her doorstep.

Catherine has contributed to a wide range of biological research represented in scientific journal publications and her largely natural environment focused artwork features in numerous private and public collections. 

We are thrilled to have Catherine on board as our Assistant Expedition Leader. You will benefit from Catherine’s broad skills and knowledge of the Antarctic region and her marvellous ability to bring to life aspects of the Antarctic you may not have even noticed.


Abraham Joffe

braham is an award-winning cinematographer and is regarded as one of Australia’s top DSLR filmmakers. He has a great passion for storytelling and filmmaking in the real world.
He is also an experienced underwater cameraman, with several documentary films to his credit. Abraham has filmed throughout the Solomon Islands, Africa, the Arctic, East Timor and every Australian state. A highlight for him was shooting for the late Malcolm Douglas in the far reaches of the Kimberlies.

Abraham is an award-winning cinematographer and is regarded as one of Australia’s top DSLR filmmakers. He has a great passion for storytelling and filmmaking in the real world.

He is also an experienced underwater cameraman, with several documentary films to his credit. Abraham has filmed throughout the Solomon Islands, Africa, the Arctic, East Timor and every Australian state. A highlight for him was shooting for the late Malcolm Douglas in the far reaches of the Kimberlies.

Abraham will be joining our 2015 Scotia Sea Springtime voyage (ASG62) to Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands/Malvinas for our exclusive photography expedition departing 21 November 2015. Abraham will be joined by internationally recognised photographer Peter Eastway to host complimentary photography workshops to help passengers capture the best of their adventure.


Peter Eastway

Peter Eastway is a contemporary Australian photographer who is known internationally for his landscape and travel work.
A practising professional photographer, he shoots editorially and works selectively in advertising and family portraiture, two diverse ends of the professional sphere. 
Peter has been involved in photographic magazine publishing for over 30 years, establishing his own title, Australia's Better Photography Magazine, in 1995. It is now one of Australia’s leading photography magazines. 
Peter’s work has been published and exhibited internationally (USA, UK, Japan, Germany, Greece, India, New Zealand and Australia). 
He was the author of the Lonely Planet’s Guide to Landscape Photography. His photography has recently featured on the cover of the Lonely Planet’s guide to Australia, in articles in the Qantas in flight magazine, and in an Apple television commercial. And he has worked with Phase One cameras, researching and promoting its high-end medium format cameras and Capture One raw processing software. 
Peter Eastway is an AIPP Grand Master of Photography, a Fellow and an Honorary Fellow of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography, and a Fellow and Honorary Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography. He won the 1996 and 1998 AIPP Australian Professional Photographer of the Year Award. 

Peter Eastway is a contemporary Australian photographer who is known internationally for his landscape and travel work.
A practising professional photographer, he shoots editorially and works selectively in advertising and family portraiture, two diverse ends of the professional sphere. 

Peter has been involved in photographic magazine publishing for over 30 years, establishing his own title, Australia's Better Photography Magazine, in 1995. It is now one of Australia’s leading photography magazines. 

Peter’s work has been published and exhibited internationally (USA, UK, Japan, Germany, Greece, India, New Zealand and Australia). 

He was the author of the Lonely Planet’s Guide to Landscape Photography. His photography has recently featured on the cover of the Lonely Planet’s guide to Australia, in articles in the Qantas in flight magazine, and in an Apple television commercial. And he has worked with Phase One cameras, researching and promoting its high-end medium format cameras and Capture One raw processing software. 

Peter Eastway is an AIPP Grand Master of Photography, a Fellow and an Honorary Fellow of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography, and a Fellow and Honorary Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography. He won the 1996 and 1998 AIPP Australian Professional Photographer of the Year Award. 

Peter will be joining our 2015 Scotia Sea Springtime voyage (ASG62) to Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands/Malvinas for our exclusive photography expedition departing 21 November 2015. Peter will be joined by award winning cinematographer Abraham Joffe to host complimentary photography workshops to help passengers capture the best of their adventure. 


Quentin Chester

Quentin Chester is one of Australia's best-known outdoor writers. A regular contributor to Australian Geographic and Wild magazine, his books include Australia's Wild Islands, The Kimberley: Horizons of Stone and two story collections: The Wild Calling and Tales from the Bush.

His latest project is the photo essay Kangaroo Island: Coast to Coast. In the same spirit as his stories, Quentin's photography tracks the power of nature and landscape and his editorial images have surfaced in books and magazines for more than 20 years


Lelia Cataldi

Raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Lelia has always loved nature and spent plenty of time as a young girl and teenager camping and enjoying outdoor activities around the country. After obtaining her Bachelor’s degree in Tourism, she earned a scholarship at Eichstätt University in Germany to continue her specialization in Geography. Recently she finished an MBA in Hotel Management in Argentina.

Lelia has worked and lived for 10 years in front of the breathtaking view of the Perito Moreno Glacier, in Southern Patagonia. There she was dedicated to high quality tourism, specially focused on providing guests with a unique experience in close contact with nature around Los Glaciares National Park. During the expeditions she has always transmitted her wide knowledge and love of the National Park and surrounding areas with passion. She takes great delights in working outdoors and helping others to enjoy and discover nature, especially if it is about Patagonia!

In her free time she enjoys taking photographs, biking, trekking and traveling around the world. For the last twenty years, she has grabbed her backpack whenever possible to discover new horizons: from the Welsh coast to Machu Picchu, through South Africa and the Chilean desert. Recently, she came back from an amazing trip around Northern India and Nepal including a weeklong trek in the Annapurna Conservation Area.


Matt Edwards

Matt has guided predominantly in Canada, Alaska, Antarctica and Fiji. He brings extensive surf, climbing, rescue and mountain experience to our team. Matt is a graduate of Thompson Rivers University with an Adventure Guide Diploma. He has kayaked in Tibet, Mexico and Norway and surfed throughout Indonesia and Tonga.


Dr Jeffrey D. Stilwell

As Associate Professor and the Leader of the Applied Palaeontology and Basin Studies Group at Monash University in Melbourne, Jeffrey specialises in ancient greenhouse Earth ecosystems and their inhabitants, particularly in the southern high latitudes.

His professional research career commenced at age 22 after receiving his BSc from Purdue University (Indiana), when he participated on his first expedition to Antarctica to study the mass extinction which occurred on Seymour Island 66 million years ago.

His research led to a second expedition and a MSc at Purdue on fossils of Antarctica. A post-doctoral position at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln took him back to Antarctica for three further expeditions, where major discoveries were made of fossil invertebrate and vertebrate life.

Focusing on ‘big picture science’, Jeffrey took on a major challenge with an Australian Research Council as a government scientist for eight years to better understand biodiversity patterns of fossil life through geologic time, and how this information can help us understand the biodiversity crisis happening to our planet right now.


Eirik Grønningsæter

Eirik Grønningsæter grew up on the west coast of Norway. Through his keen interest in birds from early childhood, he is an aknowledged birder in Norway. His interest for nature and nature management has always been strong, and an important part of his chosen career path. Since he finished his University studies in Zoology, he started his own company designing and running fieldwork for various scientific projects. Through the years, a particularly strong interest in the Arctic environment has developed in him, and for the last 9 field seasons he has worked in the polar regions of Antarctic and Arctic and Svalbard in particular. While still working for science projects on different animals such as whales, birds, bats and large predators he has also since 2007 combined his field biology with a career in wildlife photography. His has already become an internationally multiawarded photographer, and his pictures have been published in various prestigeous magazines like National Geographic and BBC Wildlife Magazine.

Combining his unique knowledge about behaviour ecology and wildlife photography has also made him a sought after guide and he has successfully guided several expeditions in Svalbard for film crews and photographers that want the very best nature experiences.

In his work, Eirik always puts great effort in that everything should be on nature’s own terms. Not to harm nature or disturb unnecessarily is always the highest priority – far more important than getting the perfect picture.

While almost always focused with his binouculars, busy finding the next great wildlife experience, Eirik always welcomes a good chat about nature or photography – so don’t be afraid to approach even though he has his binoculars glued to his eyes!


Christian Genillard

This well-travelled sailor first explored the island of Spitsbergen over 30 years ago. As a young lad on a sailboat with a couple of friends, Christian was fascinated by the ice and convinced that boat was the best means of approaching these types of wild places.

In 1983, he took part in the organisation of a cruise round the North Atlantic Ocean with 30 young Swiss sailors on board a 15 metre steel ketch, discovering the Far North while passing by Norway, Spitsbergen and Iceland. This followed with seasons spent in Spitsbergen and Greenland, and a sailing adventure from France to Quebec passing by Iceland, Greenland, Newfoundland and the gulf of Saint-Laurent.

Since his earlier adventures, Christian has worked as an engineer for projects such as ‘Round the World Race’ and the ‘America’s Cup’ in the early 90s. Always devoting a part of his life to continue exploring and working in the Polar Regions, he returned to the world of expedition cruising by sailing to Antarctica on a 13 metre sailing boat in 1995.

Since 2002 Christian has devoted his time to the Poles, sharing his passion whilst guiding and lecturing on board expeditions to some of the most remote and wild destinations on our planet.

Also travelled: Ireland and Scotland, Patagonia, Alaska, South Georgia, Antarctica, and 3 months of navigation in South Georgia, South Sandwich, South Orkney and South Shetlands. Spitsbergen, Greenland, the Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia and the Russian Far East (Kuril Islands – Kamchatka – Commander Islands, Wrangel Island).


Alasdair McGregor

Painter, photographer, writer, historian and some-time architect, Alasdair McGregor’s creative interests range from natural history and the environment, to architecture and design, and the history of exploration.

His contact with the Antarctic region began with the 1983 Heard Island Expedition. Sailing aboard the maxi-yacht Anaconda, Alasdair was involved in supporting the second only successful attempt on 3,000 metre-high Big Ben. Voyages to Casey Station and Macquarie Island followed as part of the Australian Antarctic Division’s Humanities Program.

Alasdair was artist and photographer for two Mawson’s Huts Foundation expeditions to Cape Denison, Adélie Land, and in 2000 was curator (for the Australian High Commission to Canada) of a travelling exhibition, ‘… that sweep of savage splendour’: A Century of Australians in Antarctica.

Alasdair has published three books with Antarctic themes: – Mawson’s Huts: An Antarctic Expedition Journal (1999); Antarctica: that sweep of savage splendour (collected writings – editor 2011); and a biography of the renowned polar photographer Frank Hurley: A photographer’s life (2004). His other books include Grand Obsessions: The life and work of Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin, winner of the 2011 National Biography Award.

In 1999, Alasdair staged Mawson’s Antarctica: A view from the huts, a major exhibition of his Antarctic paintings and photographs in aid of the Mawson’s Huts Foundation. Elsewhere, Alasdair has staged numerous exhibitions of his paintings and his work hangs in corporate and public collections in Australia and overseas.

Since the summer of 2004/05, Alasdair has worked each season as a lecturer, historian and field guide on tourist voyages to East Antarctica, the Ross Sea, the Antarctic Peninsula and the sub-Antarctic islands.



Greg Holland

Greg Holland is a founding Director of the Australian Mawson’s Huts Foundation. The Foundation was formed in 1997 and is committed to preserving Australia’s Antarctic Heritage and particularly the history and work of the Australia’s early Antarctic explorers of the “Heroic Era”.

Greg is a graduate in journalism and Australian Politics from the University of Canberra. His career has been dedicated to the development of public policy having worked for two Federal Government Cabinet Ministers and a variety of national and international public affairs companies.

A renowned public speaker, Greg will regale you with facts and stories of Mawson’s epic expedition and survival, along with presentations of magnificent photographs of Mawson’s team taken by the famous Antarctic and war photographer, Frank Hurley.

Greg is also the President of the Cronulla Surf Life Saving Club in Sydney, is a qualified Bronze Medallion holder, a CPR operator and a registered “rubber duckie” and Zodiac driver.

Over the past fourteen years the Mawson’s Huts Foundation has worked closely with the Australian Antarctic Division of the Federal Department of the Environment and has raised over $6 million to conserve Mawson’s historic huts at Commonwealth Bay in the Antarctic. For more details and on how to assist the Foundation visit



Dr John Barry

John is an Australian Family Doctor with an interest in expedition and travel medicine. He has worked across Australia in a myriad of roles including Aboriginal health in Kempsey and in both Accident and Emergency and as family doctor in Sydney and rural Australia.

John and his wife Kirsty have lived, travelled and worked in over 50 countries over the past decade. While in Nepal John worked at an Himalayan Rescue Post, 3 days walk to the nearest hospital. While in Ethiopia he worked at a Rural Malaria Clinic and while in Peru he worked a remote hospital. After visiting Antarctica for the first time in 2000, John is always keen to return.

John has been living and working in General Practice at Bondi in addition to working regular shifts in Accident and Emergency. In his spare time he enjoys hiking, kayaking, rock climbing and paragliding as well as a swim at Bondi Beach.


Nigel Mathews

Born and raised in Kenya, Nigel was educated in England and received his medical training in South Africa. After working in surgery in Zululand for 5 years he immigrated to Canada where he continues to practice medicine in rural areas. His interest in birding began at an early age and he has travelled extensively worldwide in pursuit of new birds. He spent several months in the Peruvian Amazon as a resident naturalist studying the little known Zigzag Heron. He has worked with Aurora as the ship's doctor on previous trips to the Arctic and Antarctic.


Nigel Brothers

Nigel Brothers is an Australian born biologist with a long history of working on fisheries related bycatch issues.

Currently based on the northeast tropical coast of Australia, Nigel Brothers is a Consultant in Marine Technology and Ecology. Between 1972 and 2000 he was employed by the Australian Parks and Wildlife Service as a Wildlife Management Officer, primarily conducting research and management of Australian native fauna with an emphasis on marine and subantarctic ecosystem conservation. 

In 1988, as a result of extensive research of seabird populations on subantarctic islands and many months spent aboard Japanese longliners in the Indian and Southern Oceans, Nigel was the first to officially confirm that albatrosses and other seabirds were being killed in large numbers by longline hooks. Since that time he has spent much of his time at sea researching many of the world’s longline fisheries, assessing bycatch issues, and developing practical solutions to these problems.

He has invented and refined many technical innovations to help fishermen overcome seabird bycatch, and been responsible for extensively documenting mitigation measures and priorities, in publications such as FAO’s The Incidental catch of seabirds by longline fisheries: Worldwide Review of technical guidelines for mitigation (1999). Since 2000, Nigel has been working on bycatch minimisation in fisheries worldwide.

Nigel is the author of numerous scientific papers, articles and several books. His work has been recognised by awards specifically for his practical innovations for reducing seabird bycatch on longline hooks, such as the 1996 Banksia Conservation Award, 1996 Gold Banksia Conservation Award, 1996, Australian Geographic Society Conservation Award, and the 2003 Roy Wheeler Conservation Award. Nigel’s publications include the most cited and second most cited scientific literature on the issue of seabird bycatch.



Dr Andrew Macdonald

Andrew received his Ph.D. in Geology from the University of Western Ontario in 1984. He has sailed aboard the JOIDES Resolution as a staff scientist for the international Ocean Drilling Program and worked for the U.S. Congressional Office of Technology Assessment. He has taught geology and environmental science at Johns Hopkins University in Washington DC, as well as sharing his love of geology to passengers on board expedition vessels over the past 15 years to Antarctica, S.E. Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. A fine art photographer, Andrew lives in Alexandria, Virginia where he owns a gallery and has served as the Vice Mayor.


Rosy Whelan

Having travelled on more than 50 expeditions to Antarctica and the subantarctic islands, Rosy is right at home on the high seas of the Southern Ocean.

Rosy’s passion for the great outdoors and remote destinations has seen her previously work as a scientific field assistant for the Australian Antarctic Division, British Antarctic Survey and Smithsonian Institute projects on Macquarie Island, the South Sandwich Islands and Papua New Guinea respectively.

Due to her love of Antarctic travel and the great white continent, Rosy has been actively involved in helping to develop environmental policies for IAATO and the Australian Antarctic Division, helping to shape the face of human interaction in Antarctica.

Rosy has also previously organised scientific expeditions across Australia, led adventure tours to Kamchatka, Russia, and has ghost written the best selling book by Australia’s Bush Tucker Man, Stories of Survival. As a researcher, writer and editor, she has worked for high profile publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian, Reader’s Digest, Australian Geographic and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.


Simon Harley

Originally from Sydney, Simon has lived and worked for the past 23 years in Edinburgh, the ‘home’ of geology. As a ‘metamorphic geologist’ his main geological interests are in the formation and evolution of the complex rocks that make up the roots of mountain belts. His quest to understand the formation and growth of the continents has taken him around the globe, from the very ancient rocks of Antarctica, west Greenland and Scotland to ‘fossil’ mountain belts in Norway, India and Australia and modern mountains such as the Alps.

Simon has had a life-ling passion for Antarctica, and its geology, since reading excerpts from the diaries of Douglas Mawson. In over thirty years of Antarctic research Simon has been on five Australian research expeditions to East Antarctica. Not content with just one large, icy desert, he has also mapped the geology of western Greenland with the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland. Over the years, and despite a limited enthusiasm for incessant rain, he has led more than forty University and international field courses to NW Scotland and the Hebrides.

When he is not chasing rocks in the field or making them in his lab, Simon enjoys hill walking in the Scottish highlands, skiing, snowboarding, hockey and the occasional wee round of golf. His wife Anne and four grown-up children also enjoy many of these pursuits, though none have been (or admit to having been) bitten by the geo-bug!


Dr Mike Gottfried

Mike is a paleontologist/geologist based at Michigan State University in the USA, where he teaches and is a curator at the university museum. He has organised and led geological expeditions exploring for fossils in the Rift Valley of Tanzania, and conducted field research in Madagascar, New Zealand, across much of the western USA, and most recently in Chile. 

Along with falling down cliffs in search of fossils, Mike’s research has also involved studying the evolution of white sharks and their giant fossil relatives, leading to his involvement in on- and off-screen documentary films for the Discovery Channel, BBC, History Channel, and National Geographic Television. Mike also leads student study groups to Antarctica -- most recently with Aurora Expeditions on the ‘Polar Pioneer.’  When not at the university or doing field work, Mike enjoys hiking, birding, and being on, in, or near saltwater.


Anna Taylor

Born in the UK, Anna lived in the Solomons as a young girl before moving to northern New South Wales, a place she still describes as one of the most beautiful areas on earth.

Anna credits NSW as the source of her lasting respect for the environment and natural world. It might also be credited for a life-long travel bug, sparking a decade of adventures across Australia, Sweden, Ireland, the United Kingdom and the USA. Anna is a true believer in the importance and power of exploring the natural world.

Anna’s passion for challenge, adventure and travel has also driven her professional career. She has worked in a variety of challenging roles across the spectrum – as a executive assistant, as a stewardess on a luxury yacht, and on film & TV sets as a professional makeup artist. Anna thrives in positions that allow her to learn and explore. She will join Aurora Expeditions for her first trip in January 2011, fulfilling a life-long dream to live and work on the oceans, and looks forward to sharing her enthusiasm and energy on the journey.


Martin McGrath - Waterproof Expeditions Dive Supervisor

Martin is a full time professional diver. Originally from the North East of England, he began diving whilst still studying for his degree. On a trip to see his sister who was working in the Arabian Gulf, he decided that the expatriate life was for him, and it took him more than 25 years to return home!

He freely admits to not being able to ”Walk past a puddle without wanting to get in it to see what’s at the bottom of it” and thinks that the North and South Polar regions are one of the best places on earth to do it.

He has done more than 8000 dives in a career lasting more than 25 years. He is a PADI Master Instructor, a BSAC Advanced Instructor and an HSE Commercial diver. He works as a safety and support diver for TV and Media crews in extreme environments. He has speciality instructor rating in more than 17 disciplines, and he is also a qualified skipper with sea survival and VHF qualifications. He is an emergency first response instructor trainer and a scuba technician.

He has dived in Antarctica, Australia, Scapa Flow, UK, Norway, France, Spain, Sicily, Beirut, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, Caribbean, Indian Ocean, South Africa, Mozambique, Maldives and the Galapagos Islands. He has owned his own dive centre in the UK for the last 5 years, but now devotes his time to safety and expedition diving.


Mungo Ross

Mungo was born in Port Glasgow, Scotland and has been mountaineering since he was a wee lad, exploring the mountains of Greenland, Europe, Asia and South America.

Working as a mountaineering instructor since 1972 he has led many groups to some of the worlds most remote and wild destinations. Most recently he has climbed the Himalaya’s Dhaulagiri Circuit (Nepal) and Lhakpa Ri (Tibet), Mount Kilimanjaro’s Western Breach (Tanzania), and of course has mastered climbs throughout Antarctica.

Mungo holds a Mountain Instruction Certificate (MIC) and is qualified to instruct in all areas of mountaineering including winter snow and ice climbing. 


Kevin Nicholas

Kevin is an IFMGA certified mountain guide and experienced outdoor educator. He has spent his working life in the outdoors guiding and instructing in the Southern Alps of New Zealand in both summer and winter.

Kevin has had several trips to Antarctica, primarily based at Scott Base with the New Zealand Antarctic Programme teaching survival skills and assisting scientists in the field. In 2005 he sailed with friends from the Falkland Islands to South Georgia, where they spent several weeks circumnavigating the island and exploring inland on foot and skis.

As his body gets older more of his guiding work has been on skis both touring in the Southern Alps and heliskiing in the Indian Himalaya.

When at home in Christchurch, Kevin is an avid rock climber and cyclist. He especially enjoys exploring the remote South Island backcountry tracks on his mountain bike.


Ben Maddison

Ben’s love of history began at high school in Sydney, and led to an MA in Social and Industrial history (1987), and a Phd in Australian history. He teaches history at the University of Wollongong NSW. His teaching profile includes polar history, with an emphasis on the contribution of working class people to Antarctic and Arctic history. An active researcher, he is published extensively in Australian and international historical journals. He is currently writing a book on the history of common land in Australia, and doing research for the biography of Dr Eric Dark – pioneer Australian rockclimber, socialist and conservationist. He is also undertaking research for a reinterpretation of Antarctic history.

Ben’s lifelong passion for wild places has taken him to many of the planet’s most spectacular environments. Ben’s connection with nature in all its forms has been honed and shaped by his many trips to extreme environments through a 40 year romance with rockclimbing, mountains and the sea. He has pioneered rockclimbing in Tasmania, Victoria, the Blue Mountains (NSW), Greenland and North Wales. He worked for many years as a climbing guide and instructor in the Blue Mountains. A nature-boy from way back, Ben loves all seasons and all weathers, and has developed a great feeling of connection to polar landscapes through recent experiences in the Arctic and Antarctica.



Dr Lesley Cadzow

Lesley is a Scottish doctor who has worked as a neonatal paediatric registrar transporting sick babies around New Zealand before becoming an academic General Practitioner in Melbourne. Before leaving her regular family practice in Melbourne she was also an acupuncturist with a special interest in musculoskeletal medicine and she continues to teach medical students.

With the Royal Flying Doctor Service she has travelled to many Indigenous communities of the central desert of Alice Springs, Kowanyama and Elcho and Tiwi islands.

Currently Lesley is a roving rural and remote General Practitioner who has travelled around Australia providing relief for solo GPs in the bush in places such as Norfolk Island, Mallacoota, Broken Hill and the Darwin correctional centre. Having been a community radio communicator, Lesley continues to write medical articles for local newsletters. Travelling rurally has allowed great opportunity to explore the fantastic Australian landscape by bushwalking and horseriding and Lesley has been enticed into all sorts of rural activities such as pastel and life drawing, community singing and any dance form she can find.

When in Melbourne she is a 'Mentone Iceberger' and a baby surfer on the Great Ocean Road. She loves the raw beauty of the Antarctic, Arctic, Scottish and Far East Russia trips, and over the past four years she has had the pleasure of working with the wonderful family of Aurora Expeditions.... but still needs a few more penguin photos!


Judd Hill

Judd has been working with Aurora Expeditions for 14 years as one of our leading kayaking guides and now expedition leader. He loves guiding our passengers and paddlers alike through the icy waters of Antarctica and South Georgia, helping them to discover these amazing continents from a unique perspective.

As a qualified sea kayak guide and instructor, Judd started his kayak guiding in Far North Queensland running seven-day expeditions from Hinchinbrook Island and Cape Tribulation to Cooktown. Since then his passion has taken him to other remote parts ofthe world, guided kayaking expeditions throughout Fiji, Panama, Papua New Guinea, the Russian Far East and Antarctica! He has also paddled on personal trips and expeditions in Scotland, Greenland, Tasmaniaand Samoa, just to name a few.

Judd is at equally at home on top or under the water, be it scuba diving, sailing or just playing around with boats. He has his commercial coxswains ticket, is a Rescue Scuba Diver and is also trained in Wilderness First Aid. When back in Australia Judd just loves hanging out with his family in the tropical paradise that is North Queensland.


Dave Robinson

Dave recognised his desire to travel early and embarked on an wide-travelling career with the Royal Australian Navy. His travels spanned 12 years, four continents and a range of countries throughout Asia and Europe, with one of the highlights being a rescue mission to Antarctica. While travelling the globe, he catered for naval captains and visiting international dignitaries in between stints looking for the perfect wave in Indonesia.

For the past 20 years, Dave has honed his culinary skills working for international five-star hotels, Parliament House and wedding function centres in Canberra. A newcomer to Aurora Expeditions, Dave ventured north to Papua New Guinea in 2009 and was blown away with Rabaul and its impressive erupting volcano.

But it’s the laidback lifestyle on the NSW North Coast which has allowed him to keep both feet on the ground. In between his East Coast surf travels, Dave has endeavoured to walk lightly on the planet and increase the self sufficiency of his family, producing organic vegetables and regenerating 140 acres of over-farmed land into a wildlife sanctuary. Dave is passionate about preserving the diversity of local fauna and flora species within his valley.


Dr Jamin Mulvey

Jamin is an Aussie doctor, currently finishing his training as an Anaesthesia Specialist in Queensland. Graduating from the University of Sydney, Jamin has worked both locally and internationally including Johannesburg, South Africa; The Highlands, Papua New Guinea; Kashmir, Pakistan; and the South Pacific. He has also worked on Ski Patrol carving up the slopes in Utah, USA.

This is Jamin’s second season with Aurora Expeditions, having previously gone to the Arctic and Antarctica in 2008. Since his last expedition, Jamin has been working for Careflight QLD, doing helicopter-based retrieval work of sick and injured patients around Southern Queensland. Currently living on the southern Gold Coast, he’s also a keen surfer, mountain bike rider, rock climber and hiker.


Tarn Pilkington

Tarn has made many trips to the Antarctica continent as a guide and scientific field assistant. He is based in Queenstown, New Zealand and works full time as a mountain guide either at home in the kiwi Southern Alps or other locations around the world. Last year he co-led the crossing of South Georgia Island with Tashi Tenzing. He is an internationally qualified IFMGA Guide and has recently finished his accreditation as a Safety Auditor. He is currently studying Digital media and is often seen on our voyages with a video camera in hand.


Liz Pope

With years of leading groups and travelling up her sleeve, this friendly and patient assistant expedition leader is always happy to help make your voyage the best it can possibly be! Having grown up in three different countries (the Philippines, USA and Australia), Liz caught the travel bug at an early age. Since then she has travelled widely throughout Australia, New Zealand, India, Vietnam, Nepal, Mexico, Europe, and Africa.

After finishing postgraduate study, Liz found herself leading overland safaris throughout Eastern and Southern Africa, experiencing the wild side of camping with elephant, rhino, lion, and the occasional feisty wart hog! Taking a break from truck life, Liz faced the daily challenges of ‘hippo dodging’ while managing a lodge in the Okavango Delta.

On returning to Australia, Liz satisfied her passion for conservation and animals working at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo as an education officer for their ‘Roar & Snore’ program.

Liz has been working with Aurora Expeditions in Antarctica since 2009-2010, as well as completing several seasons in the Arctic. Liz has also been thrilled to work in Papua New Guinea, Scotland, Africa and Alaska.


Robyn Mundy

First lured by the magic of the ice, Robyn joined Aurora Expeditions in 1996 on a voyage to the Antarctic Peninsula. She has returned to the world's remote regions nearly every year since. As Assistant Expedition Leader on scores of Aurora Expeditions' voyages—Antarctica, Svalbard, Greenland, the Norwegian Coast, Scotland and the Faroe Islands, and Papua New Guinea—Robyn brings extensive experience to her role, sharing her unquenchable enthusiasm and love of nature and wild places with fellow travellers.

Whether the destination is tropical, temperate or polar, Robyn is at home on oceans and ships, driving Zodiacs, or working out of field huts and tents. In the summer of 2003–04, she and her partner Gary Miller spent a season living at Davis Station, Antarctica, where Robyn worked as a field assistant researching south polar skuas. In 2008, they over-wintered at Mawson Station, Antarctica, working with emperor penguins out on the sea ice at Auster Rookery. In 2011 the intrepid couple completed four months as volunteer caretakers and weather observers on Maatsuyker Island off Tasmania's rugged South West coast, site of Australia's most southerly lighthouse. Though isolated from other human company, they shared the experience with 800,000 short-tailed shearwaters, who return to the island each spring to breed and rear their young.

Robyn is the author of the successful Antarctic novel, The Nature of Ice; she has co-authored a young readers' adventure book, Epic Adventure: Epic Voyages published in Australia and the USA. Robyn is a regular speaker at writing and community events. When she is not plowing distant oceans, Robyn lives on Western Australia's sun-drenched coast. There, you'll find her at work on a new novel, with the support of a post doctoral fellowship at Edith Cowan University's South West campus.


Dr Ann Ward

Ann has been practising for over 25 years and spends most of her time working as a rural doctor in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, based in Kununurra.

Ann spent three years in the centre of Western Australia working for the Royal Flying Doctor Service in Meekatharra and was responsible for an area covering 390,000 square kilometres. For the past 18 years she has worked in the spectacular Kimberley region, flying weekly to service the Warmun Aboriginal community.

Ann has also worked in the Himalaya both as a doctor and trek leader to remote areas. In 1990, she was expedition doctor for a successful expedition to Mt Everest. In 1992, she worked as a volunteer doctor for the Himalayan Rescue Association in Manang at 3,400 metres in the Annapurna region of Nepal.

Ann has spent nine summer seasons in Antarctica working both inland and on ships to the coast of Antarctica. She has also worked with Aurora in the Arctic and in Papua New Guinea.

Her passions are bushwalking, yoga, kayaking and being in wild places.


Colin Monteath

Colin, a freelance photographer, writer, mountaineer and adventurer, is widely travelled in the polar and high mountain regions of the world. His photographs and stories have been published in a wide variety of magazines and books. He has a BSc from the University of Sydney.

With more than 50 wide-ranging assignments to Antarctica spanning 22 seasons, Colin has seen more of the Seventh Continent than any other New Zealander. For ten seasons (1973-83) Colin was based at New Zealand's Scott Base.

Since 1983 Colin has worked as an expedition leader, lecturer and guide for various polar cruise companies. He has been an active mountaineer for 30 years plus, and has been on numerous trekking and photographic assignments throughout the world. He has also skied/dog sledged across Greenland and has authored three Antarctic books. His most recent publication is, "Hall and Ball: Kiwi Mountaineers".


Al Bakker

Al has paddled whitewater and sea kayaks for 4 decades in North America, South America, the South Pacific, Japan, Australia, NZ, Antarctica, South Georgia, Scandinavia, the High Arctic, Greenland, Russian Far East and all across Europe. He has managed his own kayak tour company and led commercial sea kayak tours for the last 26 years and developed sea kayak, rafting and cross country ski programs in many countries.

Al has organised and led sea kayaking adventures in the Polar Regions for the past fifteen years.

Al is a qualified sea kayak instructor, Nordic ski instructor and examiner, swim instructor and examiner and holds swiftwater rescue and national lifeguard certification. He has worked as a helicopter ski guide, rafting guide and wilderness first aid instructor and is a keen photographer.


Dr. Alan Burger

Born and raised in the bushveld of South Africa, Alan has a life-long passion for wild animals and wild places. After a year in Portland, Australia as an exchange student, he studied Zoology and Botany at the University of Cape Town, culminating with a PhD on Lesser Sheathbills in the sub-Antarctic.

Alan made three expeditions, totalling 2 years, to sub-Antarctic Marion Island. In addition to sheathbills, he worked on albatrosses, petrels, penguins, and terrestrial invertebrates. Alan emigrated to Canada in 1980 and is currently an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Victoria in British Columbia.

Wildlife conservation is a key element of Alan's professional and private life, and he is heavily involved with the biology and management of the Marbled Murrelet. He has published numerous scientific papers, which include studies of whales, seals, oceanography, and Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems. Alan's research has taken him to many remote seabird colonies and islands in South Africa, Galapagos, Newfoundland, New Zealand, and British Columbia. Recently, Alan and his wife Andrea spent a year in the Seychelles, studying seabirds, publishing a handbook for monitoring tropical seabirds, and establishing a seabird working group for the Seychelles archipelago. Interpreting science and helping others enjoy the wonders of nature is one of Alan's main interests and he has given many slide shows, written newspaper and magazine articles, and led groups on nature trips.


Chris Done

Chris was a special guest lecturer on our very first Kimberley voyage in 1998 and since then has joined us as part of our regular team on many occasions. We are pleased to have him back onboard for our 2013 season. He has been a resident of the Kimberley region since 1979 and has had a long and respected career as the Regional Manager for the state’s Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM).

Since resigning from CALM some years ago, he has juggled tour guiding activities, land management and tropical forestry consultancies with a management role with a company in the new and dynamic Indian Sandalwood growing industry in Kununurra. During his career he has been involved with management of the many national parks and conservation reserves as well as the wildlife of the region. He is considered an expert on the eucalypts of the Kimberley and has a very good understanding of the ecology and land management issues. He has travelled very extensively in the region and has special interests in its geology, Aboriginal culture/art and history.

He has been involved in guiding both coastal and land based tours for many years, where his detailed knowledge is used to give guests the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the area, and he enjoys passing on his knowledge to visitors.


Andrew Denton

Denton first came to public attention in 1988 as the writer/presenter of the ABC TV series 'Blah Blah Blah' and since then has written, presented and produced numerous comedy shows, including 'The Money or the Gun' and 'Andrew Denton Live & Sweaty'.

In 1993 he co-produced and featured in 'World Series Debating', again for ABC TV. He also produced 'The Money or the Gun on Ice', focussing on a group of Australians forced to come to grips with isolation -- and each other -- during a winter in Antarctica.

Throughout 1994 - 5, Andrew hosted and co-produced his own late night, live chat show for Channel 7 called `Denton' (where does he get his titles?).

For 5 years, between 1997 -- 2002, he hosted the modestly-titled 'Andrew Denton Breakfast Show' on Sydney radio's 2MMM. For Channel 9, Andrew co-produced, hosted and totally re-worked the Logies, Australia's television awards, in 1999 & 2000. In 2002, Andrew acted as executive producer and script editor for The Chaser on 'CNNNN', a 9-part series for ABC TV satirising cable television.

Andrew is currently Executive Producer and Presenter of ABC TV's popular 'Enough Rope' and he will once again EP the ABC series CNNNN.

Andrew has also written for newspapers, acted in the theatre; and collected numerous awards along the way for his work. Most importantly, he once won the 'Sale Of The Century -- Comedy Series' quiz, a moment many (himself included) view as his crowning achievement.


Dr. Paul Willis

A geologist and ABC science reporter, Paul has a particular interest in the palaeontology of Antarctica because of its relevance to the history of Australian animals. Through no fault of his own, Paul was born in England in 1963. Realising their error, his parents deported him and the rest of the family to Australia in 1973 where he has lived in Sydney ever since.

Paul's life-long interest in fossils started when he found his first specimen at the age of six and led to a PhD, studying the evolution of crocodiles in Australia. Parallel to Paul's interest in the natural sciences is his enjoyment for communicating science to popular audiences. He toured primary schools throughout the eastern states with a life-sized T. rex and spent many holidays in the Australian Museum's Discovery Room, acquainting stuffed animals with visitors.

Paul joined the ABC Science Unit in 1997 and now works as a regular science reporter on ABC TV Catalyst as well as frequent appearances on Radio National's Science Show and In Conversation.

When not fossilising or harassing people with a microphone, Paul spends a lot of time building model railways or riding on real ones.


Carol Knott

Carol discovered archaeology in her teens, becoming immersed in a succession of rescue projects on medieval English towns, ports, churches and castles. After receiving a Masters degree in Archaeology and History from the University of Glasgow, she continued this work with excavations at some of the great medieval abbeys, Tudor and Jacobean palaces and historic gardens of England, such as Hill Hall and Audley End in Essex.

In 1988 she returned to her native Scotland, and since then has lived and worked in the Outer Hebrides. Her research as a field archaeologist has focused on the history and archaeology of remote communities and deserted offshore islands, and of understanding the lives of the resilient people who lived there from the earliest times. She has a particular interest in the vernacular buildings that have evolved in this distinctive environment, and in the connections between Scotland, Scandinavia and the North Atlantic of the Middle Ages.

In recent years Carol has developed the public interpretation of archaeological sites in her home islands through a series of websites, publications, interpretative materials and site access, educational courses, and of course during her expeditions on board Polar Pioneer.


Stephen Martin

Stephen Martin is a writer and historian with a fascination for Australian and Antarctic history. He has spoken about and published books and articles on these topics for many years. His books include A History of Antarctica (1996) The Whales' Journey: a year in the life of a humpback whale and a century in the history of whaling, (2001) and Penguin. (2010). Both The Whales’ Journey and A History of Antarctica were shortlisted for the Eureka Science Book Prize.

Stephen has curated four exhibitions about Antarctica, the latest two being Shifting Ground: photographs of Frank Hurley 1911-1918 and Lines on the Ice: Australasian Antarctic Expedition 1911-1914. He has visited Antarctica many times, as a tourist, lecturer and sailor. In 1998/9 he sailed to Antarctica and worked in Mawson's Hut, Cape Denison for the Mawson's Hut Foundation.

After leaving University, Stephen worked as a Flight Attendant with QANTAS before returning to studies and completing a Diploma of Librarianship. Stephen has a BA, Dip Lib and a MSc Soc (Masters of Science and Society). He worked for many years with the wonderful Antarctic collections of the State Library of New South Wales and has recently begun working with the Antarctic collections of businessman and collector Kerry Stokes. 

Stephen is currently working on a second edition of A History of Antarctica and his fourth book, an examination of the long and fascinating relationship between people and albatrosses.




Howard Whelan

This outdoor and nature enthusiast and writer has explored many of the world’s weird and wonderful places. Howard has many years of outdoor and climbing experience up his sleeve, including a 4000km, five-month bushwalk from Canada to Mexico, a crossing of the Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea, a three-month stint in remote Russia for America’s Outside magazine, and worked as camera operator on the first Australian ascent of Mt Everest.

As the founding editor then publisher of Australian Geographic magazine, and a Trustee of the Australian Geographic Society, Howard has also led many scientific expeditions to remote parts of Australia, often resulting in significant geographical articles for the journal’s nearly one million readers. In 2002 he was chosen by George Miller to lead the photographic expeditions to Antarctica that resulted in the Academy Award-winning film Happy Feet.

Howard has held his own successful photographic exhibition, Endangered Ice, featuring his work from more than a decade of guiding in Antarctica, including photographs that inspired the film. He has also lectured on Antarctic photography and tourism at Sydney University, and he can often be found giving motivational talks or running adventure writing and photography workshops.

Howard has been being part of the Aurora team for over 20 years, leading expeditions almost every year since. These days he also runs his own media consultancy agency specialising in the environment, natural history, culture and adventure.


Eirik Gjessing Karlsen

Hailing from Norway, Eirik has always been fascinated by nature and from an early age he has spent as much time as possible in the great outdoors. This interest resulted in studies in biology, geography and outdoor living. He is also a teacher and this background reflects his main interests: nature and humans.

Eirik has spent many years exploring the lands beyond the Arctic Circle. Working on expedition boats, he thrives on introducing visitors to the incredible variety of Arctic landscapes and the unique experiences to be had in these remote areas. From smelling the breath of the world largest toothed whale, the narwhal, to taking in the stunning purple light on the snowy mountains at 79 North, Eirik’s wealth of knowledge and vast range of experiences make him a valued member of our Arctic expedition team.


Dr. Gary Miller

This wildlife fanatic has been exploring and working in the Polar Regions for well over 30 years, initially studying Polar Bears for his MA in Zoology. Whether playing the role of Expedition Leader, or Naturalist, Gary is always willing to share his extensive wildlife knowledge with our curious passengers.

Gary has worked on projects studying Bowhead Whales and Gray Whales in Alaska and Mexico, and has also conducted field research on Desert Bighorn Sheep for his PhD in Ecology. Gary’s passion for the poles quickly drew him to the South to begin research on penguins and skuas in Antarctica; where he eventually spent 10 summers and a winter in Antarctica studying the behaviour, genetics and ecology of the south polar skua as well as Adelie, gentoo, chinstrap, royal, king and emperor penguins. Other projects have provided Gary with personal experience with over half of the world’s different species of penguins!

With over 30 published scientific articles, nowadays Gary is a Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia, focusing on the presence and consequences of diseases to penguins and skuas in Antarctica. With 14 seasons of experience in the Arctic, five seasons in Scotland and over 25 more in the Antarctic, his knowledge and passion for wildlife and nature is second to none.


Kieran Lawton

Kieran has had a varied association with Antarctica over the last decade. A qualified biologist, he has conducted research into the foraging ecology of a number of Antarctic and Subantarctic species. He has spent several seasons on Macquarie Island investigating the ecology of elephant seals and fur seals. Between May and December of 1994 he camped in a small hut beside the Emperor rookery at Auster in East Antarctica, and had the breathtaking experience of spending the entire winter amongst these well-adapted and inspiring birds. Swapping hemispheres, Kieran then worked in the tundra/boreal forest ecosystems of Northern Siberia for a few years.

More recently Kieran has been conducting research on albatrosses, undertaking census and foraging ecology work on the Chilean Islands of Diego Ramirez and Ildefonso, remote islands that lie in Drakes passage south of Cape Horn, and on Heard Island in the southern Indian Ocean.

An experienced climber and skier, Kieran organised and led a yacht-based mountaineering expedition to an unclimbed peak on the Danco Coast of the Antarctic Peninsula in 1998. He subsequently worked for the Australian Antarctic Program in field safety roles, and joined Aurora expeditions in 1999.


Mike Cusack

It is a great honour and privilege to have Mike Cusack join us. Mike is possibly more at home in the Kimberley than anywhere else. In 1987, Australian Geographic chose Mike and his wife Susan from 500 other couples to spend a year living in isolation in the wild and remote Kunmunya area of the west Kimberley. During their 'year in the wilderness' they overcame many hardships and challenges, including drought, extreme heat, bushfire, and dehydration. However, the strength of their relationship combined with unbridled enthusiasm, tenacity, optimism and a spirit of adventure, overcame all odds and they rejoiced in their unique experience.

"Our year at Kunmunya is with me every day. I'm passionate about the continued existence of wilderness," he said recently., Mike started working on board Coral Princess on our Kimberley coast cruise in 1998.

Mike continues to work full time for Parks Victoria and is now in his 41st year with Protected Area management. His current role is Ranger in Charge, Fire & Emergency Operations,  for the North East Melbourne District. The ongoing  willingness to accept challenges and lead a physically active life is a significant benefit both to his ‘day job’ and as our Expedition Leader in the rugged Kimberley.

This will be Mike's 18th season leading our Kimberley coast expeditions, having worked on our inaugural voyage in 1998.