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.
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
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.
A native to Washington State, USA, Gus grew up exploring the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges that surrounded his home. Every summer was spent hiking or mountain climbing and winters were spent skiing in the back-country. He has enjoyed various jobs in the service industry, from being a barista to waiting tables.
He has lived abroad in Costa Rica, New Zealand and India and traveled extensively in Europe and North America. In every new place he goes, Gus finds himself drawn to the areas of remote wilderness and the adventure and wildlife found there. He is excited to join the Aurora crew in some of the most untouched regions on earth!
This past summer Gus spent five months hiking 4000 km across the United States from Mexico to Canada with his backpack and tent. He has since given many talks and motivational speeches about his experience. Gus is going to university next year where he plans to study biology and journalism. In his spare time, Gus enjoys road-biking, climbing, reading, scuba-diving and eating good food."
Skye Marr Whelan
Adventure is in the blood of this young expeditioner, whose résumé includes an impressive list of exciting expeditions with the BBC, National Geographic, Discovery Channel and Red Bull (just to name a few). Her most recent role includes being part of the support crew for the grueling re-enactment of Shackleton’s life-saving journey, the ‘Shackleton EPIC’.
Venturing to East Antarctica for the first time at the tender age of 16, Skye graduated from Sydney University in 2005 before embarking on her career on the ocean. The same year she started with Aurora Expeditions as a hotel manager in Antarctica. In between her other exciting adventures with her partner on his two expedition support yachts, she has also assisted on expeditions to Scotland and the Arctic, as well as being a part of the expedition team on our inaugural North East Passage voyage in 2011.
Skye’s love of the ocean and remote places, together with her ability to work on boats in challenging circumstances, has helped her develop a great knowledge of the regions and harsh environments in which we visit. Her passion for travelling has provided her with some fantastic stories, which she is always happy to share over a drink or two. When not working at sea, she enjoys returning home to Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia to plan her next great adventure.
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.
Prior to starting her Bachelor degree, Sappho travelled extensively overseas having visited India, Turkey, much of Europe and South America. So far her working career has chiefly been in the hospitality industry having held positions as restaurant and bar manager in both Australia and overseas. Prior to commencing her overseas travel she had the pleasure of working aboard Great Barrier Reef Tourist vessels as a guide and aquatic sports supervisor. In recent times she has undertaken her yoga accreditation and is currently working as a yoga teacher in Hobart, her home town. During her spare time Sappho also enjoys playing the piano, singing, cycling and photography.
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, 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 makes 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!
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 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).
Dr Alison Bleaney
Born and raised in Scotland – on west coast of the Isle of Skye till 11 years old – Alison currently lives in Tasmania, Australia. Spending many years scrambling over moors, on mountains, around sea shores Alison's passion for the outdoors has stayed with her. Her first work experience after qualifying from Aberdeen University was to join a geology expedition to the west coast of Greenland – travelling on an old wooden sealing boat, camping on glaciers, lugging rocks up and down ice cliffs and generally learning about the beauty of region. After such experiences it seemed perfectly natural that her next adventure would be as a locum in the Falkland Islands, in order to see what that area looked like. She loved the life and found the medical work extremely varied; Working as a GP anaesthetist as well as managing most of the 10,000 fishermen within foreign fishing fleets. Staying for 7 years and running the Hospital during the Falklands War, she became senior medical officer. She married in the Falklands and raised two children; her love for Islands is now firmly fixed in her blood.
Alison has also developed a passion for looking at the environment through the eyes of human activity- what we do to it in intended and unintended ways and the consequences of these actions. Intent on protecting water quality in our ecosystems Alison has published articles on this subject and was part of an ABC production – ‘Australian Story’ – ‘Something in the Water’ – in 2010 as well as contributing to works undertaken by National Toxics Network, Doctors for the Environment, and Pollution Information Tasmania. She is excited to be back on the water heading for more adventures with new fellow travellers; each day is a new dawn, a new day. Alison's aim is to keep us all as well as possible and for us all to enjoy the experience.
Tom was born in Launceston, Tasmania. After finishing high school he moved to the east coast of Tasmania and began an apprenticeship in patisserie. He then spent another 3 years in the city of Hobart broadening his skills in cookery through work in various restaurants around the Salamanca area.
Last 5 years Tom has spent time working in hospitality in Queensland, Australia after which he returned to Tasmania to gain experience as a tour guide operator for quad bike tour company.
Tom’s favorite hobbies predominantly revolve around the ocean including surfing, fishing, and diving. He is also a keen guitar player.
Rodney started his cooking career 36 years ago as a pastry cook and bread baker. He has worked in restaurants from the wild west coast of Tasmania to the north of Queensland.
During his career Rodney was working with some of Australia’s best chefs including Maggie Beer, Stephanie Alexander, Christine Mansfield, Jac Raymond, Philip Michelle, and David Thomson.
Rodney’s love of adventure and ‘Chefing’ has seen him work for the Australian Antarctica Division where he has been working for the past ten years mainly at Casey and Davis Stations.
In his spare time Rodney takes an interest in outdoor activities, mountaineering, trekking, rock climbing, kayaking and guiding.
Dr Helen Cooley
Dr Helen Cooley has been practicing medicine for 26 years and is a fully qualified emergency physician, normally resident in Hobart.
She has had extensive experience working with the Australian Antarctic Division as an expedition doctor including two full years working at Macquarie Island and one year at Davis station in the Australian Antarctic Territory. She also has worked as the ship’s doctor on the AAD expedition vessels the Aurora Australis and Icebird during several voyages to the Antarctic continent.
Prior to studying medicine, Helen completed a BSc in zoology and initially worked with the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service working on education about endangered species and later working with environmental impact assessment of several mining projects in WA and the Northern Territory.
While at Macquarie Island she was a member of the fur seal research team monitoring, tagging and weighing fur seal pups as well as documenting the fur seal populations. While there she also contributed to elephant seal and seabird projects.
Helen’s initial interest in the Antarctic was stimulated by reading, as a child, the story of Shackleton’s expedition on the Endurance and this has developed into an ongoing interest in Antarctic history, particularly in relation to the involvement of Australians.
This will be Helen’s first voyage with Aurora Expeditions, and we are looking forward to having her work as part of our team.
Kirsty trained as a chef in New Zealand, qualifying at London City and Guilds in the 1980’s. After finishing her apprentice, she set off cooking, travelling and surfing her way around the world. Kirsty worked in many amazing countries including Mexico, USA, France, Spain, Australia, Canada and England.
She has attempted to break a world record by hosting the highest dinner party at Mt Aconcagua in South America. With her love for travelling, the opportunity to be part of the Aurora Expedition team is amazing, seeing parts of our precious planet that are unique and special. She joined Aurora Expeditions in 2009 travelling to East Antarctica and Papua New Guinea. Over the last 8 years she has been self employed making gourmet food out of a mobile food van. Kirsty loves spending the summer season at the beach in Kuaotunu on the Coromandel Peninsula in New Zealand. In winter, she spends most of her time snowboarding and climbing mountain peaks in search of untracked snow. Kirsty can't wait to jump onboard!
Rod was raised in Scotland and first worked in the Antarctic in 1966 as a meteorologist for the British Antarctic Survey. He over-wintered in 1967 and 1968 at Adelaide Island (near Rothera Base) and Fossil Bluff. Rod returned briefly to the UK and in 1970 moved to Australia, working as a geologist for 7 years before once again returning to the subantarctic with his wife. They wintered twice on Macquarie Island (women were not allowed to the Antarctic from Australia until 1981), but they spent a summer at the site of Mawsons Australasian Antarctic Expedition Hut at Commonwealth Bay in 1978.
In 1980 Rod commenced work as field equipment and training officer with the Australians and remained there until 2002 equipping, training and running expeditions and re-supply ships to the Australian sector bases Casey, Davis and Mawson and several summer bases. Rod began escorting tourist voyages in 1991 and has visited Antarctica most seasons since, mainly to the Ross Sea but also to the Peninsula, and has been on several partial circumnavigation and one complete circumnavigation of the continent. Over the years, Rod has assisted with work on elephant and leopard seals, giant petrels, abatross, small petrels, penguins, geology and geomorphology in the Antarctic and Sub Antarctic. He lives in Tasmania with his wife Jeannie who has been south on nine trips and his daughter Kate who made her first trip to the Ross Sea when she was five and 4 more trips since then. The family grow grapes and Rod assists with the zodiac training of Australian Antarctic staff.
Tina first travelled to Antarctica (Ross Sea) on the Akademik Shokalskiy in 1998 with Aruora Expeditions. Tina then joined our expedition team for several voyages to Antarctic Peninsula, the Arctic, Scotland and the Amazon working as a chef and hotel manager. In 2007 Tina decided to have a career change and stayed home in Christchurch, where she went back to college and trained as a remedial massage therapist. She has her own practice at a central Health Clinic. Tina loves the outdoors; she can usually be found on her mountain bike, skis, snowboard, running around the hills; out and about more recently investing in a racing kayak.
Over the last couple of years she has continued her studies and is now finishing a degree in Sport and Exercise Science and has been accepted to train as an Ambulance Officer next year, where she hopes to take this further to work with elite sports teams; travel a bit more and continue with post-grad at Otago University. Since the Earthquakes in Christchurch and a tough year with the destruction of her home town, Tina has decided to take a break from study over the summer and head back south for some adventure and fun with the Aurora team.
A field ornithologist, naturalist and Illustrator, he’s been leading expeditions to the Antarctic Peninsula and Sub‐Antarctic Islands since 2005, lecturing on bird and mammal identification,
ecology, conservation and history of exploration. Christian is a certified all‐weather zodiac Driver and is always involved in the logistics, logging over 60 antarctic expeditions. He holds a BSc degree in Natural Sciences and has taken courses on Biological Sciences, Nature Interpretation, Wildlife Trade and Conservation, Ornithology and as a Fisheries Observer / Onboard Scientific Technician. Christian worked with the Argentinean partners of NGOs, for example, the Wildlife Conservation Society and Birdlife; in the Important Bird Areas,
Red Data Book and Seabird Conservation programs. During the 90’s he worked as a volunteer for the WWF and Wetlands International. He is widely considered Argentina’s “pelagics guru”.
A passionate birder since 1987, Christian began sailing in 1998, accumulating 7+ years at sea and finding one albatross and three petrel species new for Argentina and the Southwest Atlantic, as well as in 2007 he also added new passerines to the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) list.
He regularly publishes and acts as a reviewer and freelance editor, frequently involved in conferences and congresses, Christian has also acted as main speaker during workshops for fisheries observers on oceanic bird identification, biology and conservation. His illustrations have also appeared in many NGO publications, magazines and newspapers. Prestigious magazines have published his photos, including “Vida Slivestre” and “BBC Wildlife Magazine”.
He has co‐authored and illustrated the “Commented Checklist of the Birds of Neuquén, Patagonia, Argentina”, and co‐authored the milestone “Important Bird Areas of Argentina”. Christian recently worked with T. Narosky in his "total edition" of the classic "Guide to the Birds of Argentina and Uruguay", improving and updating texts, maps and images of all seabirds and most antarctic ‐ subantarctic birds. He is currently developing the first Argentine Birding Magazine and preparing his ambitious forthcoming handbook “Birds of the Southwest Atlantic & Antarctica”.
Mark Debono has been a chef and sharing his passion for food for 15 years. He has worked in a wide range and types of kitchens from cafes and bistros to fine dining resturants and resorts. He has also previously worked in the cruise ship industry, mixing his love of cooking and travel.
This will be Mark's first season to Antarctica and he can't wait to get there!
Born and raised in Tasmania, Shaun has always had his eye on wilderness landscapes. He has made sure to pursue this passion in all aspects of his life.
He has worked various roles within the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service and natural tourism industry. As an Interpretation Ranger he worked in many of Tasmania’s parks and reserves including the Wilderness World Heritage Area. He has studied natural area management and Antarctic studies at the University of Tasmania and the University of California Santa Cruz.
His long held interest in the Antarctic led him back to University to research the environmental impacts on the continent. This study had him work closely with the Australian Antarctic Division, which allowed him to focus on Australia’s Casey and Davis research bases. This research took him across east Antarctica allowing him to explore rarely visited places like the abandoned Cold War-era Wilkes Station, wildlife colonies, and the Sub-Antarctic Heard and McDonald Islands. Shaun’s passion for the Antarctic is diverse, and is knowledgeable across a range of fields.
Shaun currently works for Tasmania’s wildlife agency investigating and monitoring for the presence of the invasive Red Fox. This work leads him around Tasmania, with extensive field work there and in Victoria. He is a search and rescue team leader with the State Emergency Service, which has him deployed across Tasmania, as well as assisting at natural disasters such as Cyclone Yasi in early 2011.
Shaun is an experienced hiker, cross-country skier, traveller, and photographer. He is looking forward to sharing his enthusiasm and knowledge of the Antarctic.
Jeremy has worked largely in a, hands on role, at the forefront of conservation management in New Zealand for the last couple of decades. Anything, from artificial hand rearing of takahe for subsequent release back into the wild in Fiordland, through to maintaining historic heritage sites.
The past 15 years have focused on Subantarctic island management, working for the NZ Department of Conservation. Where, in his role as Southern Islands Area ranger, he had the privileged position of both managing the ecological values of the island reserves and of course, spending considerable time both living and working on the islands, getting to know the places and the wildlife.
More recently Jeremy divides his time regularly crewing and guiding onboard charter yachts visiting the Subantarctics, and as a consultant ornithologist working with industry to balance environmental effects of Windfarm technology. Another pet project over the last 3 seasons has required living on a rock in the southern ocean studying the breeding ecology of Salvins Albatross and their foraging behavior and the link with incidental by catch by the fishing industry.
When he is at home he lives on the South Coast of New Zealand overlooking Foveaux Strait, down in the Roaring 40’s.
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 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 www.mawsons-huts.org.au.
More commonly known as Snowy, Graeme is originally from Adelaide, South Australia, and has a professional background in electronic and telecommunications engineering. He joined the Australian Antarctic Division as a Radio Technical Officer in 1990, wintering at Casey in 1991 and spending a total of 16 months there. Since then he has spent a further four summers working and living at Australian stations as well as numerous shorter visits to stations, including those of many foreign nations. He has also spent over two years at sea on a total of 10 extended research voyages in the Southern Ocean and around the Antarctic continent. Now based in Hobart, Tasmania, Snowy works in the Engineering section of the AAD supporting Australia’s Antarctic Program.
He has been involved in many field research programs in the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic, providing technical support and participating as a field assistant in areas as diverse as glaciology, oceanography, penguin and sea-bird research, seal and krill biology, and whale observations and acoustics.
His interest in, and knowledge of, birds stems not only from these many trips to Antarctica but also a period in the Okavango Delta, Botswana where he worked as a camp assistant and guide at a number of safari lodges, and two seasons as a guide and lecturer in the high Arctic. A love of travelling and adventure has seen him visit over 50 countries and all seven continents.
This is Snowy’s 20th season working in Antarctica and 7th as a naturalist and Zodiac driver on tourist voyages in the polar regions. In that time he has visited much of east Antarctica, the Antarctic peninsula, the Falklands, South Georgia, Heard Is. and many other sub-Antarctic islands, as well as Iceland, the Svalbard archipelago and Greenland in the north.
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.
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 ship's doctor on previous trips to the Arctic and Antarctic.
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.
At the age of eight Joss knew two things, she wanted to cook and she wanted to travel. She trained as a Chef in Dunedin, New Zealand, and on completing her London and City Guilds Exams, her journey of as a Chef begun. Working mostly in restaurants in New Zealand, she had the opportunity to go to The subantarctic islands of NZ and Australia, Antarctica and The South Indian Ocean. In 2000 in a move to build her own 'Home with a Restaurant', she travelled to the Arctic working the Northern Summers for nine seasons.
Joss' passion for food and these places will hopefully be reflected in the meals she delivers onboard. The life of a chef at sea and in the remote wild places on Earth is a challenging role, Joss finds the experience tremendously rewarding. In the Summer seasons, she returns to NZ to work at her own restaurant.
Nicholas grew up on the outskirts of Paris watching birds and pursuing outdoor activities, while dreaming away about places like the Arctic and Antarctica.
He studied Zoology and worked on a thesis on the Fulmar, a seabird found across the Arctic. Following his degree, he worked for the British Antarctic Survey as zoological field assistant studying seals, albatrosses and penguins.
Further degrees in Conservation Science from Oxford University, he is currently living in Scotland working on environmental issues.
Nicholas is looking forward to sharing his knowledge on the creatures of the far north on our Arctic voyages.
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 scienti¬fic ¬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.
A 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 scienti¬fic 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 pro¬ le publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian, Reader’s Digest, Australian Geographic and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Dr John Reekie
Dr John Reekie is a New Zealand qualified doctor with 20 years experience working as a Family Physician and 10 years as a specialist Occupational Physician. Most recently he has been working as a locum Physician in country hospitals in Australia.
His adventurous spirit has seen him spend two years working for Sir Edmund Hillary at Kunde Hospital in the Everest Valley of Nepal, with continuous visits and locum work. He enjoys tramping in the mountains of New Zealand and often takes long-distance cycling trips with his wife, Sue.
Tim is a young chef from Sydney, who has spent the beginning of his career training and working at many prestigious Sydney restaurants, including the world-renowned ‘Rockpool’ with Neil Perry, and Matthew Kemp of ‘Balzac’ and the ‘Burlington’.
Taking an interest in catering, Tim has been honing his skills in a diverse range of cooking environments working for a small catering firm known as Short White Jacket.
Despite the long work hours of the kitchen, Tim still finds time to enjoy the Australian landscape, taking self-guided motorcycle tours of the east coast of Australia at every opportunity
This year will be Tim’s first season with Aurora Expeditions, and after tasting his delights we can’t wait to have him on board!
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.
Andreas Umbreit, grew up in Germany's Bavarian Alps, and falling for the surrounding nature and mountains, he studied agriculture in Kiel, Germany - which may sound a bit strange in view of his work in the Arctic, but these studies included a broad specter of natural sciences (botany, zoology, geology, pedology, meteorology) and economics. From Kiel, he did his first private expedition to Spitsbergen in 1986 - and was spell-bound. Instead of an office career based on his studies, he registered a tourism company in Longyearbyen (Spitsbergen) in 1987 - the first tourism enterprise to ver register there. In 1988, his first guide book on Spitsbergen followed with later editions including also the neighbouring islands of Franz Josef Land and Jan Mayen.
Since 1991, Andreas has lived in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen and in addition to running his company in Spitsbergen, has mainly focused on small groups and hiking, trekking and studies, where he has worked on a lot of media projects and research logistics. He has also worked on WWF projects regarding tourism and conservation in the Arctic, and since 1998, he has been frequently asked to join polar cruises as a guest lecturer, taking advantage of his combination of his 25 years personal experience spent in the Arctic. Though a generalist with also good knowledge about natural sciences of the area, his personal main interest are polar history and Arctic politics, especially regarding Spitsbergen and Arctic Russia.
Apart from some travel on the Russian mainland, he went to Franz Josef Land for the first time as a lecturer on a cruise in 2003, and as an expedition leader on three cruises in 2004 and 2008. This practical experience is felt also in his guide books including Franz Josef Land, and one of his newest projects - the geographic website www.franz-josef-land.info. Moreover, he is engaged in the development in Franz Josef Land regarding the combination of tourism and conservation, where he sees particularly high need for taking care of the unique historic sites on the islands.
Director of the Arctic Centre of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, Louwrens Hacquebord is also a Full Professor in Arctic and Antarctic Studies. His impressive academic background features a degree in physical geography and archaeology, as well as a masters degree in physical geography, archaeology and historical geography. In 1984 he earned his PhD degree in archaeology on the excavations of the 17th century Dutch whaling settlement in Spitsbergen.
After eight years as vice-president of the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), he is now a council member as well as holding other positions such as:- interim chair of the IASC Standing committee for Human and Social Sciences; member of the International Polar Heritage Committee of ICOMOS; and member of the Dutch national International Polar Year committee.
A keen researcher, Lauwrens has been involved in several international research projects and participates in the Arctic Coastal Dynamic research project. His research has largely been focused on resources development in both the Arctic and Antarctica. He has also published works about the history of European trade in the White Sea and the Northern Dvina in Northern Russia.
Lauwrens is currently leading the very successful and prestigious International Polar Year project LASHIPA, in which, project researchers from six countries are collaborating to study the history of exploitation of polar areas. In this project, he studies the geopolitical developments around the exploitation of natural resources in the North Pole area.
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.
Keith has a background in conservation and recreation management, working with the New Zealand Department of Conservation for 20 years as a forest and national park ranger, including a year-long stint leading a four person team on Raoul Island in the Kermadec Group.
When possible he helped a Queenstown company guiding clients in a range of mountain biking, tramping and kayaking activities in Fiordland and the Southern Alps.
A change in direction in 1999 took him to subantarctic Macquarie Island for 15 months to assist with a cat eradication project, where he got to know most nooks and crannies of the island in the search for feral cats.
Expedition work in Antarctica followed, and with the Antarctic bug well and truly planted he spent a year at Scott Base, supporting field parties with field equipment during the summer, and then maintaining the gear all winter. Keith returned to the ice for the following four summers leading the field support team at Scott Base and coordinating field logistics and field training, before further expedition work sea kayaking and Zodiac driving on the Antarctic peninsula.
Back at Macquarie Island for another year in 2005, Keith was dismayed at the damage rabbits and rodents had done to the islands vegetation and birdlife, and moved to Tasmania in 2006 to work on a project to eradicate invasive species from the island.
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.
Maggie O’ Connor
After completing a degree in Adventure Tourism Management Maggie worked extensively in the tourism industry and has since travelled widely. Working on a ship has taken her to places including the Russian Arctic, Antarctica, Papua New Guinea and the Kimberley Coast. She has also worked glacier guiding in New Zealand and Norway, as an outdoor instructor in Spain and Austria and as an Outdoor Education Teacher in Australia.
With a great passion for the outdoor environment Maggie can be found enjoying life through mountain biking, mountaineering, trail running and diving.
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’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 John Blyth
John has worked in the emergency department of Port Macquarie Base Hospital (NSW) for the past fourteen years. He lives in the bush with his wife, Penelope, and son, Ben, watching birds and occasionally whales. His other hobbies include surfing, sailboarding, back-country skiing and sea kayaking.
John grew up in Northern England, to the soundtrack of the Beatles and studied medicine at the University of Liverpool. Keen to see something of the World before settling down to a career, he arranged an internship in Sydney and spent six months travelling to Australia via Africa. Subsequent years included travels in Asia and North America, an Atlantic crossing by yacht; and work in Bermuda and Zululand, RSA.
After (finally) completing general practice training, John worked in Port Macquarie before taking up the solo GP position on Lord Howe Island where he lived with his family for seven halcyon years. He developed an interest in marine biology and assisted visiting scientists with studies of reproduction in corals and crown of thorns starfish. While on the island, he met several meteorologist who had spent time in Antarctica. Their stories reinforced a longstanding ambition to visit the ice, which is soon to be fulfilled.
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 has travelled extensively throughout the world, both for fun and working as a qualified chef, hiking guide, and sea kayak guide and Instructor.
He has been a professional sea kayak guide and instructor for more than a decade. Judd started his kayak guiding in Far North Queensland running 7 day Hinchinbrook Island and Cape Tribulation to Cooktown expeditions in 2000, and has since worked in such exotic destinations as Fiji, Panama, Palawan, Antarctica, PNG, Scotland, Spitsbergen, Greenland and the Russian Arctic and Far East. He has also paddled on personal trips and expeditions in places such as Tasmania and Independent Samoa to name a few.
Judd is equally at home on top of 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.
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.
Graham was born and bred in the heart of England, in the County of Leicestershire. Brought up in the countryside, he has a love for the outdoors and whilst at home loves to spend time cycling and has recently completed a 1000 mile bike ride for charity.
Graham has been a chef since 1997 and has worked in a wide range of establishments from restaurants to hotels and pubs to function centres. Another pastime of his is travelling, having spent a lot of the last 6 years visiting many parts of the world.
Graham has been working for Aurora Expeditions since early 2007 having completed seasons both in the Arctic and Antarctica as Head Chef. He feels extremely lucky to have been given to chance to work with Aurora Expeditions and to be given an insight into part of the planet that would have otherwise remained a mystery.
Dr Giles Taylor
Giles was born and brought up in the UK. He started sailing as a small child and has “mucked about in boats” ever since. As a student he spent much of his spare time walking and skiing in the mountains of Europe.
A couple of years after graduating, he and his wife drove a small car 16,000km from London, across the Sahara, through Central Africa to Kenya. He then spent two years working in East Africa before returning to London for further training. Another two years on remote islands in the Solomon Islands made a return to England unappetizing and so he settled on the far north coast of New South Wales.
He has been a doctor for several expeditions and sporting events. He went to the Ross Sea with Aurora in early 2006 and has been travelled to the Arctic and Antarctic every year since then.
When he gets bored, Giles bushwalks, sea kayaks and flies gliders competitively.
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.
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 for several seasons as well as completing a season in the Arctic and Papua New Guinea at the tropical end of the spectrum.
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.
Penny first joined Aurora in our Sydney office in 2003. She has worked in the hospitality industry for many years, enjoying the discipline of serving fine wines complimented by a good meal. The travel industry was a big change of direction for her. She was enthused by the challenge of the unique itineraries enjoyed by our Aurora family passengers as well as the ability to increase her knowledge of our intriguing world.
Penny is an enthusiastic and passionate participant in everything she does, and in 2007 decided to take on the next challenge of a working holiday in the UK. She spent two years travelling and working in Shetland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Southern England and as the opportunity arose to work on board Polar Pioneer she jumped at the chance.
Penny has since been working and travelling to Aurora's wonderful destinations, enjoying both North and South Polar regions.
Travels in South America and the Middle East have kept Penny enthralled in between ship time, along with an extravagant short holiday in Los Angeles to indulge her passion for wine and food a little more. The mix of education and travel which Aurora encourages, renews the challenge in her own life and Penny continues her never ending enthusiasm for work onboard our ships.
Dr Jaye Martin
Jaye is a Specialist Physician based in the remote Kimberley region of the north west of Western Australia, where she provides care to patients throughout the whole region. This involves extensive travel by 4WD from her base in Broome to the other main Kimberley towns and many of the Aboriginal communities. The remote and varied nature of her everyday work means that she is used to having to be resourceful and adaptable! She grew up and graduated from Medical School in the UK, but immigrated to Western Australia in 1991. Since then she has worked throughout WA, including time in the Goldfields, Central Desert and wheat belt regions and outer metropolitan Perth before moving up to the Kimberley.
Jaye also works part time in the Expedition cruise industry, and has been visiting Antarctica annually in this capacity since 2003. Expedition Medicine is one of several of her particular medical interests. She has taken on several additional roles over the years, including Assistant Expedition Leader, zodiac driver and helicopter logistics. She has also worked as Expedition Leader on cruises along the Kimberley coast.
Jaye has always had a love of travel, and in her spare time enjoys exploring remote areas of Australia by 4WD. She is also a keen sailor, in 2008 having spent 2 months sailing from Fremantle to China via Singapore as navigator on board a 68 foot racing yacht.
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.
Terry is returning to the southern polar region for his third season as hotel manager. For someone born in a town out back o’ Bourke he has a real liking of most places cold! For seven years, Terry was a ski instructor at a resort in Colorado and has not actually spent a full summer in Australia for nine years. However he does enjoy the spoils of summer, like BBQ’s and going to the beach!
The USA was a jump off point for his many backpacking adventures in a variety of countries, in all directions of the compass. In between travels and skiing, Terry was an Outdoor Education Instructor, leading youth and adults alike through camp based programs and adventure challenge activities.
Terry has also completed a twelve month Rotary Youth Exchange in Calgary and has a Bachelor of Business, majoring in marketing, at the University of Newcastle. Terry enjoys working outdoors and being able to have such a positive influence in the lives of so many people, especially children.
Terry is excited by the prospect of a new Antarctic season - new adventures, new challenges and new friendships.
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".
Steve Bell has been climbing since the mid 1970s, and has completed many ascents around the world, including the north faces of the Eiger and the Matterhorn. He has worked for the British Antarctic Survey, spending four months under canvass on James Ross Island, and served with the Royal Marines Commandos.
In 1987 he was a co-founder of Himalayan Kingdoms, which introduced the concept of commercial mountaineering expeditions to British climbers.
He led the UK's first guided ascents of a 7000m peak in 1989, an 8000m peak in 1991, and Everest in 1993. This last expedition remains the most successful British Everest expedition ever, with 16 summiteers.
Since then he has gone on to complete the seven continental summits and has edited a book about the Seven Summits. An IFMGA mountain guide, he is now the proprietor of one of the world's leading mountaineering companies, Jagged Globe, which works closely with Aurora Expeditions for its Antarctic programmes.
In early 2004, Steve emigrated from the UK to Australia with his wife and three children, and lives near Melbourne.
Tashi Tenzing is the grandson of Tenzing Norgay, who in 1953 made the first ascent of Mount Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary. From a young age Tashi emulated his grandfather's love of mountain exploration and he has spent much of his life trekking and climbing through-out Nepal, Tibet, Pakistan, Kashmir, the Indian Himalaya and Antarctica.
Tashi has summited Mount Everest three times (1997, 2002 & 2007) along with climbing many of the world’s highest peaks and leading a number of expedition firsts. His passion, experience and commitment to mountain safety have made him a well-respected guide throughout Nepal and worldwide.
Tashi trained and graduated from the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute which was established by Tenzing Norgay after his accent of Everest to offer professional climbing instruction to all Indian people. It now has a great tradition and a successful history of expeditions to the great Himalayan peaks.
Having previously worked as a climbing guide for Aurora Expeditions in Antarctica and South Georgia, Tashi now leads the company’s trekking expeditions throughout Nepal and Tibet. Tashi regales stories of his Sherpa ancestors and his own experiences of summiting Mount Everest, whilst also profoundly articulating the complex rituals and customs of the culture and religions of Nepal and Tibet.
Today, Tashi spends much of his time leading expeditions, giving motivational talks as well as focusing on giving back to the mountain communities of Nepal. He and his wife established the Green Tara Foundation to promote development through education, establishing a sense of civic responsibility, and help them to appreciate, as well as understanding the root causes of poverty and inequality in the world.
Simon has worked as a professional sea kayak and whitewater-rafting guide for more than two decades, leading trips throughout Australia, North and South America the Polar regions, Europe and the South Pacific.
In 1985 he did a raft guides course with a large Australian adventure travel company. He spent the next five years working as a guide and river manager on all the major commercial raft runs in eastern Australia, from the Franklin River in Tasmania to the Tully and North Johnston in North Queensland.
He worked as an operations manager and rafting trip leader for rafting companies in British Columbia and Norway for 5 years and has guided rafts on private and commercial trips in Alaska, USA, Canada and Chile.
Simon started leading Hinchinbrook Island sea kayaking tours in the early 90’s and went on to manage and lead seven and ten-day sea kayak programs in the Yasawas in Fiji for 7 years. He has been guiding kayak trips in the polar regions with Aurora Expeditions for 6 years from Antarctica and South Georgia in the south to Spitsbergen, Norway and Greenland in the north.
He has completed several Wilderness First Aid courses and is a qualified swift water rescue technician.
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. Jenny Scott
During the past 24 years, Jenny has spent extended periods of time on subantarctic Macquarie Island, Heard Island, Campbell Island and South Georgia with ANARE (Australia), Department of Conservation (New Zealand) and the South Georgia Government working as a field biologist and geographer. In the 1970s she spent four years working in Scotland on various nature conservation projects for the Nature Conservancy Council, and in Iceland leading extended walking trips in remote areas.
Her main areas of field research include subantarctic vegetation, ecology and the effects of feral animals. She has also worked on population dynamics of albatrosses and giant petrels, marine conservation issues, planning for feral cat eradication on Macquarie Island and visitor site surveys on South Georgia. She has also been involved in a number of seal and seabird programs as a field assistant.
Since 1998 Jenny has worked for eight seasons as a naturalist/lecturer/guide for Aurora Expeditions in the Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands, and one season in the northern hemisphere in Scotland and Spitsbergen.
Pete is a whale researcher, writer and photographer who has Antarctic exploration in his blood. Like his great, great, great grandfather, Sir James Clark Ross, he has spent many seasons in icy seas.
His early life was spent working in the Australian bush. Pete then began studying the song and migration of humpback whales in 1983, using yachts in such areas as the east and west coasts of Australia, New Caledonia, the Coral Sea, and the Antarctic.
During 1994-96 he was involved in southern right whale research in the Great Australian Bight and southwest Australia. He helped to initiate the first Antarctic cetacean research program motivated by the principles of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, participating in ANARE's first winter sea ice voyage in 1995, and in ANARE whale surveys along the Australian Antarctic Territory in 1996 and 1998. He is the founder of the independent group Australocetus Research, and has represented Australia on the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling
Commission. Since 1998 he has been involved in an ecological study of blue whales in a southern Australian feeding ground, near his home in southwest Victoria.
He has participated in three Antarctic sailing expeditions: the 1986 'Riquita' Ross Sea voyage, the 1988 Mount Minto expedition, and the 1993 'Iniquity' whale research expedition along the coast of the Australian Antarctic Territory. For two years he worked in marine mammal conservation with Greenpeace Australia, while continuing humpback research. Among his writings are the Reader's Digest book of Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises, the Nature Company Guide to Whales and Dolphins, and Whale Watching in Australian and New Zealand Waters.
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.
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.
Sergey Frolov is a Russian-born mariner, explorer, sled dog musher, teacher and businessman. He lives and works between Seattle and the isolated Russian port town of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, where he was raised.
Born into a long line of seafarers, Sergey graduated Marine Engineering and Design at the Far East Marine Academy in Vladivostok. Throughout his career, he has undertaken dozens of unique voyages and explorations. Between 1987 and 1991, Sergey lived in the Russian Arctic where the Siberian Yupik Eskimos taught him to build traditional skin boats known as "umiaks". During this time, he and the Eskimos elders put their skin boats to the ultimate test, retracing the historical Bering Strait crossing to Alaska three times and reuniting Eskimo families split by the Cold War.
When Russia was opened up to the outside world in the early 1990s, Sergey began to bridge cultural differences between Russia and the USA. He formed his own company Pacific Network and brought the first foreign flag expedition ship and foreign tourists to Kamchatka in 1992. Now operating from Seattle and Petropavlovsk, he has single-handedly opened the Russian Far East and Siberia as a destination for adventure travelers for the first time.
Nancy is a PhD anthropologist who has been living and working in Papua New Guinea for nineteen years. She will be a special guest lecturer on board our Papua New Guinea voyages.
Having first arrived as a tourist in 1988, she decided to stay and started out by establishing a film production company with a local Western highlands woman. After some time out to completer her graduate degree at New York University, Nancy returned to PNG where she now runs an ethnographic consulting company with her former local students. Her company conducts social impact assessments and other kinds of research for aid and development projects.
Speaking Tok Pisin (pidgin) has enabled Nancy to gain a unique insight into the various cultures she has come across throughout her extensive travels to the remote corners of this incredibly diverse country.
She's also been involved in tourism for most of her time in PNG, from running remote lodges and small cruise boats, to organising custom tours and escorting photojournalists and documentary film teams. In 1994 she authored a popular travel handbook and she has authored several academic publications on various PNG subjects: media production, nationalism, social and economic change, conservation and new social movements. Her vibrant family home in Madang is filled with two sons, adopted from the Karawari region of the Sepik River various in-laws and students.
Peter Hall has been a major presence in South African galleries for the past fifteen years. Starting out as a watercolourist, he soon acquired the reputation of one of this country's best, being represented by leading galleries and sought after for teaching courses and demonstrations. He went on from there to experiment with mixed media and oils, and constantly draws on his experience as a watercolourist to create the light and vibrant colour that has become his trademark.
Peter is also an internationally award-winning photographer, and considers himself blessed to be able to combine his passion for painting and photography with his other great loves, wilderness areas and wildlife. Through his art, he hopes to promote a greater appreciation of the beauty inherent in our unspoiled natural areas, as it is only by loving and appreciating nature that humanity will learn to value and conserve it.
As a dedicated bird-watcher, Peter is particularly passionate about the plight of the albatrosses. A whale-watching expedition a few years ago brought these legendary birds to his attention. Aware of the endangered status of the albatross, Peter became horrified at the thought of this species being systematically wiped out as an entirely avoidable by-product of long-line fishing. He became determined to assist Birdlife International with their 'Save The Albatross' project, and so created "The Wanderer". Now available as a limited edition print, this painting captures the grace and elegance of this global roamer as he soars above vast and lonely Southern Oceans.
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.
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.
Canadian-born Betty Monteath started travelling soon after leaving university. A short-lived career as a teacher was followed by a variety of jobs in various countries before she settled in New Zealand. For the past 20 years she has managed Hedgehog House NZ's photographic library and publishing business and honed her editing skills. Her expertise in coordinating and overseeing the publishing of Hedgehog House's Antarctic calendars, books and cards has ensured high quality products. She is also involved in husband Colin's writing projects both as a researcher and an editor.
Travelling has remained a passion and she has interspersed parenting and business with extended overseas trips. Over the years she has also organised a number of family trips with daughters Denali and Carys - from trekking in Nepal to cruising in Antarctica. She has worked as Assistant Expedition Leader on several Antarctic voyages with Aurora - enjoying the interaction with passengers as they discover the wonders of the ice.
We are very excited and honoured to have Syd Kirkby join us. He is a living legend of Antarctic exploration. Following his earlier part in the 1954 Commonwealth/ Western Australian Great Sandy Desert expedition Syd was, throughout the 1950s and 1960s, a major participant in the exploration and mapping of Australian Antarctic Territory. He wintered in Antarctica in 1956/57, 1960/61 and 1980/81 and took part in the Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions (ANARE) summer exploration and survey operations of 1961/62, 1962/63, 1964/65 and led the major multi-disciplinary scientific examination of Enderby Land of 1979/80. He has made several other Antarctic journeys over the years. Several of his sledging journeys have been first ever penetrations of the regions with two of them being first and only ever traversings of the areas of ground transport.
His contribution to Australia's Antarctic program is recognised in the naming of Kirkby Head, Mt Kirkby, Kirkby Glacier, and Kirkby Shoal and by his being awarded the Polar Medal in 1957 and being made a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1965.
In 1997 he was awarded the Gold Medal of the Australian Geographic Society as Adventurer of the Year, 'for his extensive and prolonged contribution to the exploration and mapping of Antarctica'.
Away from the Antarctic high life he played a prominent part in the development of the 'Aerodist', airborne survey system; the Airborne Radar Terrain Profiler and its later development, the Laser Terrain Profiler, early orthophotomapping, digital terrain modelling and automatic image correlation. In1984 Syd retired from the position of Assistant Director of National Mapping, with responsibility for the national Topographic Mapping Program. In retirement he is a sought-after speaker as an entertaining repository of Antarctic fact and lore.
An ornithologist, photographer and writer, Santiago was born and raised in southern Patagonia, Argentina. He obtained a degree in tourism and later in ornithology, which allowed him to combine his love for nature and the outdoors with his work as a bird watcher, naturalist, fly fisher and mountain guide. During the Antarctic off-season Santiago does ornithology research on birds of southern Patagonia and Antarctic. Among others, he is studying the biology of the rediscovered Austral Rail, The Magellanic or ‘Magic’ Plover and also coordinates a project to save the Critically Endangered Patagonian endemic Hooded Grebe. He does volunteer work for the NGO ‘Ambiente Sur’ that seeks to protect the environment and educate the new generations on a sustainable way of life in southern Patagonia.
His articles and stories have been published in scientific journals and popular travel magazines. In the last years, two of his books on birds have been published, has become a certified wilderness first aid responder and, since his singing abilities are rather poor, has produced a cd of bird sounds of Patagonia and Antarctica.
Whenever he is off work, guess what? He goes birdwatching and sound recording, his main passions, mainly in his backyard (the rather large Los Glaciares National Park, where he lives).
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 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 is 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.
Dave spent twelve years in the Royal Navy, acquiring an appetite for the Polar Regions during a Joint services expedition to Elephant Island in 1970. He then left the navy and joined the British Antarctic survey. For three decades he has been returning to the Antarctic and South Georgia in various roles, including dog sled driver, base commander, and participant in geological field trips. Most recently, he was project leader at Port Lockroy in 2002, and is currently involved in the clean-up of former British bases.
His Arctic experiences include a Cambridge University geological expedition in small boats to the north and west coasts of Spitsbergen, ski mountaineering expeditions in Spitsbergen and on the Vatnajokull Ice Cap of Iceland, and a scientific expedition to the North Cape of Arctic Norway.
He has also participated in expeditions to the Himalayas, the Rajastan and Sinai deserts and East Africa. His interests include mountaineering, skiing, the great outdoors, painting and travel.
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.
Don is an experienced mountain and ski guide, and outdoor pursuits enthusiast. He has instructed at New Zealand's Outward Bound School, and spent many years guiding skiing and climbing in the Mount Cook region in New Zealand's Southern Alps. He has climbed many of the 10,000 foot peaks in this area. For a brief time in an earlier life he was a teacher.
As Director of the Castle Hill Outdoor Centre for ten years, Don was responsible for developing and managing outdoor education programmes for teenage students for several Christchurch schools. He has enjoyed several trips to Nepal and Sikkim. In his 'spare time' he has taught skiing in Austria, climbed and skied in Canada and the USA, and windsurfed in Maui (but not on Jaws!), trekked in Torres del Paine and the mountain regions of Patagonia and across the Beagle Channel on Isla de Navarino.
As an expedition leader, Don has led voyages to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, the Antarctic Peninsula, New Zealand’s sub-Antarctic Islands, Macquarie Island, the Ross Sea and East Antarctica. Don has been visiting the Antarctic regularly since 2002, when he first attempted the Shackleton’s crossing on South Georgia.
As a mountain guide he enjoys the wilderness environment. The unpredictable southern ocean, the subtleties of colour in this harsh region, and the beauty of ice are ongoing attractions.
In 2006 he enjoyed a Polar Pioneer circuit of Spitsbergen and voyages to Greenland. The grandeur of the High Arctic is captivating. The vastness of the Greenland fiords; the Spitsbergen tundra colours and flowers are thoroughly absorbing. The delightful contrasts to the ‘in-ya-face’ Antarctic make this a ‘must see’ region of the world.
Don and his partner Gill live in the delightful city of Nelson at the top of the South Island in New Zealand.
Dr. Roger Kirkwood
Roger has been employed as a naturalist and voyage leader for Aurora Expeditions since 1998. He has also led more than 100 research trips mostly to offshore islands, has lots of outdoor, camping and travel experience, and loves being on boats. He has a coxswains boat licence, assistant scuba instructors ticket, and is trained in wilderness first-aid and survival at sea.
Roger’s working career has largely revolved around him being an Antarctic recidivist, returning to the icy continent again and again in whatever role he can. After 10 research stints with the Australian Antarctic Division and more than 10 seasons with Aurora Expeditions, he still hasn’t had enough. His eclectic research in Antarctica includes extended marine science cruises studying krill, and summers in remote field camps in Antarctic and on subantarctic islands. “It is hard to select highlights”, he says, but adds that “a winter on the sea-ice with emperor penguins was pretty good, camping on a rock-stack in Drakes Passage was atmospheric and Heard Island has magnetic qualities”. Every trip is unique and filled with experiences you just don’t get in your back-yard.
Away from Antarctica, Roger worked for several years as a geologists dogs-body in remote field camps in outback Australia, several more years as a fisheries biologist and then seal researcher in Tasmania, and for 15 years as a research scientist at Phillip Island Nature Parks, Victoria (seal, penguin and fox research). His PhD research studied emperor penguin foraging ecology. He is currently employed as a senior researcher for IMARES Wageningen University in the Netherlands, where his investigations focus on human impacts on grey seals, harbour seals and harbour porpoises. Through his career, Roger has published over 100 research and public articles, book chapters and books, including two children’s books.
Roger lives on the Dutch Wadden Sea island of Texel with his lovely wife Marjolein and young children, Jay and Emily.
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 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.
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.