At Aurora Expeditions, we're faced with many honest and curious questions during our various voyages. Whether it's the more scientific questions around where the polar bears in Antarctica are or why there are no penguins in the European Arctic, there is usually a pretty clear and concise answer.

Read more: Why are there no penguins in the Arctic?

However, one of questions that will certainly turn a few heads is if you ask who the naturists on the voyage are. While we're not in the business of judging what people do at home, it's a fair assumption that we will never have an active naturist on board the Polar Pioneer. It's probably a little cold, if you know what we mean (;-))!

However, you'll always find a naturalist on board our small ship expeditions. If you're not quite sure what the difference is, here's a simple explanation of the difference between a naturalist and naturist.

What is a naturist?

Known as a nudist or sun worshipper, naturists are people who go naked in designated areas. Across Australia, there are numerous beaches, campgrounds and other areas where naturists can let it all go – away from the eyes of the public, of course.

For obvious reasons, we don't allow practising naturists to go nude on the Polar Pioneer. This said, we do have the next best thing, at least in spelling, our expert team of on-board naturalists!

Wildlife fact file - King penguin 

What is a naturalist?

On the other side of the cheek, naturalists are those who are an expert in or student of natural history. Commonly referred to as natural historians, life scientists or wildlife experts, these individuals are an important and special part of the Aurora Expeditions' team.

In fact, it's not just those travelling to Antarctica who will receive the rich insight from our naturalists. If you're heading to Alaska, European Arctic, Papua New Guinea or Kimberley Coast, you're able to learn more about the local environment and the animals that call it home. With years of experience in their respective fields, our naturalists add a point of difference to your trips – one that you're bound to remember for a long time.

Read more: All about Antarctic penguins

Meet our naturalists

Below is a small summary of our nine naturalists and what they can add to your trip.

Chris Done (Guest Lecturer) – Kimberley Coast

As a Kimberley Coast native since 1979 and a former Regional Manager for the state's Department of Conservation and Land Management, there are few people more qualified to speak about this region than Chris Done. Chris has an outstanding understanding of the region's ecology and land management issues as well as its geology and Aboriginal culture.

Dr Alan Burger (Naturalist and Expedition Leader) – Antarctica and European Arctic

Dr Alan Burger is one of the most respected wildlife conservationists in the world and we are proud to have him on-board with Aurora Expeditions. Having spent more than two years researching and studying birds on the Sub-antarctic Marion Island, he's key in spotting albatrosses, penguins and petrels as we sail!

Dr Gary Miller (Naturalist and Expedition Leader) – Antarctica and European Arctic

As one of most well-travelled naturalists, Dr Gary Miller is always keen to share his extensive wildlife knowledge with passengers. Dr Gary Miller has explored and worked in the polar regions for over 30 years and is an expert in the behaviour, genetics and ecology of many Antarctica natives.

Dr John Kirkwood (Naturalist) – European Arctic and Antarctica

If you're looking to talk to someone who has ice dived in Antarctica, studied dugongs in Moreton Bay and explored the Amazon rainforest, Dr John Kirkwood is the man for you. For over 30 years, Dr John Kirkwood has travelled the planet studying a wide variety of the world's most unique creatures.

Dr Roger Kirkwood (Naturalist and Expedition Leader) – European Arctic and Antarctica

A polar expert for over 20 years, Dr Roger Kirkwood has completed more than 10 research trips to Antarctica – studying everything from krill and emperor penguins to albatross. As one of our best naturalists, Dr Roger Kirkwood has passed his knowledge to those on the Wild Scotland trip.

Read more: Spitsbergen birdlife to spot on your Arctic expedition

Heidi Krajewsky (Naturalist) – European Arctic and Antarctica

With a Marine Biology degree from the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Heidi Krajewsky understands more than most about the marine mammals and sea birds on the British Columbia coast. Heidi's scientific voyages have also taken her to the South Pacific, Bermuda and Antarctica.

Steve Egan (Naturalist) – Kimberley Coast

Steve Egan has been around the world, exploring different environments and leading various extended expeditions. This passion led him to the rugged Kimberley and Kakadu National Parks where Steve learnt more about Aboriginal cultures and tropical ecosystems.

So, now that you've met some of our naturalists and understand the bare essentials of their role at Aurora Expeditions, be sure to get in touch with our team today to learn more about our voyages.

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