What started out as a hobby working as a Photography Guide on whale watching and shark cage diving boats quickly progressed into a career after Jean-Pierre had the opportunity to work as a Divemaster on the Sardine Run off the Wild Coast of South Africa, known as The Greatest Shoal on Earth. Jean-Pierre Els qualified as a PADI Divemaster and Surf Launching Skipper in 2011 for the Sardine Run and this trip ignited an existing passion for wildlife and having a whole new world to explore. He was employed as a resident Divemaster and Skipper shortly after, specialising in shark diving and launching in surf as well as the Team Leader on the annual Sardine Run. As the Team Leader, Jean-Pierre was responsible for the setup of an offsite base, logistical planning and managing of the daily operations, team duties and coordinating water activities for the boats out on the water each season including coordination of the air support team.
Jean-Pierre was a General Manager of Zavora Lodge, a Dive Resort in Mozambique before he committed all his time to expedition cruising from December 2016 onwards. He worked as an Expedition Leader, Divemaster, Zodiac Driver and Naturalist from the Arctic to the Antarctic and the tropics in between. As an Expedition Leader, he lead teams of expedition experts in remote locations all around the world. Jean-Pierre feels privileged to have had the opportunity to lead or work on expeditions and dive trips in 57 countries and numerous destinations on every continent and ocean around our beautiful planet. In his Divemaster role, he designs tailored dive and snorkel programs, including operations management in leading intricate dive and snorkel programs for private charters as well as large commercial groups operating from land or onboard boats and larger vessels. Working as a Water Sports and Surface Activity Coordinator in the Seychelles and Adriatic Sea, he was responsible for establishing the onboard operations, crew training, schedules, logistics and development of SOP’s for a newly launched expedition vessel.
As the Expedition Team Manager at Aurora Expeditions, Jean-Pierre (JP) has a key role in building professional relationships and allocating expedition team members to Aurora Expeditions’ programs. JP also works with the Operations department and Expedition Team to ensure all our team members are suitably qualified and hold relevant proficiencies. Coordinating the Citizen Science Program, Aurora Expeditions’ training activities and special projects along the way, ensures Aurora Expeditions delivers the trip of a lifetime to our passengers.