Luxury Expedition Cruises Team

A&K’s Expedition Team features a cast of extraordinary real-life explorers that includes acclaimed scientists, historians, photographers, authors and daring pioneers.
June 2020

Meet Your Luxury Expedition Cruise Team

Occupying a category all their own, A&K’s Expedition Team features a cast of extraordinary real-life explorers that includes acclaimed scientists, historians, photographers, authors and daring pioneers. An average of 18 members joins you on every cruise, each bringing a level of knowledge and passion for the places we explore that is truly unmatched and always inspiring.

Cruise Directors

Nadia Eckhardt - Cruise Director

Nadia's passion for travel was born after embarking on her first expedition to Indonesia, the South Pacific and the Amazon. Upon setting foot on the Southern Ocean's South Georgia, she was hooked on expedition travel, and has since served as an A&K Cruise Director and Expedition Leader. Born in Cape Town, South Africa, Nadia has travelled to over 160 countries on all seven continents, and returns to her Washington home when not at sea.

Sally Escanilla - Assistant Cruise Director

Cruising among the stunning fjords of New Zealand, a chance encounter led to an invitation for Sally to join a small Russian vessel heading to the Ross Sea of Antarctica. Working with A&K since 2001, she has since returned to the White Continent's awesome splendor some 100 times and explored other pristine destinations from the Amazon River to the High Arctic. Originally from England, Sally immigrated "down under" to New Zealand's South Island, where she now resides.

Paul Carter - Cruise Director

Even at the young age of 15, Paul knew he wanted to travel the world. Graduating with a hotel and catering management degree, he pursued a career at sea, working as an officer both in the United Kingdom and the Caribbean before becoming an assistant purser in 1983. Paul has since visited all seven continents and more than 120 countries, and loves to meet others who share his passion for exploring the world.

Geraldine (JD) Massyn - Cruise Director

Driven by her passion for nature, JD, a South African native, abandoned a career in law to pursue adventures across the globe. Travelling to all seven continents and sailing to remote island destinations, she's worked in diverse roles, including Cruise Director, Expedition Leader, dive master and Zodiac driver. A seasoned skipper and intrepid explorer, JD brings her distinctive brand of enthusiasm, energy and humor to every journey, ensuring that each expedition is packed with adventure and discovery.

Maartje Ruijgt - Assistant Cruise Director

Raised by the sea in the Netherlands, Maartje was quick to realize there was more to the world than the small country she called home. At the age of 14, she began seizing every opportunity to explore, which eventually led her to Central America, South America, and Asia, where she worked and lived for several years. She has since travelled to every continent and finds great pleasure in sharing her passion and curiosity for exploration on expedition.

Expedition Leaders

Suzana Machado D'Oliveira - Expedition Director

Exploring with A&K since 1992, Suzana has greeted the shores of extraordinary locales that include Japan, the Amazon and Antarctica, which she has visited upward of 200 times. An agile leader who has served as cruise director, expedition leader and naturalist guide, she is also A&K's representative to the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO), which champions the practice of safe and environmentally responsible travel to Antarctica. Suzana is a native of Brazil, where she studied history at Rio de Janeiro's Catholic University.

Matthew Drennan - Expedition Leader

In addition to the Amazon, southwest Pacific and Indonesia, Matt has spent three decades travelling to the Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica, and has led six transits of the Northwest Passage. In Antarctica, he has served as an A&K Expedition Leader and guide as well as a field researcher for the Antarctic Site Inventory. Matt is the author of the Expedition Leader's Perspective, an Oceanites Site Guide to the Antarctic Peninsula.

Dr. Marco Favero - Expedition Leader

Affiliated with the National University of Mar del Plata in Argentina, Marco enjoys voyaging and lecturing aboard expedition vessels to the polar regions. He currently serves as Executive Secretary on the Advisory Committee for the Agreement on Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP). Along with researching ornithology and marine biology - as well as studying the relationships between the demography of seabirds and climate change - Marco is devoted to seabird conservation initiatives.

Juan José (JJ) Apestegui - Assistant Expedition Leader

Raised in a country town among the coffee fields of Costa Rica's Central Valley, JJ's lifelong fascination with nature called him from his work in the hotel business to a passionate career as a naturalist and guide. Travelling throughout America, Europe, Africa and the polar regions, he has lectured and led groups in many destinations since 1991. With a soft spot for birds, JJ is as fluent in natural history as he is in many different languages.

Adam Walleyn - Assistant Expedition Leader

Born and raised in the Canadian prairies, Adam has sailed on voyages from the high Arctic to the Ross Sea, and across every continent in between. He is a naturalist at heart, and has assisted in research and conservation efforts for some of the world's most critically endangered species, including the spoon-billed sandpiper and kakapo. Visiting the Arctic every summer since he was a teenager, Adam possesses an intimate knowledge of the wildlife, people and history of the region.

Brent Houston - Expedition Leader

Residing in Montana, Brent has been engaged with wildlife research, expedition travel and adventure tourism in the polar expanses since 1988. Travelling yearly to countless locations in Antarctica and the Arctic, he has served as an Expedition Leader and guide in addition to pursuing his ongoing research studies. Brent's delight for these regions is infectious and he loves to tell a good story, especially about his encounters with penguins and polar bears.

Steffen Graupner - Expedition Leader

Born in Germany in 1972, Steffen became a fully trained precision mechanic before studying a slew of advanced sciences, including astrophysics and applied geophysics. Having explored everywhere from South America and Russia to Indonesia and the high mountains of Central Asia, he has worked as a public speaker, travel journalist, photographer and polar guide. When not trekking up the side of a mountain, Steffen enjoys sports, photography, literature, kayaking and spending time with his daughter.

Brad Climpson - Expedition Leader

Born in Sydney, Australia, Brad earned a Bachelor of Science in marine biology and zoology at James Cook University, Townsville. His love for the underwater world brought him aboard expedition ships and to destinations that include Melanesia, Polynesia, the Maldives, Antarctica and the Kimberley. An accomplished scuba diver, Brad lives in North Queensland near the Great Barrier Reef and has developed an intimate knowledge of reef systems. His experience with Australia’s Aboriginal cultures has also provided meaningful insights into how indigenous cultures interact with their natural environment.

History Lecturers

Dr. Tim (T.H.) Baughman - History Lecturer

The author of 10 books on the polar regions, Tim's scholarly publications illuminate human interaction in both Antarctica and the Arctic. An instructor of European history for 30 years, he is a professor emeritus from the University of Central Oklahoma and currently teaches at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Leading travellers around the world for 25 years, Tim shares a scholar's rigor and a storyteller's images to bring the past to life.

Bob Burton - History Lecturer

Voyaging with A&K since 1996, Bob's early work with the British Antarctic Survey inspired a lifelong fascination with polar exploration that has taken him across the Southern Ocean and deep into the Arctic's Northwest Passage. He has served as director of Grytviken's Whaling Museum, authored more than 30 books and is a recipient of the prestigious Polar Medal for research in the Arctic and Antarctic. When not exploring, Bob makes his home in the United Kingdom.

Rob Caskie - History Lecturer

Born in South Africa, Rob became a photographic safari guide and wildlife filmmaker in Botswana's Okavango Delta, launching his own business in 2011 as a professional speaker and tour guide. With a flair for storytelling, Rob has lectured around the world and on numerous expeditions, knowing that there are powerful lessons to be learned from such tales as those told of the Battle of Isandlwana, Rorke's Drift and early Antarctic exploration.

Russell Potter - History Lecturer

Known internationally for his books and lectures regarding Franklin’s lost expedition of 1845, Russell has been visiting historic sites since 2005. His blog, Visions of the North, has become a touchstone for Franklin buffs around the world, and in 2017, he accompanied Sir Michael Palin as he retraced Franklin’s route in preparation for his upcoming book Erebus: The Story of a Ship. Russell is a fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and teaches at Rhode Island College.

Marine Mammal Lecturers

Larry Hobbs - Marine Mammal Lecturer

A biologist and lecturer for over 45 years, Larry has served as director of the Marine Mammal Tagging Office in Washington, D.C., and as a principal research scientist at the National Marine Mammal Laboratory in Seattle. A photographer and teacher as well, he leads traditional wilderness rites of passage and vision quests, and writes about how a systemically thinking human species could live sustainably on this planet. A proud father and grandfather, Larry lives in Washington state.

Sabina Leader Mense - Marine Mammal Lecturer

A marine biologist, Sabina has travelled the world promoting awareness of the marine environment for three decades. Investigating diverse, colorful habitats, she has examined primitive fish endocrinology, cetacean feeding behavior, invertebrate ecology and seaweed culture. At home on Cortes Island in the Canadian Gulf Islands, Sabina is an environmental consultant and educator, and a dedicated community advisor and volunteer.

Dr. Sean Todd - Marine Mamma

A researcher, lecturer, and naturalist guide since 1987, Sean is the current Chair of Marine Sciences at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine, where he directs the Allied Whale marine mammal research group. Focused on conservation biology in polar and subpolar regions, he has logged extensive time in Antarctica, Alaska and Labrador. Sean is also a Scientific Advisor for the American Cetacean Society, and consults for the US federal and state governments.

Matthew Messina - Marine Mammals Lecturer

Matt's pursuits have taken him from the tundra of Alaska and the shores of Newfoundland, far south to the icy straits of Antarctica, always with a trusty sketchbook and camera in hand. A lifelong student of the natural world and the art of illustration, he is a graduate of College of the Atlantic, a naturalist and Zodiac driver, and most recently, the author and illustrator of The Gulf of Maine: An Illustrated Field Guide.

Ornithology Lecturers

Dr. Patricia Silva - Ornithology Lecturer

Born in Mercedes, Uruguay, Patricia received her doctoral degree at the National University of Mar del Plata in Argentina, where she continues her research today. In addition to sharing her enthusiasm as an ornithologist and artist on voyages from South America to the South Pacific, she has participated in over a dozen Antarctic research expeditions and is the current editor of the IAATO Save the Albatross Campaign newsletter.

Rich Pagen - Ornithology Lecturer

It was in the tide pools and forests of his native New York that Rich first became enthralled with the natural world. Beginning a career in conservation biology that steered him from loon nests in Alaska to army ants in the Amazon, he was drawn back to the sea to teach marine science. Since 2004, he has lectured aboard small expedition ships en route to such destinations as the Arctic and Antarctica. When not at sea, Rich resides in Minneapolis.

Geology & Climate Ecology Lecturers

Dr. Jason F. Hicks - Geology Lecturer

A research associate at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science focused on sedimentology, Jason has voyaged to both polar regions for more than three decades, and has engaged in geology expeditions from the Canadian Arctic to the Russian Far East. Beyond his work, Jason is an avid taildragger pilot, owns a ham radio license and has "entirely too many motorcycles." Spending quality time with his young son has severely impacted his activities in all the above.Dr. James McClintock - Climate Ecology Lecture

A native of California and an endowed university professor of marine zoology, Jim is a noted climate change expert whose research frequently takes him to the White Continent. Author of over 235 research publications and four books, he has led 14 expeditions and been awarded the U.S. Antarctic Service medal. Jim discovered an anti-cancer compound in Antarctic marine invertebrates, and a point of land in Antarctica's Ross Sea has been named after him.

Dr. Ian Miller - Geology & Palentology Lecturer

Curator of paleontology and director of earth and space sciences at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Ian studies fossil leaves and their applications for understanding ancient ecosystems, climate and tectonics. With a Ph.D. in geology and geophysics, his current research takes him from the Colorado Rockies to the Morondova Basin in Madagascar. Ian is also behind a museum initiative called the Natural World of Colorado, aiming to deepen people's connection with the natural world.

Dr. Daria Nikitina - Geology Lecturer

Born in Russia, Daria earned her undergraduate and master's degrees from Moscow State University - with a specialty in geomorphology and volcanology - and is a geology professor at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Focused on environmental changes of coastal and fluvial systems, she engages her students in research along the coasts of the U.S., South America and Russia. Her current focus of study has her surveying global sea level changes in response to climate change.

Dr. Henry Pollack - Geology Lecturer

An adventurer who has lectured on voyages from the Chilean Fjords to Antarctica, Henry is a professor emeritus of geophysics at the University of Michigan. He has served on many advisory panels, provided briefings about climate change to Congress and the White House, and is a member of the training faculty of Al Gore's Climate Reality Project. Author of Uncertain Science ... Uncertain World and A World Without Ice, his most recent research focuses on global warming.

Dr. David Dallmeyer – Geology Lecturer

An emeritus professor of geology at the University of Georgia, David has served as lecturer, naturalist and expedition leader on polar expedition cruises for 20 years. He has directed research expeditions from Antarctica and Greenland to Chile and Peru, served as director of a United Nations (UNESCO) project, and followed his studies of plate tectonics and mountain building to every continent. David is the author of several books, including a popular introductory geology textbook in its sixth edition.

Wayne Ranney - Geology Lecturer

Wayne acquired a master’s degree in geology from Northern Arizona University before embarking on numerous shipboard expeditions around the globe. His adventures have brought him to the North Pole several times by Russian icebreaker and on 30 expeditions to Antarctica — the first of which saw him stationed at the McMurdo and South Pole stations as a member of the United States Antarctic Program. Wayne is the author of 10 books, has travelled to more than 85 countries, and enjoys photography and backpacking.

Culture & Special Interest Lecturers

Margaret Bertulli - Archaeology & Culture Lecturer

Formerly a senior archaeologist with Parks Canada, Margaret has spent 30 years working on cultural resource management and research projects in the Canadian Arctic. From the Belcher Islands to northern Ellesmere Island, and from Baffin Island to the Mackenzie Delta, she has conducted numerous archaeological surveys and excavations, including the recovery of the skeletal and artifact remains of the Franklin Expedition of 1845-48 on King William Island.

Mike Beedell - Northwest Passage Exploration Lecturer

A fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and named one of Canada's 100 greatest explorers, Mike has completed extensive expeditions in the Arctic over the course of four decades. He completed a five-month dogsled journey as well as a four-month kayak circumnavigation of Bylot Island, and sailed a Hobie Cat through the Northwest Passage, which was sponsored by National Geographic. Mike is the author of the Canadian bestseller, The Magnetic North.

Dagmar Hagen - Botany Lecturer

Growing up near a fjord on Norway's coast, Dagmar became interested in the relationships between land use, society and nature. A Ph.D. in restoration ecology positioned her at the forefront of efforts to develop ecological restoration as a tool in Norwegian landscape management. Now a senior scientist at the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, Dagmar enjoys giving tourist groups a glimpse into what she calls "the fascination and beauty of the overwhelming Arctic landscapes and ecosystems."

Simon Rickard - Japanese Gardens Lecturer

Simon is a passionate Australian gardener and plantsman. He has worked as head gardener at two of Australia's iconic gardens, Heronswood and the Garden of St Erth, and as the kitchen gardener at a much-loved restaurant in country Victoria. Today, Simon runs his own gardening design consultancy, writes books and cultivates a musical career as a baroque bassoon player.

Mike Stevens - Musician & Speaker

A native of Ontario, "Harmonica Mike" credits the sounds of Motown coming from across the border in Detroit, Michigan, as one of his most powerful influences. From traditional bluegrass to free jazz, he showcases unique harmonica skills, has performed over 300 shows on the Grand Ole Opry stage and has released nine albums. In 2002, Mike founded ArtsCan Circle, a nonprofit organization dedicated to linking creative artists with indigenous, at-risk youth in Canada.

Kristine Bakke Westergaard - Botany Lecturer

Exploring the high Arctic since 2002, Kristine possesses a PhD in Arctic botany from the University of Tromsø (Norway) and has lead botanical expeditions everywhere from Svalbard to Alaska. She calls Trondheim home and serves as a research scientist at the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research. Kristine is also especially passionate about the conservation of vulnerable Arctic flora and an active member of groups that include the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Aya Louisa McDonald - Culture Lecturer

A professor of art history at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Aya’s research and writing focus primarily on the traditional and contemporary arts of Japan, with a special interest in the intersection of art and war. Her publications have appeared in the University of Westminster’s Journal of War and Culture Studies and essay collection Art and War in Japan and Its Empire 1931-1960, which she also co-edited. She is currently working on a monograph on the Franco-Japanese artist Foujita Tsugouharu (1886-1968).

Lord Chartres - Culture Lecturer

An avid scholar, Richard Chartres studied at Trinity College Cambridge, where he is now an honorary fellow, and has taught at the International School in Seville and London’s Gresham College. His numerous designations include Bishops of Stepney and of London, Dean of Her Majesty's Chapels Royal and Life Peer in the House of Lords; an active environmentalist, he is also an Ambassador for the World Wildlife Fund. Richard has been visiting Greece and lecturing on Greek culture and history for 40 years. He lives with his wife and family in Wiltshire.

Marjorie Williams - Culture Lecturer

Over the course of a forty-year career at the Cleveland Museum of Art, Marjorie has lectured extensively and curated numerous exhibitions on Japanese, Chinese and Korean art. She has served as a study leader for many organizations, including the Smithsonian Institution’s Study Abroad Program, and has designed and lectured on trips to Japan for Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Museum of Art. She is particularly interested in the cross-cultural influences between Eastern and Western art.

Bart Pigram - Cultural Lecturer

Bart developed his passion for merging indigenous oral histories and language with western documentation while serving as a curator and cultural development project officer at Nyamba Buru Yawuru, where he contributed to award-winning projects that include the Jetty to Jetty Heritage Trail. A Yawuru man of Western Australia’s Broome, he envisions a culturally, environmentally and economically sustainable future for his people and other Indigenous communities. Bart is the owner operator of Narlijia Experiences Broome.

Elena Ikonorova - Culture Lecturer

Hailing from a military family in the U.S.S.R., Elena graduated from the Belarusian National Technical University with a master’s degree in engineering. Since then, she has devoted her time to studying Russian history from a fresh point of view and lecturing on Russian history, art and culture. Elena resides in Austria with her husband, where she indulges in her love of winter sports and caring for rescued wild animals.

Lykke Geisler Yakaboylu - Culture Lecturer

With family ties to Greenland’s west coast, Lykke’s passion for authentic local traditions only grew during her 20-year career at the Greenland Tourism Board. Her desire to authentically share Greenland with visitors led her to create a unique guiding company focused on the landscapes and villages she holds dear. While her home is in Denmark, Lykke frequently returns to Greenland to spend time with extended family in Nuuk and to share her love of the country with guests ranging from active adventurers to scientists.

Dr. Reed Scherer - Micropaleontology & Paleoclimate Lecturer

A distinguished research professor of geology at Northern Illinois University, Reed uses microscopic fossil diatoms (algae) to address fundamental questions regarding Antarctic ice sheet history and dynamics. In numerous expeditions over more than three decades, he’s drilled through the ice sheet and into the ocean floor and explored records of climate change in the McMurdo Dry Valleys. He holds a Ph.D. from the Ohio State University.

Pavel Palazhchenko - Guest Speaker

Graduating from the Maurice Thorez Institute of Foreign Languages in Moscow in 1972, Pavel has published articles on arms control, international politics and U.S.-Russian relations. The primary English interpreter for Mikhail Gorbachev, Pavel is one of the leading interpreters of his time, having participated in every U.S.-Soviet summit meeting leading to the end of the Cold War. Today, he continues to work as a freelance interpreter at international conferences and for major international organizations.

Lech Wałęsa - Guest Speaker

After graduating from vocational school, Lech worked as a car mechanic, served in the army and later worked in Gdansk Shipyard as an electrician. When Poland’s communist regime rose to power, his path changed after demonstrators were killed by police. Lech became actively engaged in public affairs, taking part in the work of the Strike Committee and Free Trade Unions, where he was responsible for organizing workers and educating laborers on their rights. Lech’s commitment was ultimately recognized by the global community in 1983, when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Alex Pancoe - Explorer in Residence

Upon summitting Alaska’s Denali in June 2019, Alex achieved what very few have: the Explorers Grand Slam. It was his recovery from a brain tumor diagnosis at 18 that inspired him to climb the seven tallest peaks, with the goal of raising a million dollars for the hospital where he had received care, Ann & Robert H. Lurie’s Children’s Hospital. Alex lives in Chicago and is currently training to climb an “eight-thousander” — one of only 14 mountains in the world that exceed 8,000 meters above sea level.

Massimo Tarenghi - Guest Speaker

Massimo graduated with a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Milan in 1970. During his European Space Research Organization fellowship at Steward Observatory in Tucson, he made infrared wavelength observations of galaxies, redshift observations of radio galaxies and headed a collaborative study of the Hercules supercluster. Owing to his central role in development of the Paranal Observatory and the ALMA Observatory in his 40 years at ESO, Massimo was awarded the 2013 Tycho Brahe Prize by the European Astronomical Society.

Dr. David Crain - Scientist and NewSpace Entrepreneur

With a Ph.D. in atmospheric and space physics from the University of Texas at Dallas, David has founded and co-founded several commercial space start-ups with an emphasis on weather observations. He has also participated in observational expeditions for past solar eclipses, and worked as an assistant professor of physics and astronomy at Utah State University and Sam Houston State University. David is the business development lead at ExoTerra Resource and serves as CEO at ExoTerra Imaging and president and director at GeoMetWatch Corporation.

Dr. Kathy Sullivan - Scientist, Astronaut and Explorer

With a long career as a distinguished scientist, Kathy spent much of her life exploring the depths of space as an astronaut with NASA. One of the first women to join NASA in 1978, her tenure includes the distinction of being the first American woman to walk in space and a member of the Hubble Space Telescope deployment mission. Today, Kathy serves on a variety of corporate boards and travels the world as an expedition lecturer.

Fiann Paul - Explorer In Residence

An accomplished artist, explorer and athlete, Fiann was introduced to ocean rowing in 2007 while working for the Chiparamba Foundation in Zambia. The most record-breaking explorer and the most decorated Guinness World Record holder within one discipline of sport, he has lectured about the psychological aspects of ultra-endurance sports since 2017. As part of his daily training regimen, Fiann enjoys a personalized outdoor workout to stay in peak physical condition.

Dr. Shirley Campbell - Culture Lecturer

A graduate and research fellow from the Australian National University, Shirley has dedicated much of her life to understanding the world’s numerous cultures, with a particular interest in Australia, Melanesia and the Pacific. She has led guests around England and Western Europe, lived among the indigenous people in Papua New Guinea, and lectured at Dartmouth College, the University of New Hampshire and the Australian National University in Canberra. Among her many accomplishments, Shirley wrote The Art of Kula, a book recounting her research and experiences in the Trobriand Islands.

Luca Zavagno - Culture Lecturer

A graduate of the University of Venice, Luca went on to obtain his Ph.D. in history from the University of Birmingham. A scholar through and through, he was twice awarded the Dumbarton Oaks summer fellowship along with the prestigious Stanley J. Seeger fellowship from Princeton University. Today, Luca works as an assistant professor at Bilkent University in Turkey, where he’s writing his third monograph, Beyond the Periphery: The Byzantine Insular World Between Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages.

Leslie Qammaniq - Culture Lecturer

Born in Pond Inlet in the northernmost Canadian territory of Nunavut, Leslie was raised experiencing the traditional Inuit lifestyle she proudly carries forward today. Passionate about the innovative arts and culture-based teachings practiced by her community for centuries, and generous in sharing the mysteries and wonders of life in the Arctic, she is a true ambassador dedicated to educating people about her unique way of living. Leslie currently resides Edinburgh Scotland.

Ann Makosinski - Guest Speaker

Ann is a student inventor and four-time TEDx speaker. She is best known for inventing the Hollow Flashlight, a thermoelectric flashlight which runs off human heat. This invention won her the Gold Award at the Google Science Fair and four awards at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Ann lives in Canada and will be joining A&K’s Antarctica, South Georgia & the Falkland Islands holiday voyage, where she’ll serve as a special guest lecturer.

Photography Enrichment Coaches

Rick Sammon - Photo Enrichment Coach

An award-winning photographer and Canon Explorer of Light, Rick is a prolific image maker with more than 40 years of experience spanning nearly 100 countries. Dividing his time between creating images and leading photo tours and workshops, his mission is to make digital photography creative, exciting and rewarding for all. Rick has authored over 40 books, including his most recent, Photo Therapy Motivation and Wisdom: Discovering the Power of Pictures. He has been sailing with A&K since 2016.

Michelle Valberg - Photo Enrichment Coach & Nikon Ambassador

Known for her soulful portraiture and majestic wildlife images, Michelle has published four books and delivered a solo exhibition at the Canadian Museum of Nature. In addition to photography, she co-founded Project North, a nonprofit organisation committed to improving the lives of children in northern Canada. The organisation has donated more than $700,000 in sporting equipment to Canadian Inuit communities.

David Salmanowitz - Photo Enrichment Coach

Based in both Bangkok and Florida, David’s travels and photo expeditions have taken him to some of the world’s most exotic destinations, including Antarctica, Siberia, Myanmar and Namibia. He also believes there is beauty in the ordinary and that an inspiring photograph can be captured anywhere. Whether viewing wildlife, landscape, or cultural photography, David strives to create images that reveal the very special world in which we live.

Kiliii Yuyan - Photographer

Fascinated by the relationship between humans and the natural world, Kiliii developed wilderness survival skills in extreme environments. On assignment, he has escaped collapsing sea ice, weathered botulism from fermented whale blood and explored some of the farthest reaches of the world. An award-winning feature photographer for National Geographic, Kiliii works to revitalize northern indigenous cultures by building traditional kayaks. He can be found across the circumpolar Arctic much of the year, taking a deep dive into the wilderness and remote communities of the polar regions.

Michael Melford - Guest Photographer

Michael has travelled the world as a professional photographer for 40 years. Internationally recognized for his raw landscapes showcasing the beauty of the natural world, he has worked for several noteworthy publications, including National Geographic, LIFE and Travel + Leisure. When he’s not venturing out on a photo shoot, Michael enjoys teaching photographic workshops catering to every skill level, and especially to those students who have their eyes wide open to the world.

Andrew Coleman - Photo Coach

Andrew has travelled extensively throughout the world’s seven continents in search of amazing wildlife and landscapes, from Alaska, the Galápagos and Yellowstone National Park to Cuba, Borneo, and the spellbinding Arctic and Antarctic polar regions. A contributor to National Geographic and National Geographic Image Collection, he has an insatiable appetite for the wild and, through his photographs, captures the extraordinary beauty of the natural world. Dedicated to his craft, Andrew leads comprehensive workshops that teach the fundamentals of photography.

Young Explorers

Kristin Wornson - Young Explorer's Guide

Kristin's love of marine science began when she researched the foraging habits of the extraordinary nudibranch at the University of California. After inspiring stints abroad, she served as a research assistant in the Amazon, introduced children to the wonders of the ocean at the Catalina Island Marine Institute and paid her first visit to the astonishing White Continent in 2005, which has drawn her back countless times with A&K.

Jeff Manker - Young Explorer's Guide

Throughout his childhood, Jeff climbed, backpacked and kayaked the mountains, deserts and seashores of the western U.S., and that same passion inspires him today in his work as an educator. He currently teaches marine and environmental science as well as the only high school ornithology course in California, which he developed himself. Serving in educational roles on expeditions to Antarctica, Costa Rica, Midway Island and Alaska, Jeff also travels extensively with his wife, Anne.

Haley Saxe - Young Explorer's Guide

While earning a degree from the University of North Carolina, Haley spent a formative semester studying marine ecology in the Galápagos Islands, which inspired her to pursue a career in marine research and conservation. She has worked as a research assistant and marine mammal observer in the Gulf of Maine, and has served as an educator for aquariums and whale watches across the U.S. Haley is thrilled to share her love of the world’s oceans with our Young Explorers.

Naturalists & Zodiac Drivers

Cobus Kilian - Naturalists & Zodiac Drivers

Born in Pretoria, South Africa, Cobus loves exploring his native land, such as the Okavango Delta, where he spends as much time as possible maneuvering boats through its intricate channels. Holding certificates in power boating and surf launching, and working in far-flung destinations ranging from the South Pacific to Antarctica and the Falkland Islands, Cobus is a lifelong outdoor enthusiast as well as a master of Zodiac piloting, scuba diving and outdoor survival skills.

Russ Manning - Naturalists & Zodiac Drivers

Born in Sussex, Russ joined the British Royal Marine Commandos on his 17th birthday. Serving for 15 years, he journeyed on to the beautiful South Orkneys, working as boatman, travel guide and winter base commander, earning him the Polar Medal. Since 1990, he has embarked upon expedition vessels as a Zodiac driver and naturalist. When not in the polar latitudes, Russ operates a lifeguard search and rescue patrol boat out of Brighton Marina, England.

Dennis Mense - Naturalists & Zodiac Drivers

A biologist and researcher, Dennis has led expedition cruises to Antarctica, the Canadian Arctic, Labrador, Spitsbergen and the North Pole. He completed the second-ever passenger expedition through the Northwest Passage in 1988 and sailed on the first passenger ship through the Kurile Islands to Kamchatka. Along with teaching swimming, scuba diving and kayaking, Dennis recently completed a four-month journey sailing his own boat along the northwest coast of British Columbia.

Agustín Ullmann - Naturalists & Zodiac Drivers

Born in Buenos Aires, Agustín has worked in natural environments since 1995, starting as an environmental education guide for youths before serving as a park ranger in Argentina. An expert in outdoor education, he specializes in Antarctic ecosystems, has sailed on many vessels and has covered many Expedition Team positions. Beyond his love for the outdoors, he has a fondness for art and languages, and lives in Buenos Aires with his wife and three children.

Jennifer Clement - Naturalist & Zodiac Driver

A muralist, painter and former Mayan archaeologist in Belize, Jennifer began working in the travel business in 1976, during which she guided trips from Alaska to the Galápagos and from the South Pacific to Spitsbergen, often with her two daughters in tow. When at home on Long Island, New York, Jennifer manages a small alpaca farm, where she and her husband, Peter, provide an alpaca shearing service.

Peter Clement - Naturalist & Zodiac Driver

Born and raised on a sheep ranch in the Falkland Islands, Peter is intimately familiar with the landscapes of the Southern Ocean. He began working on expedition ships in 1978 and has been voyaging with A&K since 1992, exploring every corner of nearby Antarctica, as far north as the Arctic and other remarkable locales, including the Russian Arctic, China and the Galápagos. Peter resides in New York with his wife, also an A&K naturalist guide.

Richard Escanilla - Naturalist & Zodiac Driver

Raised in Manila, Philippines, Richard joined up as a seafarer to see the world. On one particular sailing as a crew member within the hotel department of an expedition ship, he travelled to Antarctica and caught his first dose of polar fever. Richard has since voyaged throughout the Pacific, and now resides in New Zealand, where he pursues his love of the ocean as a sea kayak guide in Abel Tasman National Park.

Helen Ahern - Naturalists & Zodiac Driver

Born and raised in New Zealand, Helen brings a passion for discovering and interpreting the world’s natural environments. Cruising with A&K since 2014 and deeply experienced in educational leadership, she has served as naturalist guide, cruise director and concierge on many expeditions, exploring regions that include Japan, Papua New Guinea, the Arctic, Antarctica and Subantarctic Islands. When not at sea, Helen enjoys paragliding, mountain biking and other outdoor pursuits that speak to her adventurous spirit.

Meghan Kelly - Naturalist & Zodiac Driver

A Southern California native raised amid the region’s desert landscapes, Meghan joined the Peace Corps in Fiji before embarking on a career in expedition cruising. She’s travelled throughout the Pacific and its islands, Antarctica, and the Arctic — the last of which she finds especially captivating for its unique biodiversity. A recent recipient of a dual master’s degree in environmental science in policy and business administration, she is also an active advocate for the conservation of these remarkable habitats.

Rachel Morgan - Naturalist & Zodiac Driver

With a degree in cartography and geography, Rachel started out as custodian of the Royal Geographical Society’s photographic collection before serving at the British Antarctic Survey’s first female wintering field assistant at Rothera Station. Immersed in Antarctica ever since, she established the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust and enjoys work as a naturalist on expedition ships. She sits on the UK Antarctic Place-names Committee and is a member of the Antarctic Club. Rachel lives on the Welsh border with her family.

Frederique Olivier - Naturalist & Zodiac Driver

An accomplished scientist, photographer and filmmaker, Frederique’s career encapsulates a passion for the marine world. She has worked as a scientific diver in the Great Barrier Reef and explored Ningaloo reef, the Kimberley and the remote Solomons Islands for two years from aboard her own yacht. “Fred” is an avid polar specialist with nearly two decades of experience in Antarctica, where she also filmed emperor penguins for the award-winning BBC series Planet Earth. She enjoys expeditions in inaccessible places, and creating imagery that supports conservation and awareness of our precious planet.

Juan Pablo Seco Pon - Naturalist Guide & Zodiac Driver

Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Juan moved to a farm in Northern Argentina, where he spent his time birdwatching and sailing while attending school. An active scientist, he has published dozens of papers on seabird ecology and conservation in specialized scientific journals and offers professional assistance to applicants of the National Observer Program, which supports observer programs around the country. Juan also serves as a naturalist, lecturer and Zodiac driver aboard Antarctic cruise ships during the austral summer.

Mark Brophy - Naturalist Guide & Zodiac Driver

After obtaining a degree in animal physiology, Mark set out to explore the world. A biologist, adventure guide and world traveller, he has sailed across the Pacific Ocean, ridden horses in Mongolia and fulfilled a lifelong dream to climb Mount Logan, Canada’s tallest peak. With a passion for expedition cruising, Mark loves to chase deep-blue glaciers and observe unique animal adaptations. He also appreciates life’s smaller pleasures, such as indulging in back-alley street fare.

John Wright - Naturalist Guide & Zodiac Driver

Growing up near Birmingham, England, John’s passion for mountaineering led him to join the British Antarctic Survey as a field guide, where he overwintered at Halley VI Research Station and conducted field operations on the Polar Plateau. He has taught outdoor activities, guided cruise ships in both polar regions, and climbed and skied across Europe, New Zealand, Greenland, Svalbard and Southeast Asia. When not adventuring, John lives with his wife, dogs and geese on a rural property near Merrickville in Ontario, Canada.

Dr. John Buchanan - Naturalist & Zodiac Driver

Retired professor and former director of the environmental science program at Eastern Washington University, Dr. John Buchanan spent the past 34 years teaching sedimentology, hydrogeology and geomorphology. Fascinated by all things geological, he has participated in expeditions funded by the National Geographic Society, where he mapped the longest caves in Central America. Passionate about outdoor exploration, John also enjoys sharing his experiences as a mountaineer, private pilot and amateur astronomer.

Andre Van Zyl - Naturalist Guide & Zodiac Driver

Born in Southern Rhodesia, Andre grew up in the African bushveld, where he worked as a trails ranger in Kruger National Park for 22 years. A mammal behavioral expert and a lover of the natural sciences, he specializes in dangerous game species such as polar bears. Andre resides in Belgium with his wife and son.

Tour Managers

Riëtte Botes - Shore Excursion Manager

A Johannesburg, South Africa resident, Riëtte previously worked in management positions on various cruise ships, which included serving as shop manager on A&K's 'Explorer' in 2002. She has experienced over 100 countries on all seven continents, and has organized tours in exotic ports all over the world. A seasoned veteran, her work has brought her full circle to A&K, where her ship career began.

Lynne Greig - Assistant Tour Manager

Known for her cheery personality and abundant energy, Lynne's enthusiasm for travel has taken her around the globe. Since 1995, she has travelled from Antarctica to the Arctic, through Africa and the Indian Ocean, Russia, the South Pacific, Australia, and Japan, voyaging aboard expedition vessels ranging from Russian icebreakers to Australian catamarans. When not at sea, Lynne returns home to South Africa.

Dean Hattingh - Young Explorer's Guide

Dean studied dramatic art in England before returning to his native South Africa to teach drama and direct children's theater. Now living in Australia, he has devoted many years on cruise ships coordinating programs for young travellers. On voyages with A&K, Dean's unmistakable zest for life and talents as a performer shine through while engaging the creativity and curiosity of our youngest explorers.

Alicia Rojas - Tour Manager

Exploring with A&K since 2009, Alicia has accompanied guests through the magnificent landscapes that define Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Australia. Passionate about nature, she spent many years learning in the outdoors, where she would hike, ride horses and scout for birds. When not at sea on expedition, Alicia dedicates her time to developing her outdoor education skills and furthering her knowledge of native flora and fauna.

Arthur Diaz - Tour Manager

Arthur was born and raised in Northern California and pursued a career in business management and tourism. Passionate about sailing the globe and exploring new cultures and natural wonders, he has visited more than ninety countries and loves sharing his remarkable experiences with others. When he’s not venturing to new parts of the world, Arthur enjoys outdoor activities and spending time with his family.

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