Antarctica Tour Guides
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May 15, 2014.
A Living Classroom All Around You
Some people are content to watch the world scroll past the rail of a cruise ship's promenade deck. A&K passengers experience a very different reality: our itineraries bring you into direct contact with the exciting world around you. On board, our tour leaders and expert lecturers share their intimate knowledge of fascinating Antarctica — and then they and the rest of the expedition team take you to the heart of its wilderness for up-close encounters.
- Shore Excursions
Following years of experience navigating Antarctic waters, the A&K Antarctica expedition team knows just where and when to position 'Le Boreal' for maximum access to wildlife and spectacular views. With the exception of days at sea, two shore excursions are planned for each day (weather conditions permitting). Your expedition leader, who reviews safety and conditions on shore, precedes each excursion with a briefing. Board your Zodiac — sturdy, motorized rubber boats designed by Jacques Cousteau for safe operations in rough and shallow waters — with a group of no more than 12 passengers, and head to shore.
On shore, activities vary depending on terrain, but expect your expert naturalist tour guide to explain and demystify every sight you see. Encounter diverse and hardy wildlife native to your destination just a few feet away, ready subjects for your camera. In the Falkland Islands, stay along the coast and stroll past rockhopper penguin or hike for better views of a thousand-strong colony. In South Georgia, pay your respects to Sir Ernest Shackleton when you visit his gravesite in the company of a historian with lifelong experience in the great explorer's life. And in Antarctica, tiptoe around gentoo penguin waddling by or guarding their newly hatched chicks.
- On-Board Activities
A&K Antarctica tours take full advantage of days at sea to shed light on every aspect of your journey — the quintessential sights as well as the elements you probably never considered. Thoughtful lectures in the Theatre cover topics ranging from the practical (how to master your digital camera) and the enriching (an introduction to Southern Ocean whales) to the thought-provoking (the unsung role of penguins in Antarctic exploration) and personal (a firsthand account by lecturer Bob Burton on overwintering in Signy Island).
Our expedition staff is also constantly on the lookout for marine life from the deck, and impromptu whale and seabird sightings are enhanced by the "play-by-play" of expert tour guides.
- Palmer Research Station
On the A&K Philanthropic Journey, you may visit the Palmer Research Station. The station monitors changes in climate and how that affects sea habitats, regional oceanography and terrestrial seabird nesting sites. During your visit, you meet the scientists and researchers conducting this valuable work.
I cannot say enough about A&K photography coach Richard Harker and his assistant, David. That I liked them personally, absolutely. That they helped me with my photography, beyond belief. A&K's idea of picking and putting them on board, fantastic. In fact, I have decided wherever I go next, I want them with me. It was the trip of a lifetime.
Your Tour Guides to the Antarctic
A&K's Antarctica expedition leader and team occupy a category all their own. Their expertise in the history and wildlife of the seventh continent is matched only by their commitment to the success of your voyage, which they oversee down to the last detail. We carefully select and hire our Antarctica tour guides for their knowledge and credentials as leaders in their fields, whether as research scientists, wildlife photographers or habitat conservationists. And with our guide-to-passenger ratio of 1:12, expect to leave Antarctica an expert yourself.
Dr. Marco Favero — Expedition Leader
Marco is affiliated with the University of Mar del Plata in Argentina. He is the current Chairperson of the Advisory Committee for the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP). Marco has worked with Dr. Patricia Silva (see below) on researching Antarctic ornithology and marine biology, as well as the ecology, conservation and study of relationships between the demography of seabirds and climate change. He and Patricia are also integrally involved in seabird conservation initiatives and activities.
Larry Hobbs — Lecturer on Marine Biology
A marine mammal biologist and lecturer for more than 35 years, Larry has served as director of the Marine Mammal Tagging Office for the U.S. Department of the Interior and the Department of Commerce and as principal research scientist at the National Marine Mammal Laboratory. In addition to over 20 seasons of leading expeditions in Antarctica, Larry has also led trips in Norway, Greenland and Iceland; the Amazon and Orinoco rivers; and in the South Pacific and Indian oceans.
Jannie Cloete — Cruise Director
A native of South Africa, Jannie has travelled to all seven continents, working as cruise director and expedition leader for more than 28 years on ships ranging from a mega-liner with 2,500 passengers to a Russian icebreaker bound for the North Pole.
Bob Burton — Lecturer on Antarctic History
Bob worked for the British Antarctic Survey as a zoologist and meteorologist, overwintering twice at remote Signy Island. He has also served as director of the Whaling Museum on South Georgia. An Antarctic historian with over 30 books to his name, Bob received the Polar Medal for his research, and a South Georgia cove has been named in his honor.
Dr. Jim McClintock — Lecturer on Climate Ecology
Jim is a marine biologist and field ecologist who leads Fighting Climate Change in Antarctica, an A&K Philanthropic Journey. He is an endowed professor of polar and marine biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and has decades of field work in the Antarctica Peninsula in association with UAB and the National Science Foundation. In 1999, a point on the Peninsula was named after Jim in recognition of his explorations. He was selected in 2010 by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Polar Research Board to serve on a group to report on the effects of climate change.
Russ Manning — Naturalist and Zodiac driver
Russ is a veteran of the British Royal Marines. As winter base commander at Signy Island, he was awarded the Polar Medal. For the past 12 seasons, Russ has travelled to Antarctica as a Zodiac driver and naturalist.
Rich Pagen — Naturalist and Zodiac driver
Rich began his career in conservation biology as an educator. After receiving a master's degree from the University of Missouri, he worked as a field supervisor on a study of birds in the Amazon. As a biologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, he has led tagging studies of sea turtle and shark. For the past six years, Rich has conducted shipboard surveys for seabirds.
Richard Harker — Photo enrichment coach
Richard has been a professional photographer for 20 years, specializing in underwater, wildlife and landscape photography. Richard's works have appeared in more than a dozen books and magazines, and he is equally comfortable using a state-of-the-art digital SLR and 19th-century large-format field cameras. He joins 'Le Boreal' as a photographic expert to give travellers tips for capturing memories of their journey.
Dr. Patricia Silva — Lecturer on Ornithology
Patricia conducts research with Argentina's University of Mar del Plata. She is the current editor of the IAATO Save the Albatross Campaign newsletter, focused on the conservation of albatross and petrel in fisheries of the Southern Ocean.