Meet Your Arctic Expedition Team

Your Expert Guides to the Arctic

A&K’s Arctic expedition team occupy a category all their own, delivering unmatched expertise on the region’s history and wildlife as well as commitment to the success of your voyage, which they oversee down to the last detail. Delivering a guide-to-passenger ratio of 1:12, we carefully select and hire our tour guides for their knowledge and credentials as leaders in their fields, whether as research scientists, wildlife photographers or habitat conservationists.

Here are some of the expert guides that may join you on your 2014-2015 A&K Arctic expedition.

Aaron Russ

Aaron Russ - Expedition Leader

Hailing from New Zealand, Aaron Russ grew up surrounded by wildlife, wilderness and the world’s oceans. From the Antarctic to the High Arctic he has travelled to many of the world’s most remote and biologically diverse regions, and led expeditions to the Canadian Arctic, Greenland, Svalbard, the Russian Far East, Antarctica and through the tropical Pacific. He served as Expedition Leader for Abercrombie & Kent in Antarctica on ‘Minerva’ and in the Pacific aboard ‘Clipper Odyssey.’ A keen biologist, Aaron enjoys wildlife and wilderness photography.

Marco Favero

Marco Favero - Assistant 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 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.

Jannie Cloete

Jannie Cloete— Cruise Director

A native of South Africa, Jannie has been 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, nuclear-powered icebreaker bound for the North Pole. This vocation has taken him around the globe and to all seven continents, from the Antarctic to the tropics and the most remote gems in between. With his amiable and approachable nothing-is-too-much attitude, Jannie has settled into full-time work on smaller vessels that visit lesser-known destinations, becoming a bit of a specialist in the off-the-beaten-path.

Sally Escanilla

Sally Escanilla — Assistant Cruise Director

Cruising among the stunning fjords and sub-Antarctic islands of New Zealand, it was a chance encounter in 1998 that led to an invitation for Sally to join a small Russian vessel heading to the Ross Sea of Antarctica; a friend who had recently returned promised an experience “as close as you will ever come to visiting another planet.” The awesome splendor discovered there has since drawn her to the opposite pole for Arctic adventure. Originally from central England, Sally completed a B.A. in modern languages at Bradford University before immigrating “down under” to New Zealand’s South Island, where she now resides.

Mats Forsberg

Mats Forsberg — Polar Bear Expert-Lecturer

A naturalist and wildlife photographer from Sweden, Mats first worked aboard the world-famous ‘Explorer’ in 1982 and has since conquered the seven seas and both polar regions, including Norway’s Svalbard Archipelago, Greenland and Antarctica. In addition to leading A&K expedition cruises and Extreme Adventures Polar Bear Treks, Mats has served as a key location consultant for the BBC and other international media companies, further devoting his life to sharing and preserving the beauty of the Arctic.

Patricia Silva

Patricia Silva —Lecturer on Ornithology

Born in Mercedes, Uruguay, Patricia received her doctoral degree at the University of Mar del Plata in Argentina where she continues her research today. In addition to sharing her expertise on board tourist vessels as an ornithologist and artist, she has participated in over a dozen Antarctic research expeditions and 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.

Lyle Dick

Lyle Dick — Lecturer on Arctic History

A passionate and significant contributor to Canadian and High Arctic history, Lyle possesses 35 years as an historian, research manager and historic sites coordinator with the Parks Canada Agency. Past president of the Canadian Historical Association and author of several publications, Lyle currently serves on the advisory committees for the Canadian Museum of History and lectures extensively on Canadian High Arctic history at universities and museums around the world. He is also actively engaged in numerous High Arctic historical initiatives such as the Franklin Mystery project, which is focused on the lost wreckage of John Franklin’s failed 1845 expedition through the Northwest Passage. Lyle lives in Vancouver, where he is also principal of Lyle Dick History and Heritage.

Sprague Theobald

Sprague Theobald —Lecturer on Northwest Passage Exploration

An award-winning independent filmmaker, Sprague Theobald is also an expert sailor who completed his own transit of the Northwest Passage with his family in 2009. He tells of the voyage in his Amazon best-selling book The Other Side of the Ice, as well as his 2013 Emmy-winning documentary film by the same name. Sprague has amassed over 40,000 off-shore miles that have included two years of racing in The America’s Cup arena and competing in the ‘Two Man Transatlantic Race.’ He’s also one of the very few who have completed a full circumnavigation of North America. Sprague is based in New York, where he runs Hole in the Wall Productions.

Ralph Eshelman

Dr. Ralph Eshelman —Lecturer on Geology

With a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, Ralph is a true jack of all trades with specialties in polar exploration, military and maritime history, geology and vertebrate paleontology. A Research Associate for 30 years in the Department of Paleobiology at the National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian Institution), he has published four books on the War of 1812 and currently serves as a consultant to the National Park Service. Travelling in the name of both research and as a geologist and historian on expedition ships, Ralph’s adventures have taken him to Svalbard, Iceland, Greenland, Labrador, Newfoundland, Chile, Japan, the Mediterranean, and major island of the South Pacific and south Atlantic.

Larry Hobbs

Larry Hobbs — Lecturer on Marine Biology

A marine mammal biologist for over 40 years, Larry has served as director of the Marine Mammal tagging office for the U.S. Departments of Interior and Commerce and also as principal research scientist at the National Marine Lab. In addition to more than 20 seasons of Antarctic expeditions, Larry has served on Arctic expeditions to Norway, Greenland and Iceland as well as the South Pacific and Indian Oceans. At home, Larry is a professional wildlife photographer, leads wilderness rites of passage and vision quests, teaches and writes about how the human species could truly live sustainably on this planet.

Margaret Bertulli

Margaret Bertulli —Lecturer on Arctic Archeology and Culture

Formerly the Arctic Archaeologist with the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre and Senior Archaeologist with Parks Canada, Margaret has spent the last 30 years working on cultural resource management and research projects in the Canadian Arctic, lending her the unique opportunity to travel extensively across the region. From the Belcher Islands to northern Ellesmere Island and from Baffin Island to the Mackenzie Delta, she has conducted many archaeological surveys and excavations, including recovering the skeletal and artifact remains of the Franklin Expedition of 1845-48 on King William Island.

Larry Hobbs

Richard Harker —Photo enrichment coach

Richard has been a professional photographer for 20 years and has a keen interest in underwater, wildlife and landscape photography. Capturing exotic locales from Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands to the Antarctic Peninsula and Ross Sea, his works have appeared in more than a dozen books and magazines and have accompanied more than one hundred articles. Equally comfortable using a state-of-the-art digital SLR and 19th-century large-format field cameras, Richard joins ‘Le Boreal’ as A&K’s resident photographic expert and lecturer.

Russ Manning

Russ Manning — Naturalist and Zodiac Driver

Russ was born and raised in Sussex on the south coast of England. He joined the British Royal Marine Commandos on his 17th birthday and served for 15 years, specializing in small boat, polar and mountain operations. The next call to the great outdoors came by way of the British Antarctic Survey in the austral summer of 1990/1991, which he spent guiding three Dutch botanists on the Antarctic Peninsula. This led to a twenty-eight month stint on Signy Island in the South Orkneys. His tasks included boatman, travel guide and Winter Base Commander. The beautiful South Orkneys proved such a draw that Russ returned for a further eighteen-month stint. Upon returning home he was awarded the Polar Medal. For the past 14 seasons, Russ has worked on expedition vessels as a Zodiac driver and naturalist. When not in Antarctica or the Arctic, he drives a Lifeguard Search and Rescue patrol boat operating out of Brighton Marina, England.

Charles Wheatley

Charley Wheatley — Naturalist and Zodiac Driver

Charley is a marine biologist, oceanographer and research diver with extensive experience in tropical, temperate and polar waters. He teaches oceanography and environmental sciences in San Diego, California, and has worked as a marine naturalist and lecturer at Scripps Aquarium in La Jolla. His research experience includes projects at Hubbs/Sea World Research Institute, Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the University of Southern California. When not exploring some hidden corner of the world, Charley can be found in San Diego lecturing on marine biology and environmental sciences or providing consulting services through his firm, Science on the Sea.

Brent Houston

Brent Houston— Naturalist and Zodiac Driver

Brent has been involved with wildlife research, expedition travel and adventure tourism in the Arctic and Antarctic for 25 years, leading several ongoing research studies and contributing to numerous natural history books, scientific papers and popular magazines. Residing in Montana, Brent has travelled yearly to the Arctic since 1993 and taken well over 120 trips to far northern destinations that include Siberia, Alaska, Greenland, Iceland, Svalbard, Norway and Franz Josef Land, Russia. He’s also been to Antarctica yearly since 1988 to conduct research and serve as an expedition leader and guide. Brent’s passion for both polar regions is infectious and he loves to tell a good story, especially about his encounters with polar bears and penguins.

Suzanna D'Oliveira

Suzana Machado D’Oliveira —Naturalist and Zodiac Driver

Suzana has travelled the globe from pole to pole since 1988, journeying to Antarctica some 200 times and exploring exotic locales from the Amazon to Indonesia. As comfortable hiking trails and white water kayaking as she is travelling in first-class comfort, she is equally versed on ships of every size and caliber. She has served as both an expedition leader and cruise director, and is A&K’s representative to the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO). Suzana was born and raised in Brazil, where she studied history at the Catholic University in Rio de Janeiro. She continues to take great interest in the cultures and people she encounters during her travels.

Pete Clement

Peter Clement— Naturalist and Zodiac Driver

Peter grew up on a sheep ranch in the Falkland Islands and received his formal education in Somerset, England. In 1978, he began working on expedition ships in the Antarctic, Russian Arctic, the Galápagos, South Pacific, China, and Central and South America. In 1983, he came to North America, obtained his pilot’s license in Ontario, and explored the United States, where he eventually settled with his wife, Jennifer. Together, Peter and Jennifer have travelled extensively throughout the world as expedition team members.

Jennifer Clement

Jennifer Clement —Naturalist and Zodiac Driver

Jennifer has led a varied and rewarding life, working as a muralist, painter, and Mayan archaeologist in Belize. In 1976, she began working in the travel business, leading trips to Alaska, Amazonas, the Galápagos, Spitzbergen, Antarctica, the South Pacific, the Orinoco River in Venezuela and in the Caribbean. She has two daughters, both of whom she raised to travel and participate in expeditions around the world. When at home on Long Island, Jennifer manages a small alpaca farm. She and her husband, Peter, provide an alpaca shearing service to other farms on the East Coast during the spring season.