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Crystal Endeavor’s Expedition Team Announced for Inaugural Voyages in Antarctica

Partnership with marine conservation organisations ORCA and COA, as well as a team of expedition specialists including marine biologists, geologists, and ornithologists among programme highlights

Crystal Expedition Cruises today announced its impressive roster of experienced expedition team members comprised of scientists, naturalists, lecturers and guides who will join members of marine conservation agencies ORCA and California Ocean Alliance (COA) for Crystal Endeavor’s inaugural voyages in Antarctica beginning next month.

The luxury expedition yacht’s highly anticipated Antarctica season launches on 18 November with the first of eight voyages round-trip from Ushuaia ranging from 11 to 19 nights exploring incredible wildlife within this remote icy wonderland, including the Antarctic Peninsula, the Weddell Sea, the Falkland Islands, South Georgia Islands and lands beyond the Antarctic Circle.

Expedition Leader Sam Gagnon and Assistant Expedition Leader Rashidah Lim will lead the immersive expedition experience sharing their passion for polar discovery with guests during Zodiac landings, sea kayaking adventures, onboard presentations and more, for a large portion of the season.

“With Crystal Endeavor, we are offering our guests a new lens to see the world through enrichment and visual storytelling with our team of talented expedition experts, as well as hands-on scientific research that allow our guests to actively participate in marine study and conservation,” said Walter Barinaga, vice president of Crystal Destination Experiences.  “Exploring Antarctica alongside our passionate guides and researchers from ORCA and COA make the expedition experience come alive for our guests, providing them with valuable insight into the unique wildlife and pristine landscapes they are witnessing.”

Gagnon is a naturalist and polar expedition guide, as well as an experienced photographer and videographer, bringing a keen eye to his work whether leading a Zodiac or land adventure or offering hands-on photography lectures and pointers.  A native of Singapore, Lim has worked on Expedition vessels in both the Arctic and Antarctic, crossing the Drake Passage more than 60 times and holding multiple seafaring certifications.

Gagnon and Lim will oversee a team of expedition specialists including Zodiac and kayaking guides, marine biologists, ornithologists, geologists, glaciologists, and ecologists, as well as photographers and artists-in-residence who will bring an added dimension to explorations by encouraging guests to capture their experiences with sketching, painting and photography.

ORCA

The line’s expedition programme is also highlighted by its partnerships with marine research and conservation organisations ORCA and COA.  Crystal Endeavor’s first two Antarctica voyages, which visit The Drake Passage and Southern Ocean, will feature conservationist Anne Bunney, head of education for ORCA, who will accompany guests on guided excursions ashore, as well as offer lectures on the behaviour and distribution of whales in Antarctica, how it relates to ORCA’s work, and host wildlife deck watches, for interactive data collection. She will also train Crystal Endeavor’s bridge team in collecting scientific data about the animals’ behaviour as well as share best conservation practices.

ORCA’s Bunney will accompany guests on the following voyages:

Expedition Antarctica – 18 – 29 Nov. 2021 (11 nights)

Expedition Antarctica – 29 Nov. – 10 Dec. 2021 (11 nights)

California Ocean Alliance (COA)

COA is an organisation dedicated to cutting-edge marine research to safeguard oceans for the protection of marine mammals worldwide.  Scientists from the COA will board Crystal Endeavor on five voyages to collect data on whale behaviour utilising submergible acoustic recorders, drones, suction cup tags, and remote biopsy sampling.

COA scientists will sail on the following voyages:

“As our guests encounter and learn about wildlife up-close with both ORCA and COA, they will have the chance to help protect marine mammals, while enhancing their already strong connection to the sea and the destinations we visit,” Barinaga added.

The Expedition Team

Expedition experts who will rotate throughout Crystal Endeavor’s inaugural Antarctica 2021-22 season include:

  • Yvonne Ankermann/Artist-in-residence and Naturalist – Having worked from African lodges to multiple expedition ships around the world, this talented artist explores the world through the prism of sketchbook and colours, always ready to teach anyone who wishes to learn the art of travel painting;
  • Emily Clarke/Marine Biologist – Emily is an avid conservationist with over 15 years of working with wildlife, both in their natural habitats and rehabilitation, as well as experience working aboard seismic vessels as Marine Mammal Observer;
  • Ron Clifford/Photographer – Award-winning photographer, a vivid educator and a former director of the Google Plus Mentorship Programme for photographers, Ron’s passion for photography encourages creativity in others;
  • Joe Cockram/Ornithologist – With a diverse array of experiences, from living among seabird colonies and working at bird observatories unravelling mysteries of bird migrations to managing coastal wetlands of the UK, Joe shares his vast knowledge of avian world with fellow travellers;
  • Danny Edmunds/Expedition Leader – Photographer, diver, travel writer, boat instructor, and expedition leader, Danny’s experiences span from tropical islands of Indian Ocean and jungles of South America to frozen lands of Antarctica and other remote Arctic locales;
  • Mark Evans/Marine Biologist – A whale watching captain and grizzly bear guide, Mark heads down to Antarctica each austral summer to share his passion of the icy continent with fellow travellers;
  • Jonathan Fuhrmann/Geologist – In addition to earning a geology degree from Scott Polar Research Institute, Jonathan has studied meltwater lakes in Greenland and worked in science communications at British Antarctic Survey and Natural History Museum in London, while discussing geology, glaciology, and climate to audiences around the world;
  • Daisy Gilardini/Photographer – A member of International League of Conservation Photographers and Canadian Geographical Society, Daisy devotes most of her time photographing Polar Regions and North American Bears;
  • Bob Gilmore/Glaciologist/Geologist and Science Coordinator – After working for the U.S. Antarctic Program assisting with logistics at the McMurdo and South Pole Stations, Bob has shared his experiences with passengers on expedition ships for nearly two decades interpreting within the realm of glaciology and geology;
  • Renato Granieri/Photographer – Recipient of numerous international photo awards, Renato specializes in travel and wildlife photography and is particularly interested in aiding fellow travellers to capture unique moments of their travels;
  • Brandon Kleyn/Naturalist – A professional guide, kayaker, boat driver, and logistics coordinator, Brandon’s unparalleled wealth of knowledge on all subjects from history to wildlife gives guests an understanding of unique nature of ordinary things and events along their travels;
  • Liz MacNeil/Kayak Guide – Having a wealth of experience as an American Canoe Association Kayak instructor to Wilderness EMT, avid photographer, scuba diver, and a naturalist, Liz enjoys introducing people to the unique natural wonders of the world focusing on conservation and sustainability;
  • David McEown/Artist-in-residence – Renowned Canadian artist and recipient of multiple awards, David shares his passion for painting in nature and teaches fellow travellers to notice the little details, the shades of colours around, the sparkles of light, to create unforgettable personal works of art;
  • Steve Moir/Naturalist and Zodiac Coordinator – An expedition guide with over 20 years of experience from leading multi-day river and paddleboard trips to working as an Expedition Leader in the Arctic, Steve is passionate about sharing the wonders of the world with travellers and his fellow team members;
  • Casey Perry/Marine Biologist – After graduating from St. Andrews University with a degree in Marine Biology followed by a career as a guide and a boat captain, Casey has merged her love of travel and adventure with a challenge of managing logistics of remote expeditions;
  • Ilene Price/Kayak Guide – An accredited professional kayaking guide, Ilene combines a lifelong passion with profession exploring the world from the sea-level of a kayak and helping others to gain the same appreciation for this pursuit;
  • Dr. Helena Schofield/Naturalist Guide — After studying medicine in Cambridge and practicing in extreme remote locations of the world from Nepal to Guatemala, Helena traded her stethoscope for a zodiac, joined expedition ships, and enjoys speaking about extreme environments and the history of maritime explorations;
  • Kirsty Venter/Marine Biologist – An avid conservationist, scientist, and researcher of endangered Antarctic blue whales, Kirsty’s passion for the icy continent offers a wealth of knowledge she is eager to share with others.

Complementing the expedition team is some of the most sophisticated exploration equipment in the industry that includes a Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) to view the sea at a 300-metre (almost 1,000 feet) depth and a Gimble long range camera mounted on the mast that can zoom in to view wildlife and scenery over a mile away.  Images are projected on the 65-inch screens in Palm Court, 86-inch screens in the Expedition Lounge and on the Cove’s video wall, with a massive 218-inch centre screen and two 145-inch side screens.