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Name

Rinie van Meurs

Nationality

Dutch

Introduction

Rinie van MeursRinie has been expedition leader since 1989 (20 years) and has lead almost 200 expeditions in Franz Joseph Land, Greenland, Canadian Arctic, Scottish Islands, Antarctica and the Sub Antarctic. Spitsbergen (Svalbard) has become so familiar to him, it is like his back yard; no other person has done so many expedition cruises in this archipelago (over a 100 expeditions)!
After he finished his formal education in Forestry Management and Nature Conservation in 1981 in the Netherlands, he travelled around the world to photograph and study wildlife. He stayed for almost a year in the Falkland Islands. He is an excellent wildlife photographer and many of his photographs have been published in magazines and photo books. He has written several books about the Polar Regions including a coffee table style book about areas "off the beaten track".
During the season 1994-95 he was rated by the Argentinean Antarctic Institute as Leader of Safest Zodiac Operations aboard Tourist Ships.

Name

Jan Belgers

Nationality

Dutch

Introduction

Jan BelgersJan Belgers was born in 1965 in the Netherlands and lives in Rotterdam. He has been working as a professional outdoor guide and expedition leader for many years now. Travelling and guiding in wildernesses all over the world are his passion. His work as a guide has brought him from the high mountain ranges of the Himalayas and Andes to the extreme latitudes of Spitsbergen and Antarctica.
His first steps in the Polar Regions he made in 1992 as a student, when he participated in an international winter expedition to the Weddell Sea in Antarctica. Since then he has joined several (research) expeditions to remote places in the northern and southern oceans. Jan feels at home on the sea, due to his background in marine biology, and is one of the expedition leaders on our sailing ship, the Noorderlicht. He lectures on natural history, biology and polar history and is a polar literature fanatic.

Name

Troels Jacobsen

Nationality

Danish

Introduction

Troels JacobsenTroels Jacobsen was born in 1971 in Denmark where he studied biology at the University of Southern Denmark, Odense. The studies were emphasised on animal behaviour and marine mammals and ended with a Masters degree in 2001 on neonate Bottlenose dolphin behaviour.
Throughout his life he has hat a sincere and keen interest in Nature particularly in the field of marine mammals. The day after his Masters defence he left for Iceland and worked as a whale watch guide leading more than 500 whale watch trips from Keflavik on the South West coast. Based in Odense, Denmark, Troels has since 2003 worked as a freelance expedition leader and guide for Oceanwide Expeditions on almost all their different trips in Iceland, Svalbard, Greenland, and Antarctica as well as the Atlantic Odyssey.
Between seasons he has occupied himself with various freelance scientific challenges in the field of marine mammals covering a multitude of aspects from photo identification of dolphins and large whales, marine mammal survey work as well as participating in research on the accidental bi-catch of Harbour porpoises in commercial fishing gear.

Name

Rolf Stange

Nationality

German

Introduction

Rolf StangeThe far north has always had a magical appeal to Rolf, since childhood days when he went to Denmark together with his parents. In 1993, he went to Norway and Sweden for the first time, followed by Spitsbergen in 1997. Until today, he has never lost the desire go north again. While being at home, Rolf studied geography in Münster and Bonn.
Three long summers of hiking and trekking in Spitsbergen as well as a three month winter season on Kapp Linné at the west coast were followed by the first Arctic season for Oceanwide Expeditions. About 100 expedition cruises in the Arctic and the Antarctic have followed until now - and it is safe to assume that some more are still to come ...
Somehow Rolf still finds some time for private travelling in the north, including a larger number of hiking and cross-country skiing trips to Norway and Sweden, several-week long cross-country skiing expeditions in Spitsbergen and East Greenland. During the spring of 2006, Rolf spent three months in Ittoqqortoormiit (=Scoresbysund, East Greenland), taking care of and using his own sledge dog team.
Rolf enjoys photography as well as writing books about Arctic topics, including "Spitsbergen-Svalbard", a detailed, comprehensive guidebook about Spitsbergen. Rolf is at home in an ice-age moraine landscape south of Rostock in northeast Germany at the Baltic Sea.

Name

Tarik Chekchak

Nationality

French

Introduction

Tarik ChekchakBorn in France, Tarik has been working as a naturalist and expedition leader in many places around the world. He took on Wildlife Management and ecology studies in Canada and has a Master in Wildlife Studies. 

Diver and environmental engineer, he joined The Cousteau Society in 2003 as Head of Environmental Programs. He is responsible for developing the Cousteau Label, a supportive approach to creating high quality coastal areas in communities throughout the world.
As a scientist, he worked for the French Museum of Natural History and various environmental agencies both in France and Canada and led recently for Cousteau the Census of Antarctic Marine Life (CAML) education and outreach effort during the last International Polar Year (IPY). 

Fascinated by Polar Regions, Tarik is member of the French Ecological Arctic Research Group. He participated to several expeditions in Artic and Antarctic areas for scientific, audiovisual and ecotourism projects.


His main points of interest are terrestrial and marine wildlife, ecology and history.

Name

Delphine Aures

Nationality

French

Introduction

Delphine AuresDelphine has now travelled for more than a hundred trips in the polar regions, being a scientist at a station then a marine biologist and ornithologist lecturer, a zodiac driver and an expedition leader on board various ships.

With a B.S. and M.S. degree in biology and ecology, Delphine's research experiences range from studying harbor seals and puffins on Atlantic islands, to orcas and albatrosses in the Southern Ocean. In 1996 Delphine was selected by the French Polar Institute for a position as a wildlife biologist on remote sub-Antarctic Crozet Islands. « A year and a half living with just a few people and several millions of wild animals in one of the most pristine environment on Earth changes your perspectives in life! » And it led her to seek out other opportunities than research for staying out in the field and sharing her love and knowledge of the polar regions with others.

Delphine has since been boarding some of the most powerful icebreakers as well as smaller expedition vessels offering adventure options like  scuba diving and kayaking in the polar seas. Her Arctic travels include the Canadian and Russian Arctic, part of Alaska, Iceland, Greenland, Svalbard and the North Pole. In the Southern Ocean she has regularly traveled along the Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia, the Orkney and the Falkland Islands, and visited other parts of Antarctica like the Weddell sea and the Ross sea areas, as well as some remote islands, being the South Sandwich, Peter the First and all of French, New Zealand and Australian sub-Antarctic islands.

When she is not aboard ships, Delphine lives in France, where she works as a freelance photographer and writer for press and TV.

Name

Christopher Gilbert

Nationality

Canadian

Introduction

Christopher GilbertBorn in Montréal, Christopher spent much of his youth canoe tripping in Canada's remote wilderness, where he gained a profound appreciation for nature. He has travelled extensively through Europe, South America, Africa and the Middle East (having left the canoe at home). At the University of Toronto he studied ancient cultures, receiving a BA and an MA in Anthropology and Archaeology. This led him to Egypt where he worked for several years as an archaeologist, before turning his sights to the chillier Polar Regions. Now a confirmed Polar Addict, Christopher spends much of his time in Antarctica, Spitsbergen and Greenland. Each year he returns to these regions for their staggering beauty and incredible wildlife, yet it is the history of discovery and exploration that he finds most compelling. His passion for polar history focuses on those expeditions that ventured to the unknown ends of the earth from the mid-nineteenth to early twentieth century. When not engaged in staring contests with leopard seals and polar bears, he produces short documentary films on polar history. His home is Toronto, Canada.

Name

Robin Buzza

Nationality

British

Introduction

Robin BuzzaRobin Buzza spent 25 years on Svalbard.  During these years he dog-sledged over most of Spitsbergen, including the eastern islands, wintered in a trapper's cabin in the far north, and completed many expeditions both summer and winter.  Robin ran his own dog sledging company, Arctic Wilderness Experience, from a base outside Longyearbyen for 12 years.
He grew up in East Africa and was then sent to England to complete his schooling, though never settled in the country.  After military service, he rowed an open boat alone for 12 weeks from the Shetland Isles to Norway's North Cape, a journey that has yet to be repeated.  Robin moved to Spitsbergen immediately after the row.  He was the trail-blazer and Executive Officer for The 5th World Wilderness Congress (Tromsø 1993), and organiser and Secretary for the 1994 International Ecophilosophical Symposium, held in Longyearbyen.
Robin has received the "Wild Man" award from the WILD Foundation, USA, for ‘extraordinary commitment to nature conservation.'  He has written two books about adventurous periods in his life and was co-editor of "Deep Ecology in the High Arctic", published by the Norwegian Polar Institute.
The arctic wilderness has been his home for over 30 years, and he enjoys sharing his knowledge and experience with like-minded people, though he still believes that the best 5 star accommodation is a tent far from civilization. He now lives with his partner, Kitty, and their three children on the remote island of Finnøy, N.Norway.