A keen birdwatcher and wildlife enthusiast since childhood, I’ve built up crucial skills as a wildlife observer over the years. As a professional naturalist and guide for over 30 years, and a whale watcher for over 25 years, I’ve also explored some of the best wildlife regions worldwide, from rainforests to the polar regions, and oceans to deserts, experiencing a vast range of wildlife and environments. Known for my identification skills, and my enthusiasm and passion to share my knowledge with others, I work well in a team, and I like to socialise. I also enjoy photography and to relax I like to walk, dive, ski, and to salsa and lambada!
SKILLS AS A NATURALIST
- Birdwatcher in the UK since the early 1970’s, picking up crucial identification skills. I have also become familiar with birds in nearly all regions of the world.
- Carrying out bird surveys in the UK since 1990.
- Experience as an all-round naturalist throughout the British Isles, Europe, the Americas (North, Central & Central), Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, the Indo-Pacific, the Arctic, Antarctica and Oceania.
- Naturalist and guide on 'expedition' cruise ships in 1995 and every year since 2004, working Worldwide from the tropics to Polar Regions.
- Professional herpetologist since 1989, focusing on conservation and surveys.
- A seafaring naturalist since 1987 (on sailing expeditions, whale watching trips and expedition cruises) with a particular focus on seabirds and marine mammals.
- I’ve seen over two-thirds of the World’s seabirds and many coastal species.
- I've seen 61 species of cetaceans and various other marine mammals, building up crucial identification skills. Most important of all, the knowledge of the best places to be on the lookout for whales and dolphins at sea, and how to spot them.
- Invaluable experience as a wildlife guide in the Peruvian rainforest in 1984/85 (and rainforests in Africa, Central America, South-east Asia and Papua New Guinea since) in what has to be one of the most demanding but fascinating environments for a naturalist to detect and observe wildlife, the rainforest.
- Marine biologist since 1982, exploring areas from the UK to coral reefs abroad.
- An ‘all round’ naturalist I am always eager to learn more, from jellyfish to insects, flying fish to sharks, lemurs to great apes, and mangroves to arctic flora.
- With a naturalist’s perspective I can also talk about geology, plate tectonics and the link to biogeography.
EXPERIENCE AS EXPEDITION NATURALIST
I’ve worked as a naturalist, lecturer and Zodiac driver for 20 years on 'expedition' cruise ships - on at least 13 different ships working for Gadventures, Noble Caledonia, Adventure Canada, APT, and, in the past, Elegant Cruise Lines and Marine Expeditions. Expedition leaders I’ve worked with include Kim Crosbie, Susan Adie, Laurie Dexter, Stefan Kindberg, Jane Wilson, John Kernan, Alex Cowan, Jonahton Green, Brad Rees, Neil Horrocks, Louise Justin, Peter Graham, Julio Prezer, Denise Landeau, Hannah Lawson, Pamela La Noury, Jason Roberts and others. I am also familiar with IAATO and AECO guidelines, in theory, and in practice.
Over this time I’ve continued to build my naturalist and ID skills, gathering a repertoire of lecture material, recaps, and stories, becoming familiar with many wildlife locations, understanding the demands of expedition cruising, and knowing the best places to look for wildlife, from finding Polar Bears to spotting whales and seabirds. I’ve also talked about geology, how to take better pictures, how to use binoculars, helped with evening entertainments, produced trip reports, expedition slideshows, and in tropical locations, used my skills as a marine biologist and diver/free diver to assist with snorkel operations.
Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia and the Falklands – since 1995
I first worked as a naturalist in this region in 1995 and regularly since 2004, often talking about seabirds, cetaceans, and seals. With over 60 cruises I’ve built up considerable experience of the wildlife, the locations, and the stories, in one of the most remotest and beautiful places on the Planet, and an area that always takes my breath away.
Arctic (Iceland, Greenland, NW Passage, and Svalbard) – since 1998
I first visited Iceland in 1998, worked on over 25 cruises in the dramatic surroundings of Svalbard in the Arctic since 2010, explored the stunning scenery of both east and west Greenland, and, recently, the NW Passage. In addition to building up my experience of the locations, habitats, and the Arctic wildlife, I’ve built up my skills of working in polar bear country as a rifle handler and assessing areas for bears. Growing up as a birdwatcher in the UK I’ve also seen a vast range of Arctic birds that overwinter, from geese to other wildfowl and shorebirds.
British Isles and the NE Atlantic – since 2006 as a ship’s naturalist
I’ve worked on over 20 cruises since 2006, visiting all the coastline and islands of Britain and Ireland with the dramatic scenery, geology, and some of the best seabird colonies in the World. I’m also familiar with British wildlife and as a marine biologist/diver, underwater marine life. I’ve also explored Norway, as well as the Faeroes and Iceland.
Tropical Atlantic – 2006 to 2008 and Cape Verdes tour in 2012
I’ve been the naturalist, lecturer and cruise director on three repositioning cruises from Cadiz to Buenos Aires, and a cruise that purely focused on most of the islands of the Cape Verdes. A fascinating and rugged group of islands with a diverse culture.
Central America and the Caribbean – since 2014
Three cruises to the Caribbean and Central America, exploring the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, a very diverse area for the wildlife and people with some great rainforests and coral reefs, and excellent local wildlife guides and nature reserves in Costa Rica.
Indo-Pacific – since 2013
Six cruises to this region including New Zealand (North Island), New Caledonia, Vanuatu, the Solomons, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Malaysia (especially Sabah), the Philippines, and the South Pacific, from Easter Island to Tahiti via the Pitcairns and the Marquesas. A unique chance to experience the wildlife, culture, and history of this diverse region to each side of the Wallace Line, and across the Pacific.
Australia – since 2015
In August 2015 I was the naturalist on several cruises to the Kimberley area of NW Australia and also explored much of the rest of Australia, including Tasmania, for the next 5 weeks to become more accustomed to the unique wildlife and scenery of Australia.
Indian Ocean, Madagascar and East coast of Africa – since 2008
Four cruises to the western Indian Ocean including Tanzania, Mozambique, Comoros, Madagascar, Seychelles, Reunion and Mauritius. Madagascar is fascinating for the unique wildlife and the Seychelles for the amazing coral reefs and atolls.
Future cruise work – new locations
I will be working as a naturalist on cruises around New Zealand at the end of 2016 and into 2017.
OTHER WORK EXPERIENCE AS NATURALIST
Noble Caledonia – Uganda 2103 & 2104
The tour leader on two trips to Uganda to encounter chimps, gorillas, and African wildlife in general. As well as the humbling experience of meeting our ‘cousins’ this was a unique chance to experience wildlife at the ‘heart’ of Africa, to work with local guides, and deal with the challenges of an African safari and the demanding treks to see the gorillas.
HF Holidays – UK – 2006 to 2015
HF Holidays have organised walking holidays from their hostels around the UK for over 100 years. From 2006 I led wildlife walking tours that have the chance to explore wildlife in depth in some of the best British countryside and landscapes.
Discover-the-World – whale watching trips – 1997 to 2005
One of the leading UK operators going to Iceland that also pioneered whale watching holidays that charter small whale watching boats for up to a week. I have been on the tours to Iceland and the tour operator/guide for whale watching trips to New England, California, Gibraltar, and, in the Bahamas, swimming with wild dolphins. In addition I often lectured at travel shows like Destinations for Discover-the-World.
Wildwings – Bay of Biscay – ‘pelagic’ and whale watching trips – 2006 to 2008
One of the leading UK operators in birdwatching and whale watching holidays, I have led a number of trips as the tour guide and wildlife guide on the Plymouth to Bilbao ferry route to look for pelagic seabirds and a range of whales and dolphins.
Nature Surveys – UK – 1989 to present
Ornithologist, herpetologist, and environmental consultant for 25 years, surveying, managing and mitigating for birds and amphibians and reptiles in the UK and being at the forefront of conservation and mitigation. Also surveying for Pool Frogs across Europe.
Rainforest Guide, Tambopata, Peru – 1984, 1985 and visits in 1997, 2005 & 2011
Evaluable experience as a guide in Tambopata rainforest, SE Peru in 1984/1985, returning in 1997, 2005 & 2011. One of the most diverse places on Earth for birds, beetles, and butterflies with an incredible array of life and adaptations, the rainforest realm is one of the most rewarding and most challenging places to be a wildlife guide!
Marco Polo Voyage – 1990
Naturalist on the Marco Polo Voyage in 1990, helping to sail a traditional sailing junk from Hong Kong to Shanghai and back looking at seabirds, marine life, and pollution. Occurring at a unique time as China was opening up to the rest of the World, we sailed into ports where no one had seen a westerner and survived three typhoons.
Enterprise Neptune – 1987 to 1989
Ships naturalist on Enterprise Neptune from 1987 to 1989, helping sail a 50 year old Bermudan cutter from the UK to South Africa and back. This commemorated the voyage of Bartolomeu Dias 500 years before and I looked at seabirds, cetaceans, and pollution. A fascinating voyage spending time in South Africa, Namibia, St. Helena, The Gambia and the Cape Verdes as well as sailing across the Atlantic and around the Cape of Good Hope.
St Vincent Parrot expedition – summer 1982
After finishing at University I was a member of the 1982 UEA, ICBP St. Vincent Parrot Expedition. A really rewarding and demanding project to do a census of the endangered St. Vincent Parrot in the Caribbean and assist with conservation policies that worked with local communities. Also carried out some bird surveys on Trinidad and Tobago.
Lecturer – 1985 to present
As well as lecturing on cruise ships I’ve enjoyed given presentations on my travels and wildlife encounters to a wide range of groups from to the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust to rotary clubs and schools and universities to travel clubs. I have also talked and been on a number of stands at travel shows such as Destinations for companies like Discover-the-World and at promotional events at the Royal Geographical Society for Gadventures.
SEALIFE – A Complete Guide to the Marine Environment – 1994
Co-author of SEALIFE - A Complete Guide to the Marine Environment. Based on my experience as a naturalist at sea, I was the initial driving force behind the idea of creating a field guide for seafarers that covered life at sea from sharks to seabirds, oceanic fish to coral fish, plankton to jellyfish, turtles to shellfish, and seals to cetaceans. I worked with the artist Marc Dando, to get the best illustrations, including the concept of viewing dolphins from above, as they are seen when bow riding.
EDUCATION & PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS
- Masters in Oceanography – University of Southampton – 1982-1983: Specialising in Marine Biology and completed with distinction.
- Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences – University of East Anglia – 1979-1982: Specialising in Ecology, Upper 2.1, passed with honours.
- Chartered Biologist (ClBiol): The professional qualification as a biologist in the UK. Qualified since 2001.
- Full Member of Chartered Institute of Ecology & Environmental Management (CIEEM): The professional qualification as an ecologist and environmental consultant in the UK. Qualified since 1992.
OTHER SKILLS, QUALIFICATIONS AND CERTIFICATES
I have a Seaman’s Discharge Book (United Kingdom) DB00092763, a Seaman’s National ID (Bahamas) 761302043) and an ENG 1 seafarers medical certificate (787973). I am an English speaker with a very basic understanding of Spanish.
Zodiac Driver & experience with boats
- Moderate/rough weather Zodiac driver with over ten years of experience working on cruise ships from the tropics to polar regions.
- BSAC Dive Cox with recognised international boat handling BSAC certificate (RYA 2 equivalent and certificate 000269).
- Driving RIBs as a diver for over 20 years.
- Sailing experience in the UK, in the Atlantic, and the South China Seas.
- Being in the Sea Scouts as a boy I’ve always been in boats, from rowing boats to kayaks and sailing boats. I also learnt invaluable skills, from tying knots to map reading, to taking on responsibilities.
Practical First Aid
- First Aid qualifications to work outdoors. Current certificate (Practical First Aid with British Red Cross) was passed on 27th March 2014 – cert no 645-PFA.
Diving and life-saving
- Advanced BSAC (British Sub-aqua club) diver with over 600 dives, diving since 1979 in the UK and abroad (Caribbean, Mediterranean, Malaysia, Red Sea etc.).
- Qualified free diver to AIDA 2 star (open water free diver) with a passion to explore coral reefs and other marine locations.
- As an Advanced level BSAC diver and an open water free diver I learnt life saving techniques and practice regularly.
- Have NRA Basic Rifle Shooting certification (ID 152424293).
- Trained in rifle handling and in Polar Bear country by Dr Tom Smith, one of the foremost experts on Ringed Seals and working in the Arctic with bears.
- Experience of working in Polar Bear country and assessing for bears and handling rifles for over 5 years.
STCW courses & certificates
As approved by Maritime and Coastguard Agency (UK) as meeting the requirements laid down in the STCW convention (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers) and Code 1978, as amended.
- Proficiency in Elementary First Aid (10 Nov 2014 – cert no. MSA-EFA 1047/2014 & MCA approval number 00 3916).
- Proficiency in Fire Prevention & Fire Fighting (13 Nov 2014 – cert no. MSA-FPFF 1040/2014 & MCA approval number 00 3917).
- Proficiency in Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities (13 Nov 2014 – cert no. MSA-PSSR 1048/2014 & MCA approval number 00 3564).
- Proficiency in Personal Survival Techniques (14 Nov 2014 - cert no. MSA-PST 1056/2014 & MCA approval number 00 3918).
- Proficiency in Security Awareness (13 Nov 2014 - cert no. MSA-SA 1192/2014 & MCA approval number 00 3849).
Additional Security Awareness certificates
Meeting the requirements laid down in Regulation VI/6.1 of the International STCW Convention 1978, as amended, and issued under the Bahamas Maritime Authority.
- Proficiency in Security Awareness (29 Aug 2014 – cert no. CS00111).
- Proficiency in Security Awareness (04 Nov 2013 – cert no. SAT/EXP/0041).
Additional Crowd Management certificates
Completed with V-Ships and meeting the requirements of STCW2010 Regulation V/2 Para - 4 & 5 & STCW2010 Code A-V/2 para 1 & 2.
- Crowd Management and Safety Training (30 June 2013 cert no. CC_EXP 0017).
- Founding member of the Shark Trust that works to conserve and promote sharks.
- Founder member of the Tambopata Reserve Society that supports conservation work, local guides, and more community involvement in this region of SE Peru.
- Founder member of the Professional Speakers Association.
- Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) since 1986.
- Member of the World Cetacean Alliance that is working to conserve cetaceans, improve observations and records, and to stop having dolphins in captivity.
- A committee member on the London branch of the Marine Conservation Society for a number of years in the 1990’s.
- Committee member of the Surrey Amphibian and Reptile Group.
INTERESTS AND PASTIMES
- Exploring the countryside for wildife.
- Diving and free diving.
- Keen photographer (often using my images in my lectures).
- Birdwatching, wildlife watching in general, walking and exploring the outdoors.
- Dancing Salsa and Lambada.
- I always like trying something new and recently tried clay pigeon shooting and bungee jumping.