I've been a guide on cruise ships exploring the high Arctic region since 2010, exploring the spectacular mountain scenery of Svalbard, enhanced by some of the most impressive geology on the planet. There are impressive glaciers, icebergs, the largest ice cap in Europe, the longest ice cliff in the northern hemisphere, and, due to the Gulf Stream, the chance to explore the edge of the pack ice within 600nm of the North Pole. Huge numbers of birds breed here over the short Arctic summer including wildfowl, shorebirds and vast numbers of seabirds, often in spectacular locations. Arctic mammals include the Arctic Fox, reindeer, seals, whales, and two of the iconic Arctic mammals - Walrus and Polar Bears.
I've also explored the volcanic landscape of Iceland with it's wealth of breeding seabirds, shorebirds, and wildfowl. Then there is Greenland and the NW Passage. Greenland has to be a region with some of the most stunning landscapes in the World - mountains and the tundra providing a dramatic and colourful backdrop to huge glacial bergs in blue fjords that is unique to Greenland, and there is always the chance of seeing the Muskox. And the NW Passage and the Canadian Arctic is iconic in Arctic exploration that is still a challlenging place to explore.
I have a range of themes for talks and recaps, including the following:
With my indepth knowledge of seabirds, discover the range of seabirds and how they are adapted to the Arctic environment, from Arctic Terns to Arctic Skuas, Kittiwakes to Ivory Gulls, and Fulmars to auks. There are colonies of Brunnich’s Guillemot (or Thick-billed Murre) on spectacular sheer cliffs, and vast numbers of Little Auks or Dovekies on scree covered hillsides, ringing with the sounds of countless birds.
Learn about Arctic Seals, some of amazing adaptations to life in the Arctic, from the small Ringed Seal to the robust Bearded Seal, and the fast moving Harp Seal to the amazingy short suckling period of the Hooded Seal pup. And find out about one of the most fascinating animals on the planet - the Walrus - and why they can be so curious.
HAVING A WHALE OF A TIME
Arctic seas are very productive and attract a range of whales including the Fin Whale, the inquisitive Humpback Whale, the Minke Whale, and, if you are lucky, Blue Whales. This far north you can still see White-beaked Dolphins, and have a good chance of seeing the ‘white whale’, the Beluga. Learn about some of the adaptations of these marine mammals and some of the fascinating facts. Also find out how Svalbard was the first site of the first 'oil boom', for the Bowhead Whale, now an elusive species.
REALM OF THE POLAR BEAR
This talk focuses on the range of wildlife that can be found ashore and the adaptations to life in the Arctic. Wildfowl and shorebirds, Ptarmigan to the Snow Bunting, and the three mammals that can be found on the island, the reindeer, the Arctic Fox, and, of course, the Polar Bear. The Polar Bear is the ‘icing on the cake’, and for any trip to Svalbard, with the lack of hunting over the last 20 years, they are increasing (with around 3000 in and around Svalbard and nearby Jan Mayen). Also find out how the Polar Bear is also a marime mammal that is at home at sea on the ice floes.
I can also give talks that specifically focus two of the most fascinating of Arctic Mammals, the Polar Bear or the Walrus. In addition to these topics, I also have talks on:
- Arctic Flowers.
- On top of the World! - A look at the wildlife and spectacular scenery of Svalbard and the Arctic ecosystem.
- Presentations that focus on other Arctic regions such as the NW Passage and Greenland.
- Poles Apart! - Comparing the Antarctic with the Arctic and locations like Svalbard - literally poles apart!