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Get to Know Quark’s Onboard Experts

4 min read

Exploring the Polar Regions will take you to some of the most extreme, remote and incredible places on the planet. The sheer wonder of waking up to the distinct crack of a calving iceberg, or greeting a friendly penguin outside your tent, or spotting a polar bear across an expanse of flowering tundra – these are the experiences that change travelers for life.


Shore excursions and adventure options are an integral part of the polar expedition experience, and your small expedition ship is more than a place to eat and catch a few winks.

We employ an array of polar experts to organize, guide, facilitate and enrich your polar experience. And, you'll also encounter and engage with special guests each expedition. These are our onboard experts, scientists and guides, each specializing in extraordinary fields ranging from glaciology to penguinology to history, ornithology, marine biology and much more. Often, they're performing research in the Polar Regions and have received passage with us in exchange for their services as lecturers and speakers while onboard.

In addition to the variety of international guests you'll meet from all walks of life, here are just a few of the experts you may bump into onboard a Quark expedition:

Will Abbott, Geologist & Glaciologist


Will takes great pride in his extensive travel history, which includes stops on all seven continents. As a geologist and glaciologist, he studies the Earth, and also ice and snow. He's particularly interested in the formation and movement of different types of glaciers and gives unique lectures for interested passengers.

Santiago de la Vega, Ornithologist


Santiago is no ordinary ornithologist (a zoologist with a focus on birds). Not only has he spent more than two years living in Antarctica, he is also an experienced biologist. For more than 15 years, he has guided birding trips through South America. He is also an accomplished writer, with eight published handbooks and plenty of knowledge to share with guests.

Christine Hawes, Kayak Guide & Expedition Coordinator


Christine knows a thing or two about adventure travel, thanks to her decade of experience in the guiding industry. During the northern summer months, she works as a kayak guide on The Queen Charlotte Islands. For the past few years, during the southern summers, she has taken her guiding skills to Antarctica. While her primary focus is the safety and security of passengers, she's also extremely focused on ensuring her passengers have a great time on their kayak expeditions.

Malcolm Ellis, Guide & Maritime Geographer


Malcolm has spent most of his life around the sea, thanks to his upbringing on the Isle of Man. He first became involved with Quark in 2009 and has been an integral part of many of our expeditions since then. There aren't many people who have more knowledge of the Southern Ocean and Antarctica than Ellis, having spent time as part of an auxiliary Coast Guard team in addition to his adventure travels.

Sarah Hrdlicka, Wellness Guide


Sarah has been a yoga practitioner for more than 10 years. Wellness is important to a great deal of Quark passengers, and has led to the introduction of the Ocean Endeavour, the first health and wellness focused ship in Antarctica. If letting go of stress and nurturing your body and mind are part of your polar holiday plans, you're in fantastic hands with Sarah.

Wolfgang Blümel, Geologist & Glaciologist


Since 2005, Wolfgang has worked as a travel guide and lecturer for Quark, and has expertise in the areas of geology and ethnography (the study of people and cultures). During the late 1990s he took part in a variety of expeditions, such as one to Siberia to study its indigenous peoples. In fact, Blümel has a great deal of knowledge to share on the indigenous peoples of the far north, whom he advocates for with human rights organizations as a volunteer.

Diane Erceg, Historian & Expedition Coordinator


Diane is an accomplished researcher and traveler with 13 years' experience, 10 of which she has spent with Quark. She is currently enrolled in the PhD program at the Australian National University in Canberra continuing her education and would love to contribute with yours onboard an expedition!

Ragnar Hauksson, Historian


Northern Atlantic culture specialist Ragnar is a native of Iceland, where he's been a tour guide for a quarter of a century. As a historian with great storytelling skills, when Hauksson talks, his audience listens. Onboard an expedition, you might hear him lecture on Icelandic history and culture, or the ancient Thule people in Greenland's far north.

Annie Inglis, Operations Leader


Annie is an avid polar traveler and has taken more than 120 voyages to the Arctic and Antarctica. Her good nature and unmatched enthusiasm are infectious, but it's her vast knowledge of the flora and fauna of the Polar Regions that guests value most.

Timur Kouliev, Marine Biologist & Expedition Doctor


Timur is a rare breed of expedition staff, thanks to his experience in a variety of fields. He has taken part in aircraft medical missions, the management of isolated medical clinics, and many aspects of the marine biology field. Given our great expectations aboard every expedition of viewing whales, walruses and seals in their natural habitat, Kouliev's onboard teachings and insights are an important part of the guest experience. In his 14 seasons with Quark, he's consistently wowed passengers with his knowledge of marine biology and medicine.

Fabrice Genevois, Biologist


Fabrice has been traveling in Polar Regions for nearly 20 years. While his lectures touch on many topics, most focus on natural history, more specifically mammals and birds. He's spent time studying seabirds and sea mammals in both subAntarctic and Antarctic Regions and has a wealth of knowledge to share with guests.

While you'll have many questions answered onboard your expedition, if you're looking for detailed information prior to taking a polar holiday, our Polar Travel Advisers also have extensive, first-hand polar travel experience and are standing by to help you with any questions you may have. Get in touch with us today!

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