By Anne Kalosh.
Getting up close to nature and wildlife is one of the many thrills of small ship cruising. What’s more, you can meet and learn from world-renowned experts on a variety of intriguing 2018 and 2019 itineraries. Guest lecturers include marine biologist Dr. Sylvia Earle, primatologist Dr. Biruté Mary Galdikas, oceanographer Jean-Michel Cousteau and area specialists from the Wildlife Conservation Society.
Besides hearing their enlightening presentations, you’ll have opportunities to casually interact with these accomplished experts in ways that wouldn’t be possible at a typical shore-based lecture or on a big ship.
Jean-Michel Cousteau in Crystal’s Caribbean
Cousteau will share tales from his lifetime of exploring and documenting the world’s oceans, as well as his ongoing work to continue the legacy of his famous father Jacques Cousteau, aboard the luxury yacht CRYSTAL ESPRIT. He’ll join the Dec. 9 “West Indies Yachting Explorer” round-trip from Marigot, St. Martin.
In addition to lecturing about the region where CRYSTAL ESPRIT is sailing, Jean-Michel Cousteau will offer interactive presentations about his father’s legend and his own legacy, plus insights into the ocean life that most captivates him such as the delicate balance between orcas and sharks. And Cousteau will tell about his conservation efforts as founder of the Ocean Futures Society.
Crystal Yacht Expedition Cruises sail aboard the 62-passenger, all-suite CRYSTAL ESPRIT, with its marina and water sports “toys.” The weeklong cruise featuring Cousteau visits chic harbors like Gustavia (St. Barts), Falmouth Harbour (Antigua), Basseterre and South Friars Bay (St. Kitts) and Coconut Grove and Pinney’s Beach (Nevis).
Sylvia Earle in Lindblad’s Galápagos
Earle, the noted marine biologist and explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society, will join Lindblad Expeditions‘ first two “Wild Galápagos Escape” voyages. For the first time in the company’s 50-plus years of carrying citizen explorers to the Galápagos Islands, Lindblad is offering shorter trips, packing a ton of activities into one exhilarating week, with departures on Saturday and Thursday.
Earle will be aboard the Nov. 24 and 29 cruises.
Named one of Time magazine’s “Heroes for the Planet,” Earle is former chief scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and founder of SEAlliance, which partnered with National Geographic on Mission Blue to further global initiatives aimed at restoring health and productivity to the ocean.
The Galápagos voyages are on the newly refurbished 48-passenger NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ISLANDER and feature five days in the archipelago with one night pre-cruise in Guayaquil on the Ecuadorian mainland and the option of another night post-voyage at no additional charge. Travelers can have multiple adventures each day on land and undersea, including walking, hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding and snorkeling.
Biruté Mary Galdikas in Silversea’s Indonesia
Renowned primatologist Galdikas will join two SILVER DISCOVERER voyages in 2019. Internationally known for her work with the orangutans of Indonesian Borneo, she is considered the world’s foremost orangutan authority.
Two Silversea Expedition cruises with departures on June 24 (Darwin to Bali) and July 9 (Bali to Singapore) will explore Indonesia, with an overnight stay at Kumai, gateway to Tanjung Puting National Park and Camp Leakey, operated by Galdikas’ nonprofit Orangutan Foundation International (OFI).
Luxury operator Silversea is the sole cruise line partnering with Camp Leakey and will donate $100 for each traveler on the SILVER DISCOVER voyages.
“Working to ensure the survival of these great apes, as well as their precious forest habitat, is my lifelong mission,” Galdikas said. “I welcome a partner like Silversea whose guests seek to discover our planet’s authentic beauty in places like Camp Leakey, where they can make a difference to help protect its future.”
During a shipboard presentation Galdikas will share insights from her many years devoted to the study, care and preservation of endangered orangutans. She also will lead a private tour to Camp Leakey, where participants can encounter these amazing animals. Passengers may also spot proboscis monkeys, gibbons and macaques, as well as more than 200 species of birds.
In the company of Galdikas, they will be granted rare access to OFI’s Orangutan Care Center and Quarantine in the village of Pasir Panjang. The facility is home to numerous orphaned, sick or injured orangutans, and is normally closed to the public.
After meeting with Kenyan anthropologist Dr. Louis Leakey in 1969, Galdikas expressed her desire to study orangutans in the wild. It took three years for Leakey to secure the funding and support for Galdikas to begin her research. To honor her mentor, she named her first camp after him.
Wildlife Conservation Society experts in Paul Gauguin’s South Pacific
South Pacific specialist Paul Gauguin Cruises is offering “Wildlife Discovery Series” lectures aboard several 2018 voyages as part of a partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).
WCS has been saving wildlife and wild places worldwide for more than 120 years and aims to protect wild places in 16 priority regions that are home to more than 50 percent of the world’s biodiversity.
WCS experts in a bevy of disciplines will sail on the 330-passenger PAUL GAUGUIN, whose year-round home is French Polynesia.
Ken Kassem, marine director, WCS Indonesia Program, will be aboard the May 5 “Tahiti & the Society Islands” cruise. Kassem’s focus is the Coral Triangle, one of Earth’s greatest centers of biodiversity. It comprises parts of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands and Timor Leste. Based in Bogor, Indonesia, Kassem will share his expertise in marine conservation in the heart of the Coral Triangle: Indonesia.
Jason Patlis, executive director, WCS Marine Conservation, will talk about natural resource management on PAUL GAUGUIN’s June 16 “Tahiti & the Society Islands” cruise. Patlis has 30 years of experience in nonprofit management, environmental law, public policy and finance. He currently oversees WCS’s global marine conservation portfolio across 25 countries. Previously Patlis was president and CEO of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, the nonprofit partner to the United States’ marine sanctuary system.
The biology and conservation of sea turtles will be the topic of Dr. Natalia A. Rossi, Cuba country manager, WCS Mesoamerica & Western Caribbean Program, aboard the Oct. 6 “Society Islands & Tahiti Iti” voyage. Rossi works with local governmental and nongovernmental organizations to promote biodiversity conservation in Cuba, in the context of fast-evolving legislation. She became involved with coastal and crocodile conservation in Cuba in 2009, and earlier work involved a sea turtle research and conservation project in Baja California Sur, Mexico.
Booked for the Dec. 15 “Tahiti & the Society Islands” journey is Dr. Merry Camhi, director, New York Seascape Program, WCS New York Aquarium and Global Marine Programs. Camhi will delve into the New York Seascape’s efforts to raise public awareness and its actions to conserve threatened marine wildlife in the busy waters of the New York Bight. Current projects include acoustic and satellite tagging of sharks to better understand their movements and habitat needs in the mid-Atlantic, and tagging and restoration of American eels and alewife in New York’s tidal rivers.
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