White Walker

He’s spent more than 25 years travelling on the seventh continent, making Tudor Morgan one of Hurtigruten Expeditions’ most experienced Antarctic expedition leaders.

JOCELYN PRIDE

5 min read

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The citation on Tudor Morgan’s Queen’s Polar Medal reads “for services to Antarctic science and conservation”. For more than 25 years, with the British Antarctic Survey and Antarctic Heritage Trust and as a representative of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO), he’s explored this vast and mysterious continent. In his role as a Hurtigruten Expeditions expedition leader, Tudor is dedicated to making every guest’s Antarctic experience meaningful.

Tudor Morgan - Expedition Leader. Photo: Werner Kruse

WHAT HAS ANTARCTICA TAUGHT YOU?

“To have patience, be realistic and make the most of what you’ve got right now.”

— Tudor Morgan

What first drew you to Antarctica?

Being a Welshman, as a child I was surrounded by all sorts of Antarctic monuments and memorials. Cardiff has very strong connections with the polar regions because it sponsored a lot of early expedition and supplied the coal. Back then, it was the highest calorific anthracite – the rocket fuel of the day. My dad used to take me on a pedalo at the local lake where the figurehead from Robert Scott’s Terra Nova ship was displayed on the mini lighthouse. This made me aware of the heroic age of exploration, and I knew I wanted to somehow work there.

What excites you most about being an expedition leader with Hurtigruten Expeditions?

On a day-to-day scale, it’s waking up in the morning and seeing what’s in front of you. The buzz is thinking we can go here, show our guests this or that, and anticipating watching the pupils in their eyes ping in amazement. In the longer term, the investment in sustainability is exciting. Our new ships, the MS Roald Amundsen and MS Fridtjof Nansen, are the cleanest, greenest expedition ships you can sail. Working for a company that matches my ethos is important to me.

Taking in the incredible scenery

Taking in the incredible scenery

As an expedition leader, what do you strive for in terms of the itinerary?

To aim for the wow factor by working closely with the captain and ship’s management to try to get in the right place at the right time. Although we look at itineraries two to three years out, the environment always holds the trump card in terms of everything we do. Part of the challenge is to look at each situation and evaluate what can we do. Can we kayak? Can we snowshoe? Can we hike? Where’s the best viewpoint? Have we got all the staff in the right places to give our guests the best experience? My job is permanently reviewing, monitoring and reassessing the process.

What do you hope your guests take away from their Antarctic experience?

To go home as an ambassador for Antarctica and say it exceeded all expectations. Part of the attraction of being in remote places is linked with why it’s remote. How did it get to be like this? Interacting with the environment and travelling with purpose encourages people to make meaning of what they’re experiencing.

What has Antarctica taught you?

To have patience, be realistic and make the most of what you’ve got right now.

Getting up close to the locals

Getting up close to the locals

On a global scale, why is Antarctica important?

If you look at the world as a big cogwheel, Antarctica is at the centre. It controls the climate, it controls the fresh water, it gives life. As a continent it’s super important in terms of world ecosystems. In terms of its mystique, it’s a bit like Pandora’s box. Because no one actually lives there, it’s like the missing link to how the world works. It’s the seventh continent, the lost continent.

Do you have one Antarctic experience that stands out above the rest?

I’ve had many. Meeting my wife was definitely one. From a guiding perspective though, one particular night immediately jumps out. In the right conditions we offer guests the chance to go on an overnight camp. I was with a small group of guests in Marguerite Bay, south of the circle. We set up the tents at a place called Horseshoe Island and went for a hike. We could feel the massiveness of Antarctica – the light, the silence, the remoteness – with the safety of knowing there was there was a ship parked around the corner. Later, I just sat, taking in the perfect balance of scenery and history, thinking how lucky I was to be in such an amazing place. And to be there sharing it with guests was just magic.

Tudor Morgan - Expedition Leader. Photo: Dominic Barrington

Tudor Morgan - Expedition Leader. Photo: Dominic Barrington

What are your words of wisdom for someone dreaming of an Antarctic adventure?

If you want to go then go. Be flexible, because the more open your mind the more you’ll get out of it. You may go with an interest in wildlife or history, but then there’s the science, biology, geology, glaciology. Antarctica has so much to offer. Seeing is believing.