Meet Your Polar Heroes!

Educated in polar studies at Norwegian universities and around the world, Hurtigruten’s expedition team is extremely knowledgeable and is certified by IAATO (Association of Antarctica Tour Operators).

Expedition team members are carefully selected for their local knowledge, expertise, and most important of all, their enthusiasm, curiosity, and love for the areas we visit. They are modern explorers, willing to share stories, interpret what you see, and guide you to the most interesting sites and experiences.

The role of the expedition team is to interpret observations of wildlife and landscapes, point out things of interest, give educational lectures on topics such as biology, geology, and history – in addition to being hosts with the rest of the crew aboard your ship.

You might meet the expedition team members and lecturers shown here while you are on board. The composition of expedition team members and lecturers will vary between seasons and sailings, but Hurtigruten always considers the best mix of competencies regarding the destinations we are exploring.

Line Overgaard, Expedition Leader

Country of Origin: Norway

Line started working for Hurtigruten in 2001 as a member of the crew. She worked on several ships that traveled along the spectacular Norwegian coast before joining the MS Fram in 2008. Line grew up in the small settlement Klæbu outside of Trondheim. Line takes every chance she gets to travel, and has backpacked in Asia, South America, Australia, and Africa. Line also enjoys outdoor activities such as cross-country skiing, kayaking, snowboarding, hiking, and her newest passion, climbing. Her favorite expeditions have been the 16-day ski expeditions over Spitsbergen’s snow-covered glaciers, the 8-day hike on the Arctic Circle Trail in Greenland, and kayaking on the rivers of Nepal. She completed the Arctic Nature Guide study program in 2010 in Spitsbergen.

Tessa van Drie, Expedition Leader

Country of Origin: The Netherlands

Tessa finished her one-year course as an Arctic Nature Guide, hosted in Spitsbergen, in June, 2011. She has a master’s degree in physical geography from the University in Utrecht. After working for four years in an office she decided to travel and do voluntary work for two years in Central and South America. She enjoyed traveling so much that she got a job as a tour leader for a Dutch company. For three years she guided Dutch groups through several countries in Central and South America. Now she lives in Norway and enjoys outdoor activities such as cross-country skiing, kayaking, and hiking in the mountains. Since 2011, Tessa has also worked as a lecturer on board MS Fram, both in Antarctica and in the Arctic.

Jim Mayer, Expedition Leader

Country of Origin: Wales

Jim has been traveling in the Arctic and Antarctic for the last 20 years. His book Shackleton: A Life in Poetry is a biography on Ernest Shackleton that has been described as “the polar book of the year” by a descendant of Ernest Shackleton, historian Jonathan Shackleton. Jim gives presentations about polar history throughout the world. Jim’s polar travels began as a student on an expedition to catch and tag barnacle geese in Svalbard. Since then he has led expeditions in Arctic Norway, Iceland, Greenland, Jan Mayen, and Svalbard.

Jim attempted to ski the length of Svalbard from south to north but had to give up when all his food was eaten by polar bears. In 2000 he skied 348 miles across the Greenland ice sheet and since then has completed several long-distance ski expeditions in Svalbard and Arctic Sweden. Jim's first visit to Antarctica was to work for the British Antarctic Survey. Since then he has led tourists to the Weddell Sea in search of emperor penguins along the Antarctic Peninsula and to the Holy Grail sites of Captain Robert Falcon Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton’s huts in the Ross Sea. Jim also loves the wonderful wildlife and challenging weather in the sub-Antarctic Islands of the Falklands and South Georgia.

Tudor Morgan, Expedition Leader

Country of Origin: Wales

Tudor acquired his passion for the polar regions at an early age. Born in Cardiff, Wales, he learned about the exploits of Captain Robert Falcon Scott since Cardiff was Scott’s last UK port of call. This drove his passion to visit and work in the polar regions. After expeditions to Norway, Iceland, Spitsbergen, and the European Alps and studying geology at Manchester University, Tudor became a guide for the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) working out of Rothera Station on Marguerite Bay on the Antarctic Peninsula, and then became their field operations manager.

In April, 2008, he became the operations manager for the Antarctic Heritage Trust, overseeing the museum and gift shop at Port Lockroy as well as Detaille, Wordie, and Damoy. In 2012 he became a project consultant for the Trust, which gave him more time to pursue other interests, including working for Hurtigruten. For the last two years he has worked as operations manager for IAATO (International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators). He has been awarded the Queen’s Polar Medal for outstanding service to Antarctic science and heritage.

Tomasz Zadrozny, Expedition Leader

Country of Origin: Poland

Tomasz (Tom) Zadrozny obtained a Master of Science degree and Engineering degree in animal science at the Agricultural University of Warsaw, Poland. He spent two winters in Antarctica, where he worked as biologist and base commander of the Polish Antarctic Station – Arctowski. Since 1999, he has worked on expedition vessels that operate in the Arctic, Antarctic, South Pacific, Amazon, Orinoco, and on the Gambia River. One of his professional highlights was the discovery of a previously unknown channel in the Melchior Islands archipelago on Feb. 2, 2003.

The new channel divides Omega Island into two islands and was named Bremen Channel. The newly discovered island was named Bremen Island. Both new names – Bremen Channel and Bremen Island – were approved by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research and are now the official names used in Antarctica. The polar regions are Tomasz’s favorite places on Earth. He will share with Hurtigruten guests his personal experiences in the polar regions and present lectures about wildlife of the Arctic and the Antarctic.

Steinar Aksnes, Assistant Expedition Leader

Country of Origin: Norway

Steinar grew up in the mountains of Norway close to Bergen and moved to Svalbard in 1996. He worked in the tourism industry for nine years, on different ships during the summer season and snowmobiling during the winter season. Then he worked in the film industry, mainly focusing on films about natural history. He did fieldwork for films such as BBC’s Natures Great Events, BBC’s Frozen Planet, BBC’s Life, the History Channel’s Life After People, and IMAX’s To the Arctic. Then he worked for the Norwegian Polar Institute as a logistical engineer, helping scientist with their fieldwork. Now, Steinar is taking on a new challenge as assistant expedition leader on Hurtigruten Explorer Voyages.

Olav Orheim, Glaciologist/Climatologist

Country of Origin: Norway

Olav Orheim is a glaciologist and climatologist who has led numerous scientific expeditions in the Arctic and in Antarctica. He was the Managing Director of the Norwegian Polar Institute from 1993 to 2005, and administrated polar research at the Research Counsel of Norway from 2005 to 2012. Olav was born in Bergen in 1942. He acquired his PhD in glaciology at Ohio State University, studying the glacial history at Deception Island, and is regarded as one of the world’s leading glaciologists. He worked for four decades at the Norwegian Polar Institute. During this same period, he held a professorship in glaciology at the University of Bergen for nearly two decades.

Olav was instrumental in the establishment of Troll Station, Norway’s permanent station in Antarctica. He was also the initiator of the Norwegian Glacier Museum in Fjærland and its visitor’s center, Polaria, adjacent to Norwegian Polar Institute in Tromsø. He is presently the chairman of the board of the Fram Museum in Oslo and GRID-Arendal, a non-profit environmental foundation created to support the United Nations. Olav has received the Royal Order of St. Olav from Norway, to commemorate his remarkable accomplishments on behalf of the country and humanity, and the Order of St. Charles from Monaco, to recognize his merit and reward his service.

Henryk Wolski, Historian/Adventurer

Country of Origin: Poland

An enthusiastic sailor since his childhood, Henryk Wolski worked after his university studies as a sailing instructor and skipper and organized concept sailing trips with historical themes. He also loves adventurous expeditions. He was a member of Arved Fuchs’s ICESAIL expedition that sailed around the North Pole and became only the sixth person in history who has circumnavigated this route. Henryk has also taken part in an expedition that retraced Sir Ernest Shackleton’s famous voyage and has sailed twice around Cape Horn.

He has also followed the tracks of the Vikings on rivers across the European continent, retracing some of the old trading routes on a replica of a Viking ship built for these expeditions. In 2008 he organized the Darwin & Tierra del Fuego expedition, sailing on a replica of a whale boat in the Beagle Channel. That same year he sailed on a yacht from Buenos Aires via the Magellan Strait and around Cape Horn, and then sailed from Ushuaia via the Falklands, South Georgia, Crozet Island, Amsterdam Island, and Australia to New Caledonia. Since 2000, Henryk has been working as expedition leader and lecturer on cruise ships, especially in the Antarctic, the Arctic, and the Amazon.

Friederike Bronny, Geographer

Country of Origin: Germany

Friederike Bronny, an academically qualified geographer, studied geography, geology, and botany at Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany. During this time, her studies concentrated on the polar regions and the title of her degree dissertation was Marine Ecological Pre-Conditions of the Socio-Economical Structural Change at the West Coast of Greenland. After graduation, she received a research contract in Greenland with Ruhr University, Bochum. The results of her research were published as scientific and popular essays and books, some written in conjunction with her husband. She was also a member and leader of a series of expeditions to Greenland. Since 1985 she has been working as a lecturer for different cruise lines in the Arctic and in Antarctica. When she is home, she lives with her husband in Senden, a little village in the Münsterland region in northern Germany.

John Chardine, Ornithologist

Country of Origin: Canada

John was born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, but grew up in England. His love for nature and photography developed at an early age in the bluebell woods of Somerset. He studied in Canada and then the UK. For the past 35 years John has focused his research work and teaching on seabirds and their ocean environment. The results of his studies have been published in numerous major international scientific journals. John is also an accomplished wildlife photographer and moderates a forum on the birdphotographers.net website. His photographs have appeared in books, magazines, journals, brochures, and other publications and he currently teaches field courses in wildlife photography techniques at home in New Brunswick, Canada. John has been a staff member aboard expedition cruise ships since 1992.

Manuel Marin, Ornithologist

Country of Origin: Chile

Manuel received his PhD from Louisiana State University in zoology/ornithology. He was formerly the curator and director of research of the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology in California, and now lives in the countryside of central Chile, where continues to do ornithological research. As a researcher on Neotropical birds, he is a National Geographic Society Grantee. Manuel publishes regularly in many ornithological journals.

For over 30 years he has been traveling extensively to many countries to do ornithological research and exploration. Manuel has been working in Hurtigruten’s Explorer Voyages department since its conception for over a decade, contributing to the development of voyages in both the Arctic and Antarctic areas.

Mads Rio, Kayak Certification Guide

Mads is a pioneer within river kayaking in Voss, Norway, and is the first kayaker to paddle in some of the classic rivers in Voss. He has ventured through Brandsetriver and Myrkdal, two rivers that now attract kayakers from all over the world. He was the first person to kayak down the Åsbrekkegjelet waterfall in 1994, which has since been nicknamed ‘The Money Drop’ in kayaking circles. Mads has been a vital part of the extreme sporting events held in Voss, and responsible for the kayaking competitions held there.

He is a board member of Ekstremsportveko (Extreme Sports Week), an international event in Voss that hosts various extreme sport competitions, including whitewater kayaking, and was its chairman in the first seven years of the event, which began in 1998. Mads has taught river kayaking courses since the mid-1990s and has paddled large parts of the Norwegian coastline in a sea kayak. Mads is an officially certified Supervisor River and Activity Leader in the Norwegian Sea Kayak Association’s education ladder.

Harald Bang, Kayak Certification Guide

Harald teaches mechanics to teenagers at college in Haugesund, Norway. He started kayaking in his early 30s and he has been hooked on it ever since. He is very active in the Haugesund Kayak Club, teaching courses and organizing longer kayaking trips. Cross-country skiing and hiking are also some of his other favorite hobbies. During the summer he does volunteer work for the Norwegian Mountain Organization. He also works with the Norwegian Mountain Organization guiding ski trips and hikes in the mountains close to Haugesund.

Lan Wu, Biologist

Country of Origin: Norway

Wu Lan received her PhD from Peking University in zoology. In addition to researching the brown bears of the Tibetan plateau, Lan also works for the China Birdwatching Society, which studies bird migration and conservation. As a birdwatcher for more than nine years, Lan leads birdwatching and photography trips inside and outside of China and gives lectures on wildlife conservation. She believes that only if we understand can we care, and that travel into the wild is the first step to understanding the natural world.

Karsten Bidstrup, Expedition Photographer

Country of Origin: Denmark

Karsten Bidstrup has been working as a professional photographer for 18 years and is a staff photographer for the biggest travel magazine in Denmark, Vagabond, and contributes to articles from all over the world. He also writes for the largest digital camera magazine in Scandinavia. Karsten is the author of the book Et andet Afrika, which is about traveling in Africa. He has been Hurtigruten’s MS Fram many times, and says that one of his most amazing travel experiences so far was to stand on the deck of MS Fram, watching the sun rise over the remote mountains in Antarctica.

Pål Ranheim, Assistant Expedition Leader

Pål grew up in Tromsø, in northern Norway, and loves all outdoor activities. At a young age he started exploring the mountains and learning basic mountaineering skills, and his mother sent him to a Search and Rescue class at Norwegian People’s Aid, of which he is still a member. Norwegian People's Aid was founded in 1939 to provide humanitarian relief during conflicts and post-conflict reconstruction assistance. His fascination with Arctic nature led Pål to study geography at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. Then he became a certified teacher, and moved to the North Cape, on the northern coast of the island of Magerøya in northern Norway, to teach Earth science and social science at the high school level.

In his spare time Pål hiked around northern Norway and became a certified hiking guide with the Norwegian Trekking Association (DNT). He also worked as a guide to the North Cape and participated in the climbing club. In 2014, Pål traveled to Nepal to work as a volunteer in an outreach school project in the Nepali countryside. Then Pål got a job at the meteorological station at remote Jan Mayen, a volcanic island in the Arctic Ocean and a part of Norway, where he spent six months in the company of two huskies and 17 colleagues, and took every opportunity to explore the island. He looks forward to sharing his experiences and knowledge with his fellow travelers.

Steffen Biersack, Assistant Expedition Leader

Steffen is a German geologist born and raised in Berlin. Before receiving a master’s degree in geology, he worked at Berlin’s Criminal Investigation Department, and before joining Hurtigruten, he was a field-trip guide in many European countries, in North America, and in Southern Africa. Steffen is particularly fascinated by geology and ‘Earth system science’, an interdisciplinary study of the Earth’s interacting physical, chemical, and biological processes to help determine the state of the Earth and how humankind can achieve sustainability. Steffen is driven to convey his passion and fascination for geology to a wider public, and presents a wide range of lectures about our planet.

Helga Bårdsdatter Kristiansen, Assistant Expedition Leader

Helga Bårdsdatter Kristiansen is educated a biologist and lives in Longyearbyen, Svalbard. Longeyarbyen has been her home since 2013. She loves the outdoors and the wild and barren landscape of the Arctic Island. She was born in Telemark, Norway, a place rich with forests, and has always had a fascination for nature. She went to agriculture high school and knows how to use a chain saw and drive a tractor.

Biology studies in Oslo brought her to Svalbard for the first time in 2011 where she fell in love with the island. Here she has worked as a guide for hiking groups, snow mobile tours and city guiding and as a manger for Camp Barentz. Helga got tired of environmental problems in the Arctic was not solved quickly enough so she ventured in to politics as a green politician and is at the moment elected in the local government in Longyearbyen. And she loves dogs.

Migues Rodríguez-Gironés, Biologist

Miguel’s longing for pristine environments and face-to-face encounters with nature made him stop researching theoretical physics and start a new career in behavioral ecology. This switch allowed him to climb 100-foot-high palm trees in the Bolivian Rainforest, observe quarrelsome booby chicks on a tiny island off the Mexican Pacific coast, wash away elephant dung in Sri Lanka, follow arboreal marsupials in Patagonia, and study penguins on Deception Island. He loves sailing and hiking and in his ‘next life’ he will be a writer of fiction writer and live in a small wooden ship with no fixed mooring.

Currently he is a researcher at the Estación Experimental de Zonas Áridas, in Spain, where he studies pollination ecology and insect color vision. He has taught summer and graduate courses on animal behavior (at the Universidad de Córdoba, Spain), biological materials (at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México), and vision ecology (at the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil).

Simon Delany, Biologist

Simon grew up on the southern coast of English, where he developed a passion for nature, and particularly for birds. A degree in geography was followed by three expeditions to the Himalayas to study bird migration, and Simon spent two and a half years on the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia working with albatross, penguins, and fur seals. Subsequent work with three different nature conservation organizations involved a move to the Netherlands, and he now lives with his family in a house overlooking the floodplain of the Rhine River. Simon has published widely, including An Atlas of Wader Populations in Africa and Western Eurasia, which was awarded third place in the British Birds and the British Trust for Ornithology “Best Bird Book of the Year” award in 2009.

A global expert on waterbirds with over 20 years of experience coordinating and reporting on research at local, national, continental, and global level, in 2011 Simon established a consultancy firm that specializes in biodiversity conservation, and writing and editing for publications in the environmental and nature conservation fields as well as more specialized ornithological topics and pursuing exciting opportunities with Hurtigruten as a lecturer.

Sabine Barth, Historian

Sabine Barth has studied theater and film, German, psychology, and ethnology. She has worked as an editor for two literature and cultural magazines and currently works as a freelance journalist. From 2001–2003 she was in charge of the Goethe-Institut in Reykjavik, a non-profit German cultural association that promotes the study of the German language and the knowledge of German culture, society, and politics abroad and encourages international cultural exchange and relations. Since 1981, Sabine has focused on writing about traveling in Iceland and Greenland and the history, culture, literature, and social development of Iceland and Greenland.

Verena Meraldi, Biologist

Verena is a Mexican/Swiss biologist who was born in Mexico City, where she studied at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) until 1998. She received her PhD in Immunology from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, in 2002, and worked for a year as a research assistant at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research until 2004. Her passion for traveling, hiking, and observing wildlife has taken her to many places in Guatemala, Belize, Cuba, Scandinavia, Corsica, and several countries in Europe.

She also went on a six-month camping trip in 2003 with her husband though Canada, the US, and Mexico. Verena also loves photography and has exhibited her landscape photographs several times in Switzerland. She’s been working as a lecturer in Antarctica on board MS Fram since 2008 and currently lives in Switzerland with her husband and two small children.

Miguel Rubio Godoy, Biologist

Miguel’s fascination for fish and marine life has taken him to several places away from his native Mexico City. He lived in Alaska one year, processing and cooking salmon. He lived in England, where he obtained a PhD from Bristol University, researching parasites in trout hatcheries on the Isle of Man. He’s lived on the Sea of Cortez and the Gulf of Mexico as an onboard fish parasitologist on oceanographic expeditions, and in the Caribbean, Thailand, Australia, and Newfoundland, where he has deep-sea dived to get a closer look at marine life.

He has traveled extensively with his wife Alejandra, both for pleasure and as a field assistant studying the biology of seabirds. Miguel has lectured on general biology and parasitology in Mexico, the UK, and Denmark, and is currently a researcher at the Instituto de Ecología in Xalapa, Mexico. He’s the author of approximately 100 popular science articles in magazines and newspapers, and the winner of the 2000 Novartis Prize for Journalism in the Life Sciences.

Robert Rowland, Geologist

Growing up, Bob Rowland always Rowland wanted to be outdoors. He chose to study geology, as it met that need, both academically and professionally. As an undergraduate, he started working on oceanographic expeditions, traversing the Pacific and Indian Oceans. While in the US Army, he spent two summers in Antarctica and two summers in Greenland, studying the engineering properties of snow and sea ice. The field work for his PhD was conducted along the coast of Alaska and in the northern Bering Sea.

During 20 years with the Unites States Geological Survey, Bob’s research ranged from Indonesia to the Ivory Coast, and included pollution studies, environmental impact surveys, project management, and the United Nations Law of the Sea, which defines the rights and responsibilities of nations with respect to their use of the world's oceans, protecting the environment, and the management of marine natural resources. Bob circumnavigated the world after retiring. Consulting jobs in Indonesia and New Zealand followed, and for the last several years he has been a consultant to the Unites States Geological Survey on Law of the Sea issues.

Stian Aadland, Activity Guide and Historian

Stian has been an adventurer since the age of two, when he first tried to fly. His first love was an old snowboard that he used all his savings to buy. His love for snowboarding grew quickly, and ended up taking him all over the world in search of perfect snow. At 31 years old, Stian found his snowboarding paradise in the far-away mountains of Svalbard, where he spends his time during winter. Stian plans to live in Longyearbyen the next 29 years, and then he’s going to retire to Hawaii. Stian lives and breathes for a life of adventure.

Liselotte Kahrs, Kayaking Guide

Liselotte was born in Bergen, Norway, and for the past few years has been on the move exploring new places. She obtained her teacher´s certificate in Outdoor Education in 2013, where part of her studies took place in Svalbard, where she completed training as an Arctic Nature Guide. She has been working as a sea kayaking guide and instructor since 2009. Liselotte has also spent time kayaking on the Norwegian fjords, the coastal waters of the Pacific Ocean in Chile, and in British Colombia.

Brooke Green, Kayaking Guide

Brooke grew up in the US in Georgia, where she spent most of her time playing sports! After graduating from the University of Georgia and working in the business world, she decided working in an office wasn’t for her! She attended an outdoor instructor training program in the UK and earned the British Canoeing Awarding (BCU) 3 Star Sea Kayak credential and the Level I coaching award. She loves going on big adventures and spent three months paddling the Inside Passage from Washington to Alaska and two months biking from the Canadian border to Mexico. She has been a sea kayaking guide for the past six years in Alaska and Washington, and has spent a season a sea kayaking guide in Patagonia.

Martin Collins, Biologist

Martin graduated in zoology from Reading University in 1989 and became a fishery observer in the Falkland Islands in 1990. After a year in the Falklands and taking off a bit of time to sail across the Atlantic Ocean, he pursued a PhD on squid ecology at University College, Cork. Subsequent research work focused on cephalopod ecology and deep-sea fish behavior and ecology. He became a marine ecologist in June 2002, working on the Scotia Sea ecosystem. In this position he visited South Georgia on many occasions, which led to his involvement in South Georgia fisheries as a member of the UK delegation to the Scientific Committee of Commission on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.

Martin served six years as the Chief Executive and Director of Fisheries for the Government of South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands (GSGSSI), where he led the government’s efforts to restore South Georgia’s native habitats, including the reindeer eradication project, the designation of the Marine Protected Area, and the transformation of the toothfish fishery by the Marine Stewardship Council, making it one of the best managed fisheries in the world. He was awarded an OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, a grade within the British order of chivalry) in the 2014 New Year’s Honors list in recognition of his services to science and conservation in South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.