Our exclusive undersea program is a pioneering expedition feature, designed to enrich your experience and aid your understanding of the region you’re exploring—given the importance of the ocean to life on the planet.
Using a high-definition camera, our Cousteau-like undersea specialist dives frequently during the voyage to show you strikingly clear images of the seldom-seen world beneath the ship.
Far from a cold, lifeless stretch, the seas of Antarctica and the Arctic are surprisingly rich and colorful environments filled with astonishing life forms. The same is true of Alaska, where we’ve recently established an undersea program. Guests are marveling at the unexpected wonders and the thought-provoking talks and conversations they inspire.
Undersea specialists are on expeditions to Alaska, Baja, Galápagos, and nearly all sailings of National Geographic Explorer.
Both National Geographic Explorer (polar regions) and National Geographic Endeavour are also equipped with an ROV capable of depths of up to 1,000 feet and 500 feet respectively—manned by, but going beyond the range of our divers. These ROVs are allowing us to show you what few human eyes have ever seen, including polar scientists with whom we share our video findings.
In addition, many of our ships are equipped with Splash-Cams that allow filming of surface activity, from porpoising penguins to curious sea lions.
Featured Undersea Specialists
Dennis began scuba diving during the mid-1970s as part of a research project. At the time he was a research associate at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson, Arizona, studying the population of winter hibernating sea turtles. What began as a scientific study soon became a conservation project that expanded to three species of sea turtles along the entire Pacific coast of Mexico. This project received major funding from the World Wildlife Fund and was eventually taken over directly by that agency with Kim Clifton and Dennis Cornejo as co-principal investigators.
Justin’s love of the natural world started at an early age flipping through books on dangerous marine life. The striking photographs contained in those books are what captured his imagination and led Justin to pursue a life dedicated to exploring wild places. Using his collegiate education at University of California, Santa Cruz as an excuse to work on any research project possible, he hand-caught sharks and rays for tagging studies, learned how to handle adult blue sharks for implanting tracking devices, mastered the art of sneaking up on elephant seals for easy capture and a variety of other extracurricular activities.
Lisa Kelley grew up landlocked, just outside Buffalo, New York before running away to sea. After graduating summa cum laude from Northern Michigan University with a bachelor's degree in health education and human biology, Lisa completed postgraduate work in immunology. She began working aboard the National Geographic Endeavour in 2000 as the global gallery manager and now spends most of the year working aboard National Geographic Explorer as expedition leader, naturalist, and undersea specialist.
Colin grew up scuba diving with his family, and fell in love with the ocean at an early age. He has been fortunate to dive in many exotic corners of the world, and to work on a number of undersea research projects studying whale sharks and several deep water fish species. Once he graduated from the University of Vermont, he began working in various capacities aboard expedition ships. During his travels he photographed and shared his adventures as a way of making remote areas and cultures more accessible. It was in Santa Barbara, California that he learned how to photograph underwater, and combined two of his great passions, photography and the sea. Exploring and documenting the vast richness, diversity, and beauty of the underwater world continues to be a lifelong endeavor.
Carlos is a biochemist specializing in marine biology with a master’s degree in environmental management and is also a freelance wildlife photographer/author. He has spent most of the last 23 years living along the shores of the Sea of Cortez, except during periods when he has conducted research on crocodiles and jaguars on the Yucatan Peninsula. He has participated in numerous scientific research, conservation and environmental education projects throughout Mexico, ranging from some of the first population studies of the vaquita, an endemic porpoise and the world's most endangered cetacean, to collecting data on marine invertebrates, sea birds, great white sharks and baleen whales in the Gulf.
Jefferson was born in Guayaquil, the largest and most populous city in Ecuador, but his parents have lived in the Galápagos Islands since 1980, where they both work as scientists for the Charles Darwin Foundation. He grew up surrounded by nature, and ever since he was a child he has helped with his parents' research. His father is one of the main herpetologists in the Galápagos Islands, and has worked with all reptiles in Galápagos for many years.
One steady constant in Ian’s life has been the ocean. Born by the rocky shores of Midcoast Maine, his family repatriated to Far North Queensland in Australia early on in his life where he became a dual-citizen and sparked his passion for exploring new environments. Living only an hour away from the Great Barrier Reef served to direct, if not focus, the exhilaration of discovery and set him on his current path. Returning to native soil for education, Ian was fascinated by altogether too many subjects, leaving him with a bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College in psychobiology, focusing on animal behavior and perception, and with minors in astronomy, history and environmental science.