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Kimberley Expedition: Australia’s Wild Northwest

Discover a land so old that vast tracts pre-date the very existence of fossils—and see it in the manner befitting its immense scale: by sea, aboard our fully-equipped expedition ship, National Geographic Orion. Explore the immense and complex landscape of western Australia, encompassing spectacular gorges, waterfalls, caves, rainforests and wildlife. See signs of the immense geological forces that over the course of eons have buckled the earth’s crust leaving contorted folds of ancient rock.

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Expedition staff are subject to change.
Naturalist icon Naturalist

Erin O'Brien

Erin Katie is a biologist from the Northern Territory Australia. Having grown up in remote parts of the country such as the Kimberley and Central Australia where she developed a curiosity for landscapes, ecology and particularly the wildlife. After completing an environmental science degree Erin assisted on various wildlife projects, from sea turtles and native fauna surveys to counting crocodiles. She has worked for the Northern Territory as a wildlife ranger and crocodile catcher. She has a keen interest in history, both natural history and human history, landscapes and wildlife, and is an avid birder. Erin started working as a naturalist on expedition in 2014, and has worked around Australia including the Kimberley, and overseas including Southeast Asia, Melanesia, New Zealand and Antarctica.

Naturalist icon Naturalist

Martin Cohen

Martin grew up in Melbourne Australia playing cricket and Australian Rules football. While growing up, to his parents’ dismay, Martin brought home and kept a menagerie of wildlife including frogs, lizards, turtles and even poisonous snakes! After successfully completing a PhD. in tropical biology, Martin has spent much of the last 25 years using various mediums to impart his knowledge and passion about the natural world to people from all walks of life. During this time, he has also conducted numerous wildlife surveys and biodiversity monitoring programs throughout Australia, South-east Asia and the Amazon rainforest, worked with community conservation groups and guided eco-tours all over Australia. Martin has also authored several books (with over 40,000 sold), researched, directed and presented wildlife information on television and radio and written countless popular wildlife articles and interpretive signs. Martin still goes into the field as often as possible, however, much of his time nowadays is spent working as a naturalist for Lindblad – National Geographic to regions all over the world.

Assistant Expedition Leader

Leah Eaton

Leah grew up in a small coastal town in the Pacific Northwest with Olympic National Park in her backyard, and it was here where her love of all things wild began. Ever since she ran around shipyards at an early age and watched her dad work in the marine trade, she has loved being near water. After years of traveling, living, and working in towns and cities across United States, she jumped at the opportunity to work with Lindblad Expeditions. Spending the past decade aboard Lindblad-National Geographic ships has given her the opportunity to use her love for nature and seafaring to spark that passion in others. She finds her peace aboard a vessel in strange new places with the wind in her hair and nature all around.

Undersea Specialist icon Undersea Specialist

Tanish Peelgrane

Being lucky enough to have two homes—Australia and the U.S.A.—has given Tanish (who goes by Tani) a deep love for diversity among ecosystems and cultures and a desire to learn about them. For decades, she could be found both at work and play climbing and skiing in the Andes or Rockies; running rivers in the U.S., New Zealand, or Central America; sailing across oceans; sweltering in deserts in the American Southwest or Middle East; diving among reefs; struggling through rainforests (once, memorably, on a transcontinental trek with a steep learning curve); or teaching in the wilds of a high school classroom. Nowadays, Tani can more often be found on mini-expeditions with her young daughter to explore tiny ecosystems around San Francisco. She still sneaks in some bigger adventures, though, especially scuba diving (something she began at age 11). She firmly believes that education and exploration are inextricably linked and that the opportunity for wonder is everywhere. Tani is an award-winning photographer, an angler for the California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program (CCFRP), and a yoga teacher—but her fundamental mission is to teach communication and environmental sustainability. In her recent work for the California Academy of Sciences, Tani developed Citizen Science programs for underserved youth, providing them support to explore and understand nature and helping foster the next generation of stewards.

Naturalist icon Naturalist

Pepper Trail

Pepper Trail has traveled the world in the course of his studies on the ecology, behavior, and conservation of birds. After receiving his Ph. D. from Cornell University for his field study of one of the world’s most spectacular birds, the Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock, Pepper did post-doctoral research at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and the California Academy of Sciences. An expert photographer and writer, his work has appeared in many publications including Science, Conservation Biology, and National Geographic. For over 20 years, Pepper served as the forensic ornithologist for the US Fish and Wildlife Service. His work combatting the U.S. and international wildlife trade earned him the title of "the Sherlock Holmes of bird crime." He is the creator of the leading feather identification website, The Feather Atlas of North American Birds. Pepper has served as the expert ornithologist on tours to the world's top natural history destinations, including Antarctica, Iceland, the Galapagos, Amazon, New Guinea, and South Pacific. His knowledge, enthusiasm and sense of humor enrich the experience of birders and non-birders alike on every voyage.

Cultural Specialist icon Cultural Specialist

Birgit Aikman

Birgit grew up in Germany and initially studied English, French and Spanish. She then travelled extensively in most Continents and Oceania and discovered her passion - people's cultures and studied anthropology. She arrived in New Zealand in 1989 with her husband, where she graduated in Computer Science. For 25 years she has worked in the tourism industry, specializing in cruise ship passengers and cultural study tours in her field. Apart from anthropology, she loves natural science, especially flora and fauna, as well as history, contemporary subjects and more. You can often find her investigating plants, animals, or new cultures. Birgit enjoys people, especially friendly ones and looks forward to welcome everyone. She still lives in Auckland in her chosen home country New Zealand.

Expedition Leader icon Expedition Leader

Karla Pound

Karla's passion for wildlife and outback Australia has taken her on some wild adventures throughout her career. After studying Zoology, Karla worked as a zookeeper specializing in exotic reptiles and arachnids, even milking funnel web spiders for the lifesaving antivenin program. Karla then began to travel outback Australia and fell in love with the lifestyle and transitioned into naturalist guiding. Karla specializes in bush tucker and survival showcasing some of the most remote corners of Australia through luxury lodges. From leading camel treks through Uluru to working as a Ranger in the Kimberley, rehabilitating birds of prey on Kangaroo Island, driving vessels on the Great Barrier Reef and leading tours on Christmas Island for the red crab migration. There is no doubt that Karlas work and personal life up to now has been nothing short of adventurous! Karla has volunteered in Borneo rehabilitating orphaned orangutans, worked in Thailand with rescue elephants, and back home in Australia with dolphins and sea turtles. The Northern Territory is where Karla calls home, her days filled with airboats and helicopters exploring the floodplains, barramundi fishing and working with saltwater crocodiles. It was here that her interest in helicopters was piqued which she then began her studies in aviation, graduating as a commercial helicopter pilot and landing her first role as pilot taking guests on scenic flights over the Bungle Bungle in the Kimberley. Karla's adventure seeking career has taken her to the most spectacular parts of Australia, but where her heart lies is in the Kimberley. The rugged terrain, untouched landscapes, freshwater swimming holes, waterfalls, indigenous culture and wildlife has her coming back to the region time and time again. Karla is incredibly grateful to have such a passion for life, for adventure and for wildlife and to be able to build a career around that passion, sharing her love of the natural world with people from all walks of life.

National Geographic Photography Expert icon National Geographic Photography Expert

David Wright

Filmmaker, photographer, and producer David Wright has worked in over 65 countries on projects commissioned by National Geographic, PBS, and the BBC, among others. Originally from the United Kingdom, he started out producing natural history content at Oxford Scientific Films. For the last 20 years, David has worked in the Arctic on a wide variety of stories. A two-year assignment filming a National Geographic special on the polar bears and other iconic species of Svalbard led to other film projects in the region, as well as in the Alaskan Arctic and the Bering and Beaufort Seas. Subjects have included an extensive study of walruses, migratory seabirds, and the impact of the changing Arctic ice conditions on native peoples. On other ocean-based adventures, Wright has accompanied National Geographic Explorer-at-Large Bob Ballard (of Titanic fame) on expeditions to search for the sunken U-boats and documented the natural history of the great white shark. David was the recipient of National Geographic’s 100th Emmy for his work on the polar bear film, and received a Jules Verne award for his work in the Arctic. He also works for charitable organizations covering environmental and humanitarian stories across the globe, from the mountains of Tibet to the deserts of eastern Senegal. David has extensive knowledge of the latest video and photographic techniques, and enjoys digital storytelling and photo teaching.