Expedition Team

No more experienced polar team exists in travel


Our experienced expedition leader and a team of eight naturalists are your conduit to an extraordinary Arctic experience. And our exclusive National Geographic photographer and Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructor on board, ours exclusively, are there to help you capture the incredible wildlife photo ops. The undersea specialist will reveal the deep, while our wellness specialist helps you benefit from the tonic of wildness. And our video chronicler will record the entire voyage creating a permanent record for you. Count on the Global Perspectives guest speaker to share the voyage and relevant insights with you.


Meet the expedition team for this departure

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  • Alexandra Kristjansdottir

    Assistant Expedition Leader
    Alexandra is an explorer at heart. She has had the opportunity to visit over 50 countries and has been lucky enough to call several of them home. Born in Iceland, she grew up spending most of her childhood outdoors in the wilderness, observing wildlife, hiking up mountains, and being out at sea with her grandfather on his larc boat.

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  • Christine West

    Undersea Specialist
    Christine was fortunate to grow up in the Pacific Northwest on the shores of the Puget Sound. After graduating from the University of Washington, she decided to pursue her love of the ocean and exploration. Her passion for marine biology has inspired her through over 4,000 scuba dives around the globe in temperate and cold-water conditions, as well as snorkeling and freediving in extraordinary habitats such as in river beds with spawning salmon, in recently de-glaciated bays and lagoons filled with ice and glacial silt and in deep blue water with large marine animals including humpback whales, hammerhead sharks and pilot whales.

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  • Hrund Gunnsteinsdottir

    Guest Speaker
    Hrund Gunnsteinsdóttir is a consultant, filmmaker, entrepreneur, and a writer. She is the Chair of the Board of the Technology Development Fund in Iceland, which supports Innovation and Entrepreneurship. She is the Director and Writer of Feature Documentary InnSæi, which explores the art of flourishing, leading and innovating in an age of distraction and transformation.

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  • James Ramsdell

    Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor
    From a young age James has had a passion for science and exploration. Growing up on the coast of Massachusetts with regular trips to New Hampshire's wilderness led to a love for the oceans and mountains. He earned a degree in Geological Sciences at age 21. Seeking adventure, he moved to the island of Maui. There he worked as a deckhand and naturalist for whale watching and snorkel charters. James honed his skill in photography before moving to Juneau, Alaska where he worked as a photography guide and naturalist. He has continued to work seasonally, Hawaii in the winter and Juneau in the summer for the past two years.

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  • Javier Cotin

    Naturalist
    Javier 's passion for birds and nature began as a child exploring the Pyrenees mountains with his father. The mystery that surrounds the Lammergeier silhouette triggered his curiosity and interest towards wildlife. Javier studied biology in Spain and Norway, and was awarded his PhD at the University of Barcelona in 2012, titled “Birds as bioindicators of pollution in terrestrial and aquatic environments”. Within it he mainly studied the trophic ecology and pollution levels of land and waterbirds, with a particular focus on how human activities affect bird populations and dynamics. His work provided important information for conservation management of wetlands and terrestrial habitats and the species that utilize them.

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  • Karen Velas

    Naturalist
    Karen Velas cares deeply about protecting the environment and its wildlife.  Over the last 15 years, she has been involved with numerous conservation projects, including working as the Lead Project Coordinator on the California Condor Project with The National Audubon Society, managing projects in the flooded rice fields of California’s Central Valley with The Nature Conservancy and surveying the distant cliffs of Iceland to aid in puffin recovery with the South Iceland Research Centre.

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  • Lucho Verdesoto

    Expedition Leader
    Born and raised in the tropical country of Ecuador, Lucho is a passionate naturalist that has been working for Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic since 1998. With a marine biology background, he started as a naturalist in the Galápagos Islands in 1994. Since then, he has filled numerous roles with Lindblad-National Geographic, such as naturalist, undersea specialist and expedition leader in the Galápagos Islands, Costa Rica and Panama, and Baja California.

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  • Michael Jackson

    Naturalist
    An experienced traveler, Michael has lived on several continents, including a year spent working as a naturalist and zoologist in Galápagos and three months in Kenya conducting a study of birds of prey. He is the author of Galápagos: A Natural History, a comprehensive guidebook which details the natural history of the plants and animals found on the islands. 

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  • Stefan Thorgeirsson

    Cultural Specialist
    An avid hiker and outdoor enthusiast with a passion for languages and culture – Stefan is a Viking with a twist. Born in Reykjavik, to a family from the Westfjords of Iceland, Stefan’s upbringing has allowed him to experience the best of both worlds. During most of the wintertime, he lived in Reykjavik and got to know the city. When the summertime came, however, he would go hiking, camping, climbing and fishing in the beautiful nature of Iceland.

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  • Tommy Heinrich

    National Geographic Photographer
    Photographer and adventurer Tommy Heinrich has traveled the world—from the summit of Mount Everest to the North Pole and even Antarctica—combining his passions for photography, climbing, and nature. Born in Buenos Aires, Tommy first learned to scale mountains at an early age in Patagonia and the Andes. In 1995, he became the first person from Argentina to reach the summit of Mount Everest. In 1998, he reached the summit of Lhotse, the world’s fourth-highest mountain, and has continued since with many more ascents in the Himalayas and Karakorum, documenting the thrill of the expeditions and life in the world’s greatest mountains. In 2016, Tommy reached the North Pole, while documenting the first Argentine expedition.

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