South Pacific Expedition Team

Your key to a deep, rich, fun experience. See who they are


The quality of our veteran staff is the reason the Lindblad name is known and respected for exceptional expeditions. Add to that the fact that National Geographic Orion’s expedition team also includes a complement of veteran naturalists well-versed in the flora, fauna and human history of the South Pacific, and you can travel with complete confidence, assured of the richest, most in-depth experience of this fascinating region possible.

The team composition
Every expedition sails with a veteran expedition leader, an assistant expedition leader, and a team of four naturalists/cultural specialists. Other members of our South Pacific tour guide team include an undersea specialist, two divemasters, a National Geographic photographer, plus a Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructor, a video chronicler, and a wellness specialist. Together they provide you with a greater understanding and appreciation for this extraordinary and diverse geography.

More specialties and personalities 
Our 10-to-1 guest-to-staff ratio ensures you the benefits of diverse backgrounds, and the freedom to head out on activities with the naturalist whose interests mirror your own. You are never assigned to a specific group, and our team can custom-tailor activities to match your activity level—to make each day of your expedition uniquely yours, and deeply rewarding.

Featured South Pacific & French Polynesia Team Members

  • Chris Cook

    Naturalist
    A self confessed “animal nerd,” Chris falls under many titles: marine biologist, marine interpreter, dive master, science communicator, and naturalist. Chris was lucky enough to grow up on the East Coast of Australia, where there are no shortage of different coastal environments to explore. While growing up, his friends would be surfing while he would be under the waves, snorkel and mask on looking for fish and all the weird and wonderful creatures he couldn’t get enough of. This love of the ocean lead to him completing a Bachelor of Science in 2005.

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  • David Cothran

    Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor
    David has worked for Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic since 1993 on six continents and in over 65 countries. David is interested in many of the natural sciences, particularly ornithology, geology and marine biology; he most enjoys contrasting the broad perspectives provided by world travel with detailed investigations of local ecosystems on land and in the sea.

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  • Jimmy White

    Naturalist
    Jimmy has been coordinating education and research teams for national universities, international non-government organizations, and documentary companies for more than 10 years. Jimmy’s expertise lies in the coordination and implementation of field education and remote area research.

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  • Mike Greenfelder

    Undersea Specialist
    Mike learned early on that the best way to escape Ohio was to become a marine biologist.  During college at Wittenberg University he attended a semester at Duke University's Marine Lab — that time only confirmed his love for all things oceanic and maritime.  After graduation, Mike promptly moved to Catalina Island in California where he taught marine biology to school kids.  Since 1999, Mike has been working and traveling chasing his three loves: marine critters, photography, and birds.

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  • Tom Ritchie

    Naturalist
    Tom is a zoologist and naturalist who has worked in the field of expedition cruising almost since its inception by Lars Lindblad.  Growing up near the Everglades allowed him to spend his youth exploring the swamps, marshes, forests, and reef systems of South Florida, a perfect training ground for his life with Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic.

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  • Tua Pittman

    Cultural Specialist
    Internationally acclaimed as a traditional master navigator, Tua has navigated canoes across the great oceans of our planet from the coastlines of Asia through to the shores of the Americas for more than 30 years, without the use of modern instruments. This Cook Islander, also of New Zealand Maori and Tahitian bloodlines, uses an ancient navigational system based upon careful observation of celestial bodies—sun, moon, and stars—as well as using ocean swells, flight patterns of birds, and other natural markers. 

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