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

  • Brent Stephenson

    Expedition Leader
    Brent Stephenson was born in New Zealand and has been a birder since childhood, and in 2005 completed his Ph.D., studying the breeding biology of Australasian gannets in New Zealand.  In 2003, along with Sav Saville, co-owner of their bird-guiding business, he rediscovered the “extinct” New Zealand storm-petrel, a bird known previously from only three museum specimens collected during the 1800s.  With support from National Geographic, he led a team conducting further research on this enigmatic seabird.

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  • 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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  • Michael Nolan

    Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor
    Michael Nolan was born in Bitburg, Germany to an Air Force family stationed there. His first experience of the ocean came at age 12, when he learned to snorkel in the Italian Mediterranean. At age 17 he moved to Tucson, Arizona and became a PADI SCUBA instructor, before starting a SCUBA diving business that specialized in diving trips to the Sea of Cortez.

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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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