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Meet the Expedition Team: Naturalist Al Trujillo

Man holding a pickaxe in front of an Alaskan glacier

When you join a Lindblad-National Geographic expedition, you are setting sail with the best team in the business. In our newest series, get to know more about the people at the heart of your adventure. From expedition leaders, certified photo instructors, naturalists, wellness specialists, and more, you'll find each member of our team to be passionate, enthusiastic, and often fascinating, travel companions.

 

Here, meet naturalist Al Trujillo, a geologist by training and a retired earth science professor. Al began working for Lindblad Expeditions in Southeast Alaska in 1991 and since then has worked for us on and off in Alaska, Baja California, and Iceland.

What Inspires You to Do What You Do?

I consider it a challenge to get people interested in the unique geology of the places they visit. Most guests travel with Lindblad Expeditions to see wildlife, but rarely to enjoy the underlying geology. But including the geologic story behind the scenery adds another level of complexity and understanding to the places we visit. I believe that every single living thing is affected by their local geology (think: bird nesting sites). And in geology, there is something to interest everyone, from microscopic mineral crystals to ancient fossils, tall mountain ranges to huge tectonic plates that are moving and reshaping our earth.

Close up of Lindblad Expeditions naturalist Al Trujillo

What's Your Favorite Expedition Destination?

Southeast Alaska because I know it so well! For me, it’s like visiting an old friend and I missed it during the pandemic. How sweet it was (to return) this year and experience the glaciers, scenery, forests, wildlife, and drifting clouds. I know I needed to experience that magical place, and that feeling was shared by everyone aboard.

Including the geologic story behind the scenery adds another level of complexity and understanding to the places we visit.

Al Trujillo

What’s the Most Memorable Part of the Job?

I think one of the most amazing aspects of working aboard for 30 years is re-visiting places that have changed dramatically over time. Probably the most visual aspect of this is seeing how the tidewater glaciers in Southeast Alaska have receded. I have pictures I took in the early 1990s that I show on board to illustrate how different the glaciers look today—seeing is believing! I also think about the many times I’ve led hikes in remote areas of Alaskan wilderness in the true spirit of exploration and have walked on ground that nobody has ever walked on. To me, that’s a thrilling experience!

Who's Your Greatest Inspiration?

My father, who passed away five years ago, was a big inspiration to me. He was a community college chemistry professor for 32 years and really influenced my career path. In 2005, he and my son traveled with me aboard the National Geographic Sea Lion in the Sea of Cortez—it was an amazing trip. I am glad that he could see the work I do and experience the unique aspects of a Lindblad expedition.

Dolphins race beneath the bow of a ship in Baja

LIGHTNING ROUND

 

Something People Would Be Surprised to Know: I met my wife aboard a Lindblad-National Geographic vessel in Southeast Alaska in 1993. Our first moment was meeting over bear scat...really!

 

Fun Fact: I’m the author of the world’s best-selling college-level oceanography textbook. Learn more about it here. 

 

Unusual Hobby: I collect sand and have nearly 700 samples from around the world. In fact, I am the Oceanography Division Advisor for the International Sand Collectors Society.