Meet the Experts

Our award winning expert-led cruises program provides recognised explorers, scientists and writers a platform for research and for the design of exceptional expeditions, exclusively available to our guests.  Browse Our Expert-Led Cruises

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Alexander Reewijk

Alexander Reewijk is an expert in the field of the history of evolutionary theory, together with Redmon O’Hanlon’s he wrote the book “Darwin, Wallace and others’ in which the contributions of Darwin and Wallace on evolution are compared. Alexander has traveled extensively through the ‘interior’ of Indonesia, He visited Sumatra, Sulawesi the Moluccas and spend one month in Aru where he studied the Greater Bird of Paradise.

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Janet DeNeefe

Adding extra flavour to this extraordinary adventure will be Ubud Writers & Readers Festival Founder & Director, Janet DeNeefe. Melbourne raised, Janet has made Bali her home since 1984. Her love of Indonesian culture and cuisine led to her opening two Ubud restaurants: Casa Luna, and Indus, as well as inspiring two cookbooks: Fragrant Rice, and Bali: the Food of My Island Home; in addition to a food festival: Ubud Food Festival.

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Ian Burnet

This itinerary will be enhanced by descriptions and presentations by the Australian author Ian Burnet who has spent 30 years living, working and travelling in Indonesia, and is fascinated by the diverse history and cultures of the archipelago. His first book, ‘Spice Islands,’ tells the 2000-year-history of the spice trade from the Moluccas of Eastern Indonesia through China, India and the Middle East until the spices reached Europe. It was the lure of the fabled Spice Islands and exotic spices such as clove and nutmeg that drove ‘The Age of Discovery’ and the first circumnavigation of our planet. Spice Islands has been described as “A wonderful book – a triumph of passion and scholarship.”

‘East Indies,’ Ian’s second book, begins in the port city of Malacca, and tells the story of the 200-year-struggle between the Portuguese Crown, the Dutch East India Company and the English East India Company for trade supremacy in the Eastern Seas. It follows the rise of the world’s first joint stock and multinational trading companies and their conversion to huge colonial states ruling over millions of people in Indonesia, India and Malaya. The book documents the founding of the historic port city of Batavia (Jakarta) and concludes with the founding of the modern port cities of Singapore and Hong Kong.

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Dr. Tony Whitten

Dr. Tony Whitten was trained as a wildlife biologist and since late 2010 he has been the Regional Director for Asia-Pacific at Fauna & Flora International, the world’s oldest international conservation organization. The subject of his PhD at Cambridge University was on the endangered gibbon on a remote and primitive island west of Sumatra in the mid 1970s. After this Tony worked at the University of North Sumatra where he initiated production of a major and innovative series of books on the ecology of the several regions of Indonesia, writing three of them himself, each taking about three years. During a two-year spell in the UK, he was employed by the British government’s conservation agency to write its Recovery Plan for Protected Species – covering sea anemones to wild cats.  He joined the World Bank in 1995 and supported a broad range of activities and projects until he left in 2010: he advised on habitat and species protection issues as part of infrastructure projects, started various region-wide and global activities (e.g. on the forgotten biodiversity of caves and karst), ran a programme which produced 111 volumes of local language field guides to all manner of plants and animals, and was responsible for a suite of conservation projects in Mongolia, China, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Vietnam and elsewhere in the region.  He has an in-depth and broad knowledge of biodiversity and has published on a wide variety of topics.

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Gert De Jong

In 1990, Gert de Jong lived in the Moluccas for six months as a student in marine biology studying dugongs and seagrass. He fell in love with the oceanic islands of eastern Indonesia and its people. He then worked as an ecology consultant in studies on marine mammals, and as a teacher of biology in Amsterdam. In 2008, he started a conservation project for the seabirds that were breeding on remote Indonesian islands. For pantropical seabirds, such as frigatebirds, there are only a few islands left of refuge on which they can breed in Southeast Asia. Since 2012 Gert has worked as an independent researcher studying swifts in Amsterdam during their breeding season, and now, in 2015, he is continuing the Indonesian seabird project, to study and protect the unique island habitats in the Flores and Banda Seas.

 

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Jeffrey Mellefont

Jeffrey Mellefont is a research associate of the Australian National Maritime Museum, where he had a long career as a publisher and editor. Formerly a blue-water mariner, celestial navigator and skipper, Jeffrey became a specialist marine writer and photographer and has made a lifetime study of the fascinating maritime world of Asia and in particular of Indonesia. He has published extensively on these subjects in both popular and academic journals. Jeffrey has been visiting Indonesia since 1975 when he was immediately drawn into the maritime life of this tropical archipelago with its extraordinarily diverse cultures and history – as well as the study of Bahasa Indonesia, a national language with its roots in the ancient world of sailors and seaborne traders. Jeffrey’s richly illustrated presentations on your SeaTrek cruise draw upon decades of research and adventures sailing with the traditional seafarers and boat builders of Indonesia. He has also sailed through the archipelago by yacht. Jeffrey has shared his knowledge and enthusiasm for this oceanic world by leading tour groups exploring maritime themes in Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia and India.

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David and Sue Richardson

David and Sue are passionate researchers and collectors of Asian textiles and since first visiting Indonesia in 1980, David and Sue have systematically visited every part of the archipelago, both overland and by sea using a variety of local vessels. Over the years David and Sue have assembled one of the finest and most comprehensive private collections of Indonesian and other Asian textiles, many of museum quality. They are members of the Textile Society of America as well as the Oxford Asian Textile Group, which is affiliated to the Ashmolean and the Pitt Rivers Museums of the University of Oxford. The Oxford Asian Textile Group was until recently chaired by Dr Ruth Barnes, a leading academic expert on the textiles of Eastern Indonesia.

David has a doctorate in quantum physics from Cambridge University and in his early career he spent several years working with the Ministry of Education in Jakarta on two major government aid projects to completely re-equip the universities of Indonesia with scientific equipment. Sue is an English graduate who spent her career in training and human resources for a leading chain of British department stores. They live in Nottingham with their two cats, Treacle and Truffle.

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Dr George Beccaloni

Dr George Beccaloni is an zoologist, evolutionary biologist and historian of science, who worked at London’s Natural History Museum (NHM) for more than 20 years on butterflies and other insects. He enjoys natural history photography and travel, and has visited Indonesia five times, twice as a speaker on tours. George has studied Wallace’s life and work for c. 16 years and is the founder and Director of the Wallace Correspondence Project. In 1999 he set up the Wallace Memorial Fund, which restored Wallace’s grave in Dorset and paid for several memorials to him, including a bronze statue now in the NHM. George has published a number of articles about Wallace and co-edited the book Natural Selection and Beyond: The Intellectual Legacy of Alfred Russel Wallace. He was the Historical Consultant for Bill Bailey’s Jungle Hero, an award winning two-part BBC series about Wallace, and he recently helped the Folio Society produce the first ‘deluxe’ edition of Wallace’s famous travelogue The Malay Archipelago.

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Mathieu Malerba and Jennifer Hayes

Mathieu Malerba and Jennifer Hayes began their love affair with Indonesia and it’s waters working as dive guides in Komodo National Park in 2008. Since then they have extended their exploration to land; diving, trekking and guiding throughout the remotest parts of the archipelago. Lovers of the outdoors Jen and Matt are eager to share their knowledge, experience and passion for the region both above and below the water. They have designed a special itinerary specially geared towards Sea Trek explorers and that samples all their favorite spots and activities in Raja Ampat. Exploring the regions’ reefs will take center stage, enhanced by talks and presentations on marine life with an emphasis on fish identification to further enrich snorkeling in the world’s most bio-diverse seas. Land activities such as jungle treks, spelunking, waterfall walks, paddling through lagoons, discovering deserted beaches, and searching for the Bird of Paradise will make this voyage any nature-lover’s trip of a lifetime.

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Dr. George Beccaloni

Dr George Beccaloni is an zoologist, evolutionary biologist and historian of science, who worked at London’s Natural History Museum (NHM) for more than 20 years on butterflies and other insects. He enjoys natural history photography and travel, and has visited Indonesia five times, twice as a speaker on tours. George has studied Wallace’s life and work for c. 16 years and is the founder and Director of the Wallace Correspondence Project. In 1999 he set up the Wallace Memorial Fund, which restored Wallace’s grave in Dorset and paid for several memorials to him, including a bronze statue now in the NHM. George has published a number of articles about Wallace and co-edited the book Natural Selection and Beyond: The Intellectual Legacy of Alfred Russel Wallace. He was the Historical Consultant for Bill Bailey’s Jungle Hero, an award winning two-part BBC series about Wallace, and he recently helped the Folio Society produce the first ‘deluxe’ edition of Wallace’s famous travelogue The Malay Archipelago.