Aldabra Atoll, Seychelles

Meet the Expert: Tom Hiney

Zegrahm Expeditions|September 15, 2020|Blog Post

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Tom Hiney

Social Handles: Instagram @tom.wildlife.travel

Where are you from and where have you lived?

I’m from Northampton, UK and have lived in Dorset UK, Zanzibar, Seychelles, New Zealand and now settled in Australia. 

Tell us about yourself—what path led you to becoming a Zegrahm Leader?

I was managing a nature reserve (Cousin Island) in the Seychelles and met Jack Grove through a colleague of mine on a neighboring island. He told me all about Zegrahm. A bit later, another expedition company came through and offered me a job after they had visited my island. This gave me some experience, and when Zegrahm reached out and said they needed a Zodiac driver/divemaster/naturalist, I was recommended and after getting my hand in the Zegrahm door I never looked back. 

What other jobs, positions or credentials do you have?

I’m a PADI certified Master Scuba Diver Trainer(MSDT) and SSIFree Diving Instructor. 

What other fields are you passionate about?

Super passionate about wildlife and conservation. 

Do you have any awards, publications, appearances documentaries etc.?

I feature in a French wildlife documentary and a South Korean travel show both about The Seychelles. 

What organizations are you a part of?

I’m the Chairman of the Flinders Coastal Advisory Board, working with/for local government to discuss, protect, and advise on coastal issues. 

What excites you (or what do you enjoy) about working for Zegrahm?

I love the places we go to, the colleagues I travel with and the adventures Zegrahm has. No one does it like Zegrahm! I also love the high number of returning guests, I think on one trip I knew 75% of passengers from previous trips! 

What is your favorite Zegrahm memory?

It’s a tough call between curious humpback whales in Tonga—that came in to check out the ship, and a beautiful evening spent with a polar bear in Svalbard feeding on a whale carcass on the shoreline. 

Tonga

Can you tell us about a time that you were on an expedition that ended up taking an unexpected turn or made an unexpected discovery that took you off the planned trail? 

We pulled into Ternate in the spice islands of Indonesia, had a police escort for the whole day clearing out the fort, the museum, and the palace grounds so we had everything to ourselves! 

What non-for-profits or causes do you support or feel strongly about?

I love charities. I’m proud to support Island Conservation in their work clearing invasive animals and plants from Island ecosystems. I love Panthera for their big cat work.

I also love African Parks for their work managing land and parks throughout Africa. We offset all our carbon emissions through Green Fleet Australia—who plant native vegetation to offset emissions and restore habitats. Finally (for now) I love Thin Green Line Foundation who work with rangers all over the world protecting our wild places and wildlife from poaches and other illegal activities. 

What are your top three countries or regions in the world to explore?

Indonesia/PNG! What an amazing, diverse beautiful place. Wildlife rich, spectacular diving and snorkeling, and amazing cultures.

Sub-Antarctic/Antarctica Just the pinnacle of adventure travel, wild, remote inhospitable and full of amazing wildlife.

The Pacific (Fiji to Easter Island) Again great diving, great birding, amazing people. Tiny remote atolls, incredible history (Pitcairn and Easter island!) Impossible to get to unless on a ship! 

Sub-Antarctic Islands of New Zealand

What’s left on your explorer’s bucket list/where do you still want to go that you haven’t been yet? Why there?

Greenland, Alaska, Russian far East—all the cold places! Philippines and Borneo for the tropics! 

What does being a part of the Zegrahm family mean to you? 

I love it! It is such a pleasure to be travel and have adventures with my amazing colleagues and the enthusiastic and passionate guests! 

Who is the Zegrahm Explorer/Traveler?  

Someone with a bit more grit and thirst for adventure than those who are attracted to more main-stream travel.