Brad Climpson is a marine biologist who spent the last 20 years living on the edge of Australia's Great Barrier Reef. His passion for the underwater realm has taken him to Fiji, Indonesia, Bermuda, and the Maldives. An accomplished scuba diver, underwater photographer, and experienced boat handler, Brad has a passion for interacting with nature and sharing his knowledge with travelers.
In November of this year, I will be traveling aboard our Faces of Melanesia expedition, exploring an amazing part of the world. As always on a Zegrahm trip, there will be something for everyone; I, for one, am extremely excited to meet and interact with the people of Melanesia! Papua New Guinea is filled with people of all ages with big smiles and warm hearts, as are the people of the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. And it's not hard to see why the locals are so friendly—these tropical paradises with beautiful beaches, lush rainforests, and turquoise waters teeming with life will put a smile on anyone's face!
Having come from Cairns, I feel fortunate to have grown up surrounded by similar environments to Melanesia; but I can never get enough of them! And, while these areas do share many similarities with my home, it's the differences that always draw me back, beginning with the people and the culture; it's very humbling to experience hospitality like this, and you always leave with the hope you'll be back soon to spend time with all of the wonderful people you’ve met along the way. Being a marine biologist, the marine environment always gets me buzzing, as well. I have spent many years on the Great Barrier Reef, one of the most amazing tropical reef systems in the world. Something you may not know, however, is that the Great Barrier Reef just misses out on being included in the Coral Triangle, an area of the highest biodiversity when it comes to coral and fish species. Happily, we will be traveling through the Coral Triangle throughout our cruise, meaning we have a great chance to see some of the coral and fish species that cannot be found in my home.
Whether you snorkel or dive, this is an exceptional expedition, dripping with education. The great team I'm lucky to be a part of will be with you at all times, pointing out highlights and explaining how the ecosystems are working. From the get-go in Papua New Guinea, we will be blessed with beautiful coral ecosystems teeming with life such as around Dobu and Fergusson Islands. These pristine areas are like an underwater aquarium, where you can interact and become a part of the intricate world that surrounds you. As we make our way from Papua New Guinea to the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, we move further away from the epicenter of biodiversity found in Raja Ampat; this means exploring more remote island and reef systems. The marine life here has evolved away from other influences, meaning that endemism can occur; species will adapt to the subtle changes in these differing areas, and will eventually evolve into new species. If you want to see and interact with marine life that you can't find anywhere else in the world, this is the place to be!
All of our snorkel and dive locations are out of this world and of course, they all have their own aspects that will draw you in and keep you in a state of wonderment. From the fringing reefs that surround the beautiful islands to the platform reefs that rise up out of the deep water, the team and I will guide and explain what we’re seeing and where to find it. You can spend an hour in an area no larger than six square feet, and still see new things as your eyes adjust to the incredible world below. And don't forget to keep your eyes on the drop-offs and into the deep blue from time to time, as well—you never know when a manta ray, eagle ray, turtle, reef shark, or even a dolphin may come in to see just what these new inhabitants of the reef are doing!
I'm so excited and counting the days until I can once again immerse myself into a truly unique and beautiful part of this amazing planet we are privileged to live on. If you were wondering if this is the trip for you, then stop wondering and start packing—every day is a pleasure in this part of the world and it will be our pleasure to share it with you. See you there!
For more information on our upcoming expedition, visit Faces of Melanesia.