Meet Dan Olsen, Expedition Leader for our signature 22-day adventure to Antarctica, South Georgia & the Falkland Islands. Dan has lived in Seward, Alaska for over a decade, where he has been the captain of a 150-passenger tour boat; guests aboard observe the whales, seals, puffins, and glaciers of Kenai Fjords National Park. Dan visited our office recently, after returning from Antarctica, and shared some of the reasons why he's so excited about returning to the region in January.
My name is Dan, and I’ll be your Expedition Leader on the 2017 trip to Antarctica, the Falkland Islands, and South Georgia; it’s one of the best trips we have to offer! I live in Seward, Alaska, and there are a lot of similarities between Alaska and Antarctica. Very productive ecosystems with huge quantities of wildlife: seals, whales, and seabirds, and part of what has drawn me to Alaska, also draws me to Antarctica and South Georgia.
I’ve had the opportunity to go to Antarctica maybe 30 or 40 times, but what I’m really looking forward to on this next trip in 2017 is the team that we have assembled. Zegrahm leaders are the best in the world; we have the people who wrote the books and the people who’ve spent the most time down there. Even the lecture staff themselves are world class: we’ve got Rick Price, Conrad Field, Jim Wilson, Tom Sharpe; if you’ve ever been to a lecture with any of these individuals, they are absolutely fantastic. Not only on-the-ship lectures, but the naturalists work on shore, as well.
One thing that I love about Antarctica is just the sheer quantity of wildlife: vast colonies of penguins; and killer whales, humpbacks, and minkes showing up to take in the vast amounts of krill; huge, enormous leopard seals. The wildlife is truly incredible, amidst this backdrop with massive mountains of glaciers hanging over everything. On our sea days, we’ll have the opportunity to see quite large numbers of black-browed albatross; around South Georgia, we have light-mantled sooty albatross and gray-headed albatross. Then the diversity that we gain, by going to the Falklands and South Georgia—the beaches just littered with fur seals, elephant seals, king penguins, macaroni penguins, nesting albatross.
Some of the most experienced staff in the world will always quote South Georgia as being one of their favorite destinations. For any of us that have been there many times, we always, always, look forward to going back. We really hope that you’ll come join us; join me, on our next trip.