Zodiac Cruising in Antarctica

Lisa Kelley

Polar Naturalist

Lisa Kelley

Lisa Kelley grew up beside the great lakes in upstate New York. After graduating Summa Cum Laude from Northern Michigan University with a Bachelors degree in Health Education and Human Biology, and completing postgraduate work in Immunology, she began working aboard Expedition ships in 2000. Since then she has worked as an Underwater Videographer/Photographer, Logistics Coordinator, Divemaster and Expedition Leader aboard small expedition ships around the globe.

Most at home in the Polar Regions, Lisa has been used to spending over half the year in the Arctic and Antarctic. During the Austral winter of 2010, Lisa was the Station Manager at Palmer Station for the United States Antarctic Program.   Passionate about the future of Antarctic and Arctic Tourism, Lisa has been a representative to AECO (Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators) and IAATO (International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators) conferences since 2004. In 2016 Lisa left her full-time roll onboard Expedition Vessels to take up a land-based role as Head of Operations for IAATO.  Additionally, Lisa is a member of the board for FOSGI (Friends of South Georgia Island), South Georgia Heritage Trust’s (SGHT) American affiliate.

Lisa is an accomplished diver, and to current knowledge, the first person to become open water qualified in the Antarctic. Her first ever open water dive was made off Cape Horn, and she has since logged over 900hrs exploring the waters of the Antarctic and Arctic using both SCUBA and a remotely operated vehicle (ROV). This vast experience of diving “The Ice” led to the production of “Below Freezing: The Antarctic Dive Guide”, published in 2006, and now in its third edition. Her Underwater experience and exploration of the Polar Regions led to her acceptance into the Explorers Club in 2009.