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Darrel Day

A native of Australia, Darrel Day, first traveled to Antarctica the summer of 1999 on a mountaineering expedition. Since then he returned every summer and built his life around Antarctica.


In 2003 he bought Spirit of Sydney yacht and has been supporting the most amazing expeditions ever since: including documentary makers from Discovery Channel’s Globetrekker, Animal Planet’s “Steve Irwin The Croc Hunter”, an HBOs VICE episode, scientists from Oregon State University Marine Mammals Institute (tagging Humpback Whales), University of British Columbia (Orca study), HBO Munchies (First ever cooking show filmed in the drake) and many others! Other expeditions have included National Geographic photographers, mountaineers, dry suit divers and kayaking expeditions including Andrew Mc Cauley’s epic sea kayaking expedition in Antarctica.

Darrel has sailed over 200,000+ nautical miles while supporting over 70 expeditions to Antarctica, as well as 13 to South Georgia.

Philippa Bowden

Ice Pilot 

Philippa first set sail as a teenager back in 2008, navigating worldwide and carrying a variety of goods on board general cargo vessels. Focused and determined, she became the first and only female officer in her company. It wasn’t long however, until she found her way to Antarctica on a research and supply ship. 


Currently she holds level 2 Ice Navigator certification issued by the Nautical Institute, which is the highest-level certification required by captains and chief officers who must make command level decisions. 

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Tim Blakemore

IFMGA Mountain Guide

Tim is an experienced international (IFMGA) mountain guide, based in Chamonix, France.


He guides all over the world and spends around six months per year skiing, both at home in the Alps and further afield, including the Polar Regions. Working within the outdoor industry since 1997 he has a wealth of experience to draw upon and is currently a trainer and assessor of IFMGA guides.


He has had professional involvement with many organisations including the British Antarctic Survey (2000/1), Plas y Brenin, Outward Bound and was a Deputy of Dukeshouse Wood OEC. He is one of the Directors of the British Mountain Guides and will be directing their training program until 2024.

Trudy Kennedy

Environmental Impact Assessment Expert

Trudy was employed by the Australian Antarctic Division for ten years - with four of those spent conducting environmental impact assessments and liaising directly with proponents seeking to conduct scientific, operational and tourism activities on the continent. As soon as she left the AAD offices in March 2019 she was seized by Spirit of Sydney Expeditions and has been part of our team ever since. 

Her experience includes assessment of Initial Environmental Evaluations  together with Preliminary Assessments, and she has a firm understanding of the information required to be considered in the preparation of applications for environmental impact assessment by International Antarctic Programs. 

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Tom has a passion for wildlife in extreme environments and is working hard to conserve them in a changing world. He leads the Polar Ecology Research Group at the University of Oxford, where he studies penguins to help conserve them, but also shags in the Southern Ocean and kittiwakes and guillemots in the Arctic.


Tom first went South during his PhD on Macaroni Penguin foraging behavior with the British Antarctic Survey, where he instantly fell in love with South Georgia. His love of the Antarctic Peninsula came a few years later.

Dr. Tom Hart

Ecologist and Penguin Specialist

Dr. Ari Friedlaender is an ecologist with a primary interest in understanding the relationship between the foraging behavior of marine mammals and their prey. He works on a wide range of marine mammal species including baleen and toothed whales and dolphins across a range of geographic regions.


Ari has long-term ecological research projects ongoing in Alaska, California, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Antarctica. He has helped in the development of tag technology and analytical and visualization tools to better understand the underwater movements and behaviors of marine mammals.

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Dr. Ari Friedlaender

Ecologist and Investigator

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Etienne Garcia

Ice Pilot

His passion on the maritime world was triggered early on, as he has been sailing since being a kid. His career being a bit unusual, he started in 1983 as a simple sailor on cargo ships but this growing passion led him later into becoming a bridge & engineer officer.

During the 1990th he decided to join the cruise ship industry and he had the opportunity to board the largest 5 masts sailing boat in the world. A couple of years later he was in charge of the newbuilding of very large cruise ships.

Charbel Daher

Ice Pilot

He started sailing professionally since 2004. Holder of an Unlimited Master Mariner Certificate and an Engine officer Diploma from the Merchant Marine Academy in France, he works as Captain on board Cruise and Expedition vessels, and as Ice pilot on board Super Yachts, Expedition vessels and cargo ships.

Since 2010, he has been spending most of his navigation time in polar regions between Antarctic and the Arctic (Svalbard, Greenland, Canadian Arctic) and sailing in remote areas.

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Scott Laughlin

Ice Pilot

Scott is a dedicated maritime professional with over 20 years successfully operating within the Antarctic and Southern Ocean with knowledge of all aspects of ice-breaking operations and procedures.


He has got extensive expertise in cargo management, loading and unloading, planning, leadership and problem solving for clientele with stringent demands. Scott has proven very successful in the development and administration of regulatory and industry required documentation and certification.

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