The Sylvia Earle is dedicated to leading women conservationists

Our new purpose-built ship Sylvia Earle, is named after the renowned marine biologist, oceanographer and explorer Dr. Sylvia Earle.

In a world first, each of the vessel’s public decks bear the names of other pioneering female conservationists – Dr. Carden Wallace AM, Joanna Ruxton, Sharon Kwok, Bernadette Demientieff, Dr. Asha de Vos and Hanli Prinsloo – along with a deck dedicated to Dr. Earle herself.

Aurora Expeditions acknowledges female scientists are leading the way in global conservation initiatives and want to honour these seven extraordinary women who work tirelessly to make the world a better place.

The scientists are inspiring leaders in their fields, and as part of the deck theming, will educate our expeditioners on the impressive and important conservation work they continue to do. We are so proud to be able to honour these incredibly talented women.

Sylvia Earle
© Chad Brown

Dr. Sylvia Earle: Hero of the Planet

Deck 5

Dr. Earle was the first female chief scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; has been a National Geographic explorer-in-residence since 1998; and was named by Time magazine as its first ‘Hero of the Planet’. Her own conservation initiative Mission Blue is creating a global network of marine protected areas known as Hope Spots, and her new Deep Hope project aims to deliver two ‘deep-dive’ submersibles to collect crucial scientific data of as-yet unseen ocean depths.

Dr. Ascher De Voss
© Dougal Paterson

Hanli Prinsloo: Freediver and Ocean Conservationist

Deck 3

Hanli Prinsloo is the founder and executive director of I AM WATER, an ocean conservation foundation based in Cape Town, South Africa. Dedicated to protecting oceans through human experience, I AM WATER helps children in underserved South African communities to experience the transformative beauty of the ocean for the first time. A champion freediver, Hanli also
co-founded I AM WATER Ocean Travel with husband Peter Marshall, offering intimate wildlife encounters with the ocean’s most majestic creatures.

Hanli Prinsloo
© Spencer Lowell

Dr Asha de Vos: Marine Biologist and Ocean Educator

Deck 3

Internationally acclaimed Sri Lankan marine biologist, ocean educator and pioneer of blue whale research in the northern Indian Ocean, Dr. Asha de Vos is the founder of Oceanswell, Sri Lanka’s first marine conservation research and education organisation. Her flagship initiative, The Sri Lankan Blue Whale Project, has led to many key research publications and informs policy on whale conservation at a local and global level. Asha’s award-winning work has been showcased by the BBC, National Geographic, The New York Times and TED, among many others, and in 2018 she was named one of the 100 most inspirational and influential women in the world by the BBC.

Bernadette Demientieff
© Chad Brown

Bernadette Demientieff: Arctic Wildlife Guardian

Deck 4

Bernadette is a passionate mother/advocate for the rights of Alaska and the Gwich’in people in northeast Alaska and northwest Canada. As Executive Director of the Gwich’in Steering Committee, she speaks for the protection of the calving grounds of the porcupine caribou herd known as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge against any destruction from oil and gas companies.

Dr. Carden Wallace
© Queensland Museum, Gary Granitch

Dr. Carden Wallace AM: Coral Conservation Champion

Deck 6

Principal Scientist Emeritus at the Queensland Museum since 2014, Dr. Wallace is a preeminent Australian scientist and the first curator/director of the Museum of Tropical Queensland from 1987 to 2003. She is an expert on corals and was part of a team that discovered the mass spawning of coral in 1984. In recognition of her contribution to marine science, Dr. Wallace was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 2021.

Joanna Ruxton
© Alistair Scarlett

Joanna Ruxton: Plastic Free Pioneer

Deck 7

Joanna has the rare distinction of being hailed as ‘the person responsible for the plastic-free movement’ by Sir David Attenborough himself. She spent many years at the BBC Natural History Unit working on the first ‘Blue Planet’ documentary series. Her award-winning film ‘A Plastic Ocean,’ released in 2016, shows the devastating impact of plastic waste on ocean ecosystems and has helped to turn the tide against single-use plastics. In 2009, Joanna co-founded Plastic Oceans UK (now known as Ocean Generation), with the goal of inspiring an inclusive global movement to restore a sustainable relationship between humanity and oceans.

Sharon Kwok
© Dante Suen/Aquameridian

Sharon Kwok: Future Generation Educator

Deck 8

In 2013, Sharon founded the AquaMeridian Conservation and Education Foundation to promote marine education and inspire the next generation to protect and preserve ocean biodiversity. Sharon continues her advocacy as a Mission Blue and WildAid board member and as Executive Director of the AquaMeridian Conservation & Education Foundation.

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