Marine biologist journeys to the Arctic North

Marine biologist Robin Aiello visited Constance Halaveli earlier this year, where she ran a number of dive courses and talks. Currently in the Arctic North, Robin writes about her latest expedition.

Walrus' relaxing in the Arctic

Walrus’ relaxing in the Arctic

Greetings from the far north – the land of polar bears and walrus

I can assure you that right now, having just spent the past 8 hours driving a small rubber boat though thick sea ice in -1°C temperatures, I am dreaming of the warm tropical waters of Halaveli in the Maldives.

Expedition in Svalbard

I am up here in Svalbard, in the far North, above 79º latitude, working as the marine biologist on-board an expedition ship that is spending three months exploring the Arctic. So far, the season has been wonderful.

Polar bears and ice caps

The other day we started the morning with a male polar bear walking leisurely past our ship as we drifted in thick sea ice that spreads out as far as the eye can see. Polar bears are amazing animals with their huge paws, shaggy white coat of fur and piercing black eyes. They are just so regal and elegant – kings of the ice.

A Polar Bear

A Polar Bear

Later in the day we visited a beach with a dozen or so walrus hauled out. They are so funny – they lie for long periods of time doing absolutely nothing, then suddenly one will wiggle around, which starts a whole flurry of activity as they raise their heads, knock into one another with their tusks, until they slowly find a more comfortable position and settle back down to sleep some more.

As beautiful and dramatic as the scenery here is, I cannot wait to return to Halaveli in September to dive and snorkel the amazing reefs.

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Polar Bear

Up close and personal

 

Admiring the reflection

Admiring the reflection

 

A stroll on the ice

A stroll on the ice

Renowned marine biologist visits Halaveli

Next month, guests at Halaveli will have the opportunity to dive or snorkel with world famous marine biologist and reef conservationist Robin Aiello.

Robin Aiello

Robin Aiello

Robin will be visiting Halaveli from 3-31 March. Well known for her studies into marine animal adaptations and ecology, Harvard graduate and environmental management consultant Robin spends at least 8-10 months of the year on or in the ocean, between working on expedition ships in the arctic and Antarctic, and leading dive trips in the tropics.

Her previous expeditions have included diving with a wide variety of sharks – including Great Whites – to document their behaviour, living underwater for two weeks in a saturation chamber to study coral biology and observing jellyfish under an ice-shelf in Antarctica.

As part of her visit to Halaveli, Robin will run weekly events in order to share her expertise with our guests.

Events will include:

  • accompanied dive
  • accompanied snorkel
  • kids snorkel trip
  • presentation with slides
  • private dive or snorkel trips on request.
Coral reefscaping at Constance Halaveli

Robin’s visit coincides with our own reefscaping programme at Halaveli in which we are stimulating regrowth in the coral around the lagoon damaged by the tsunami of 2004.

During Robin’s trip to Halaveli, we’ll be posting regular updates, photos from under the ocean and more.

Find out more

Discover more about coral reef protection from the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program.

Visit our website to read more about Constance Halaveli and check booking availability.