Candidate Profile

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Ecology & Conservation
Wildlife & Nature
Chris Bielby is an experienced naturalist who has sailed on many cruises as a guest speaker and wildlife observer. He is also a whale and dolphin scientific surveyor for Organisation Cetacea. His talks are based on the natural history of the areas being sailed through and he has a vast amount of experience in the North Atlantic including Iceland, Greenland and Spitsbergen, The Norwegian Fjords, The Baltic, The Mediterranean, and The Rivers of France and Iberia. In 2015 Chris sailed around South America, speaking and conducting deck watches in: the South Atlantic and along the coasts of Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Tierra del Fuego; in the Pacific along the coasts of Chile, Peru and Ecuador; and through the Panama Canal and Caribbean and across the Atlantic via the Azores.

Chris has a wide repertoire of entertaining and informative presentations, as detailed below, based on excellent photographs and delivered in an accessible and witty style which attracts large audiences. In addition Chris offers frequent guided watches from the outer decks during which he goes to great lengths to engage with passengers, answer questions, and help them see the wildlife encountered. These guided deck watches have proved very popular with many passengers who like to be shown wildlife, have it identified and often photographed for them. He also offers workshops on identification if required. On many cruises Chris prepares a final presentation based on photographs he has taken during the cruise and also encourages submissions from passengers, who are pleased to be included.

Chris has conducted many scientific surveys on marine mammals, from cruise ships and passenger ferries, for both Organisation Cetacea and the Biscay Dolphin Research Programme. He has also surveyed on the French IFREMER Research Ship, Thalassa. He sailed as relief Wildlife Officer on the P and O Ferry Pride of Bilbao across Biscay on several occasions, a role which involved giving lectures, conducting deck watches, surveying and fund raising.

His former career as a teacher, and latterly as a Deputy Head of a large comprehensive, has equipped Chris with a relaxed style in front of large audiences and with individuals. As an amateur naturalist since childhood he has gained an extensive knowledge of all aspects of natural history and he has contributed illustrations and articles to a number of publications including “The Breeding Birds of Cleveland” and “Mammals, Amphibians and Reptiles of the North East”. He was a founder member and past chairman of the Teesmouth Bird Club, and has led many field excursions for members.

He always offers to help escort shore excursions, especially those where his knowledge and skills can be employed to widen the experience of the passengers, many of whom express their appreciation of his efforts which have greatly enhanced their holidays.

Chris is always willing to engage with Cruise Directors to consider additional ways to enhance passengers’ experiences and enjoyment of their cruise.

In addition to the Topics listed below, I offer a unique programme of GUIDED WATCHES FROM THE OUTER DECKS of the ship in conjunction with delivering PowerPoint Presentations on the wildlife of the area being sailed through. These are intended to enhance the passenger experience by giving them an idea of what they could expect to see during their cruise. I then compile a presentation based upon what has been seen and photographed during the cruise by myself and the passengers. These have proved to be very popular.

I am also willing to run IDENTIFICATION WORKSHOPS for passengers wishing to enhance their own observational skills and knowledge of sea mammals and birds, and to help them identify what they have seen and photographed.

I have a repertoire of POWERPOINT PRESENTATIONS, which includes the following:

1 Charles Darwin and how he developed his Theory of Evolution.

2. Human Evolution and the migration of the Human Race.

3 The Wonders of Migration

4 Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises; their biology and identification.

5. Watching Wildlife: A quick guide for beginners.

6. Watching Wildlife along the coast and fjords of Norway in summer and winter

7. A guide to the Wildlife of Iceland, Greenland and the North Atlantic Ocean

8. Wildlife Watching on Svalbard and in the Arctic Ocean

9. Wildlife to look out for as we sail around the coast of South America

10. The Wildlife of the Panama Canal and Caribbean

11. Watching for Wildlife as we cruise around the British Isles

12. Wildlife of the Rivers of France and Spain.

13.The Wildlife and Scenery of the Islands and Highlands of Scotland

14. What is DNA and how does it work? A simple guide

16. How to spot and identify the Seabirds of the North Atlantic and Mediterranean

17. Ocean Wanderers: The Seabirds of the Southern Ocean and how to identify them

18. How to spot and identify the Birds of Prey of Northern Europe and the Mediterranean

19. A guide to watching the Wildlife of Northern Europe

20. A guide to watching the Wildlife of France and Iberia

21. A guide to watching the Wildlife of Extremadura, Spain

22. A guide to Watching Wildlife on the Algarve, Portugal

23. A Wildlife Tour of New Zealand

24. What we have seen during our cruise. This compiled and prepared from photographs taken by myself and passengers during each cruise.

In addition to offering all of the above, I am always open to ideas from cruise lines suggesting ways my areas of expertise can be used or adapted to enhance passenger experiences.
Previous cruises with SAGA, Fred Olsen and Viking to destinations including Norway, Spitsbergen, Iceland, Greenland, The Baltic, the Western Mediterranean and a cruise round South America, including Panama and the Caribbean.

As well as presentations on cetaceans, birds and wildlife in general, Charles Darwin and evolution, DNA, migration, identification, etc., I also conduct deck watches to spot and identify wildlife during sea days. I use my own photographs to prepare "what we have seen" presentations for the end of each cruise, if required.

I will be extending my range of experience to include the Eastern Seaboard of North America this year.
The following recent Cruise History has been recorded for this candidate.
Viking Sea SE180410 Barcelona, the Baltic & Beyond 21 Barcelona Tuesday, April 10, 2018
Viking Sky SK171005 Eastern Seaboard Explorer 12 New York Thursday, October 5, 2017
Viking Sky SK170923 Eastern Seaboard Explorer 12 Montreal Saturday, September 23, 2017
Boudicca D1615 Exploring the Fjords of Greenland 15 Liverpool Sunday, August 14, 2016
Viking Star ST160529 Viking Homelands 14 Bergen Sunday, May 29, 2016
Viking Star ST160515 Viking Homelands 14 Stockholm Sunday, May 15, 2016
Saga Pearl 11 P2147 South American Discovery 73 Southampton Wednesday, January 6, 2016