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An interview with Jos Dewing of Aurora Expeditions

Meet the Experts
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One of the most appealing aspects of working in the travel industry is the close business relationships which develop over many years, and I am always delighted when someone I have enjoyed working with in a previous existence pops up in a new location.

One such is the former Managing Director of Voyages to Antiquity, Jos Dewing, who has recently joined Australian polar expedition specialist Aurora Expeditions as their new UK managing director.

Jos Dewing, Aurora Expeditions

Jos is exceptionally excited about his new home and colleagues, who are passionate and focused, with a huge range of knowledge and expertise. As an enthusiast for expedition, Jos has had his eye on the company for some while, not least because they have taken delivery of the first of the Ulstein designed X-BOW ships in the form of the Greg Mortimer, with a second, the Sylvia Earle, to join the fleet this year.

This new design uses cutting edge technology and design to great effect: exceptional fuel efficiency and sustainability mean visiting fragile environments such as Antarctica is done with the most careful regard for impact. Furthermore, and Jos, who has a romantic streak, couldn't hold back from telling me this, the ship is "designed to move through the water like a dolphin", which we have to admit is an appealing image.

Aurora Expeditions - Greg Mortimer in Antarctica

Those unfamiliar with the Aurora name might think this is a new kid on the block, but with 30 years of experience in the expedition market, the company was in fact something of a pioneer. The founder, Greg Mortimer, was a mountaineer, the first Australian to climb Mount Everest. Subsequently he was keen to share his experiences, climbing memorable peaks in Antarctic and taking keen amateur explorers with him. As a result, hardcore expedition activity is in the company's DNA and there are some seriously challenging programmes, including a three-day hike across South Georgia, quite literally in the footsteps of Shackleton.

This in turn entices some of the finest expedition team leaders and guides in the world, in what is becoming quite a competitive market. If such serious activity is not for you, don't worry, a more standard operation is also on offer, and the fantastic naturalists on board are ready to socialise with everyone, enhancing what is already a very special experience. With just 132 guests on board at full capacity, and an expedition team of 11 to 14, the ratio is excellent.

Aurora Expeditions - Camping in South Georgia

With their own custom built ships, Aurora Expeditions are building a fascinating year round programme with an extensive, varied and unusual choice of in-depth Arctic explorations from June through to September. Both ships winter in Antarctica, and in the course of respositioning from pole to pole explore some sunshine destinations such as Baja California, Raja Ampat, Costa Rica and the Kimberley.

With Australian owners the nationalities on board are mainly a mix of Australian, North American and European, although perusal of the website also shows some Mandarin speaking members of the expedition team. With Jos heading up the UK team, it is clear the company is looking to increase numbers out of the British market.

Aurora Expeditions - Sylvia Earle stern

I am closing the meeting with Jos with an extraordinary piece of trivia about him, which I am certain puts him in a unique position amongst UK cruise company managing directors, which is that during a mis-spent youth breaking into acting as an extra, he played James Bond in Tomorrow Never Dies, as Pierce Brosnan's body double!

Edwina Lonsdale
Meet the author

Edwina Lonsdale is Managing Director and, together with husband Matthew, owner of Mundy Adventures.

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