Meet the Team – Hayley

September, 2020 | Meet Our Polar Guides & Staff

The staff that make up the Polar Latitudes expedition and home teams are much more than a team – we are a tight knit family. Most of us voyage together year after year, sharing a deep love for Antarctica. We take immense pleasure in making sure your trip is one you’ll never forget, and are proud of how highly experienced and synced to our guests needs each staff member is.

Here’s a chance to get to know some of the members of our amazing team a little bit better.

Meet Hayley!

Hayley Shephard

Name and Job: Hayley, VP of Expedition Operations and Expedition Leader

 From: Alert Bay, British Columbia, Canada. But my heart is also still in my homeland of New Zealand

How many times have you been to Antarctica? Only about 95 voyages down South. Yes, I admit it, I am addicted.

What’s your favourite thing about Antarctica?  I feel humbled by the wildlife. They are all fearless; the whales, penguins, seals and all other birds allow us to observe them at close proximity but still keeping to the IAATO wildlife viewing guidelines of course. They are curious about us, they at times follow us and check us out. How lucky are we to have these wild and wonderful creatures interested in us.

What is your favourite Antarctic animal? The largest flying bird in the world; the magnificent and graceful Wandering Albatross!

Tell us about your job! I hire, train and prepare staff to work onboard our ships as our expedition staff. The schedule is quite the puzzle as I build the perfect teams that have the collection of skills, experience and talents required to give our guests the best adventures in Antarctica. Permits, ship itineraries, landing locations, ship expedition operation procedures and expedition equipment prep is all part of my glorious job.

What do you love about your job? The opportunity to work alongside expedition staff and crew who are remarkable, professional, colourful, talented and wonderful people. When I step on the ship, I feel like I am home. When I am working as EL, it is seeing the smiles on the faces of our guests who have been touched by this magnificent region.

What are your favourite hobbies? Surfing, sea kayaking, beach combing or sleeping on a beach where the waves crashing on the shore helps you sleep so peacefully. I like picking berries, growing vegetables, fishing, prawning and living off the land. Being alone and in the silence of nature, observing the wildlife that reveal themselves in their own time and in their own way is what rocks my world.

How do you explore? If visiting a new city, town or village, I like to walk and walk, turn down streets that interest me, follow music and food smells that lead me places, talk with locals and listen to them laugh and go about their day.  If exploring a coastline by kayak, I like to paddle close along the shore, to observe the intertidal zone and listen to the sounds of ‘pebble rush’ when the waves are rolling back towards the sea scraping along the pebbles as they retreat. It’s a bonus when you spot a black bear turning over boulders looking for crustaceans or a mink scurrying along the rocky shore. The silence of sea kayaking allows you to hear all the sounds of nature, whether a whale blow in the distance or a splash caused by a sea lion tenderizing a salmon.

What is your favourite place that you have travelled? South Georgia Island: The wildest, most remote and isolated island, storm riddled with dramatic rugged scenery that takes your breath away. The abundance of animals that completely litter the sandy beaches and rocky shores are fearless and curious and gather in such large numbers you simply cannot believe your eyes and ears.

What was one thing you learned while in isolation during COVID? Life is all good when I am in the company of my loyal, sweet, angelic furry family member Bella the Bichon.