Suzie Hanlan

Expedition Guide

Suzie grew up sailing and rowing in Lake Ontario, Canada, in an area known as The Thousand Islands. Exploring nearby islands gave her a taste for freedom and adventure. This developed into a lifelong passion for wilderness and wildlife, inspiring her to attain a Master’s of Science in Animal Behavior in Newfoundland, Canada.

Since then, she has spent sixteen summers as a field biologist in the Arctic, studying eiders, whales, seals, walrus and polar bears. For more than a decade, she has conducted aerial surveys for marine mammals in the Arctic and North Atlantic areas. Currently, Suzie bases herself in Alaska where she enjoys sharing its spectacular nature with visitors by guiding adventurous, multi-sport hiking and camping trips. She loves romping with dogs in the mountains and embraces many outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, biking, kayaking, and dip-netting salmon.

In recent years, she has been building an ‘off-the-grid’ cabin in the largest national park in the USA, Wrangell-St. Elias, which is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Suzie is also a certified yoga instructor and enjoys taking her personal practice outdoors in whatever location she finds herself – from the tundra, to the alpine, or to a lovely Oaxacan beach. Suzie is excited to return to Antarctica for another season and looks forward to being part of a team of professionals dedicated to sharing one of the most wondrous places on Earth with you!

What is your most memorable Antarctic experience?

“I’ll never forget the first time I heard a Weddell seal sing – I was overcome by a feeling of wonder, gratitude and pure joy! Having studied seals for my graduate thesis, I already had a deep interest in seal behaviour so, during my first season as an expedition guide, I was quite thrilled to simply observe a sleeping Weddell seal, hauled out on the snow at Jougla Point. I was awed by both its beauty and its deeply relaxed state. In the Arctic, seals have too many land-based predators to ever be so relaxed around humans but here, in Antarctica, this particular seal just opened one eye when it heard us land, before promptly going back to sleep. And then the magical, mysterious song begun – it was such a wonderful surprise to me and so alien and beautiful a sound, that I will never forget this experience and the emotions it invoked.