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Our staff

Oceanwide staff

The polar regions are what we do. From our expert expedition guides to our impeccable crew to our diversely skilled office staff, the OEX team is all about giving you the utmost experience of the Arctic, Antarctica, and the sub-Antarctic. Seasoned passengers of our own epic voyages, we bring to the table not only a love of the exotic polar world but also a combined wealth of expertise unrivaled by any other polar tour operator. Join us on one of our adventurous voyages, and let us share with you all there is to see, do, and explore in Earth’s most remote frontiers.

Expedition staff

  • Christian Engelke
  • Function: Expedition leader
  • Nationality: German

Since his first vacation to Norway in 1996, Christian Engelke has suffered from “Scandinavia fever.” Since then he has been exploring Norway, Sweden, and Greenland by foot, skis, and kayak.

After finishing an undergrad degree in engineering, Christian moved to Svalbard in 2008. Three unforgettable years later, he moved “down south” to Tromsø in Northern Norway, where he finished a master’s degree.

Since 2009 Christian has worked as a freelance guide and expedition leader. His initial voyages were in Svalbard and Greenland.

As of 2014, he has also worked in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Georgia. He loves the wildlife, stark landscape, and heroic history of these areas. 

Christian is a sea kayak instructor with a specialty in Tromsø whale-watching trips. When he’s not in the high latitudes, you’ll probably find him in his kayak off the Norwegian coast.

  • Arjen Drost
  • Function: (Assistant) Expedition leader and guide
  • Nationality: Dutch

From a young age, Arjen could be found outside with his binoculars, looking for birds and mammals. It came as no surprise, then, when he decided to study biology.

  • Phil Wickens
  • Function: Expedition leader
  • Nationality: British

Phil Wickens studied biology at Imperial College in London. After completing his PhD in plant pathology, he worked as a field guide for the British Antarctic Survey.

  • Jordi Plana
  • Function: Expedition leader
  • Nationality: Spanish
  • Ali Liddle
  • Function: (Assistant) Expedition leader and guide
  • Nationality: British
  • Jan Belgers
  • Function: Expedition leader
  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Beau Pruneau
  • Function: (Assistant) Expedition leader and guide
  • Nationality: Canadian
  • Philipp Schaudy
  • Function: Expedition leader
  • Nationality: Austrian
  • Rinie van Meurs
  • Function: Expedition leader
  • Nationality: Dutch

Captains

  • Mika Erik Appel
  • Function: Captain
  • Nationality: Finnish

Mika Erik Appel was born and raised in the town of Vaasa, Finland, where cold weather and ice was just part of daily life.

A master mariner, he holds a Bachelor of Marine Transportation degree from Aboa Mare Maritime Academy. He began his captaining career by tug towing and pushing barges in the North Sea and Baltic, later moving on to passenger vessels.

During his years in the Baltic, he gained young-ice navigation expertise. Arctic and Antarctic waters are both familiar to him, and he is an expert in multi-year ice navigation.

Prior to captaining expedition vessels, Mika spent five years as a nautical instructor and training manager in Subic Bay, Philippines. There he became an accredited IMO trainer and assessor.

Mika draws on more than 25 years of experience in passenger vessels and cruise ships, now focusing mainly on polar expedition work. His area of specialization is remote, ice-laden waters.

  • Alexey Nazarov
  • Function: Captain
  • Nationality: Russian

Alexey Nazarov was born in the Russian town of Arkhangelsk, the so-called Pomors Capital of the world. Since his childhood, he dreamed of being a sailor.

Read an interview here >
  • Ernesto Barria
  • Function: Captain
  • Nationality: Chilean

Ernesto Barria was born in Santiago, Chile, into a family with strong bonds to the sea: His father, grandfather, and several uncles all share a love of the ocean.

Read an interview here >
  • Arthur Yakovlev
  • Function: Captain
  • Nationality: Russian
  • Alexander Schmidt
  • Function: Captain
  • Nationality: German
  • Andrey Zybin
  • Function: Captain
  • Nationality: Russian

Office

Head Office:
Phone: +31 (0)118 410 410
Fax: +31 (0)118 410 417
Email: info@oceanwide-expeditions.com
USA & Canada reservations:
Phone: +1 800 453 7245
Fax: +1 (0)281 749 8220
Email: usa@oceanwide-expeditions.com
  • Michel van Gessel
  • Function: CEO
  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Florian J. Piper
  • Function: Arctic Program Coordinator
  • Nationality: German
  • Erik Hageman
  • Function: CFO
  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Sebastiaan Schijf
  • Function: Financial Controller
  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Piet Vink
  • Function: Technical Manager for Marine Services
  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Geert Kroes
  • Function: Art Director
  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Ad van Bokhoven
  • Function: Finance
  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Franklin Braeckman
  • Function: Online Marketing Manager
  • Nationality: Belgian
  • Matt Cutts
  • Function: Senior Content Writer
  • Nationality: American
  • Natascha Wisse
  • Function: Operations Manager for Marine Services
  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Marina Joglar
  • Function: Reservations, North-America
  • Nationality: American
  • Mellany van der Hulst
  • Function: Marketing & Inhouse Design
  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Loraine van Huizen
  • Function: Internet Marketeer
  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Rowan Keur
  • Function: Reservations
  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Ko de Korte
  • Function: Consultant
  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Troels Jacobsen
  • Function: Product & Sales Manager
  • Nationality: Danish
  • Sietse Vonk
  • Function: Ship Operations for Marine Services
  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Jamie Scherbeijn
  • Function: Reservations
  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Gabi Merten
  • Function: Reservations for the German speaking market
  • Nationality: German
  • Elza Back
  • Function: Account Assistant
  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Nyrée Siereveld-Verstraete
  • Function: Account Assistant
  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Rima Deeb Granado
  • Function: Director of Sales, North-America
  • Nationality: American
  • Marie Rose Porreca
  • Function: Reservations, North-America
  • Nationality: American
  • Majanda Fens
  • Function: Reservations Manager
  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Mark van der Hulst
  • Function: COO
  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Maria del Pilar Fernandez
  • Function: International Sales Manager
  • Nationality: Chilean
  • Femke Wolfert
  • Function: Staffing Manager
  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Grace Vidal
  • Function: Reservations, North-America
  • Nationality: American