Meet Hurtigruten Expedition Leader Fiona Jobling
Fiona Jobling is an expedition leader with Hurtigruten. The line is traditionally known for sailing along the coast of Norway, but also offers Expedition cruising to the Polar regions and is branching out into warm-water explorations to destinations such as South America and the Caribbean.
Tell us a little about your background and how you became Expedition Staff for Hurtigruten?
It’s now 6 years that I’ve been on the Expedition Staff Team as well having been a Tour Group Leader on various Hurtigruten Voyages over a 20 year period. I studied and worked in Arts History, TV Operations and Engineering as well as Botany over the years and before I started in Tourism. I thought Tour Leading was going to be a three month “fill in”. That was back in 1994! I now also hold a British Seaman’s Book.
What’s a typical day like on board for an expedition leader on Hurtigruten?
Every day is different according to sailing schedule, port and hotel activities. A day actually begins the previous night. We meet each evening to review that day and discuss the next. Duties are allocated by the Expedition Leader and rotated amongst us.
The first thing I do each day, usually long before breakfast is to get out on deck to see what can be seen. At sea, I may be lecturing, out on deck explaining what guests are seeing, accompanying Bridge Visits, giving talks around the vessel, compiling the Voyage Log and general desk duties. For RIB landings we assist guests onshore, lead various grades of walk/hike ourselves, and accompany excursions with local guides.
I’m also in some of the light hearted after-dinner entertainments, including modelling clothing from the ship’s boutique with Senior Officers. No frocks! Beautiful sweaters and activity gear.
What makes a voyage on Hurtigruten so special?
Adaptability to circumstances, Exploration without being an Endurance test.
How many expedition guides are there on board each ship? Do you all have your own speciality?
Depending on the Voyage between 7 and 12. Many have highly specialized degrees and experience, but we are all fascinated by the history and science of all the regions.
Where is your favourite destination and why?
This is always a horrible question! Hurtigruten’s Explorer Voyages visit so many places. How can you compare the destinations and their histories. Ice and rock to Rainforest. Wild open spaces, to a central mooring in a buzzy European city. Mingling with the Inuit villagers in Greenland to the scientists in Antarctica. Polar Bears to Penguins.
If you really want to pin me down, I do have to say Antarctica, there’s something of about the sense of journey in getting there as well as its beauty, a sense of admiration for those who have explored it without the home comforts of a Hurtigruten ship.
Where do you like to take your own holidays when not working on board?
Land Safari’s are a favourite, but it’s also great to catch up with friends around the UK. Next break I’m hiking on Exmoor.
Where would you like to see a Hurtigruten ship sailing to?
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