Meet the Expedition Team of the Silver Origin

The Silver Origin hit the water for the first-time at Shipyard De Hoop in late December. The 100-guest ship will begin her Galapagos operation on July 18, 2020,

“This is an important milestone for our cruise line; it takes us one step closer to strengthening our industry-leading offering in the Galapagos further still,” said Roberto Martinoli, Silversea’s President and CEO. “When Silver Origin welcomes guests in July 2020, the ship will be the most elegant vessel to ever sail in the Galapagos region. While completing the final stages of Silver Origin’s construction, ensuring that the ship surpasses Silversea’s trademark level of comfort, we are also readying our Expedition Team, who will deliver an enriching and memorable expedition experience for our guests.”

Guests traveling on the Silver Origin will enjoy the highest crew-to-guest ratio in the Galapagos, according to a press release.

Part of the ship’s crew, a team of expedition experts will lead the shore experiences for guests. In addition to guided Zodiac excursions, hikes, and nature walks ashore, these professionals will offer onboard lectures, discussions and recaps in Silver Origin’s innovative Basecamp. 

Expedition Team:

Aura Banda Aura Banda, Environmental Manager & Naturalist Guide

Banda’s first camera was a piece of wood cut by her grandfather on Floreana Island, Galapagos, where she first dreamed of communicating the fragility of nature through images. To achieve this goal, she studied photographic arts, languages (French and Italian) and natural sciences, earning a degree in environmental management. In 2005, she settled back home in the Galapagos and began her work as a naturalist guide and photo instructor.

Paulina Aguirre Paulina Aguirre, Biologist & Naturalist Guide

Aguirre was raised in Quito, Ecuador, where she received her university degree in education. Following a stint working as a crew member on yachts sailing across the globe, she moved to the Galapagos, where she had often vacationed with family who resided in the islands, and trained to start a new career as a naturalist and guide. Since then, she has been guiding and living on the islands, together with her daughter and husband, who is also a naturalist guide.

Nicolai Bølling Nicolai Bølling, Biologist & Naturalist Guide

Born in Norway, Bølling was skiing with his father through the forest before he had even learned to walk. Since then, he has continued to love exploring wild nature. He studied biology and earned a master’s degree focused on the environmental health of the North Sea, which allowed him to spend time on a research ship. While visiting the Galapagos, he was injured and a local girl helped him to recover. Six years later they married, and today both work for Silversea.

Carlos Bernardo Galvez Torres Bernardo Galvez, Architect & Naturalist Guide

Galvez grew up in Guayaquil, Ecuador, a city located within mangrove estuaries. The dichotomy between natural and built environments were apparent to him at an early age and made for a unique setting in which to appreciate nature. After pursuing studies in architecture and urbanism at Germany’s Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, he divided his time between Germany and Ecuador. Now a resident of the Galapagos, he still looks to nature for inspiration for his designs while he walks the trails and dives under the waters of the islands as a naturalist guide.

Leandro Vaca Pita Leandro Vaca, Biologist & Naturalist Guide

Vaca lives in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the capital of Galapagos Province, situated on the island of San Cristóbal. During his childhood he had the privilege of being surrounded by nature and soon fell in love with it. He studied biology at the Universidad de Guayaquil, where he focused his undergraduate thesis on the various fish species of the Galapagos. After 10 years, he took his experience and biology degree back home to Galapagos, where he worked to develop his skills as a naturalist and interpreter of wildlife.

Jason Heilmann Jason Heilmann, Naturalist Guide

Growing up in northern California, Heilmann was surrounded by the incomparable nature of the Pacific Northwest. While pursuing a higher education there, he met his future wife, an Ecuadorian woman who set him on his path to eventually living in one of the most revered natural environments on earth, the Galapagos. After being certified as a naturalist guide by the Galapagos National Park, he also spent time working as a naturalist in Alaska, British Columbia, and Cuba. He currently resides in Ecuador and on the Galapagos Islands with his wife and son.

Jeffo Marquez Jeffo Marquez, Naturalist Guide

Born and raised in the Galapagos Islands, Marquez was inspired by his father’s job as a Galapagos herpetologist, which afforded him opportunities to participate in several field trips, working with Galapagos reptiles alongside his father. This certified Galapagos naturalist guide, with a background in environmental management, has also worked as a naturalist and professional photo instructor in such wildlife-rich places as Costa Rica, Antarctica, the Falklands, South Georgia, Baja California and the upper Amazon.

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