Meet the Crew - AJ
08 Oct 2018

Meet the Crew - AJ

Where are you originally from? 
Amsterdam, The Netherlands 


What is your previous experience (uni/research/other relevant jobs etc.)?
I have a great interested in sustainable fisheries. Since I visited Indonesia, alongside working for Auckland Whale, I have been self-employed in nature conservation and previously had my own advisory company. I advised hotels and restaurants among others about changing towards sustainable fish options, alternatives to animal proteins, cooking with local and seasonal produce and reducing food waste. 


How long have you been working for Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari?
I started this year, in April!


What's the best thing about working in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park?
The element of surprise. You never know what you will see. It's always fantastic when you come across a group of wild animals.  Smelling the sea, hearing the wind howl and feeling the waves - feeling all of the elements! Absolutely fantastic.


It's easy for our jobs to become our world after all, it is our passion but what do you like to do in your spare time?
I have quite a few hobbies: diving, going to concerts, watching football, wildlife filming and photography, travelling and of course, having fun with my two kids!


What's your favourite animal in the whole wide world?
I would say the rhino who would be closely followed by orca, manta rays, jaguars, kingfishers... 

If there is one question you could have answered about the oceans right this instant, what would it be?
What land animal of our time will evolve into a new whale or dolphin species in the future or vice versa?


If there's one place in the world you could visit (money no object), where would it be and why?
Antarctica - it is wild, mostly unknown, heaps of cool and unique animals and unfortunately a changing environment. 


Any particular stand out memories or highlights during your time so far at Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari?
My first encounter with a (pygmy) blue whale as I had always hoped to see one as a young boy. I didn't think it would necessarily happen for me so when it did, it was a long-lived dream come true! The beauty was that my son was also on the boat with me so it was a very memorable experience for me. 


If you could give your passengers one piece of advice, what would it be?
Share your experience with others! It is so important that as many people as possible appreciate nature in all of it's beauty. Going out on these trips, with companies like ours, are actually one of the most effective way to preserve the marine environment here in New Zealand and all over the world. The more people see this as a vital part of our world, the bigger the chance we will all be able to preserve as much of it as possible for future generations!