Podcast Episode #1: Ian and the Albatross

They say to begin with a story. Thus for the first episode of Meet the Ocean’s podcast, I searched for a storyteller. It was January 2016 – a month we spent exploring both sides of the Antarctic Peninsula aboard the National Geographic Explorer.

The National Geographic Explorer entering the Lemaire Channel.

Naturalist Ian Bullock

In the bowels of the ship was the Dive Locker. A place where my regulators and other dive gear swayed with the waves, and the very spot I had been collecting interviews with scientists, photographers and others who had joined on our expedition. There were plenty of options to choose from, each with a story all their own, but I had my eye on a certain British naturalist named Ian Bullock.

The moment you hear Ian speak about the natural world, three things become certain. You learn he is well informed, passionate, and, most of all, masterful at bringing forth the details that make for a well-told tale. Recognizing his gift, I asked him to sit down for an interview, and he most graciously complied.

Wandering Albatross in flight.

Albatross surfing the Southern Ocean.

Though I had first met Ian in Fiji, one year before, the podcast interview took place while traveling south of the Antarctic Circle. Just that morning, we had found a singular Emperor Penguin and taken a stroll atop some fast ice fixed to the land. While I was busy recording the sound of my footsteps across the icy landscape, Ian was guiding a group over to a Ross Seal hauled out on the ice. Using a soft voice and emphatic gestures, he told of the wonders of the marine mammal lounging before their eyes. A seal named after a sea that was smack dab on the other side of the Antarctic continent.

I always listen to Ian, because when I do I always learn. He spent his childhood peering over cliffs in search of seabirds, which developed into a deep love of these fellow inhabitants of our planet. This led him to a position with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, where he conducted surveys and habitat management for 25 years.

Ian Bullock’s Albatross art comparison.

Arctic Pinnipeds.

Even with all these accolades, Ian’s most resonant work is his art. Using the simple tools of patient observation and attention to detail, Ian manages to craft magnificently life-like illustrations of the creatures he beholds. By all accounts, he is shoulder to shoulder with Darwin and so many others who began their own investigations into the natural world using only what their eyes could see. For all these reasons, I chose Ian to be the first interviewee for Meet the Ocean’s podcast. I guarantee that you will enjoy hearing what he has to say.

Also, in an act of great friendship and support, Ian Bullock has offered his artwork up for sale to support Meet the Ocean’s project. Check out our store on our website to see more of his work, spanning from Antarctica all the way up to the Arctic.

Meet the Ocean is a listener-supported project. All donations and sales go toward furthering our educational outreach. Find out more at: www.meettheocean.org

2017-08-25T17:33:53+00:00August 25th, 2016|