Whether shooting video or conducting underwater research, Caitlyn battles below freezing water temps, poor visibility, strong topside winds, and the agonizing pain of blood returning to numbed hands when she resurfaces. But despite the harsh conditions, Caitlyn can never get enough of the sensational colors, behaviors, and wildlife interactions found just below the sea’s surface.
Her work as a marine biologist has led her around the world—to study and document manta rays in Mozambique, great white sharks in South Africa, kelp forest ecosystems in California, hydrothermal vents in Iceland, and coral reef ecosystems throughout Southeast Asia. The more she dives and discovers, the deeper Caitlyn’s passion grows. She hopes to set the globe ablaze with increased understanding, appreciation, and preservation of our ocean planet. She strives to share and spread her love for these fascinating places—something she’s gotten to do on the regular aboard Lindblad ships the past four years.
While guests are off exploring by Zodiac, kayak, paddleboard, or hiking on land, Caitlyn dons her diving gear and heads for her happy place to explore and shoot video. She then presents her footage at evening recap—sharing the dazzling and seldom-seen world beneath the ship, along with her enthusiasm for ocean awareness and marine conservation.
Another way she helps gets the word out? Caitlyn does creative development for Meet the Ocean. This nonprofit, founded by another Lindblad undersea specialist, Paul North, educates the public on ocean issues through science and engaging storytelling.
Why do you explore?
I am constantly falling deeper in love with wildlife and the natural world. Bearing witness to nature’s quirky surprises and intricate designs can be powerful inspiration for preservation. Leopard seals thrashing penguins inside out to devour gourmet cutlets, the streamlining formations of dermal denticles covering shark skin, and the innate strength of barnacles are just a few examples that fuel my passion for marine conservation.
Name a female hero and why?
Dr. Jean L. Polfus, a scientist at the University of Manitoba, has converged visual arts with her ecological research. Through data visualization and artwork, she has bolstered interdisciplinary research with increased public comprehension and intellectual creativity. Anyone that can break down language barriers and promote the sustainable stewardship and protection of biodiversity, all while illustrating caribou scat, is a badass hero in my book.
What is your favorite Lindblad destination?
Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia, and the Falkland Islands—and I’m not even a “bird person!”
What is the dream exploration you haven’t done…yet?
Despite visiting the country a few times, Australia is the last continent where I have yet to dive.
What advice would you give the next generation of women explorers?
What would people be surprised to know about you?
I am crippled with fear by flying insects—I’m looking at you, butterflies.
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