“As a small privately owned Canadian expedition cruise operator, we’ve grown exponentially over the last 11 years,” said Catherine Lawton, General Manager and one of three principals at One Ocean Expeditions. “Utilizing our expertise in the polar regions, we started operations in Antarctica, where we spent the previous decade developing programming. Pushing the boundaries by leading the first commercial sea kayak excursions in South Georgia, and taking on a 10-night unassisted sea kayak expedition along the Antarctic Peninsula, with my husband Aaron, allowed us the ability to lead the industry with first-hand experience and knowledge in so many ways. With that success we launched new voyages including the Canadian High Arctic, East Coast of Canada, Greenland, Spitsbergen and further expansion into Central America and Chile.” Great pride is taken with the scientific and educational initiatives happening company-wide. These include microplastics research in both polar regions, penguin population surveys, highly valuable whale-tagging initiatives, in addition to furthering curriculum-building through Canadian partnerships.
The three vessels One Ocean Expeditions operates are ice-strengthened and stabilized specifically to operate in the roughest waters the world has to offer. Throughout all seasons voyages are between 10- to 19-nights onboard.
“They're quite different from your stereotypical cruise ship,” she said. The experience also differs substantially. Lawton describes One Ocean as “an operator committed to social and economic responsibility with a scientific and educational mission.” As a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, “great credence is given to making Canada better known to Canadians, and the world” – says Lawton.
With both parents immersed in running the business and operations worldwide, it necessarily involves a lot of travel. The Lawtons’ three girls – ages 5, 10 and 12 – have been able to witness the growth of the business from the ground up.
“Raising three strong and engaged daughters, who appreciate and have blossomed with our lifestyle, has been a remarkable achievement for us as parents,” Lawton said. “It's really important to acknowledge gender doesn't play a role in capacity and to achieve great things in remote and challenging environments. Luckily, I've never been limited with my personal achievements, nor the company’s. Those formative years of nursing babies around global conference room tables whilst negotiating significant contracts instilled a quiet confidence in my ability to handle both parenthood and the building of a successful business. I’m very proud to be able to showcase this to our three young ones. As for the diversity of our business, we hire by skillset, not by gender. We are proud to have a wide array of incredibly talented women both in the field and in our business offices, who contribute greatly to the success of the company overall.
For all the complex science, education and environmental aspects of the business, the vision of the three founders has always been quite simple. “We create ambassadors almost 365 days of the year.”
If you would like to know more about unique experiences that One Ocean Expeditions specializes in or book your once in a lifetime dream trip, check their website.