Cecilia Vanman

Cecilia Vanman worked as a footwear designer in the fashion business, when she took up scuba diving and freediving as hobbies. These interests and her love for the sea grew into such major fascination, that she decided to study marine biology, eventually graduating with a MSc Distinction in Marine Mammal Science in 2005. 

Today as an Expedition Leader and Marine Mammal Biologist, Cecilia Vanman has planned, led and participated in expeditions and scientific projects in the Arctic and Antarctic, the Indian Ocean, the Black Sea, Scandinavian waters, the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. She has circumnavigated the British Isles, Spitzbergen and Iceland and has led three expeditions through the Northwest Passage. 

Cecilia has also created the logistical frame work for film productions as an expedition leader for the likes of Disney Nature, Leonardo di Caprio and National Geographic Society. One of her greatest passions is science communication and bringing stories home from her expeditions in remote places to wider audiences through public talks. Cecilia is also a freelance photojournalist and her coverage includes reportage work with the Danish Navy Seals, the Danish Helicopter Rescue Service, the Danish elite unit Sirius Sledge Patrol in NE Greenland as well as articles on sustainable living, freediving, scuba-diving and natural history filmmaking. 

Cecilia was invited to join Women Adventurers Club, Denmark in 2011 and 2015, she became the first Danish woman to be appointed Fellow of The Explorers Club

3 words to describe Nature?

Powerful. Healing. In trouble

3 things Nature taught you?




3 most treasured Nature spots?

Island of Langeland in Denmark

Disko Island in Greenland

South Georgia in the Southern Ocean

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...? 

Free and humble

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...? 


When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...? 

If a busy volcano: like I should enjoy its’ beauty, but have a plan for a quick exit

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...? 


When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...? 

Electrified and alive. But depending on the situation in the field, perhaps quite vulnerable.

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...?

Thrilled in the beginning and I love the power of it all. After days of howling winds during field work, however, I can become almost overcome with a sense of restlessness. It can also add to cabin fever, which is good for no one in a remote camp. At sea, howling winds mean stormy conditions, which are never desirable.

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

I am an ‘Ocean-person’ through and through and while I enjoy being there and traveling through them, I could never live in a landlocked country. The Ocean represents freedom and independence to me. More than any nature scape it puts me in my place as a human.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

10 and beyond.

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

Taking the family rowing boat, piling it high with cushions, blankets, my favorite book at the time and an anchor to go to a spot to read; there to be gently rocked by the sea and watching the soaring birds above in between. This escape to nature meant the world to me at a time when things could be difficult at school. Looking back it also set me on a path…