Ranunculus baudotii, Newhaven Tide Mills
Simon Davey lecturing in the field
Rainforest, Sacha Lodge, Ecuador
Introductory Lecture Slide
Passion-flower, Semington, Wiltshire


Since becoming an independent ecological consultant in 1988, travel has been an important part of Simon Davey’s life. As an independent consultant, Simon Davey saw that there were four possible activities that might fill his life. These were ecological consultancy work, university extra-mural teaching, writing and tour leading. All of these have been important at differing times, although the second probably less than the other three.


Lectures based on tour leading experiences

In 1987, Simon Davey was asked to go for an interview at the offices of Voyages Jules Verne at their offices in London. As a result, he was offered the chance to lead a trial natural history holiday in Mallorca in 1988. His wife Amanda accompanied him, and the trip was a considerable success. As a result, he was offered a further chance to lead in Mallorca and the choice of somewhere else as well. Having an acquaintance who knew several parts of the former Soviet Central Asia, feeling a degree of anxiety about it, he offered himself to lead a trip to Uzbekistan and Kirghizia. Having led his second trip to Mallorca, he found himself in Moscow about to head off for Samarkand. It was a most exhilarating and exciting trip with its fair share of anxious moments, However, he was asked to lead the same trip again in 1990.


In early 1990 Amanda noticed an advertisement in a magazine which resulted in an approach being made to Renaissance Tours, an organisation based in Folkestone. He was invited to Folkestone and enjoyed an excellent lunch. As a result, he was offered choice of destination that included northern Australia, whale watching in Alaska and Costa Rica. After some thought he chose the latter, although having at that time absolutely no knowledge of Central America or the tropics. He did considerable research into the Natural History of Central America, and found himself in November 1990 leading a party on a fortnight’s natural history holiday in Costa Rica. He was totally captivated by Costa Rica, and has since returned for a variety of organisations at least 9 times.


As well as Costa Rica and Central Asia, Simon Davey has led natural history holidays to Ecuador twice and the Galapagos Islands once and to a number of European destinations. One of the most enjoyable sorts of trip were wildlife and walking holidays he led for Saga in Corfu and Crete for many years.


Lectures based on cruise ship visits

It turned out that Renaissance Tours was an offshoot of Saga. After his trial run in Costa Rica, he was invited to lecture on a coastal steamer to a Saga Group going from Bergen to the Russian/Norwegian frontier. This was followed by the first of several similar cruises around Britain on a small converted ice breaker called explorer that Saga used for its cruises during the summer months. Further cruises went to Iceland and the Mediterranean. Explorer was an intimate little ship, and passengers were invited to join the captain and crew on the bridge. She took just eighty passengers, and being small was not as well behaved on the sea in rough weather as she might have been!


In 1997, Saga expanded its cruising operation and bought a much larger ship than Explorer. This was the former Sagafjord that Saga renamed Saga Rose. Saga Rose was a much steadier ship, and was capable of taking around 500 passengers. During her first year, Simon Davey lectured on a variety of natural history topics on cruises up the Norwegian coast to Spitzbergen as well as cruising in the Baltic visiting a number of capitals and taking in St Petersburg.


Since then, he has travelled on a number of Saga Ships including Saga Pearl, Saga Ruby and in early 2008 he joined The Spirit of Adventure, Saga’s recent acquisition on a cruise from Chile via Peru and Ecuador to the Galapagos Islands. Following the cruise, he and his wife joined passengers on an extension visit to Sacha Lodge in the Ecuadorian Amazon. In 2009, he joined The Spirit of Adventure on a cruise to Central America and the Caribbean and later on, in November he went on The Spirit of Adventure to North Africa, to Libya, Egypt and Syria. In 2010 he added the Suez Canal, the Red Sea and Oman to his experiences.


Lectures which are entertaining and informative

Simon Davey greatly enjoys lecturing on Natural History subjects. When on Saga ships, one of his favourite topics was What you will See at Sea. This was usually his first lecture and during it, he persuaded passengers to join him up on deck to brave the elements and look out for the birds, whales, dolphins, seals and other marine life that pass the ship. He also lectured on the wildlife and plants that would be seen during excursions from the various ports called at during the cruise. He has been giving these talks on land to local botanical, natural history and horticultural society groups for many years.


Topics available for lectures include:

His travels have allowed him to collect a wealth of photographic material to illustrate many lecture subjects that he delivers as powerpoint presentations.


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