PHILOMENE VERLAAN

OCEANOGRAPHER

“I always think that if something stops being fun, please quit doing it. Life’s too short.”

An oceanographer who had taken up mountain trekking because of her deep love of the natural world, Philomene was wandering through the Himalayas with her guide. She was totally entranced by his stories of life among the Buddhist mountain dwellers.

What followed was a four-year odyssey of tale-gathering, in which Philomene worked closely with two Ladakhi mountain dwellers to put together her wonderful book, Tales of The Snow Leopard. Not only a compelling record of the conservation of these rare beasts in Ladakh, India, it is now being sold to travellers in the region, helping the locals to generate additional income.

Philomene meanwhile, has gained a very different kind of wealth from the experience, explaining that it hasn’t all been about altruism, “it’s been a huge amount of fun”.

It is these unexpected results of the publication that proved Philomene’s dedication to enriching the world around her.

Photography by Duncan Elliot
Location – National Maritime Museum Greenwich London