In addition to his career as a professional musician, Silvard received a Ph.D. in (marine) zoology and taught courses in biology and oceanography at Boston College for the last 14 years. "My students enjoyed addressing me as Professor Kool.” (This really is Silvard’s last name). At an early age, Silvard obtained a fascination or, more accurately, a passion for seashells. He started collecting shells when he was six years old and made his hobby his dissertation research topic. He studied malacology (the study of mollusks) at the Smithsonian Institution and wrote his doctoral dissertation about a group of intertidal, predatory snails. He received his Ph.D. in zoology from the George Washington University. On almost every international trip, he makes time for shelling. His father became infected with the shell bug as well and together they have traveled to Mexico's Baja California, Thailand and Malaysia.
Silvard has traveled extensively. In January, 1997, he spent a week on Bonaire for a dive vacation. That same year, he drove around Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula to visit Mayan ruins like Chichen Itza, Uxmal and Palenque, and traveled to Tanzania in July to fulfill one of his lifelong dreams: going on a safari. Four out of a total of ten days he spent with the Masaii in the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro National Parks. On his way back, he spent a week collecting shells in Zanzibar. The hotel where he stayed offered him free room and board for playing their piano.
In 1998, Silvard again combined his two interests in his travels. He spent four weeks in Taiwan to tour the music schools around the island nation and then spent two weeks in August on the islands of Palau diving and hunting for mollusks. On the way back he spent five days with friends in Guam, where he did some more diving and shell collecting.
In 1999 he visited friends in Brazil. Together, they took a trip to the Pantanal flood plain region in Brazil's interior. Later, he flew to the Netherlands to celebrate his father's 70th birthday!
The new millennium began with a trip to the Malaysian portion of Borneo (Sabah) for two-and-a-half weeks with his father to hunt for mollusks. They spent a few days on the diving resort island of Sipadan, but left a few days before pirates from the Philippines stormed the tiny island and took 11 dive tourists hostage. On his way back, Silvard paid a visit to Singapore.
In the beginning of 2001, Silvard and his soulmate Barbara, explored the Hawaiian islands of Oahu, Kauai, and Maui. They spent their time snorkeling and shelling and driving to many of the beautiful spots on these islands. Highlights were the Road to Hana, driving up the Haleakala crater, walking through a bamboo forest, swimming with turtles, and enjoying the friendly Hawaiian people in a relaxed atmosphere. As a matter of fact, they felt so at home in the islands that they made plans to return to Hawaii for the first two months of 2002.
A few months later, another adventure; Egypt. This time the two explored archeological sites such as Karnak, Luxor, and the Valley of the Kings with tombs of once famous pharaohs. The National Museum in Cairo with all its treasures from the tomb of King Tutanchamon was as impressive as the pyramids and the Sphinx. Prior to visiting these and other sites, Silvard and Barbara (a recent SCUBA "graduate") had been SCUBA diving in the Red Sea for ten days while based in Sharm El Sheikh, located in the southern-most tip of the Sinai desert. This quickly became one of Silvard's all-time favorite dive spots.
On New Year's Eve, 2001, Silvard and Barbara arrived in Hawaii, just in time to watch the fireworks on Waikiki Beach. For the first two months of 2002, they rented an apartment and spent two months on Oahu and the Big Island. Silvard gave several performances on both islands.
In March, Silvard was asked to give several lectures aboard a cruise ship in the Galapagos Islands for the travel agency, Elderhostel. Barbara joined him, and the two felt like they were in the Garden of Eden, where no animal was afraid of anything. "It is the most amazing place! Where else can you swim with sea lions and penguins, and where else can you approach iguanas and sea birds within a few feet"
In June, Silvard was contracted by the Harvard University Travel Program to lead another tour, this time to Honduras, with its many archaeological sites and its
natural splendors, including the coral reefs of the island of Roatan. In July, the two visited his family in the Netherlands to attend a family reunion. In October, amidst a busy teaching schedule, Silvard and Barbara made a blitz-visit in October to Caracas, Venezuela, where Silvard was scheduled to give a concert at a Knowledge Management conference. Silvard's Freeflow style of composing music exemplifies innovation and improvisation so crucial in today's business world.
Right before midnight on New Year's Eve, Silvard and Barbara arrived, once again, on the island of Oahu, this time accompanied by Silvard's father and his girlfriend. The foursome spent the first two weeks of 2003 together sightseeing, snorkeling and, hunting for mollusks. Silvard gave several performances, including a Valentine's Day concert on the Big Island to benefit the local Unity Church. In the Spring, Silvard led another Galapagos eco-trip, this time for a group an elite group of four(!) travelers.
2006 and 2007 became the years of traveling to the Central American country of Panama, where Silvard and Barbara will be spending a lot of time in the future. What better place for a marine biologist than a country with two completely different oceans?! They visited the Bocas del Toro region on the Caribbean coast and the Pearl Islands on the Pacific coast. Snorkeling and shelling was a major part of these journeys. With two oceans, rainforests and mountains, it is no wonder Silvard is making Panama his second home.
Also in 2007, Silvard was asked by Harvard University’s Travel Program to lead a cruise from New Zealand to Brunei. One whole month, the ocean became his home (this time literally!). Barbara joined him for part of the journey. Diving, absorbing new cultures, shelling, it all was part of the experience. During that same year, the couple traveled to Bermuda to join friends during their Summer diving spree.
The first four months were spent in Panama, although, for three weeks in March, Silvard lead a group of Harvard travelers, came his way earlier this year (2008), when the itinerary brought him to the Seychelles and Aldabra Atoll, Spectacular diving and two weeks in one of the world’s last undisturbed places! Life is Grand!