The Lizards of Madagascar

October 29, 2012

Certainly I enjoyed seeing the lemurs and the beautiful birds....but what captivated me were the amazingly colorful chameleons. Before I visited Madagascar, chameleons, iguanas and lizards were all in the same grouping..."yucky!". But I became enthralled with the Madagascar's endemic chameleons...they are really beautiful. I saw a lot and learned a great deal..as always on a Zegrahm Expedition, Thank You!!

Trip: Madagascar: The Eighth Continent
First Name: Celeste
Last Name: Graham
City: Concord
State: CA

A New Look for Zegrahm Expeditions

October 19, 2012

You may have noticed a new look gracing Zegrahm’s website, Facebook page, and fall Traveler’s Guide, among other applications. Several months in the making, we are excited to finally be sharing our new logo with you. Since logos are often “the face” of a company, we thought we’d share with you how we settled on the new look.

When Zegrahm’s six cofounders started the company, they conceived the logo on a napkin over cocktails. The former Z, the world, and E became very well-known, and well-loved, by our loyal traveler community, but often created confusion with new travelers who thought we were called “ZOE.” Dedicated to retaining strong links to the founding of the company, we set out to give the existing world graphic a modern look and feel, plus ensure that our name—Zegrahm Expeditions—was a key element in the design. The end result is a logo that showcases our commitment to endless, in-depth exploration across the globe, while the new blue and green color palette emphasizes our core product offerings of small-ship cruises and overland adventures.

In addition, Zegrahm’s new tagline, “Beyond the Destination,” was generated during a brainstorming session with staff and vetted with several travelers. It speaks to our belief about delivering beyond travelers’ expectations on every single one of our expeditions. As one traveler told us, “Zegrahm always goes above and beyond to provide more adventure, enthusiasm, and especially more fun, beyond what you would expect.”

Check out our latest Traveler's Guide online, now!

 

Royal Recognition

October 15, 2012

With the largest concentrations of penguins, seals, and albatross to be found anywhere on the planet, South Georgia has been dubbed, “The Serengeti of the Southern Ocean.” And, while large birdlife usually takes center stage on South Georgia, the island was once a thriving small-bird community as well, comprised of storm petrels, prions, blue petrels, and pipits. However, with the introduction of rats by whalers and sealers, the small-bird population is being devastated as the rodents burrow into nests, eat the eggs, and kill young chicks.

When asked by the South Georgia Heritage Trust (SGHT) to help protect this island oasis, Zegrahm cofounder and the world’s leading seabird ornithologist, Peter Harrison, enthusiastically took up the gauntlet and galvanized Zegrahm travelers during our 2011/2012 Antarctic season to contribute to the organization’s habitat restoration program. After only one year, Zegrahm travelers raised more than $150,000 towards the program. In recognition of this achievement, Peter and his wife, Shirley Metz (also a Zegrahm cofounder and the first woman to ski to the South Pole), were invited to a SGHT lunch at St. James Palace in London hosted by Anne, Princess Royal and Royal Patron for the Trust. On June 26, 2012, speaking in the splendid surroundings of the Queen Anne Room, the Princess thanked Zegrahm Expeditions for our outstanding efforts. 

Welcome Home to our Black Sea Explorers!

October 15, 2012

Zegrahm Field Director, Kevin Clement, was so inspired by his time circumnavigating the Black Sea, he put pen to paper and crafted a poem to remember.

 

The Discharge of the Trite Brigade

The verse that started it all (my contest entry):

 

The leeches, when we reached Batumi,

Found their glass insufficiently roomy.

They said, “We’re heading out.

“We’ll be crawling about,

“And if that makes you nervous, well, sue me.”

 

So, here’s the rest of it:

 

We flew into Constantinople

From all over, some ninety in total.

Not too well rested,

Our faith was then tested…

Would our bags arrive? We were hopeful.

 

We toured in old Istanbul;

Saw the Harem, and one or two jewels.

Big cruise ships were in—

The crowd wasn’t thin—

But we pitied those poor big-ship fools.

 

The pleasures of port can entice,

But our ship of the perfect small size

Was at the dock waiting,

So without hesitating,

We set sail, counterclockwise.

 

In Amasra, a chilling sea breeze

Whistled past walls Genoese.

Lia urged us to swim

We said, “Chances are slim…

“We’d rather go shopping than freeze.”

 

If you haven’t been to Amasya

You really should go there, because ya

Can see Pontic tombs

With their multiple rooms…

But the lunch there is what will amaze ya.

 

In the old monastery, Sumela,

The frescoes could dazzle a fella.

But switchbacking down

All the way into town

Was hard on the hips and patellas.

 

In Trabzon, the Aya Sofya

Is lovely, and there you can see a

Happening street,

Things to buy and to eat,

And from there some walked back to the pier.

 

Leaving behind things mechanical,

We walked through the Garden Botanical.

Later, while eating,

We watched dancers leaping

With an energy almost maniacal.

 

Though Sochi was really enthrallin’.

Joseph’s dacha was somewhat appallin’.

It was there that he felt

He could just be himself--

He’d go there when he was just stallin’.

 

With the thrill that discovery brings,

We hiked and we plunged in some springs.

With water so frigid

Our bodies went rigid—

That is, except for certain things.

 

The ship sailed across to deliver

Us to Yalta with hardly a quiver.

If you wanted more tossing

On this longest crossing,

Tough luck. Hey, Crimea river.

 

In Yalta, we set out to see a

Palace known as Livadia.

The Czar had it built,

But then he got killt,

Poor guy. It was just a Crime-ea.

 

In Balaklava our knowledge enlarged

Of the tale of the Light Brigade’s charge.

From their duty not shrinking

They rode without thinking,

And the Russkie boys kicked their butts hard.

 

My tour of charming Odessa

Involved—I fear I must confess it—

Two kinds of stairs:

The concrete ones there,

And the ones that I gave women’s dresses.

 

Up the Danube we went to see birds.

There were lots of them there, we had heard.

They served beer and brandy,

And the wine it flowed free,

And the birds all became a bit blurred.

 

We were now in the land of Romania

And an interesting bit of arcania

Is the fact that my leeches

Now feast on the beaches

In the state that includes Transylvania.

 

In the town of Constanta, Romania,

Ancient history is almost a mania.

When Ovid was sent there

We saw what he meant where

He wished for a climate less rainier.

 

Like some old Cold War aircraft carrier,

Our ship launched us out in Bulgaria.

With its mysteries old,

And its Thracian gold,

‘Twas another new country—more the merrier.

 

We’ve been on our own little Odyssey (the M/V Clipper, that is)

And the program’s been busier than busy.

We’ve come round so fast

On our circumnav,

That I think that I’m feeling quite dizzy.

 

We’ve traveled through six different nations,

On our Black Sea circum-navigation

And we think you’ll agree

When you get home you’ll need

A vacation from your vacation.

Tales from Mongolia

September 17, 2012

First, I enjoyed the fermented both camel mare's milk and horse mare's milk. I also enjoyed the vodka from distilled goat's milk and cow milk. Second, we had vivacious and attentive Zegrahm and local guides. The local guide was praised as an ambassador for the spirit and elan of her countrymen. Third, I can appreciate that nomads generally do not erect temples, monuments, and edifices. Timur came after Chinggis Khaan and Timur and his grandson Ulugbek revived the crafts and science that is a magnet today for travelers and tourists in Uzbekistan, comparing contemporary countries. Fourth, the trip is a nature trip and we had opportunity to observe many animals except the wary snow leopard. Fifth, all the meals were good. Eating hot lunch in the Gobi was novel.

Trip: Mongolia: Land of Chinggis Khaan
First Name: Lawrence R,
Last Name: Kravitz
City: Aberdeen
State: Maryland