Hospitality in Kamchatka

August 13, 2012

First let me be straight about the trip. This is as close as I could get. It was 2005 (time flies), and the trip was "Realm of the Russian Bear." All 100 of us swarmed ashore at Gabriel Bay, Kamchatka. We thought it was a deserted fishing village, but it wasn't quite as deserted as we imagined. There was a family living there...a couple and their teenage daughters. The first thing the wife did was want to make tea for all of us. They'd probably been using the same tea bag for the last year, but she was willing to share it. I'm not sure I could be as hospitable if 100 strangers suddenly showed up on my doorstep. We politely declined. We spent a while asking them about their life and snapping photos. When we left, Shirley asked if there was anything they needed. I'm not sure if they were entitled to a landing fee, but all she said was "Could you spare some salt?" We left them a big bag of salt and some educational materials for thier daughters. They left us (me, at least) with a renewed feeling of what hospitality is like and a refreshing realization that there are still some places in the world where salt is worth more than money.

Trip: Northern Ring of Fire: Kamchatka & the Kuril Islands
First Name: Terry
Last Name: Shumaker
City: Astoria
State: Oregon

The Galapagos: A Living Laboratory of Evolution

August 6, 2012

Written by Jack Grove

The Galápagos Islands have been referred to by Herman Melville as ‘enchanted,’ and by Charles Darwin as ‘a living laboratory of evolution.’ I was privileged to live there for seven years and carried out marine research in the archipelago for more than three decades. While I concur with both of these famous visitors, I would like to add that not only is a visit to this fabled island group an adventure, it is also a life-changing experience.

In June 2012, 10-year-old Ben was among the guests aboard the Isabela II. Seeing the world with fresh eyes, his learning experience enhanced my own, and I am certain the other adventurers were affected, as well.

Upon our arrival in Baltra, we had a few moments to visit the airport shops and I knew immediately this was going to be a great trip. Ben was looking around and became taken with a stuffed shark—I knew he was about to experience the real deal and couldn’t wait to get started.  

Getting to know Ben and having the opportunity to share such an amazing place with this young boy was almost as heart-warming as my return to the islands.


The Best of All Possible Trips (Candide Would Have Loved It)

July 10, 2012

Can't say enough good things about the trip. Jack G, Socratese and Antonio were fantastic guides. they went out of their way to make our experience the best it could possibly have been. Jack and i even did a rendition of Ernie Ford's 16 tons, though if truth be told we may have enjoyed it even more than our audience. Patti and I had a wonderful time. Didnt come for the food but it was outstanding. the Snorkeling was out of sight. My wife Patti has never been comfortable snorkeling but she found her groove in the galapagos. i'd do a Zegrahm expedition again without hesitation.

Trip: Ultimate Galapagos
First Name: tim
Last Name: malloy
City: burr ridge
State: ill

Sicilian Tiramisu

July 5, 2012

During our 2011 visit to Sicily’s picturesque town of Monreale, travelers and leaders alike returned raving about the tiramisu that was served for dessert at a local restaurant. Expedition staff member, Susan Langley, told us, “I had always regarded tiramisu as over-rated because I never had a version that was what I expected, or was led to believe it could be, and this one was sublime.” We managed to track down the recipe from the restaurant and wanted to whet your appetite for this expedition. Enjoy!


28 Savoiardi (crisp Italian ladyfingers, 9 oz)

2 ¼ cup mascarpone cheese

¾ cup, plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided

3 whole eggs

2 egg yolks

2 cups strong coffee (with a little sugar)

4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Beat the eggs and the egg yolks with 7 tablespoons of sugar. Mash the mascarpone cheese and beat it with remaining 7 tablespoons of sugar. Mix the eggs with the mascarpone until soft and creamy. Place half of the ladyfingers into a serving dish; lightly soak them with the coffee and cover with half of the mascarpone mixture. Place the rest of the ladyfinger cookies upon the first layer, soak them with coffee and top with the rest of the mascarpone. Sprinkle with cocoa powder and place into the fridge for at least 6 hours before serving.


Bon appetit!

Greetings from Galapagos!

June 25, 2012

Written by Jack Grove.


Greetings from Galapagos - the adventure has begun. All is well aboard the Isabela II, and we are all looking forward to the coming ten days in these enchanted islands. I hope to post photos and encourage guests to have their families open up the blog as well.