Where are you from and where have you lived?
I am from South Africa and have lived in Seattle since1995 when Zegrahm Expeditions sponsored me to come to the US.
Tell us about yourself—what path led you to becoming a Zegrahm Leader?
I started working on expedition ships in the onboard shops. I worked for Ship to Shore who ran the shops on the Explorer and the World Discoverer. I was fortunate enough to learn how to drive a Zodiac, plus the ins and outs of expedition cruising from all angles as I had the freedom of being my own boss in the shop.
What other jobs, positions or credentials do you have?
I started my career as a Physical Education teacher in South Africa. As there is no money in teaching, I began working in a seafood restaurant, and eventually owned a restaurant in South Africa. After leaving the restaurant world, I started working for a South African company on the Achille Laura and the Oceanos (both sank and are no longer around) as a hostess, and then was lucky enough to move into expedition cruising.
What other fields are you passionate about?
Tennis, gymnastics, and gardening
Any awards, publications, appearances documentaries etc. do you have?
I appear in a documentary about the sinking of the Oceanos on August 3, 1991.
What do you enjoy about working for Zegrahm?
The rest of the Zegrahm field staff are all my best friends, we have so much fun together. Zegrahm takes care of its guests and staff better than any other company I have worked with. They care about the crew on the vessels too, and when we are all together, guests, crew, and staff, we have a really amazing time.
What is your favorite Zegrahm?
Spending the weekend once a year at Whistler with the entire Zegrahm crowd, both office and field staff.
Can you tell us about a time that you were on an expedition that ended up taking an unexpected turn or made an unexpected discovery that took you off the planned trail?
Arriving in Torojaland, Indonesia after spending the day traveling over bumpy roads in mini vans to be told that we were able to see a traditional Toraja funeral. Visiting Torajaland doesn’t guarantee that you will get to see one of their famous funerals. In Toraja, the dead body can remain in the family home for several months, in some cases even decades, until the clan can afford a proper funeral and can eventually schedule the ceremony. We were fortunate enough to see them sacrificing 6 buffalo and the entire village coming out for the feast.
What non-for-profits or causes do you support or feel strongly about?
Eliminating plastic from the oceans.
What are your top three countries or regions in the world to explore?
Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and the Antarctic
What’s left on your explorer’s bucket list/where do you still want to go that you haven’t been yet? Why there?
Bhutan, it’s always fascinated me and is a difficult location to get to.
What does being a part of the Zegrahm family mean to you?
Home, friendship, my entire career.