In the lobby of the River Place Hotel on Portland’s waterfront, his dark eyes smiled as he welcomed me. Framing his tanned, weathered face was a long beard and mane of wiry, white hair. Jerry Igo would be the resident botanist aboard the MV Sea Lion for our week-long Columbia River expedition in the “Wake of Lewis and Clark”.
“The Sea Lion has encountered bad weather in the Pacific enroute from its winter operation in Baja, CA, causing our embarkation to be delayed,” Jerry explained. “Dinner will be at the hotel instead of aboard ship as scheduled.”
At dinner that night Jerry reinforced his ancient mariner image. “I have lived on the Columbia River for 75 years, canoed and kayaked 400 miles of it,” he said. In the coming week, Jerry’s many other talents and professional achievements also surfaced.
Indeed, it is the expertise of all the cruise company’s naturalists, historians, and researchers that makes a Lindblad voyage unique.
Junius Rochester, the Sea Lion’s highly-qualified historian, believes that Lindblad passengers are also different. “The joy of experiential learning is their greatest entertainment,” he said. “They also tend to be slightly younger than other small ship cruise lines, probably because of the zodiacs, kayaks, short hikes, and other outdoor activities.”
The Daily Expedition Reports (DER’s) of our “In the Wake of Lewis and Clark” voyage included: an imposing view of Mount Hood; a Snake River jet boat in Hell’s Canyon, one of the country’s deepest gorges; a Zodiac exploration of the Palouse River Mouth and dramatic Palouse Falls; natural and cultural history exhibits at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center; and in Astoria, Oregon - a visit to Fort Clapsop, where Lewis and Clark spent a dismal winter. The roundtrip also transits 16 locks, eight in each direction.
Expedition Leader Larry Prussin explained, “Lindblad Expeditions partners with the National Geographic Society to support a better understanding of the unique and pristine places around the world.”
In keeping with Lindblad’s focus on education and responsible travel practices, all 31 outside cabins are utilitarian and small (95-110 square feet), but well-maintained with adequate storage and twin or double beds. Except for six cabins on the main deck, they all have a picture window and a door that opens onto a common exterior deck
A library, full-service bar, and 24-hour self-service beverage station are located in the lounge/lecture room where guests gather for a recap of the day and what is coming tomorrow. It is a lively forum for questions and answers.
Massages, tips to the shipboard staff, alcoholic drinks, and an occasional “free time” on the itinerary are extra, but all shore excursions are included in the cost.
For those who travel to seek a better appreciation of the culture and wildlife, a Lindblad voyage is a great value.
For more information: www.expeditions.com or call 1-800-EXPEDITION