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Books...To Be Or Not To Be


By Melina, Expedition Guide, Safari Endeavour

As I was gearing up for a season as an expedition guide on the Safari Endeavour, I bought books. Piles of them. I figured I’d read through about two books per week down in crew quarters after the day was over.

One day in the shipyard, Randall Tate, a guide on the Wilderness Explorer, caught a glimpse of my book stacks and gave me a knowing smile. “I bet you think you’re going to do a lot of reading this season,” he said. “My bet is you won’t even get through one. There’s just,” and he started to laugh, “there’s just always a lot going on.”

Five weeks into the season, and Randall’s prediction has proved accurate. The sun barely sets in Alaska, and the crew hardly slows down at all.


Kayaking is a favorite activity

skiff excursion

Skiff excursions explore shoreline, get up close to ice and search for whales and other wildlife.

In the evening, I’ll go out to the bow with the chief engineer and the hotel manager to take photos of Margery Glacier as it glides by.

I’ll circle the pastry chef in the Galley like a vulture, having learned precisely what time the extra desserts are put out for grabs. I’m sitting in the lounge with the bartender sharing stories about the day or charting out a new kayak route for the next day’s adventure.


The baker on board is everyone's best friend.

Only late at night, when the sun is finally hovering on the horizon, the galley is swept up, everything is stored away and the crew is starting to nod off, do I finally head down to my bunk. By then, I’m too tired to even turn a single page of those many, many books.

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