Bette Lu Krause

Naturalist, Lindblad Expeditions, Musician, Artist


“She inspires us by being so multi-faceted and talented, and for living a life ever-animated by glowing possibilities.”



Bette Lu Krause

Fasten your seat belt—this is a yarn. (Imagine a banjo playing softly as you read it.) And all of it is true.


Bette Lu was 24 when she ran off to sea. At the time, she was living in Telluride, Colorado, skiing as much as possible and working service jobs to finance her skiing habit. After her bluegrass band broke up, she began the hunt for a new adventure. Some friends worked for the USGS on a research vessel; a second USGS ship was scheduled, and Bette Lu, based on a hunch, decided that working on ships was the perfect job for her. Through sheer persistence, she managed to secure a berth as a steward. And for the next 20 years, she explored the world’s oceans aboard research vessels, tankers, freighters, tow boats—and then Lindblad Expeditions’ ships.


On a windy night in 1992, as captain of the Portland Rose, Bette Lu had just tied up her little ship, and walked down the dock to be a good mariner and help catch the lines for the National Geographic Sea Lion. It so happened that the Lindblad team was looking for a chief mate, and within a month, Bette Lu had made her first expedition to Baja California. “What a revelation!” she said.  She found stopping the ship to observe whales; snorkeling; hiking; being surrounded by inquisitive, interesting crew members and guests; nothing short of incredible.


She has amassed thousands of stories about ships and her wild encounters at sea and ashore—from her tow boat sinking in the Beaufort Sea to watching bubble-net-feeding humpback whales, and from transporting Brahman bulls across the Atlantic to Cape Town to following huge brown bear tracks across a mud flat in Southeast Alaska. This makes traveling with her as entertaining as it is assuring—this is a woman more than comfortable leading others.


To say Bette Lu is both indefatigable and inspiring is an understatement. These days she’s more inclined to travel aboard Lindblad Expeditions as a part-time naturalist, because she is fully involved—again—with new adventures. She has returned to music as a member of a female trio called the Oyster Crackers. And she has taken up painting, producing expressionistic nature-focused art of considerable skill and beauty. Take a trip down to the tip of Washington’s Long Beach peninsula, near or all the way to lovely, historic Oysterville, and you’re likely to see Bette Lu’s work in the top shops and local galleries.


We salute an explorer at the culmination of her storied expedition career. We celebrate her exuberance and abilities, including her youthful grace in moving freely in the rust-tinged, male-dominated worlds of tugs and freighters. We applaud her skills, long-term and new-found, her knowledge, immense appetite for adventure and incredible warmth. She inspires us by being so multi-faceted and talented, and for living a life ever-animated by glowing possibilities.


> We asked Bette Lu Krause:


… the same questions we asked all the explorers we’re featuring during Women’s History Month. They responded with word documents, and with direct answers to direct questions. Bette Lu on the other hand provided a visual response—photos that show instead of tell. The answers to why she explores, the advice she might give to future female explorers is implicit and obvious—love.


Bette Lu Krause aboard the RV Sea Sounder

Bette Lu Krause aboard the RV Sea Sounder

Aboard the RV Sea Sounder, 1976

The Sea Sounder visits Southeast Alaska


Bette Lu Krause

Bette Lu Krause

Bette Lu's first expedition with Lindblad -- Baja California aboard the Sea Bird, 1992

Transporting bulls from Houston to South Africa aboard the SS Leslie Lykes, circa 1982


Bette Lu Krause

Bette Lu Krause

With her father, Jack Krause, aboard the Sea Lion on a Columbia River trip, 1994

With Lindblad undersea specialist Carlos Navarro in Alaska


Back to Main >>

Get our newsletter

Join us for updates, insider reports & special offers.

Privacy Policy