Blue Dot: Restoring the Western Flyer with John Gregg (1/11/2020)

Playlist for Show: Blue Dot

The Western Flyer in restoration at Port Townsend, WA

In this episode we explore the amazing story of the Western Flyer, the fishing boat immortalized by John Steinbeck in his 1940 book The Log From The Sea of Cortez. Fresh off the success and controversy surrounding The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck and his best friend and mentor in the newly emerging science of ecology, marine biologist Ed Ricketts (the model for the character of “Doc” in the novel Cannery Row) set off to explore the Baja California coast and the Gulf of California (more romantically referred to as “The Sea of Cortez”) in 1940. The book based on the voyage was not a best seller, but over the years it has become a beloved classic that has influenced generations of ocean scientists and nature lovers. A lifelong fan of the book and Steinbeck’s writings, Marine Geologist John Gregg set out to find the Western Flyer and restore it for use as a working marine science and education vessel once again exploring the Pacific coast from Alaska to Mexico. Dave and John share their love of the sea, Steinbeck and Ricketts and the power of a famous boat to inspire the human spirit 80 years after its famous crew members explored the tidal zones and colorful characters of the coastal towns of the Sea of Cortez.

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