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A Steinbeck Anniversary

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National Geographic Sea Bird

Lindblad Expeditions will mark the 70th anniversary of John Steinbeck’s “The Log From The Sea of Cortez” with a special Baja California expedition.  The expedition will both recall Steinbeck’s famous journey with his friend, biologist Ed Ricketts, and explore the marvelous and extensive natural beauty and ecosystem of the sea that so captivated them.

In 1940, both men set out to study invertebrate species in the Gulf of California.  The book that grew from this journey is a fascinating mixture of science, nature and philosophy, which continues to resonate with readers 70 later.

“Among the Great Whales”, an 8 day voyage on National Geographic Sea Bird, will depart La Paz, Mexico on January 22, 2011.  The ship will follow in the path of Steinbeck’s voyage, travelling around the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula from the Sea of Cortez to the Bahian Magdalena, the nursing lagoon for grey whales during their annual migration from the Arctic.  Zodiacs will provide passengers with a rare water-level whale watching opportunity.
Joining the expedition team on the cruise will be two noted scholars.  Susan Shillinglaw is professor of English at San Jose State University, a Scholar-in-Residence at the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, California, and the former director of the San Jose State University Steinbeck Center.

Dr. William Gilly has, for the past several years, been measuring important mid-water oxygen levels in the Sea of Cortez as part of Linblad’s ongoing expedition operations.  In 2004, he led a group, which included Susan Shillinglaw, that retraced the 1940 Sea of Cortez expedition in an effort to document long-term changes.  Dr. Gilly is a National Geographic grantee.

Those of you who have read Steinbeck’s “A Log from the Sea of Cortez” will understand the pull that this cruise elicits in many who were so influenced by the book.  To experience for oneself the astonishing natural beauty of that rugged coast, and witness the abundance of wildlife, all so wonderfully described by Steinbeck, is a goal for many of his readers.

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