Carmel Magazine

Carmel Magazine, Winter-Spring 2019

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Page 184 of 243

The Western Flyer Rises from the Depths A Histor ic Fishing Vessel Comes Back to Life B Y M I C H A E L C H AT F I E L D n July 3, 1937, a 76-foot fishing boat undertook her maiden voyage from the Western Boat Building Company docks in Tacoma, Washington. She was a sturdily-built purse seiner destined for the Monterey sardine fishing industry. However, she later became famous for a connection to one of 20th-century America's most celebrated novelists and his best friend. The writer was John Steinbeck. The friend, Ed Ricketts. The boat was the Western Flyer. Nearly four years after her launching, the Western Flyer departed Monterey Harbor with Steinbeck and Ricketts onboard, along with the author's wife Carol, Captain Tony Berry and colorfully named crewmen Tex Travis, Sparky Enea and Tiny Colletto. Steinbeck had chartered the boat to sail to the Sea of Cortez for collection and study of that body's marine life, chronicled by the two friends in "Sea of Cortez: A Leisurely Journal of Travel and Research." Ricketts' portion was a somewhat schol- arly scientific treatise while Steinbeck's was an entertaining and insightful narrative of the journey itself. A dedicated crew, led by owner John Gregg, is working to meticulously restore the Western Flyer to a safe and seawor- thy shape. She is slated to return to her original home port of Monterey in 2020. C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • W I N T E R 2 0 1 9 183 Photo: Courtesy of The Western Flyer Foundation

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