Carmel Magazine

Carmel Magazine, Winter-Spring 2019

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Page 186 of 243

"Ricketts was a scientist but he looked at community issues and group behavior in the ani- mal realm. Steinbeck was interested in those aspects of humanity," says Steinbeck scholar Susan Shillinglaw. "They had a shared perspective from the beginning of their friendship. They brought out the best in each other and sparked one another." Though the stated purpose of the Mexico trip was science, there was a good amount of fun built in to the undertaking as well. More than eight decades after her keel was laid, the Flyer is being painstakingly restored by her new owner, John Gregg, President of Gregg Drilling, an environmental drilling and testing company. He read "Sea of Cortez" as a lad of 11. "The science was a little beyond me, but it seemed like a couple of guys were having a good time," he recalls. "If that was a job, I wanted to be a part of it." The Western Flyer was a mere ghost when Gregg purchased her. Rechristened Gemini, she relocated to Alaska after Monterey's fishery declined, continuing as a commercial fishing ves- sel into the 1990s. "The Western Flyer sank three-and-a-half times," says Chris Chase, the shipwright in charge of her restoration in Port Townsend, C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • W I N T E R 2 0 1 9 185 Blueprints of a contemporary sister boat also constructed by the Western Boat Building Company are invaluable in the meticulous restoration headed by Project Director Chris Chase (shown in glasses and baseball cap leading a group tour). Photos: Courtesy of The Western Flyer Foundation

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