The Log from the Sea of Cortez
John Steinbeck, The Log from the Sea of Cortez, (New York: Penguin), 1995 edition.
John Steinbeck and Ed Ricketts had a relationship that was fascinating not only because of their mutual interest in biology and the emerging study of ecology, but also because of their love of language, philosophy and discussion. It must have been a pure fascination to listen in when the two got to talking, something that Carol Henning, Steinbeck's first wife must have done. Although she isn't mentioned anywhere in the book, she was along on the adventure, though the tension in their relationship was beginning to show and the couple divorced not long after the trip in the Western Flyer around the Baja peninsula.
The edition of the book that I read is a later edition which contains Steinbeck's portion of the log and a tribute to Ed Ricketts written by Steinbeck. It was interesting to me to see how much of the basic concepts of interconnectedness that later became principles of ecology was understood by Ricketts and Steinbeck. They could see the effects of the use of water from the Colorado River for agricultural irrigation was altering the life of sea creatures. They understood the impact of factory boat over fishing of particular areas and how it would have world wide consequences.
I picked up the book because I had not previously read it and I was intending to read Kevin Bailey's book about The Western Flyer, which I also will review in this blog. It is a good read and for those who have read it, a good re-read to remind ourselves of how contemporary are the ideas of Steinbeck and Ricketts.