Lindblad Expeditions will celebrate the 70th anniversary of John Steinbeck’s classic book "The Log from the Sea of Cortez" with a special Baja California expedition that will recall the author’s famous journey and explore the immense natural beauty and ecosystem of the ocean that inspired it.
In 1940, the legendary writer John Steinbeck embarked on an enlightening fact-finding and soul-searching journey along with his biologist friend Ed Ricketts. The pair set out to study invertebrate species along the Gulf of California, but science becomes only a part of Steinbeck’s fascinating day-by-day recounting, which ventures into the worlds of philosophy and high-speed adventure. It’s a portrait of two men at a unique intersection of science and nature, filled with a wanderlust that deeply resonates with readers even 70 years later.
The eight-day “Among the Great Whales” voyage on the 62-guest National Geographic Sea Bird will depart from La Paz, Mexico on January 22, 2011. Following in the path of Steinbeck’s voyage, the ship will travel around the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula from the Sea of Cortez to the nursing lagoon of Bahian Magdalena.
Here, adventurers will get a rare and up-close glimpse at the annual migration of gray whales in the region as they arrive from their arctic environs to the sheltered breeding lagoons. At Isla Espiritu Santo, a site where Steinbeck collected extensive marine specimens, guests can enjoy naturalist-guided walks on the deserted island, swimming, snorkeling and kayaking.
Zodiac landing crafts will offer a water-level whale watching view rarely found in the natural world, and countless chances to observe species ranging from whales to dolphins, blue-footed boobies to frigate birds and more.
Shedding new light on the book and on the journey will be noted Steinbeck scholar Susan Shillinglaw, professor of English at San Jose State University and a Scholar-in-Residence at the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, California. She is the former director of the San Jose State University Steinbeck Center and has written and spoken extensively about The Log from the Sea of Cortez.
Also joining the expedition team will be Dr. William Gilly, a National Geographic grantee, who has for the last 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.
Prices for this special Baja California: "Among the Great Whales" adventure begin at $4,990. Additional departures are available, with a selection of National Geographic photographers, researchers or explorers, on January 29, February 5 and 26, March 5, 12, 19 and 2011.