I wrote a Memoir dealing with my time on the Western Flyer – the iconic vessel used by John Steinbeck and Ed Ricketts for their trip to the Sea of Cortez in 1940.
“Chiefly between Kodiak Island and Cape Spencer, Alaska – a memoir of life on the Motor Vessel Western Flyer 1962-1963 and influences on a career in marine science” is published in Argonauta, the Newsletter of the Canadian Nautical Research Society August 2016 33(3):5-18. (copyright © CNRS/SCRN and all original copyright holders)
Here is the Memoir in PDF form

Visit the Argonauta website and link below to see the article in the Newsletter

This photo of the Western Flyer was taken in Alaska in 1962.

I was interviewed by Kevin Bailey for his book The Western Flyer: Steinbeck’s Boat, the Sea of Cortez, and the Saga of Pacific Fisheries (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015). Kirk Johnson from the New York Times also talked to me about my time on the ship. Kirk Johnson’s article gives a good description of how the old ship is being rebuilt as a marine training vessel. 
(View the article)


The Western Flyer was almost totally rebuilt at the Port Townsend Washington shipyards. I visited the shipyard in June 2017 and had a great tour of the boat by Chris Chase.

After extensive work she was relaunched in June 2022. The vessel is being refitted with sampling gear before heading to Monterey California to be used a marine science training ship on west coast of North America.

The website for the Western Flyer foundation gives a wealth of information on the rebuild.

Here are some other websites that deal with the past, present and future of the vessel.