Expedition will retrace legendary Steinbeck-Ricketts voyage to the Sea of Cortez

to see those areas up close before they're reached by bigger outboard motors. When that happens, that will be the end of what's left of the 'untouched' coast.''

"The abundance of life here gives one an exuberance, a feeling of fullness and richness. The playing porpoises, the turtles, the great schools of fish which ruffle the water surface like a quick breeze, make for excitement." --FROM "SEA OF CORTEZ," by John Steinbeck and Edward F. Ricketts (1941)

Like many marine scientists, Gilly has long dreamed of retracing the path of the Western Flyer. His dream finally became a reality a few months ago when he met Frank Donahue, a semi-retired commercial fisherman and captain of the Gus D, who offered to pilot his boat for the entire six-week cruise at cost. Soon afterward, Gilly recruited three other members to the expedition, all of whom plan to make the entire roundtrip voyage:

    * Chuck Baxter, a lecturer emeritus in biological sciences at Stanford;

    * Nancy Burnett, a marine biologist and photographer who serves as science director and executive producer of the Sea Studios Foundation in Monterey; and

    * Jon Christensen, an environmental journalist and Steinbeck Fellow at San Jose State University.

In November, the project became fully bi-national when Exequiel Ezcurra, president of the Instituto Nacional de Ecologa - one of the leading government environmental research institutions in Mexico - agreed to serve as co-principal investigator. Other researchers from Mexico, Stanford, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and several conservation groups working in the Gulf also may join the expedition as it winds its way around the Baja Peninsula. ''There's a lot of great research going on in Mexico, and bringing those scientists on board for a week at a time, or a leg at a time, and exchanging ideas with them is going to be really exciting,'' Gilly says.

''When Gilly invit

Contact: Mark Shwartz
Stanford University

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