Ed Ricketts (biography) and John Steinbeck are two names that are synonymous with Monterey's Cannery Row. Looking at the pickled creatures in large bottles of formaldehyde, and the primitive scientific instruments and texts with which they were studied, I get goose bumps and feel my enthusiasm flare up just thinking about going out to a rich sea, capturing specimens, and scrutinizingly recording over every detail later. In the Sea of Cortez, you could make more discoveries, see more mind-blowing creatures with vibrant colors and fascinating behaviors, and participate in the noble quest for expanding our collective knowledge.
These experiences sound like a great time, even considering that living on a ship entails certain hardships such as lack of privacy, equilibrium imbalance issues, being confined in a very small space with a limited number of people, and having to post watch in the middle of the night to make sure that the boat is safe. Besides, you get to fight epic battles with beautiful, ferocious fish, hopefully resulting in some seafood to supplement the provisions.
I am only on the first pages of the log of the scientific expedition, undertaken by the Sea of Cortez Expedition and Education Project, and I am already hooked. Bill Gilly's (the chief scientist) statement of purpose seems to really resonate with the image that I have of Doc Ricketts- an approach to studying marine biology that blends the passion of one's hobby(using hobby as the Japanese definition of spending all of your free time and money on) with the uncompromising work ethic for one's chosen profession. The sea is our last terrestrial frontier, and holds many more surprises than we know.