Searching for Steinbeck's Sea of Cortez: A Makeshift Expedition Along Baja's Desert Coast
Andromeda Romano-Lax, with her husband and two children, set out to explore the dazzling waters of the Sea of Cortez in a 24-foot sailboat. Inspired by Steinbeck’s famous 1940 book The Log from the Sea of Cortez, the author quickly proves herself an experienced and lyrical guide to one of North America’s most unusual and rugged places. Her vivid descriptions of the abundant marine life turn readers into armchair naturalists. An encounter with a mentally unbalanced skipper, a baseball game with local villagers, and a kayaking trip in a violent storm are among the adventures and misadventures Romano-Lax chronicles here. Including a map, a delightful blend of adventure, science, and philosophy, Searching for Steinbeck’s Sea of Cortez is a memorable trip to some of the most biologically diverse waters in the world.
The Sea of Cortez - Searching for the spirit of Ed Ricketts
By David B Richman - June 7, 2003
This was a great read! I have been to many of the places in the late 1960s and early 1970s that Romano-Lax visited, and I can vouch for the accuracy of her descriptions. I admire her courage (or possibly foolhardiness) in going on such an odyssey with her husband, two young children and a mentally questionable captain who also happened to be her brother-in-law. Oddly, I can identify with being with a mentally deranged person in Baja California. I was also in that same fix in 1968 when I joined a zoology field trip to San Felipe, Baja California Norte, only to find that one of my companions was seriously depressed to the point of being suicidal (it later turned out that he was on drugs). Travel to the Sea of Cortez seems to result in such strange associations. I used to own an old copy of Steinbeck and Ricketts that I had been given for cleaning up a storage shed. It was the only book in the shed and I was surprised to find it. I fingered through Ed Ricketts' descriptions and... read more
Steinbeck (and Ed Ricketts) would love it.
By A Customer - January 5, 2003
This is an ambitious book, well done. Its special beauty comes from Romano-Lax's ability to weave together so many elements into an enticing, captivating whole. There's the travel narrative, of course, with a string of adventures (and misadventures) involving her family -- including 5-year-old son Aryeh and 2-year-old daughter Tziporah -- and the challenges presented by an increasingly unstable brother-in-law who's also their boat's captain. There's the literary element, presenting new perspectives on John Steinbeck's Sea of Cortez explorations with buddy Ed Ricketts and fresh insights into their relationship. Toss in science, natural history, environmental issues, glimpses of Baja California's rich culture, and marvelous descriptions that give a strong sense of place. Then add in Romano-Lax's search for answers, her desire to understand how the Sea of Cortez has changed since Steinbeck's time, and, finally, her own shifting perspectives on what it means to know a place (or "know"... read more
Dull and slow at the start and unfocused
By CGScammell - March 4, 2007
There were so many ways of tackling what could have been a splendid sea voyage. Instead, it appeared to have been a taxing, challenging, emotional and financial disappointment for the crew.
Although the book picks up in pace and focus at page 133 on, the author was confusing toward the reader in not letting us know at the beginning what this book was about. Was it truly to discover Steinbeck's old route, was it to explore the sealife of the Cortez waters? Was it a family sailing trip with a grumpy captain and a toddler who wailed and vomited almost daily? Was it just a mundane journal of a sea voyage gone wrong? I really wanted to enjoy this book and tried hard.
Sometimes I felt lost with the nautical or marine terminology. That's why I only gave this book three stars instead of four. The author becomes more of an environmentalist toward the end as well, ranting about how Mexico and its people and the tourists should take better care of the shores and the... read more
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