Stories & Updates

Chuck Baxter (1927-2022), the Sea of Cortez, and the Western Flyer

William Gilly, Western Flyer Foundation Board,

On August 19th, our ocean community lost a beloved friend, Chuck Baxter, long-time marine biologist at Hopkins Marine Station and co-founder of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. In this tribute, WFF Board Member William Gilly reflects on their long friendship, their many nights philosophizing over fermented malt beverages, and their journeys to the Sea of Cortez.

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The Olympic Stove

Linda Powell-McMillan, Western Flyer Foundation Board,

The original cooking stove in the 1940 Western Flyer was a 1937 cast iron, diesel oil-burning Olympic stove. The original stove was lost, but thanks to sleuthing by our Western Flyer Project Manager, Chris Chase, a replacement was located on Craigslist. The stove is now temporarily stored in the cabin of the Western Flyer, waiting to be installed.

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The Atlas-Imperial diesel engine

By Tom Keffer, Board President,

For over 70 years, Western Flyer was powered by her original engine, a rugged Atlas-Imperial diesel. These engines were reliable, and very popular in their time. Manufactured in Oakland, CA, they were exported all over the world. Many are still in service.

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The Western Flyer Returns to the Sea!

By Chris Chase, Project Director,

It’s been an incredible few weeks here at the Western Flyer Foundation with lots of big changes. The Western Flyer reunited with the waters of the Salish Sea, and the Western Flyer Foundation appointed its first full-time Executive Director, Sherry Flumerfelt. Congratulations to all.

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“…open the page… let the stories crawl in by themselves”

This school year, students in Monterey County were invited “…to open the page and to let the stories crawl in by themselves” (John Steinbeck, Cannery Row), in the Western Flyer Foundation’s Community Journal Project. Through a series of five lessons led by their teachers and project mentors, students recorded deep observations in their journals about […]

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Monterey Bay, An Incredible Classroom

By William Gilly, Ph.D, Board Member and Chief Scientist with the Western Flyer Foundation June 3, 2022 Educational programs to be carried out on the Western Flyer in Monterey Bay are currently being developed through a collaboration of Western Flyer Foundation, Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University, and the Naval Postgraduate School. The SEACOAST project […]

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“Inspire me a bit.”

A roundabout giving appeal, and Ed Ricketts’s roundabout approach to ecology. In 1940, Jack Calvin wrote a long letter to Ed Ricketts, urging him to come to Sitka on a collecting trip. A year before, Calvin and Ricketts’s ecological landmark, Between Pacific Tides, finally saw print after years of research, rewriting and resistance to publication […]

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Western Flyer Restoration Episode 35

The original wheelhouse is installed back onto the Western Flyer.

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Hunt for a lost book from the Ed Ricketts collection

In this episode of Stories, Shorts, and Outtakes, we hear from Don Kohrs, head librarian at the Harold A. Miller Library of Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station. Don tells the story of a treasure hunt to find a book that Ed Ricketts owned in high school, in which he had written some notes. The hunt […]

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A letter from the Board President

Dear Supporter, We need your help! We are oh-so-close to getting the boat in the water and ready for her trip to her new home in Monterey, California, but there are still a few missing pieces. Look how far we have come. For years, Western Flyer languished in the waters of Puget Sound, forgotten and […]

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“Let’s go wide open.”

Susan Shillinglaw, professor of English at San Jose State Univeristy and founding board member of the Western Flyer Foundation, reads her favorite section from the introduction to the Log From the Sea of Cortez.

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The Western Flyer Foundation’s Community Journal Project

This school year, the Western Flyer Foundation is piloting the Community Journal Project with students in Monterey County. This project focuses on environmental literacy through the integration of art, science, and creative writing. Middle and high school students work with art and writing mentors as they create Community Journals. The curriculum for this program is […]

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“All things are one thing, one thing is all things.”

In this episode of Stories, Shorts and Outtakes of the Western Flyer, artist and Western Flyer Foundation advisory board member, Ray Troll, reads from The Log from the Sea of Cortez. This passage inspired Ray to create an original piece of artwork, which can be purchased on a t-shirt here: https://www.trollart.com/product/tide-pool-to-the-stars/

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Introducing Stories, Shorts and Outtakes of the Western Flyer

Chris Chase introduces a new playlist on the Western Flyer Foundation’s YouTube channel, where you can find stories from folks who are involved in the Western Flyer Foundation and the restoration of the Western Flyer. Subscribe to the Western Flyer Foundation Channel for a new episode each week.

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“A man builds the best of himself into a boat.”

In this episode of Stories, Shorts and Outtakes of the Western Flyer, Dr. William Gilly, a founding board member of the Western Flyer Foundation and professor at Stanford University, reads one of his favorite excerpts from The Log from the Sea of Cortez.

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Notes from a Visit to the Western Flyer

I had the good fortune to tour the Western Flyer in Port Townsend with Chris Chase on the misty morning of September 9, 2021. This was my first time seeing the Flyer in person since spring 2019. As I approached the Port Townsend Shipwrights Co-Op building, I could see Western Flyer’s bow peeking out through […]

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WFF T-Shirts Designed by Andrea Dingeldein

Support the Western Flyer Foundation with a donation of $35 (or more) and receive a t-shirt with original artwork by Andrea Dingeldein. You can find more of Andrea’s work at the www.thelocalnaturalist.com.

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How Resilient is the Gulf of California?

“The very air here is miraculous, and outlines of reality change with the moment.” ~John Steinbeck and Edward F. Ricketts, Sea of Cortez (1941) Although we may still think of the Gulf of California as the “World’s Aquarium,” it was added to the List of World Heritage in Danger in July 2019. A  considerable amount […]

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