Back to All Events

3rd Friday Speaker Series: Michael Hemp

  • Wagner Education Center - The Center for Wooden Boats 1002 Valley Street Seattle, WA 98109 (map)

Michael Hemp presents: ”Doc” Ricketts and the Western Flyer: New Horizon

John Steinbeck wrote several dozen well-received books but, according to his wife, Sea of Cortez was his favorite. The book is iconic for its conservation message and for the manner in which it was written. Steinbeck and his best friend, pioneer marine biologist Edward F. “Doc” Ricketts, chartered the 1937 Monterey (California) based sardine seiner Western Flyer for a six-weeks, 4,000-mile cruise “of travel and research”.

The aftermath of that cruise forged unique connections between Monterey and Puget Sound. Author-historian Michael Kenneth Hemp will expound on the significant but little-known shared legacies of the Pacific Northwest and Monterey’s Cannery Row and how . This story orbits around Ed Ricketts’ significant studies in the super-abundant maritime shorelines and tidepools of the 1930s and 1940s Pacific Northwest.

It also is the story of how a Tacoma-built purse-seiner typical of the 1930s became a world-wide icon of science and literature for its 1940 voyage to the Sea of Cortez. The presentation will trace the saga of the Western Flyer to its current restoration at the Port Townsend Shipwrights Co-Op and its new mission as a seagoing classroom to inspire youth into the marine sciences.

Michael Hemp formed the Cannery Row Foundation in 1983 to research and preserve the history of Cannery Row. His book “CANNERY ROW, The History of Old Oceanview Avenue,” first published in 1986, is now in its third edition, fourth printing. In early 2017 he and his wife, Terri Wolfson, relocated from Carmel Valley, California, to Gig Harbor, Washington, to research the unknown and undisturbed history of Ed Ricketts in the Pacific Northwest and the restoration of the Western Flyer scheduled to be completed in 2020.

Our 3rd Friday presentation begins at 7 pm February 15 in the new Wagner Education Center. The program is free, snacks and beverages will be available and donations to help cover costs will be cheerfully and gratefully accepted.

Later Event: February 23
2019 Gala & Auction