In March 1940, writer John Steinbeck set out with marine biologist Ed Ricketts, two seamen and an engineer on a expedition to collect marine animals in the Gulf of California. This book was written by Steinbeck using the log and field notes of Ricketts as a base. It is a wonderful scientific tale, similar to Darwin's Voyage of the Beagle, and Rachel Carson's Edge of the Sea, but with interludes in which Steinbeck recounts the thoughts, discussions, and experiences of the crew. Sometimes Steinbeck falls into speculative biological philosophy. Parts of this are rather dated, for instance, by being based on over-stretched analogies between biological systems and society, or by using the pre-Hamiltonian idea of evolution being for 'the good of the species'. In spite of these few short-comings, I really enjoyed this book, and looked forward to reading it on the train each day. Now I have finished it, I miss my little dose of the sunny Sea of Cortez, with all its colorful inhabitants, to lighten these gloomy January mornings.