Tag archive for "Gulf Islands"

Books, Gulf Islands, Velkommen

Desolation Sound – A History

No Comments 27 July 2012

Heather Harbord has turned out a seriously fine book for Desolation Sound fans.  Desolation Sound – A History is a history book that doesn’t read like a history book.  There’s a succinct endorsement.  Rugged places attract hearty people and eccentric people, and various combinations. That’s the human side of Desolation Sound and it may be an understatement.

Exhaustive research and excellent organization are the key elements that make this book so readable.  It begins with a couple of maps, an area map and a settlement map. The local geography constrains the settlements with mountains and saltwater.  Next is a short section on the early inhabitants and early explorers.  The meat of the book is found in part 2:  European Settlers.  The sundry areas that comprise Desolation Sound are seen through the stories and interviews of the rugged and unique folks that settled each area.  As the events of their lives unfold the book becomes warm and personal rather than a cold compilation of historical facts.  The stories of the early pioneers are priceless; their hardscrabble lives a constant adventure.  Definitely rugged, but as dramatic as the surroundings.  Some of them…..well, you just couldn’t make them up.

Eulogizing about the Coastal Indian tribes is kelp to a minimum.  And that is really delightful.  Too many books drool with fantasies of the “Noble Savage”  living in harmony with nature and one another.  Total Bravo Sierra.

There is an extensive bibliography and timeline, but most appreciated is the pronunciation guide.  Many of the place names are not pronounced at all like they are spelled.  Read it……you’ll see what I mean.


Books, Gulf Islands, Velkommen

Secret Coastline – journeys and discoveries along B.C.’s shores

No Comments 15 June 2012

Here is a really nicely written book.   The scenic B.C. coastline is filled with history and legends, a more wonderful topic would be hard to find.  But a great subject is only part of the equation.  The writer must infuse the pages with a warm personal glow that draws the reader forward.  Andrew Scott does just that.   Secret Coastline is a series of essays combining delightful storytelling and literary craftsmanship.  It is a wonderful journal of memorable people, unique creatures, magical places and stalwart boats.  The subject  might be most anything along the B.C. coast, told from the perspective of someone who has studied it carefully from the biggest island to the smallest plant.

Coastal B.C. vistas are bold and rugged.  Big trees, bigger mountains, massive cliffs dropping to an island studded expanse of sea.  All the boldness is balanced by a delicate and fragile side, so it is natural to include an environmental component.  Instead of in-your-face activism, Andrew Scott shows respect for the coastal landscape by gliding his kayak and his words ever so gently along the shoreline and through the coves and inlets.  Andrew Scott’s storytelling is captivating and his descriptive imagery softly persuasive.  Asking the reader to see the coastline as Andrew Scott sees it.  An exquisite view.  Sometimes bittersweet, challenging and marked with only small successes, but Scott finds joy and optimism wherever he looks, projecting the promise of a positive tomorrow.  What a healthy perspective.  Refreshing!

Through the words of Secret Coastline, I have seen many places and met many people.  It is soon time to do that in person; be part of the history.  If you enjoy boating and have a fondness for the Northwest…..you can’t afford to be without this book.  Read  Secret Coastline your Northwest experience will be so enriched.

Books, Gulf Islands, San Juan Islands, Velkommen

Whiskey Cove

1 Comment 13 May 2012

Whiskey Cove .  Interesting book.  And worthwhile reading just for the history lesson.  If you are familiar with the greater Seattle area, Bellingham and the San Juan Islands, the setting will seem like your backyard.  Prohibition was an exciting time (1919 to 1933), and Western Washington an exquisite backdrop for a story that spans the lifetime of one of the main characters.  Big money, organized crime, bootleggers, fast boats and plenty of quality legal alcohol just a few miles North.  Now wrap these threads within the lives of two Bellingham college students and you have all the pieces necessary for a great read.  Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Treasure Island…..mixed with a more adult college-years romantic theme

Denise Frisino has all the components on her screen to weave a really good literary tapestry.  But she is her own worst enemy.  She has all the skills of a good writer, but editing is not among them.  Descriptions are too verbose and repetitive, not compact and tight.  She is in love with her own writing, as if she were her own audience.  Then, when the really good stuff is about to happen, high tide with Nate and Jean locked in a hungry tongue-touching kiss…….. Denise turns on the cold shower and the narrative leaps to the next day.   Hey, the juicy in-between stuff is what’s important.  Turn up the heat.   What happened to all the romantic descriptive prose?  Shy?

An editor would have cut the fat from Whiskey Cove and replaced it with PASSION.

Good book, but it is really a first draft.  A good first draft; lots of potential.  The adult and adolescent themes need to expand and join like the flavors of a fine meal.  The history of Northwest rumrunning is fascinating and colorful, but it’s really background.  The dance of two young lovers is the expansive, but sadly underdeveloped, theme.  Expand on the romance and prune the prose mercilessly.  Please.

Books, Gulf Islands

Sitting on a Salt Spring

No Comments 08 February 2012

Sitting on a Salt Spring is book three in David Conover’s trilogy. His easy going romantic-comedy style moves forward a few years. Now his young son has entered the picture and since a daily boat trip across the Trincomali Channel to meet the school bus is impractical the family moves to Salt Spring Island for the school year.   Salt Spring Island is a social carnival compared to Wallace Island’s isolation.  The island’s characters are great material for good fun and misadventures.  You can think “Leave it to Beaver”, “Dennis the Menace” and “I Love Lucy” for a mental picture of Sitting on a Salt Spring.  It is wonderful light reading with a local touch.  Read it.  Read it to your kids or grandkids.  You can easily find it in the indie bookstores.  Amazon should have a list of candidates.  The smaller bookstores are really the most fun.




Full Moon Flood Tide – Bill Proctor’s Raincoast

No Comments 01 April 2011

I have heard it said that the Broughton Archepelago is more scenic than the Gulf Islands and the San Juan Islands put together.  Hard to imagine, but that alone should provide enough incentive for an extended visit.  Bill Proctor is an “old-timer” in the Johnstone Strait and Broughtons area.  This book is a collection of his memories and experiences: people, places and events.  Part fisherman, part logger, part naturalist, part conservationist, with an evolving perspective as the tide lifts the past into the future.

At first, I found the book difficult to read because the places talked about didn’t match up to the map on the facing page.   But I found myself reading a chapter here and another ancedote there; reading it out of sequence, rather like it is written; a little bit every day or two.  It took a long time to finish.  I read any number of the short chapters several times.  In the process, I felt like I came to know Bill Proctor and the area he calls home.    It’s like that aromatic loaf of fresh banana bread.  I don’t sit down and eat the whole thing; I enjoy one little slice and then another, and after a week or so it’s time to bake more. 

If you plan on cruising the Broughtons, Full Moon Flood Tide will give you a boatload of places to explore; places that you might miss without a bit of local knowledge.  Starting at Anacortes, it is less than 200 miles To Johnstone Strait and a little more to the Broughtons.  Are we there yet?

Big thanks to Bill and Sharon Robertson for loaning me their copy.  Bill is entering the waypoints at this very moment.
Click on the map and push the throttles up a notch.
Are we there yet?

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