by Neil Frazer
978-1-55017-487-8 • 1-55017-487-8
$29.95 • Paperback 8.5 x 11 • 176 pp • March 2010
With information on ancient native settlements, hidden campsites and everything in between, Boat Camping Haida Gwaii offers a fascinating and comprehensive marine guide to the wild beauty of the Queen Charlotte Islands for kayakers and other small vessel operators. The book has a wide range of informative maps and numerous photographs of the Queen Charlotte coast; offering meticulously field-tested paddling and boating routes to the islands’ majestic attractions. Detailed descriptions are given of each campsite and special appendices are provided with helpful hints on bear safety, tides and currents. The book also contains invaluable information about the history and culture of the Haida, the indigenous people of the Queen Charlotte Islands. This guide’s comprehensive information will be valuable to kayakers, canoeists, those in small motorboats and everyone interested in exploring this unique area.
This book is finished in Harbour’s usual high quality standard and at first glance looks very nice. The format is similar to a number of coastal sailing and boating references published over the years but ultimately disappoints.
Unfortunately the author ascribes to the “natives are one with nature and all non-natives are inherently evil” camp which puts an unfortunate spin on the book which means it should not be used as a meaningful reference work. This is a real shame as obviously a lot of work was put into this book. An example of this is an illustration on page 76 showing the (now scrapped if the author had done his research would have known) Haida Brave with the caption “A log carrier with the gratuitously insulting name Haida Brave self loads at Ferguson Bay….”
The author sets a bad example for boaters by including a photo of his boat on page 29 with the occupants not wearing lifejackets.
Author Frazer should determine if he wants to have his writings in the “New Age” section of the book store or “Local Interest” or “Boating.” The biases in this book ultimately are its demise and resultant lack of recommendation.