Last year I had the good fortune to have a chance meeting with what at first glance was an unassuming fellow who recognized me while I sat in the local coffee shop with my wife. He had just picked up a copy of my book, Dreaming in Nuchatlitz – a paddling journey. Always a good conversation opener with me. We chatted briefly about kayaking the local waters, I thanked, and signed the book for him. That was that. About a half hour later we were on the ferry headed to Vancouver Island and who should be parked beside me by the same fellow. Again, we stood in the wind and chatted about kayaking. It was then that he slipped in the note that he had also written a book about sea kayaking around Vancouver Island with a friend. I tend to open each conversation with a plug for my book, but that was me, not him. I grilled him about it and he scribbled the link to Blurb.com where he had produced the book as a self-published effort.
I felt it was fair play to order it as soon as I got back home. When it arrived I was pleasantly surprised. It was glossy with great production quality though produced from jpg format pictures, which my nature do not usually reproduce well. I was so impressed with the print that I later sampled Blurb.com myself with a tiny soup book, called Barefoot and Num-Nums that I had put together and is available now.
Paddlers Jonathan Reggler and his mate Doug Taylor came to BC by different routes. Reggler, an ex-British Army medical officer who became a civilian GP and later relocated to the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island and has his practice in the nearby town of Courtney. His paddling partner, Taylor was an officer in the Canadian forces for 36 years came to Courtney and is now a paddle instructor for Comox Valley Kayaks.
Together they set out to circumnavigate what can be both beautiful and terrifying, Vancouver Island. They did not jump into it lightly and produced a paddling contract and guideline for their expedition, which they published in the book. They dedicating time each day of the journey to a daily diary as well as taking photos. These accounts were compiled along with photos, and at each supply stop added to the pair’s blog (a link I have provided below) along with a SPOT locator on Google Maps of their locations on any given day.
After the trip they put together a book accounting the journey around this big rock hanging out on the fringes of the jagged BC coast. From blog to book was a perfect fit!
The resulting 106 page hard or softcover edition is a terrific companion to anyone considering the trip. The published photo blog format is easy to follow and the pair have done their homework. It reads as a general guide, and personal trip log. Reggler and Taylor provide several useful tips as well as GPS co-ordinates for several of their landing and camping spots (some of which I recognize from my own journeys) as well as supply lists. A lovely little feature of this book is one page depicting a hand-drawn pencil illustration of what is packed and where in the hatches.
The photography is lovely, stunning at times and gives a good sense of the flavour and astonishing natural beauty still available on the coast. The blog aspect works well too as they alternate back and forth throughout the book which gives a clear impression of the two distinctly different personalities and an overview of what it is like to undertake such a trip.
I have yet to paddle all the way around Vancouver Island. Though I have hit some of its glorious hot spots by kayak there is still so much for me to see out there. Reggler and Taylor take me to those missing places on my kayaking map.
I highly recommend this self-published effort. Only available through the Blurb.com online bookstore it is well worth picking up a copy whether an outdoorsy type, kayaker, camper or just want a view of places not many people ever visit. This is a good read!
These are the links to Blurb and the blog site which is still up and running.