Escape to Clayoquot Sound: Finding Home in a Wild Place

Heritage House. Apr. 2024. 320p. ISBN 9781772034714. pap. $29.95. NAT HIST
Kayak expert/photographer John (Sea Kayaking) and his photographerwife Bea document their move to the sparsely populated Vargas Island in Clayoquot Sound, off the coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. That’s where they sought open space, the sea, and a simpler life. This memoir chronicles their nine years of off-grid living in a ramshackle cabin by the sea. Written mostly from John’s point of view, with asides from Bea sprinkled throughout, the book shares the history of the Clayoquot Sound, its plant and animal life (on land and in the sea), its weather, and the various moods of the often tempestuous sea. Details of fishing, boating, especially kayaking, and boat building are woven through the couple’s adventurous tale as they make the cabin their home, explore Vargas Island, establish gardens, and create a pond while keeping a pack of wolves at bay. Visitors to their new home abound, including family, friends, and other Vargas Island residents who quickly become friends as the Dowds extend their hospitality to those in need. Stunning color photographs of the sea, landscapes, people, and plant and animal life enhance their story.
VERDICT A fascinating, immersive memoir of life off the grid. Will appeal to boaters, fishermen, adventurers, armchair travelers, and readers interested in the natural world.
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