Ragged Islands: A Journey by Canoe Through the Inside Passage


248 pages
Contains Maps, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-88894-718-6
DDC 917.11'31044





Reviewed by Susan Perks

Susan Perks, formerly a teacher and librarian, is a travel agent in
Thompson, Manitoba.


Poole is an award-winning film director, having produced many
documentaries for the CBC and the National Film Board. His most recent
film is Island of Whales, which he wrote and directed for the PBS
science series “Nova.”

In the summer of 1987, Poole explored the Inside Passage of British
Columbia, a trip lasting three months and done solely by canoe. This is
an interesting account of his trip, as well as a personal odyssey:
“What sort of travelling companion would I find myself to be?” He
also interweaves his narrative with a personal commentary on political,
economic, and sociological influences.

As we read his account, we learn about the effects of the logging,
fishing, and tourism industries on the ecology and the lifestyle of the
people living along the coast. We explore with the author as he
discovers abandoned Native villages, and learn about their history. We
meet the people living in these isolated areas: a Czechoslovakian prawn
fisherman, an Indian artist, whale-watchers, and others who live in an
environment that offers solitude and natural beauty—an environment
that is nevertheless precarious. Poole ponders “What I had always
romanticized as splendid isolation must, in fact, have been a lonely and
limited existence.” Along with the author, we question why people live
in these isolated areas, and his book gives us much insight as he
explores and probes to find answers.

His descriptions are excellent, but some photographs would have been
nice. He includes an appendix that describes his canoe and recommended

It is an interesting book, and will be a useful addition to any


Poole, Michael., “Ragged Islands: A Journey by Canoe Through the Inside Passage,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 21, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/11768.