Voyages to Windward: Sailing Adventures on Vancouver Island's West Coast


216 pages
Contains Photos, Maps, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-55017-366-9
DDC 910.9164'.33





Nikki Tate-Stratton writes children’s picture books and novels for
preteens. Her most recent novels are Raven’s Revenge, Tarragon Island,
and Jo’s Journey. Her latest picture book is Grandparents’ Day.


Elsie Hulsizer’s account of more than 20 years of sailing Vancouver
Island’s west coast is organized geographically: the Hulsizers sail
out of Seattle and each of their 18 trips to Vancouver Island begins
there. Voyages to Windward takes readers on a journey north along the
west coast of Vancouver Island as far as the Brooks Peninsula. Beginning
with a passage through the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the Hulsizers’
travels include stops at Barkley Sound, Clayoquot Sound, Hesquiat
Harbour, Nootka Sound, Esperanza Inlet, and Kyoquot Sound.

With a degree in oceanography, a keen interest in history, and a
professional background in environmental consulting, Hulsizer is an
excellent guide to an area that has over several centuries seen the fur
trade, whaling, mining, forestry, fishing, and tourism industries wax
and wane. Communities and businesses have sprung up, thrived, and then
disappeared. The author thoughtfully reflects on the cyclical changes
that continue to affect the people of this wild coast. She treats the
post-contact history of the region’s First Nations people with respect
and genuine fascination.

Though historical, geographical, and natural history references abound,
much of the book’s appeal derives from the Hulsizers’ propensity for
befriending the residents of the various places they visit. By listening
in on their conversations, the reader glimpses a unique way of life that
seems in constant peril of being swallowed by the rain forest. Sailors
will enjoy specific references to dragging anchors, the vagaries of wind
and fog, and wilderness repairs (how do you cope with broken rigging
when you find yourself in one of the remotest areas of the west coast?).
An index makes it easy for the reader to find specific locations,
vessels, and individuals (both historic and contemporary).

More detailed maps and charts would have been an asset so armchair
cruisers and sailors alike could follow along, right down to locating
the trail used to cross from an anchorage to a sandy beach (impossible
with the very basic maps included in the book). A pronunciation guide
would have been helpful as well. But these are minor quibbles. This
beautifully produced book is the next best thing to being there.


Hulsizer, Elsie., “Voyages to Windward: Sailing Adventures on Vancouver Island's West Coast,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 25, 2024,