Tales from the Galley: Stories of the Working Waterfront.


198 pages
Contains Photos, Maps, Index
ISBN 978-1-55017-438-0
DDC 387.509711'1





Reviewed by Ann Turner

Ann Turner is Financial and Budget Manager at the University of British
Columbia Library.


Imagine sitting in the cozy galley of a commercial fishing boat listening to crewmen swapping tales over a cup of coffee about their working lives and narrow escapes, and you will come close to the lively oral histories that interviewer Doreen Armitage has captured so expertly in this collection. Told largely in the first person and in the teller’s own words, these stories describe life and work on the ocean from a vantage point that few can, or would want to, share firsthand. Many of the interviewees are salt-water mariners working the waters off the coasts of British Columbia and Vancouver Island, between Dixon Entrance and Juan de Fuca Strait. They include commercial fishers, tug boaters, B.C. coast pilots, Canadian Coast Guard officers, and Department of Fisheries personnel. Some are commercial dive fishermen seeking sea urchins, geoducks (a large saltwater clam), scallops, and octopus. Of special interest are Armitage’s interviews with crew members from B.C.’s only offshore oil drilling rig, the Sedco 135F, which did exploratory gas and oil drilling off the west coast of Vancouver Island in the 1960s. The narratives are well illustrated with fine black-and-white photographs, and a glossary helps with marine terminology.


Armitage, Doreen., “Tales from the Galley: Stories of the Working Waterfront.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 15, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/28900.