Island Trek: An Historical and Geographical Tour of Seal Island, Nova Scotia....


108 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 0-88999-169-3





Reviewed by Janet Arnett

Janet Arnett is the former campus manager of adult education at Ontario’s Georgian College. She is the author of Antiques and Collectibles: Starting Small, The Grange at Knock, and 673 Ways to Save Money.



Hichens writes with an obvious respect for his subject — the simplicity and dangers of life in the Atlantic.

The structure for this small book is simplicity itself: a life-long resident of Seal Island walks the parameters of the island, letting landmarks along the way remind her of past events from her own and the island’s past.

Seal Island is scarcely four miles long. It is a tiny dot in a vast ocean. Yet, because of its location off the shore of Nova Scotia, it has been the cause of hundreds of ship wrecks.

The first residents of the island moved there in response to tales that sailors often made it ashore from a wreck only to die from exposure on the island. From their work in helping survivors who made it ashore, the rescue work grew to include a lighthouse and rescue boats. The author is a direct descendant of the first couple to live on the island, and his book is a retelling of the memories of a woman who lived on the island since 1889.

The writing captures the homespun quality of unpretentious, rural life. The atmosphere is rich yet subtly handled and the attention to detail makes the work come alive.

There’s a section of 18 small, black-and-white photos. These are of poor quality and add more to the expense of the book than to its value.

The book will be valued by anyone who loves the Atlantic or is interested in alternate lifestyles.


Hichens, Walter W., “Island Trek: An Historical and Geographical Tour of Seal Island, Nova Scotia....,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed August 19, 2022,