Coasters: The Uchuck III, Lady Rose, Frances Barkley and Tyee Princess
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Maps, Bibliography, Index
Contributor to newspapers and magazines in Canada, Britain and United States on travel- and transportation themes.
Author: Empress of Britain: Canadian Pacific's greatest ship (Erin: Boston Mills, 1992).
Reviewer for CBRA since 1993.
The four small ships that are the subject of Coasters, the newest
launched in 1958, still ply British Columbia’s coastal waters; three
carry passengers and cargo, while the fourth is restricted exclusively
to cargo. They venture into remote ports, resorts, and logging camps
where roads are primitive or nonexistent and where scheduled ferry
service by large companies is impracticable. Working in near-anonymity
as far as most British Columbians are concerned, these coastal ships
nevertheless provide an essential service between urban centres and
isolated communities. In recent years, tourists have begun to discover
the attractions offered by the coasters and their scenic routes.
Rob Morris writes knowledgeably about the ships, their crews, and their
passengers. He intersperses factual material on the coasters with
accounts of their adventures and misadventures. Operating a coaster is a
financially precarious undertaking, as the author tells us; its
unceremonious nature attracts sailors who might not thrive in more
formal settings. Crewmen tend to be resourceful in their duties and
colorful in character, thus giving the author an opportunity to include
anecdotes about trips that seldom conform to an established routine.
Although the book includes technical details about these hard-working
ships, the author writes for the general reader. Photographs and deck
plans of the ships vary in quality but are usually satisfactory.
Morris has drawn attention to a fragment of Canadiana that has escaped
most people’s attention. While the book’s subject matter may not
attract everyone, those few who know the secluded regions of the West
Coast—and those who wish they knew them better—will find much to
enjoy within its pages.