Sunday, November 09, 2014

"Full Moon, Flood Tide" by Bill Proctor and Yvonne Maximchuk month I reviewed Drawn to Sea by Yvonne Maximchuk. This month I read a book she co-authored with Bill (Billy) Proctor, an upcoast living legend. Full Moon, Flood Tide (Harbour Publishing, 2003) was written first, but I’m glad I read them in reverse order. Yvonne came to live near Bill in Echo Bay on Gilford Island between Vancouver Island and the BC mainland. In addition to her own experiences, Yvonne wrote about Billy Proctor because of his major influence on this remote Coastal BC island. Her story helped prepare me for the history Billy recounts in his book.

It’s amazing how much Billy remembers about First Nations villages, and oldtimers who eked out a living by hunting, fishing, and logging in this remote location. In his opening, Billy says, “These stories are about the past that is all but forgotten, and about a special breed of people who came to this part of the coast and helped pave the way for new generations.” I'm one of the new generation, and appreciate knowing all that has gone before.

The book is organized by inlet and island groups. Maps, old photos, and pictures by Yvonne (an accomplished artist) bring the story to life. First Nations villages, logging camps, fishing spots and canneries, and settler cabins are pinpointed. A coastal cruiser could use the information to find these places steeped in history. But care needs to be taken, weather and the harsh environment make this a dangerous place for the unwary.

I especially enjoyed detailed descriptions of 1900s logging techniques, fishing for the mighty salmon, homesteaders lives, and the life cycle of a pink salmon from fry to fertilizer. I didn’t realize that much was known about their life at sea.

The phrase “full moon, flood tide” has a special meaning to Billy and the rugged individuals past and present who make BC’s north coast and islands their home. I’ll let you read the saga and discover its special importance for yourself.

I’m always on the lookout for a good book about the history of British Columbia, especially ones about women living in remote regions. If you have any suggestions, I’d appreciate them. -- Margy


  1. Two of my favourite topics, pioneer women and native history. Have you read
    Margaret Horsfield's Cougar Annie's Garden?

  2. I love books about areas like this! I have a friend who was a nurse on the west coast. She's go home with very ill people, by boats, to the islands to make sure they were settled in. This was 40+ years ago.
    She's now in LTC, and paraplegic.

  3. As soon as I read this post, rather than comment, I went right to searching for these books. I ordered both of them and also found a gently used signed copy of the recommended book "Cougar Annie's Garden". It will be arriving today - it was at a bookstore in Corvallis. So looking forward to good reading with the very cold weather we are having. Time to put the soup pot on the wood cook stove and hibernate a bit!