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Recommended Reading

Enrich your trip by learning about the BC coast before you get here.

Recommended Reading before your Trip

Below are a selection of excellent resources for learning more about BC, whales, wildlife and kayaking - and getting excited about your trip! Many of the books can be found in our guides' portable libraries. Each is a superb resource for learning about the British Columbia Coast.

Dowd sea kayaking

Sea kayaking: A manual for long-distance touring.

By Dowd, John

The classic reference on paddling. Its practical tips and tricks go well beyond the basics.

Natural history of British Columbia

British Columbia: a natural History

By Cannings, R. and Cannings, S

A beautiful and thorough book describing the range of ecosystems and their interactions in BC.

welks to whales

Whelks to whales: Coastal marine life of the Pacific Northwest

By Harbo, Rick

Clear illustrations help with identifying species and groups while the accompanying text offers fascinating insights into the lives of the non-human inhabitants of the Pacific Northwest.

beach combers guide

The beachcomber’s guide to seashore life in the Pacific Northwest.

By Sept, Duane

killer whales

Killer Whales

By Ford, John K.B., Ellis, Graeme M and Balcomb, Kenneth C

Research and genealogy of the resident orcas from the researchers themselves. The ID photos are out of date, but this is still the authority on the whales in our waters.

Listening to whales: what the orcas have taught us

By Morton, Alexandra

Stories and recollections of a whale researcher and all that she’s learned from Orcas.

plants of coastal british columbia

Plants of coastal British Columbia including Washington, Oregon and Alaska.

By Pojar, J. and MacKinnon, A

This is the bible of plant ID on the coast: portable, useful and packed with notes on the life and traditional uses of plants.

book on salmon

Field guide to the pacific salmon

By Steelquist, Robert

Great in-a-nutshell but highly accurate book on everything to do with Pacific salmon.

 coastal birds of british columbia

Birds of coastal British Columbia

By Baron, Nancy


Cedar: Tree of life to the northwest coast Indians

By Stewart, Hilary

Brilliant descriptions and illustrations of traditional technology by a Quadra Island writer with an international stature.

totem poles and tea

Totem poles and tea

By Harold, Hughina

Memories of a non-native woman who taught school on Village Island in 1935.

curve of time

The curve of time

By Blanchet, M. Wylie

A classic tale of a widow’s cruising adventures with her young family in the 1920s.

heart of the raincoast

Heart of the raincoast

By Morton, Alexandra and Proctor, Billy

The life story of a central figure in the Broughtons, and thus a modern history of the area itself. Very readable.

river city

River City: A history of Campbell River and the Discovery Islands

By Taylor, Jeanette

A lavishly illustrated survey history of the Discovery Passage region (including Quadra), with lots of anecdotes.