Fully aware that his mythical home-place might have vanished forever into memory (or at least into sad disrepair), Gary Geddes set out to discover his roots in a 31-foot British sailing sloop, christened the Groais. Those tangled roots wound their way up British Columbia's famed Inside Passage, an ancient sea route of nearly one thousand miles, an often turbulent waterscape where Geddes discovers a vibrant history, livelihoods come and gone, dramatic scenery, and ghosts of the past.
The result of that search is Sailing Home, a wonderful meditative literary journey that is both a poignant personal memoir and a crow's nest view of the west coast's rich 10,000-year cultural, social and economic heritage. Despite his seafaring background -- Geddes' grandfather was a fisherman who drowned mysteriously off Point Atkinson and his father was a deep sea diver, shipbuilder and salmon fisherman -- he knows he is navigationally challenged with nautical experience anchored by raw fear, mechanical ineptness and bouts of seasickness. Setting out with the latest in technology (along with indecipherable charts, an adventure library, and the writings of George Vancouver and Charles Darwin), he soon finds himself at the mercy of a willful boat and an even more headstrong sea. But as he sails through unexpected storms and cotton wool fogs, he discovers that his own past is becoming a strong current in the shifting tides of coastal history.
Lyrical and evocative, this is a book for all those embarking on their own personal journeys, whether they be by water, land or the flight paths of the imagination.