The Curve of Time

by M. Wylie Blanchet

Paperback, 2002




Whitecap Books Ltd. (2002), Edition: 1, 170 pages


"Time did not exist; or if it did it did not mater. Our world then was both wide and narrow-wide in the immensity of the sea and mountain; narrow in that the boat was very small, and we lived and camped, explored and swam in a little realm of our own making..." This is the fascinating true adventure story of a woman who packed her five children onto a twenty-five-foot boat and explored the coastal waters of British Columbia summer after summer in the 1920s and 1930s. Acting single-handedly as skipper, navigator, engineer and of course, mother, Muriel Wylie Blanchet saw her crew through exciting-and sometimes perilous-encounters with fog; rough seas, cougars, bears and whales, and did so with high spirits and courage. On these pages an independent woman with a deep respect for the native cultures of a region, and a refreshing wonderment about the natural world, comes to life. In The Curve of Time, she has left us with a sensitive and lyrically written account of their journeys and a timeless travel memoir not to be missed.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member rightantler
This is a truly pleasant read. A fascinating journey in a land somewhat familiar (although not really) in a time long ago. I came across this book quite by chance in a local independent book store. Such events as these are sadly increasingly rare - but on this occasion ... what a find! If you have any familiarity with BC or even if not, perhaps especially if not, then I suggest this is mandatory reading!… (more)
LibraryThing member janerogers
Great storytelling; ultimately memorable and one of a kind; originally written as a diary and not for publication, this book makes the inland passage to Alaska and its islands known and discoverable again.
LibraryThing member DJ_Cliffe
This is a wonderful book that lovers of boating, the BC coast, or just good stories will thoroughly appreciate.
LibraryThing member KarenSkullerud
Great story of a mother who travels with her three children and dog in a boat through the northwest waters. Great adventures. Nonfiction.
LibraryThing member lisa.schureman
Put a mother, five children, and a dog in a twenty-five foot motorboat to cruise the British Columbia coastline for four summer months before having to return home before onslaught of the bad weather in fall. They got to know some of the homesteaders that lived in the various inlets, explored First Nations winter villages, searched for a seahorse one of the children was sure they saw, had close calls with bears, and visited the inlet where Henry the Orca had gotten stuck in because he hadn't listened to his mother. Of course, there were also the times when they were sheltering in a cove off Mistaken Island and Capi was working the fore and aft anchors to keep the Caprice with just enough water under her keel to keep her from grounding or up an Lewis Channel when the engine died and Capi had to tow the boat with the dingy five miles to so she could anchor Caprice before working on the engine.
Fishing for dinner, the food they'd stored aboard, traded or bought along their way. They were a family that adventured together both afloat and ashore
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LibraryThing member laVermeer
A beautifully observed memoir of years spent boating in the Pacific Northwest. The style is that of another era, but the author's celebration of wondrous places is timeless. If you boat in the Gulf Islands, Desolation Sound, or the Broughton Archipelago, you must read this book.
LibraryThing member DeltaQueen50
I was lucky enough to have grown up on Vancouver Island and had parents that took me and my siblings on many picnics, hikes and camping trips giving us all a love and curiosity about nature and this corner of the world. The Curve of Time by M. Wylie Blanchet is a memoir written by a widow, who with her four children spent the summers of the 1920’s on a 25 foot boat, exploring the coastal waters of the Pacific Northwest.

Acting as both “captain” and mother, she and her children enjoyed their summers of freedom. Although there were dangers from bad weather, rough water and wild animals there were also great rewards. They met some interesting people who chose to live away from the rest of mankind but were happy to act as hosts to this small family, they were also helped and guided by the commercial fishermen and the loggers who were working in the areas that they travelled. They spent their summers discovering beautiful beaches, secret coves, and deserted Indian villages. This type of vacation travel was unusual to say the least and the fact that she was a women caused many people to sit up and take notice.

The author’s love of nature and her family comes across on every page in this book. Her memoirs read like a chatty letter from a favoured aunt, light and informative, but any deep understanding of her motives and inner thoughts she keeps to herself. I found myself reading this book with a chart of the coastal waters at my side so I could visual the routes she took and the places she visited. The Curve of Time was a charming and enjoyable read but I couldn’t help feeling that if the author had been a little more forth coming and had fleshed out the characters a little more fully, this would be a true Canadian classic.
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