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A sailing trip along the proposed Northern Gateway marine route with a fresh new voice in non-fiction.
With oil and gas behemoth Enbridge Inc.'s Northern Gateway proposal nearing approval, supertankers loaded with two million barrels of oil may soon be plying the waters from northern British Columbia down the wild Pacific Coast. This region is home to the largest tract of temperate rainforest on earth, First Nations who have lived there for millennia, and some of the world's most biodiverse waters – one spill is all it will take to erase ten thousand years of evolution.
Arno Kopecky and his companions travel aboard a forty-one-foot sailboat exploring the pristine route – a profoundly volatile marine environment that registered 1275 marine vessel incidents – mechanical failures, collisions, explosions, groundings, and sinkings – between 1999 and 2009 alone. Neither Kopecky nor the boat's owner have ever sailed before, yet they brave these waters alone when their captain leaves them part way through the journey.
Written with Kopecky's quick humor and deft touch, this is a rich evocation of a mythic place and the ecology, culture, and history of a legendary region with a knife at its throat.
Arno Kopecky is a journalist and travel writer whose dispatches have appeared in The Walrus, Foreign Policy, the Globe and Mail, Maclean's, the Tyee, Kenya's Daily Nation and other publications. His work focuses on human rights, the environment, and globalization. Kopecky has covered civil uprisings in Mexico, cyclones in Burma, Iceland's attempt to become the first oil-free nation on earth, Zimbabwe's thirty-year dictatorship, and election violence in Kenya. He lives in Squamish, BC.