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Introduction

Since 1592, when the old Greek pilot Juan de Fuca scurried back to Europe excitedly trying to convince his countrymen he had discovered an earthly paradise on the far side of the New World, the BC coast has been known as one of the world's most rewarding places to explore.

Occupying the 500-mile space between the 49th parallel and Alaska, the BC coast complicates itself into some twenty thousand miles of intricately entwined inlets, islands and channels. It boasts the busiest seaport on North America's west coast and a maritime wilderness beyond measure, as well as the world's most treacherous ocean graveyard and its most enchanting inland sea. It is a land of ancient, crumbling totem poles and humming high-speed ferries, of towering, desolate fjords and vibrant, modern resorts.

To experience the full magnificence of the coast you might assume that you would, like Juan de Fuca, require a well-appointed caravel. and the backing of the Spanish Crown, or at least a pricey ticket on a cruise ship. But this book proves that you can explore the BC coast just as enjoyably and far more cheaply - thanks to the world's most highly developed ferry system - in the comfort of your family car.

The book is divided into eight chapters covering the coast's main geographic regions. Each begins with a brief overview, then takes you through the area from one end to the other.

Like each region it describes, Exploring the BC Coast by Car is unique. It is first of all a thorough and practical travel guide, carefully organized and laid out in an easy-to-use format. But it is much more than that. Despite the efforts of Captain Juan and the many explorers who followed in his footsteps, this coast of wonders is still relatively undiscovered territory on the world's travel map, and it needs some explaining. The authors have spared no effort to make sure you have all the background information you need to make the most of your coastal explorations. Even for those who know the coast well will find the book worth having for its overall portrait of coastal history and contemporary life.

Whether you want to burn up the territory or simply relive great sights by the fireside, we know Exploring the BC Coast by Car will prove an indispensable travelling companion.