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Foreword by Howard White

NORTH OF THE RAPIDS, BC's mainland coast dissolves into a splatter of islands and inlets that old towboaters used to refer to as "the jungles," not because the coastal rainforest grew thicker there than elsewhere, but because the area presented such a tangled profusion of small independent "gyppo" logging operations. Most densely concentrated around the area between Knight and Kingcome inlets, this was the centre of the float camp universe, complete with floating villages at Simoom Sound, Clayton Bay and Sullivan Bay. Their capital was the semi-floating metropolis of Minstrel Island. It was here that Martin Allerdale Grainger set his classic 1908 novel Woodsmen of the West and it was here that the social culture of the gyppo logger recorded its most extreme evolutionary progress. It is an area that has always held a special fascination for Raincoast Chronicles.

Few are better qualified to describe day-to-day life in that unique universe than the author of this issue, Florence Tickner. Mrs. Tickner spent her childhood riding her father's floatcamp from island to cove to inlet during the thirties and forties, the third generation of her family to experience the singular charms of life in the mid-coast jungle.
We have printed stories from the Minstrel Island area before, most notably in issue twelve, but they tended to bear the stamp of semi-degenerate old bush apes who did not much resemble Mrs. Tickner's picture of the logger as a courtly soul who never cussed. Jim Mackay, for one, cussed so conspicuously I am surprised she couldn't hear him up at Port Elizabeth cussing down at Minstrel, thirty miles away.

No matter. The particular value of Mrs. Tickner's memories of coastal life is that she presents it for once from the viewpoint of the women and children who were the heart and soul of the gyppo world, enlarging on her own experiences with those of of her aunts, her mother, her grandmother and all the camp women in their seagoing network. It has been one of our frustrations over the years that so few pioneer accounts of have been forthcoming from coastal women, and this influenced our decision to break with past practice and devote this entire issue to the work of one author, Florence Tickner. We hope you find her story of domestic life among the floatcamps as refreshing as we do.

HOWARD WHITE