At the north end of British Columbia's great inland sea, the Inside Passage divides amongst a scatter of islands whose breathtaking beauty makes them one of the Northwest's most popular cruising destinations. Unofficially known as the Discovery Islands (named after the main passage through them), Read, Cortes, Sonora, Maurelle, Hardwicke, Stuart, Redonda and Thurlow Islands are sparsely populated today but bristled with life in earlier times. Tidal Passages also covers many smaller islands and the surrounding mainland inlets (though not Quadra Island, which is the subject of a separate book by the author). The evocative names of the old island communities reveal much about the salty culture that once flourished here: Whaletown, Refuge Cove, Mansons Landing, Gorge Harbour, Seaford, Deceit Bay, Big Bay, Shoal Bay, Surge Narrows and Blind Channel. In this book Jeanette Taylor brings the old history back to vivid life, starting in the days when First Nations held sway and progressing through the peak years of European settlement in the mid-twentieth century to modern times. What emerges from Taylor's colourful pageant is a view of pioneer life that is quintessentially coastal: of potlatches, longhouses, stumpranchers, handloggers, beachcombers, seagoing missionaries, isolation that brought out the worst in some people and the best in others, and through it all the watery element of dugouts, steamships, ferries and tides that pulsed through islander life like a heartbeat.