Saltwater Summer by Roderick Haig-Brown

Saltwater Summer by Roderick Haig-Brown

Length: 994 words (2.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓

Saltwater summer is about a young man's first summer as a commercial salmon fisherman on the BC coast. Don Morgan is a seventeen-year-old who has made enough money trapping on northern Vancouver Island to buy himself a 32-foot West Coast salmon troller known as the Mallard. He thought this was all he wanted from life, now almost nothing about it was good. The fishing his first season began poor, and if things didn't pick up, the Mallard, which had only been his for three months, would have to be sold to repay old Shenrock for loaning him the money. Don collaborates with his friend, and fellow fisherman Tubby Miller, whom he had partnered with for years at Bluff Harbor School, and through trapping together during the previous winter.
The two pair up and proceed up north, to where they figure they will make their keep. Along the way, the two meet up with a few seasoned veteran fishermen. Among them are Red Haliday, and Tom Moore, who together share the duties of the Falaise. The four men quickly become friends and agree to meet up again once they reach Pendennis Island.
They run into old friends, from years ago, and solve many problems along the way, like how to stop two feuding Irishmen, without drowning their cat. Even though they split up for a while, and Don nearly gets arrested for shooting a buck out of season, Don and Tubby overcome their many trials and tribulations. As the fishing season draws closer to an end, a violent storm raises. A fisherman known as Old Cowbells is stranded out in the raging water. It is Don and Tubby, along with Tom who go to his aid, risking their own lives to save another.
Tubby agrees to stay on with Don, and the Mallard does not have to be sold. In the end, the life of these fishermen is really not that bad.
The story takes place along the BC coastline from the Fraser River up to Prince Rupert. It is not centered on strictly the ocean, but around the beautiful landscape and scenery they come to along the way. We find out not only about the shores and the water, but about the mainland, and surrounding forest as well.

The raging ocean becomes evident when Red says, "I've seen boils of water there'd make you think the whole ocean's coming up at you from the bottom" (Haig-Brown 31).

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Saltwater Summer by Roderick Haig-Brown." 25 Aug 2019

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Goals of Summer Essays

- When May comes for most kids only one thing is on their mind. Summer break. As they finish up their school the kids prepare for long lazy afternoons, swimming, and just being kids. They don’t need to worry about a paper that needs to be done or math homework. Instead they can just sit back and relax. I like many other kids however think of experience and worthwhile experiences when it comes to my summer break. While I certainly don’t want to leave out relaxing besides the beach, a summer break can give me experiences I couldn’t otherwise have such as practicing a new skill....   [tags: summer vacation, summer break]

Free Essays
419 words (1.2 pages)

Motherhood in The Summer Before the Dark by Kate Brown and The Fifth child by Harriet Lovatt

- Motherhood in The Summer Before the Dark by Kate Brown and The Fifth child by Harriet Lovatt Motherhood is a traditional role for women. From the time they are young, girls are taught to grow up, marry and become mothers. Of course they can do other things with their lives like play sports, have careers, and travel, but an overwhelming amount of women want to be mothers no matter what else they accomplish with their lives. It is common knowledge that being a good mother is one of the hardest jobs in the world....   [tags: Dark Brown fifth Lovatt Essays]

Research Papers
5038 words (14.4 pages)

Essay on Summer Resume : Summer Break

- Summer vacation: "school holiday in summer between school years and the longest break in the school year, typically between 6 and 14 weeks (Wikipedia)". Summer break originates all the way back to the mid 1850 's for rural American schools. Summer break was not always around for all schools though, it only came around to all schools in the early 1900 's due to Americans wanting a standardized school schedule across the nation. The summer break was then used for students to relax their minds from school and for mostly to help in the fields for growing season (infoplease)....   [tags: High school, Education, School, Summer vacation]

Research Papers
1017 words (2.9 pages)

The Brown Principle Of The United States Essay

- Confined in application to by right (legitimately forced) isolation, the Brown principle was connected for the most part to Southern educational systems. After solid resistance, which prompted such occurrences as the 1957 Little Rock, Ark., school emergency, combination spread gradually over the South, under court orders and the risk of loss of government assets for rebelliousness. The Brown choice gave enormous driving force to the social equality development of the 1950s and 1960s, and rushed mix out in the open offices and facilities....   [tags: Brown v. Board of Education]

Research Papers
1530 words (4.4 pages)

Essay on Analysis of Defining the ‘American Indian’ by Haig A. Bosmajian

- Analysis of Defining the ‘American Indian’ by Haig A. Bosmajian “One of the first important acts of an oppressor is to define the oppressed victims he intends to jail or eradicate so that they will be looked upon as creatures warranting suppression and in some cases separation and annihilation” (Bosmajian 347). The writer, Haig A. Bosmajian, begins his essay with these words in “Defining the ‘American Indian’: A Case Study in the Language of Suppression.” In his essay, which targets mainstream Americans, he attempts to show his readers how language has been used in American history to “justify” the oppression o...   [tags: American Indian Haig A. Bosmajian Essays]

Research Papers
2001 words (5.7 pages)

Brown V. Board Of Education Essay

- Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1951-1954), which was originally named after Oliver Brown, was a United States Supreme Court case that overturned Plessy v. Ferguson decision and ended tolerance of racial segregation. The Plessy v. Fergusion decision upheld the constitutionality of segregation under the “separate but equal” doctrine. ***** The Brown v. Board of Education case took on segregation within school systems. Brown v. Board of Education was the name given to five separate court cases that concerned the issue of segregation in public schools....   [tags: Brown v. Board of Education]

Research Papers
1266 words (3.6 pages)

General Haig a Butcher not War Hero Essay

- Sir Douglas Haig was born on the 19th June 1861. The Field Marshal was very highly ranked in the duration of The Great War. Haig was a British soldier and a senior Commander of The British Expeditionary Force from the year of 1915. General Haig is notorious for commanding the Battle Of The Somme and also renowned for the third battle of Ypres and various other victories leading to The Triple Entente’s victory of WW1. After the war, Haig was made an Earl and also received gratified thanks from both Houses of Parliament....   [tags: World War I WWI WW1 Sir Douglas Haig]

Research Papers
1265 words (3.6 pages)

Essay about The Allegory of Young Goodman Brown

- The Allegory of Young Goodman Brown      Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” is an allegory, though an allegory with deficiencies, with tensions existing between the reader and the story.   Peter Conn in “Finding a Voice in an New Nation” explains Hawthorne’s style of allegorizing and how it creates unwanted tensions for the reader:   He once planned to call a group of his stories “Allegories of the Heart,” and in that unused title he summed up much of his method and his subject....   [tags: Young Goodman Brown YGB]

Research Papers
2230 words (6.4 pages)

Re-viewing Summer: the Way to Highland Park, A Selection From A Walker In the City

- Kazin's Summer: The Way to Highland Park Sitting on the marble steps of the old, traditional American church, I began to feel cold. Two oriental lions, carved out of old white marble, surrounded me. Their faces were mean, and they seemed to be staring at something. As the beasts remained perfectly still, tiny creatures – black ants and brown bugs –very busily walked on their backs. As I looked around from my cold spot on the step, I could see an old, brick house. This house was like none other on the block....   [tags: Kazin Summer Highland Park]

Free Essays
926 words (2.6 pages)

Brown V. Board Of Education Essay examples

- Last summer, my then twelve year old son was asked to participate in the National Junior Leaders Conference in Washington, DC. So, I packed our stuff and we headed for our nation's capital. While there, we visited the Supreme Court and my son, never having been there before, was simply awed. A short time later, we went to the Library of Congress. At the time (I don't know whether or not it's still there), there was a display -- three or four rooms big – dedicated to the Supreme Court case Brown v....   [tags: Legal Case brown v board]

Free Essays
1492 words (4.3 pages)

This shows how violent the sea can become, even is just a short time. It shows that it takes skill and determination to navigate the open water, of which these men have lots of. They are able to interpret, and predict when the water will change. They know what's going to happen before it does, "It was strange to start out in flat calm, knowing what was waiting for them within half a mile of running" (Haig-Brown 89).
There are several fishing communities set up along the passage that Don and Tubby follow. The fist they run into is Sullivan's Camp, distinguishable by its "untidy collection of buildings on log floats, tied in a sheltered bay near the entrance to Viscount Channel" (Haig-Brown 45). We know that communities like this are set up for fishing, due to the easy access to the water, and because they are located at the mouths of channels so as the fishermen come in for the night, they have a place to collaborate and exchange stories. There are several other settlements along the channel built on log floats as well. "The cannery settlement … in Hardnose Cove" (Haig-Brown 97) is another example of one.
The fishing comes easy to Don and Tubby, "fishing the eddy behind the island by first daylight the next morning. The tide was right and they began to catch fish almost at once," (Haig-Brown 58).
At first, Don's heart is not in the sea. He thought this might be the life for him, however, as he keeps looking to the shoreline, wondering what else is out in the world, we wonder if this is the life for him.
looking beyond the line of driftwood that marked
the tide's limit and wondering about the woods
and hills that climbed away from the shore… They
were in a different world at once. The shores of the
lagoon were sandy and reeds grew along the edge.
(Haig-Brown 84)

When Don and Tubby leave the boat for the first time Tubby begins to sense Don's restlessness, and his need to explore. They come across "an old cabin rotting back into the moss and dampness of the forest" (Haig-Brown 85), and conclude it mist have been that of a hand trapper, showing that this area along the coast has more resources than just fishing.
Don gets a personal experience of the forestry when he is forced to find a new cedar pole after breaking one of his own.
There was the smell of woods in it, of wet earth soft
under-foot, the brush of leaves and branches against
clothing, … he could feel the woods about him …
he found a thicket of tall straight poles A mountain
climbed steeply up from the salt water, through three
thousand feet or more of green timber to scrub and
bare rock. From the water's edge a red gash cut back
through the green for several hundred feet and
Don knew handloggers had worked there.
(Haig-Brown 144-146)
As Don explores the surrounding coastal timberlines we get a better perception of the area. The physical landscape seems very believable because "On the moist west slope of the Coast Mountains it is the amount of snow that governs the upper limit of tree growth to around 1650 meters, the lowest treeline in BC" (Cannings 8). And as Don continues his trek up the mountainside he "came into standing timber. It was small stuff, spaced out and hung with branches, split by bluffs and little slides…As he climbed, the timber became sparser, the bluffs steeper and more numerous" (Haig-Brown 148). So as Don climbed higher up the slope he rose "above the limit of the conifers, eventually giving way to the treeless alpine zone" (Cannings 11).
When the raging storm approaches it is up to Don, Tubby, and Tom to return and try and find Old Cowbells. We get a glimpse of just how powerful the ocean is when the Falaise comes out of the harbor "into three backbreaking swells, steep and high and short" (Haig-Brown 224). These swells toss around the forty-foot boat, threatening to overpower her. The water pours over the deck of the boat, washing sand and debris into the corners.
The end of fishing season is distinguished by "a mild southerly blow" (Haig-Brown 241), evident of the strong impact the coastal weather has upon the wildlife of the area. This weather front is most likely that of the westerlies, commonplace in the early fall.
As the four men return home to the Starbuck (Fraser) River the "gold of maple and scarlet of dogwood [show] through the dark green of fir and hemlock up the hillsides" (Haig-Brown 242), showing not only the season but also the forestation in and around the Fraser Valley. We know this to be true because "The boreal and sub-alpine forest of British Columbia are dominated by firs and hemlock, the foliage of which provides the smell of the British Columbia mountains" (Cannings 51).

The natural landscape of BC lends itself well to the story. The author has incorporated the landscape and common features of both the sea, and the land. This gives the story an atmosphere, and shows how the human activities of the area also affect the surrounding industries, such as fishing and trapping. The images provide us with some insight into the essential character of the region.


Works Cited

Haig-Brown, Roderick. "Saltwater Summer.
Harbor Publishing, Maderia Park, BC © 2000

Cannings, Richard and Sydney. British Columbia: A Natural History
"Mountains and Northern Forests"
Greystone Books, Vancouver BC © 1998

Return to