Book Review: Secret Beaches of Vancouver Island

Secret Beaches of Southern Vancouver Island (Qualicum to Malahat)” and “Secret Beaches of Greater Victoria” by Theo Dombrowski, ISBN 978-1-894974-97-4 and 978-1-894974-98-1 

bookreview-secretbeaches1These two books are excellent reference guides that are practical, beautiful, easy and even fun to read. Each point of interest, or beach access as it were, is clearly illustrated complete with an easy-to-read, lay person’s map. A small yet clear photograph giving the reader an instant sense of what they might expect. This is then followed by a short description, giving one an even more defined understanding of the nuances of that entry point. 

  For example, “#47 Seabold Road Parkette: a giant wooden staircase high in the trees of a wooded bank down to a large expanse of low tide sand.” 

“#65 Swan Road: an isolated small bluff at the entrance to a tidal channel, cutting deep into the woods.” 

  Then each place one can visit is broken down in the book clearly using the headings: location, signs and parking, path, beach, suitability for children, suitability for groups, view, winds, sun and shade, beachcombing and seclusion.

  Having personally amassed dozens and dozens of reference books over the years, covering from hiking, fishing, backpacking, canoeing and kayaking to green homebuilding, tricks of the trades for homebuilding, basic country survival skills and ABC books on how to be more spiritual, I am delighted with how easy and accessible these books are. Unlike books that I bought as a teenager to identify wild plants, including edible ones, that only have hand-drawn pictures and require incredible focus and attention to detail, both Secret Beaches books are warm, friendly, inviting and even a very young person can understand the descriptions and directions. What a wonderful addition to anyone’s book collection as a tool to explore this beautiful island that we live on.  


Dirk is an organic farmer, agricultural advocate, public speaker and managing editor of this magazine.