One Friday morning in the spring of 1972, an ad in the Vancouver Sun caught Nick Marach’s eye: GILLNETTER FOR SALE. A young architect who had just returned to the west coast from a yearlong motorcycle trip abroad, Marach was not looking for a change of career—but he was looking for a boat to live on, and the price of the old gillnetter was cheap.
A Gillnet’s Drift takes the reader back to a time when the salmon runs on the BC coast were strong, and all it took to call oneself a commercial fisher was a boat, a net, and a licence. No experience was required. It was during this era that Nick Marach found himself, quite unexpectedly, with a new vocation and a new lease on life. For the next decade, he spent every salmon season navigating the waters off BC, following his bliss, and many times narrowly escaping with his life. Along the way he befriended a slew of colourful characters, met the love of his life, and somehow in the midst of it all still found the time to be an architect.
This book captures the allure of the gillnetter’s life in a bygone era, but it is also about the freedom of youth, the desire for self-expression, and the refusal to ever settle down completely, even when you have an office and a family waiting for you on dry land.