Author at Ladysmith Waterfront Gallery to discuss memoir about time at sea

Gary Karlsen was a young man just out of high school when he put plans to attend UBC on hold and took to the high seas.

The adventurous months that took him around the world and back home to his native Norway was documented in a journal at the time and now all these years later he’s turned it into a memoir called No Ordinary Seaman.

“I had managed to bluff my way up after three months at sea to an ordinary seaman so the term ordinary seaman is an official rank on those ships, and it still is today,” he told the Chronicle.

“My experiences on the ship where so radical, so full of adventure… but I was not by any means an ordinary type of guy.”

Karlsen’s father was a Norwegian immigrant and the family moved from Toronto to Vancouver when he was nine years old.

The identification with his ancestors and the history of the vikings is an underlying thread in the book.

“By the time I finished high school I figured the only way I was going to get there was to get onto one of these ships,” he said. “A lot of adventures occurred. Times on the ship were perilous. The jobs were very frightening. At the time same there was a real maturation occurring.”

Over the course of only several months Karlsen travelled from B.C. to Japan, New York and eventually Norway.

He recounts his voyages with wit and humour and becomes immersed in a family larger than he has ever known.

His other travels have included circumnavigating North America by thumb, riding the rails across Canada and flying single engine airplanes into mountain lakes.

Catch Karlsen at the Gallery from 1-3 p.m. on Saturday.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Just Posted

Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA Doug Routley seeks reelection

Routley has served as MLA for the area since 2005.

Survey to gauge interest in connecting Cowichan to Nanaimo by bus

People can fill out the survey until Oct. 16.

Citing stability, B.C. Premier calls snap election for Oct. 24

John Horgan meets with Lieutenant Governor to request vote

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

After testing, Island Health deems water safe around industrial fire site

Concerns about water quality arose after Sept. 10-11 fire at Schnitzer facility in Cassidy

B.C. reports 96 new COVID-19 cases, one hospital outbreak

61 people in hospital as summer ends with election

‘Unprecedented’ coalition demands end to B.C. salmon farms

First Nations, commercial fishermen among group calling for action on Cohen recommendations

Earthquake off coast of Washington recorded at 4.1 magnitude

The quake was recorded at a depth of 10 kilometres

B.C.’s top doctor says she’s received abuse, death threats during COVID-19 response

Henry has become a national figure during her time leading B.C.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

BC Liberals must change gears from election cynicism, focus on the issues: UBC professors

COVID-19 response and recovery is likely to dominate platforms

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

Vancouver Island sailor stranded in U.S. hospital after suffering massive stroke at sea

Oak Bay man was attempting to circumnavigate the world solo

Majority needed to pass COVID-19 budget, B.C. premier says

John Horgan pushes urgent care centres in first campaign stop

Most Read