There are few writers who can take the facts of an actual event and transform them into a compelling story that captures the mind and the heart. James Raffan is that rare author, proving with Deep Waters that he is a masterful storyteller who has not only penned a story that is by turns harrowing and poignant, but is also a powerful investigative work that sensitively explores the nature of courage, risk and loss.
On the morning of June 11, 1978, 27 boys and four leaders from St. John’s School in Ontario set out on a canoeing expedition on Lake Timiskaming. By the end of the day, 12 boys and one leader were dead, with all four canoes overturned and floating aimlessly in the wind. This tragedy, which was first deemed to be an “accident,” was actually, as James Raffan explains, a shocking tale of a school’s survival philosophy gone terribly wrong, unsafe canoes and equipment, and a total lack of emergency preparedness training. Deep Waters is a remarkable story of endurance, courage and unspeakable pain, a book that also explores the nature of risk-taking and the resilience of the human spirit.