Gary H Karlsen

The Bosun’s Anchor with the double stock represents intelligence, leadership, loyalty and love. The tattoo must be earned.

– Bosun: The Mariner’s Journals

No Ordinary Seaman

Book 1 – Memoir

No Ordinary Seaman: A Memoir by Gary H Karlsen

Bosun: The Mariner’s Journals

Book 2 – Saga

Bosun: The Mariners Journals by Gary Karlsen

Bosun: Ship of Ghosts

Book 3 – Thriller

Bosun: Ship Of Ghosts by Gary Karlsen

Upcoming Events


Join Gary for upcoming book signings and launches!

What Readers Are Saying


The education of a seafarer

There are many paths into adulthood. One way is to leave home and go to sea.

It is an old path, followed by many young men (and women too) through the ages, but less often in the present century and the previous one. Gary Karlsen admits that he was an anomaly – a teenager from a middle-class Canadian family who went to sea instead of going directly to university as did many of his peers. One day in 1965 he went down to the docks in Vancouver, walked up the gangway of a Norwegian freighter, somehow got to the skipper’s office, and was hired as a deckhand. He hoped to make it to Norway to visit his relatives there. But the Havkatt did not go there. Gary quickly learned a basic truth of seafaring: whatever you expect to find at sea, you may find less than you expected. You will also find more than you ever dreamed of.

Eric W. Sager, Member of the History Department at the University of Victoria from 1983 to 2016

A Real Page Turner

I finished Bosun a few days ago and I must say that I was sad that I did! You spin a great tale my friend!! Bosun is a real page turner.

Harry Smith, Victoria, BC

Karlsen’s Writing Draws You In

The beauty of Karlsen’s writing is that he draws you in like you’re right there with his characters and the reader becomes one of them. That is how I feel when I read your books!  Keep writing. You have a gift that needs to be shared!

Dr. Pierre des Lauriers, White Rock, BC

Loved It!

Gary, I finished No Ordinary Seaman in a few days and found it hard to put down. Loved it! Great storytelling. Some months later, I re-read the whole tale, and it was as enjoyable the second time as the first. You have a wonderful ability to describe events in a way that makes the reader feel “in the scene”.

Pauline Weber, Burlington, Ontario

Subscribe To My Newsletter


New Release Coming Soon! Bosun: Ship of Ghosts


About Me

My Latest Book

Book Signing

Recent Articles


Bosun: The Mariner’s Journals

By |March 1st, 2023|Categories: historical fiction|

RELEASED April 2023 The novel about the larger-than-life bosun in No Ordinary Seaman. In this historical fiction, we voyage with Bosun through his journals, written by a familiar seaman—Harbo, from the Havkatt and the Polycastle. Bosun’s journals are a maritime saga about the nonsensical nature of humanity. Ulf Kleivik went to sea as a youth because that’s what generations of men did in his Norwegian seafaring family. The boy sailor experienced the horrors of whaling, the tragedies and the loss of life during the Battle of the Atlantic. He quickly[...]

No Ordinary Seaman

By |March 1st, 2018|Categories: memoir|

No Ordinary Seaman is a memoir of the author’s days at sea in the Norwegian Merchant Marine, 1965-67 Synopsis In the mid-1960’s a young man, fresh out of high school in Vancouver, crews on a Norwegian deep-sea freighter in the hopes that it will take him to Norway, the land of his ancestors. His voyages on the Havkatt, across the Pacific Ocean to Japan, through the Panama Canal, and north to New York, are filled with personal explorations, adventure, and danger. He eventually arrives in Norway, and satisfies his dreams[...]

Baldrey’s Books

By |February 8th, 2024|Categories: memoir, nautical literature|

Keith Baldrey, Legislative Bureau Chief for Global TV at the BC Parliament Buildings regularly displays the books of local BC authors during his broadcasts. Back in October, a few of us attended the legislative proceeding in the public gallery. During recess, I bumped into Mr. Baldrey and we had a nice chat. “So, you’re an author. What do you write?” With that opening, I proceeded to tell him about No Ordinary Seaman, now a Best Seller, and my two Bosun novels. I had his attention. Of course, he’d have to[...]

Go to Top