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Explore the Discovery Islands

The Columbia III is an impeccably-restored former Coast Mission medical service vessel whose owners have teamed up with the Museum at Campbell River to offer historical and natural tours of local waters. - Photo submitted
The Columbia III is an impeccably-restored former Coast Mission medical service vessel whose owners have teamed up with the Museum at Campbell River to offer historical and natural tours of local waters.
— image credit: Photo submitted

There’s a fabulously beautiful archipelago of islands, narrow passages and deep inlets backed by mountains that’s secreted away from most of us.

The Museum at Campbell River and Mothership Adventures have teamed up to offer a lucky few a three day/four night journey through the Discovery Islands, Desolation Sound and up Bute Inlet from May 31 to June 4. They promise an unforgettable experience aboard the historic Columbia III, guided by historian and author Jeanette Taylor.

The trip includes daily shore excursions for short hikes to old homesteads and archaeological sites.

“This is an active program,” says Taylor. “We take a small group of not more than ten on these trips, which allows us to get out and explore.”

The tour starts in Campbell River and wends through a circuitous route among the narrow channels of the Discovery Islands, with stops at places like Maud Island to view the site of the Ripple Rock blast, Desolation Sound Marine Park, Read, Maurelle and Sonora Islands, Bute Inlet and Mitlenatch Island, a bird sanctuary.

Every one of these destinations is memorable, says Taylor, but Bute Inlet is especially grand. It’s a very long inlet, piercing deep into the Coast Mountains, with snow-capped mountains that are among the highest in the province. Weather allowing, the group will go by zodiac into both the Southgate and Homathko River estuaries at the head of the inlet.

Taylor, whose book Tidal Passages, a History of the Discovery Islands, was on the BC Best Seller list for nearly a year, will share a wealth of tales about the intriguing characters who once lived in these isolated places. Though the region is now all but deserted, there were once many First Nations villages, followed homesteads and logging and fishing camps.

The impeccably-restored Columbia IIII is the perfect vessel for a historic sites tour of this region. She was built to serve here over 50 years ago, one of the last in the Columbia Coast Mission’s fleet, bringing medical service to remote settlements.

“It’s like a homecoming when we stop at places like the old store and post office at Refuge Cove aboard the Columbia III,” says Taylor.

Organizers recommend you book soon as only five spots remain for this trip aboard the 68-foot Columbia III, at an all inclusive price of $1,740 per person, plus GST. For further information visit www.mothershipadventures.com or www.crmuseum.ca, or call 1-888-833-8887 to register.

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