Lifestyle

Discovering Desolation Sound

Beautiful Cassel Falls in Teakerne Arm, West Redonda island is point of interest along the Desolation Sound cruise. - Photo courtesy of the Museum at Campbell River
Beautiful Cassel Falls in Teakerne Arm, West Redonda island is point of interest along the Desolation Sound cruise.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of the Museum at Campbell River

It can be said with some confidence that the Discovery Islands are a world class boating adventure. The history, the geography and the wildlife combine to create a unique narrative that stands strong alongside the great global tales. This summer the Museum at Campbell River is offering a series of guided Historic Tours each Sunday during July and August that explore the Discovery Islands and points north. The first trip is planned for July 7, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and will travel to Desolation Sound. The tour, offered through a partnership with Discovery Marine Safaris, cruises from Campbell River, and passes historic Cape Mudge Indian Reserve on Quadra Island and the Island’s lighthouse built in 1898.

One of the most intriguing islands on the route is Mitlenatch. Now a wildlife sanctuary under the protection of BC Parks, it has the largest seabird colony in the Strait of Georgia as well as numerous sea lions and seals along the shore. Because of its unusual rainshadow climate, Mitlenatch has unique flora and fauna (cactus for example), not found on other Gulf Islands.

Entering into Desolation Sound, it is difficult to believe that Captain Vancouver once proclaimed the area to be so dismal, that he named it as he did.  With the vista of the snow capped Coastal Mountains to the east, the verdant landscape of West Redonda Island and picturesque Lewis Channel to the north, it represents the quintessential beauty of British Columbia’s west coast.

On the southern tip of West Redonda, the boat cruises into the sanctuary of Refuge Cove.  Today, it boasts a marina, fuel dock, general store, restaurant and art gallery.

The tour includes a stop for lunch here and an opportunity to get off the boat and wander around.

The tour continues with a stop at beautiful Cassel Falls in Teakerne Arm and returns around the north end of Cortes Island, along Sutil Channel passing by the shores of Read Island and southern Quadra Island.

The Museum is offering three trips to Desolation Sound this year on the following Sundays: July 7, August 4 and September 15.

The cost is $140 including the lunch stop. To reserve a seat call the Museum at 250-287-3103. For a complete listing of boat tours this summer visit the website at www.crmuseum.ca

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