Desolation Sound’s a great story
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.
Considered to be one of the west coast’s premier cruising destinations, Desolation Sound abounds with the beautiful. The tour, offered through a partnership with Discovery Marine Safaris , cruises from Campbell River, heading south and east, passing historic Cape Mudge Indian Reserve on Quadra Island and the Island’s lighthouse built in 1898. Captain Vancouver visited the Coast Salish living on Quadra in 1792, commenting that they “conducted themselves with the greatest civility and respect.”
Later, Quadra Island became an important centre of industry for logging, mining and fishing many years before central Vancouver Island became settled.
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, Mitelnatch has unique flora and fauna (cactus for example), which is not found on other Gulf Islands. Sheep were once kept there by the Manson family of Cortes Island.
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, long a boater’s safe haven. Today, it boasts a marina, fuel dock, general store, restaurant and art gallery. The Museum’s tour includes a stop for lunch here and an opportunity to get off the boat and wander around, taking in the quaint surroundings.
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.
Always a delight, wild life viewing is often a part of every trip with the crew of Discovery Marine Safaris sharing their knowledge of where and when exotic marine mammals like whales are likely to appear along the route.
The Museum is offering three trips to Desolation Sound this year on the following Sundays: July 7, August 4 and Sept. 15. The cost for these trips is $140 including the lunch stop at Refuge Cove.
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