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Misty Isles
General News · 28th May 2014
CIMAS - Gina
History and nature await you! Sail back into an earlier era in Desolation Sound on interpretive voyages aboard the schooner Misty Isles with skipper/naturalist Mike Moore who will share a wealth of information and stories. Famous for its spectacular mountains and fjords, much of Desolation Sound is designated as marine park and is abundant with wildlife. As well as natural beauty, it is also the focal point of some of the area’s most fascinating maritime history as an anchorage for British and Spanish explorers who first charted this area in the late 1700s.

Sponsored by Cortes Island Museum this year’s relaxing day trips include circumnavigation of Maurelle Island (July 29), Desolation Sound (July 20 & August 23), a Low Tide Reef Exploration (July 12), Geology of Desolation (August 7), a dinner cruise on Fathers’ Day to the Laughing Oyster (June 15), and cruises to Mitlenatch Island (May 23 & June 14). There is also an overnight cruise to the Waterfalls of Toba Inlet and Wildernest Lodge (July 5-6).

Surprises await you Around Maurelle Island. Skipper Mike Moore has timed this unique opportunity with the tides to marvel at tidal rapids, whirlpools, currents and eddies of this scenic island. Along the way Misty Isles will experience Surge Narrows, Hole-in-the-Wall, a "gallery" in Octopus Islands, pictographs, old village sites, Church House and Raven's Chamber Pot!

A world destination for boaters, Desolation Sound has dramatic mountain scenery, a myriad of islands and the warmest water temperatures in B.C. Around every point there's history to investigate. Misty Isles promises a leisurely exploration of the area while enjoying the stunning scenery and the possibility to test the waters with a swim.

Geology of Desolation - "When Wrangellia Came Wandering In" shows evidence of the violent stories of tectonic collision, upheaval, glaciation, isostatic rebound, xenoliths, dykes and the earth forces that shaped this coastal sound.

One of the lowest tides of the year allows a unique chance to Explore an Exposed Reef and have diver Mike share animals that live below the tide. Of course, at low tide the rocks are covered and slippery with seaweeds. Participants need to be sure-footed on this exploration of the extensive reef structure between Hernando and Savary Islands.

Celebrate Fathers' Day with a cruise to Okeover Inlet and enjoy west coast gourmet dining at the Laughing Oyster Restaurant in a spectacular ocean-front setting. Yes, they have more than oysters on the menu! – and decadent desserts! Sail into the sunset on the return cruise. You'll need to have accommodation overnight on Cortes Island for this trip.

Catch the beginning of spring hatching out on Mitlenatch Island in the Salish Sea. Walk meadows ablaze with Chocolate Lilies, Death Camas, Sea Blush and Monkey Flowers. Search rocky outcrops for Prickly Pear Cactus growing in the warm, dry environment. Watch territorial and nesting activities of many Gulls, Cormorants, Pigeon Guillemots and Oyster Catchers – those black birds with pink gumboots and carrot beaks! Enjoy a zodiac cruise around Mitlenatch shores to experience noisy seabird cliff rookeries, impressive Steller’s Sea Lions and agile California Sea Lions.

Shower under a waterfall! Toba Inlet has many glacial waterfalls. Cruise through the heart of Desolation Sound to Toba Inlet with an overnight stay in snug cabins at Wildernest Lodge – or you can choose to tent. Highlights include stunning fjord scenery, amazing wildlife, a hot tub on the beach, skipper Mike's stories of history and the age of exploration here – and his gourmet BBQ wild salmon! Look for mountain goats on steep cliffs, early homestead sites and ancient First Nation pictographs. Few people have the opportunity to experience this remote and scenic part of the inside coast.

For day trips, participants can choose to bring a picnic lunch or pre-order a vegetarian pizza and salad lunch for $10 each when you register. We recommend a second pair of shoes or rubber boots, sunscreen, hat, sunglasses and dress for the weather. And don’t forget to pack your camera, binoculars and curiosity! From off island you will need to catch a ferry in Campbell River (at 8:15 or 8:30 a.m., depending on the week day) that connects with the first ferry to Cortes Island. Leave your car at Heriot Bay on Quadra and walk onto the Cortes ferry. A shuttle is available by donation from the Cortes ferry to Misty Isles' departure point and then return to the ferry in late afternoon.

Day cruise costs are $120 per person, tax included. Laughing Oyster dinner cruise is $95 per person plus your choice of dinner. Toba Inlet overnight cruise is $360 per person, or $325 for a camping option.

For further information or to register, e-mail Cortes Museum at or phone 250-935-6340.

Lynne Jordan