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General News · 14th July 2014
Lynne Jordan, Cortes Museum
Special trip for Cortes residents & visitors! Cruise through the surprisingly warm waters of Desolation Sound to enjoy one of the most beautiful marine parks in B.C. on Sunday, July 20th. Due to the new ferry schedules, participants will need to have accommodation on Cortes the night before. The Cortes Museum is sponsoring this day trip aboard Misty Isles in this area of most fascinating maritime history, beginning with early First Nation villages and as the anchorage for British and Spanish explorers who first charted Desolation Sound in the late 1700s. Skipper/naturalist Mike Moore has a wealth of information about the Age of Exploration and the rich marine features of the area, from marine birds and mammals to the dramatic topography.

Follow some of the route sailed by M. Wylie Blanchet, famous for her book "The Curve of Time". Among the stops of interest is the abandoned homestead of Andrew Shuttler, an eccentric fellow admired by Blanchet. The story of his logging and orchard endeavours sets the scene for early pioneer settlement in this area. Desolation Sound tops the list as a destination for boaters from all over the world who come to enjoy these protected waters with so many islands, bays and coves. Part of the attraction is the dramatic mountain scenery and warm waters in this fjord land that rivals any in the world. Says Moore, "I don't know of another place where one can swim in ocean temperatures so warm (over 20 degrees Celsius), right under snow capped mountains!" Mike promises a leisurely exploration of the sound and, given enough wind, the opportunity to help hoist the red sails. The relaxed pace of Misty Isles allows participants to sit outside for a cup of tea with cookies while enjoying the stunning scenery.

Weather permitting, the tour may include a stop at Laura Cove, where British explorers found an "extensive deserted village" built by the Coast Salish First Nation People atop a perpendicular rock cliff. The houses, fronted by a platform overhanging the rock, were only accessible by climbing over a bridge from the mainland.

This fascinating day cruise departs Cortes Bay at 10 am, returning about 4:30 pm. Pack a picnic lunch, dress for the weather, bring sunscreen, hat, binoculars - and don't forget your camera! An extra pair of shoes is advised - and a bathing suit in case there's a chance to enjoy the warm green waters of Desolation Sound. Cost for this full day tour is $120. For more information or to register, contact Cortes Museum at or 250-935-6340. (This cruise will also be repeated on Saturday, August 23rd.)