Desolation Sound is a deep water sound, that begins at the northern end of the Sunshine Coast, north of Lund, BC. Flanked by Cortes Island and West Redonda Island, its spectacular fjords, mountains and wildlife make it a global boating and sea kayaking destination. Named by Captain George Vancouver in 1792 on account of the gloomy appearance of the surrounding country, the following taken from his journal gives Vancouver's impressions of the place while his boats were examining the vicinity in June 1792: "Our residence here was truly forlorn; an awful silence pervaded the gloomy forests, whilst animated nature seemed to have deserted the neighbouring country, whose soil afforded only a few small onions, some samphire and here and there bushes bearing a scanty crop of indifferent berries. Nor was the sea more favourable to our wants, the steep rocky shores prevented the use of the seine, and not a fish at the bottom could be tempted to take the hook." When Captain George Vancouver named it Desolation Sound, we don't think he had a globally renowned ecotourism destination in mind. Desolation Sound falls within the traditional territories of the Klahoose, Tla’amin, and Hamalco First Nations.
Malaspina Strait is a strait in the northern Gulf of Georgia-Sunshine Coast region of British Columbia, Canada. It separates Texada Island from the upper Sunshine Coast-Malaspina Peninsula area on the adjacent mainland. The strait and the peninsula were named in 1859 by Captain George Henry Richards of the Plumper in honor of Alessandro Malaspina, an Italian noble who commanded one of the exploration ships during the Spanish exploration of the British Columbia Coast. Richards' choice of name was probably influenced by the nearby Malaspina Inlet, named in 1792 by Galiano and Valdés, who had been officers serving under Malaspina.
Copeland Islands Marine Provincial Park was established in July of 1971 and consists of a small chain of islands, islets and rocks in Thulin Passage. It is an excellent destination for kayakers, as it is a good stopover point between Lund and Desolation Sound. This area has limited anchorages for small vessels and also provides opportunities for scuba diving, wildlife viewing, wilderness camping, swimming and fishing.
Homfray Channel is one of the most beautiful spots in Desolation Sound, with tower peaks and very little tides on account of its great depth. The channel is the 2nd deepest in North America, which means very few anchorages and thus little boat traffic. It was named after Robert Homfray. a Civil Engineer , b.1824 d.1902. The best account of his exploits are contained in the book, The Chilcotin War: A Tale of Death and Reprisal. The tale is compelling, full of the perils and dangers of an attempt to find a better way to the Chilcotin Gold fields via Bute Inlet with a rescue and guidance from the Klahoose Chief. Homfray Channel begins north after Desolation Sound Marine Park and Pryce Channel near Toba Inlet. Nestled in a small bay at Foster Point, is our very own Homfray Lodge.
Toba Inlet is one of the principal inlets of the British Columbia Coast and on the edge of the Great Bear Rainforest. Toba Inlet is relatively short in comparison to the other coastal inlets, being only about 2.5 kilometres (1.6 mi) in average width and 35 km from the mouth of the powerful Toba River. The Inlet is a deep fjord and is flanked by towering mountains and several major cascading waterfalls. Our Grizzly Bear Viewing Tours are guided by the Klahoose First Nation. We dock at the mouth of Toba and explore areas of the Klite River with its bear viewing towers from which we witness Grizzly Bears feeding on salmon in their natural habitat.
The first non-indigenous exploration of Toba Inlet occurred in 1792 when British and Spanish expeditions arrived in the area simultaneously. There was cooperation between the British under George Vancouver and the Spanish under Dionisio Alcalá Galiano. June 24, 1792, Captain Dionisio Alcalá Galiano made the following log entry for his schooner Sutil:“At sunset [Captain Cayetano] Valdés returned. He had followed the Canal de la Tabla and inspected the vicinity. [The inlet], which appeared [of] considerable [width] at its beginning, came to an end in a few leagues; its shores were very high, with sharp peaks, its depth great, and the inlets he saw were full of small islands. On its east shore Valdés found a plank [tabla], for which he named the inlet and of which he made a drawing. It was covered with paintings, which were apparently hieroglyphics of the natives. He found some abandoned villages, but not one inhabitant.” The Tabla of Toba inlet was sketched and this drawing of the plank made quite an impression at the time. It was reproduced in the atlas that accompanied the account of the 1792 expedition.
Below is a Deep Roots story by producer Roy L Hales interviewing Michelle Robinson and Ken Hanuse, from the Klahoose First Nation, and local historian Judith Williams the story behind Toba Inlet's Name
In 1903 Quadra Island was named after the Spanish navigator Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra, who explored and settled the Vancouver Island area in the late 18th century. It is separated from Vancouver Island by Discovery Passage and Cortes Island, and is linked to that island by a ferry from Heriot Bay on its eastern shore. The Southern Kwakiutl (part of the larger Kwakwaka'wakw ethnic grouping) migrated into the northern Georgia Strait from Queen Charlotte Strait over two centuries ago, displacing and absorbing the Comox and Pentlatch peoples who formerly lived there. Cape Mudge was called "Tsa-Kwa-Luten," which means "gathering place" in the Kwak'wala language.
Today the Laichwiltach people have conceived and built a modern, full-service beach-front lodge where their ancestors once lived, hunted, and fished the salmon-rich Discovery Passage. Tsa-Kwa Luten Lodge, featuring the design of a Kwagiulth "Big House" as the main foyer, is included as our overnight stay during our Desolation Sound Cruise.
Cortes Island is part of the archipelago known as the Discovery Islands in British Columbia, Canada, which lies beyond the northern end of the Gulf of Georgia, between Vancouver Island and the British Columbia Mainland and also borders Desolation Sound. It is considered to be part of the Northern Gulf Islands. Cortes lies on the far side of Quadra Island from the city of Campbell River, separated from Quadra Island by Sutil Channel. The island is part of the traditional territories of the We Wai Kai, Kwiakah, Homalco, Sliammon and Klahoose First Nations, with the office of the Klahoose First Nation located on the island at Squirrel Cove.
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