Cortes Museum Cruises

These cruises are in partnership with the Cortes Island Museum and Archives Society. They feature a local naturalist/historian, and have a social and natural history focus. For more local history, as well as visitor info and more, please visit the CIMAS website:


Sunday, June 12 – Mitlenatch Island

Mitlenatch Island has been a protected Provincial Nature Park since 1961. Each spring there is a colourful and continuous progression in the blooming of wildflowers. The Island also hosts the largest seabird breeding colony in the Strait of Georgia, largely because the ocean around it provides both a barrier from most predators and a generous supply of food.

Upon arrival, enjoy a walk through the flower meadow to the bird blind for a sneak peek into the nesting activities of the glaucous-wing gull. Mitlenatch Island is home to hundreds of harbour seals and in the early spring migratory Steller and California sea lions bark and grunt at us from their basking rocks.

With new things to see from one week to the next, Mitlenatch Island is a unique and exciting place to visit.

10 a.m. – 5 p.m., departs from Cortes Bay, $160

Friday, July 8 – Desolation Sound

Desolation Sound is a place of magnificent beauty, where mountains rise up from the sea in the deeply cutglacial fjords. Mount Denman dominates the scene, towering more than a mile high above narrow channels which have depths of over 2000 feet. It is a rugged coast, offset by warm sea temperatures, picturesque anchorages and a mild climate, which make it a world class boating and sea kayaking destination.

As we explore the sound, we enter the domain of bald eagles, harbour seals, Stellar and California sea lions, Dall’s and harbour porpoises, humpback whales, orcas, and more. From lake hikes and waterfalls to warm water swims and vibrant coastal communities, Desolation Sound offers a wide array of unique experiences.

10 a.m. – 5 p.m., departs from Cortes Bay, $160

Thursday, July 14 – Low Tide Reef Exploration

By mid-August, the tranquility of this seasonally popular boating haven returns.

Join Misty Isles as we slip lines and head south for the reef systems of Manson’s passage, between Savary and Hernando Islands. With gumboots, buckets, and curiosity, a rendezvous with a very low tide will set the stage for a foray into the semi-diurnal tides of BC.

Gently explore tide pools with local guides and naturalists, and meet some of the most interesting examples of evolution in the Discovery Islands. Themes of geology and biology and the human philosophies they have inspired will aid and abet us as we examine one of the truly dominant cycles of our planet.

9 a.m. –4 p.m., departs from Cortes Bay, $160

Thursday, August 11 – Cassel Lake & Refuge Cove

Departing from the Squirrel Cove Government dock on the east side of Cortes Island, we ride the tide north up Lewis Channel towards West Redonda Island and the granite walls of Teakerne Arm. With the anchor set near Cassel Falls, we disembark to shore for a short, arbutus-lined hike to the warm waters of Cassel Lake for a dip, a swim, or a moment of repose amongst the trees and birdsong.

Upon raising of the anchor, we backtrack our way out of Teakerne Arm, with eyes peeled for the orcas, dolphins and humpback whales known to frequent these waters. Next stop, Refuge Cove. This boardwalk community on West Redonda Island was founded in 1913 and once was home to over 200 residents. The general store and post office opened in 1918, and continue to connect communities to this day. With a dedicated, year-round population of 12, local artisans tend to an art gallery, pour pints and brew espresso at the pub, and see to it that Refuge Cove remains a social hub where mariners have restocked and refreshed for well over one hundred years. An eclectic rite of passage for travel by water in the Discovery Islands, Refuge Cove cannot be missed!

9 a.m. – 4 p.m., departs from Cortes Bay, $160

Sunday, August 28 – Háthayim

On the northwestern reaches of Cortes Island, a slender saltwater inlet projects itself from Sutil Channel into a biodiverse wilderness known as Háthayim. For centuries, human beings have sought shelter and sustenance alongside the steep sided fjords, old growth forests, and tidal estuaries. An army of high functioning ecosystems within Ha’thayim have led to its designation as a 1,277-hectare marine park.

Join Misty Isles for a pilgrimage by sea to engage in one of the most revered marine parks of the inside passage. Local guides and historians will lend narrative and interpretation while we parallel the Discovery Islands for a look at a wilderness where no road exists.

9 a.m. – 4 p.m., departs from Gorge Harbour Marina, $160

Come sailing with us!

Desolation Sound Tours | Cruising Charters | Mitlenatch Tours