Tag Archives: Desolation Sound


Michael Moore
Sea Kayaking Adventures Aboard Misty Isles
July 7-12

A Different Sort of Hollyhock Workshop Space

A review of the Mothership Kayak Tour via Misty Isles Adventures

Hollyhock and, Misty Isles partner to offer a special Mothership Kayak Tour.  With our kayaks loaded onboard the Misty Isles, we voyage out from Hollyhock each day to explore and paddle in beautiful places. Along the way we may be able to set the sails or view wildlife which may include eagles, seals, or even porpoise or dolphins. Upon arriving at our destination for the day we will launch the kayaks and paddle off for an exploration of picturesque channels or islands before returning to Hollyhock in the evening for supper and a hot tub.

A Different Sort of Hollyhock Workshop Space: things I expected and things I didn’t on my Hollyhock Misty Isles Adventure.

Continue reading A Different Sort of Hollyhock Workshop Space

Why does logging trump tourism in the Discovery Islands

… and Desolation Sound?

by Carrie Saxifrage via Vancouver Observer

B.C. Timber Sales built a new log dump and road across from the Octopus Islands/Waiatt Bay Marine Park in one of the only three channels from which no active or recent logging can be seen from the water.
B.C. Timber Sales built a new log dump and road across from the Octopus Islands/Waiatt Bay Marine Park in one of the only three channels from which no active or recent logging can be seen from the water.

Hole in the Wall, Okisollo Channel, Prideaux Haven, Pendrell Sound, Sonora Island…. for thousands of people, these names evoke some of the best fun summer can offer: kayaking world famous tidal rapids; sport fishing at legendary lodges; watching orcas and grizzly bears in the wild; following trails through salal thickets to hidden lakes; anchoring in coves full of brilliant sea life and swimming in the warmest ocean water north of Mexico while gazing at snow covered peaks.

Sixteen provincial marine parks invite exploration of the waters between central Vancouver Island and the B.C. mainland. And those who explore them drive the local economies of the Discovery Islands and Desolation Sound. Fishermen, water taxi operators, airport shuttles, kayak rentals, craftspeople, fishing guides, charter boat operators, B&Bs, farmers, restaurants, camping supply stores, museums, marinas, yacht clubs – they all await the heydays of July and August.

According to the Discovery Islands Marine Tourism Group, tourists generate over $45 million each year and employ 1,200 people in the Discovery Islands alone. Add to this the business brought in by up to 250 yachts that anchor each night in Prideaux Haven, and all the other yachts anchored in other bays, and you get the economic activity that enables hundreds of rural families to live where they do.

Those families count their blessings to live in place abundant with the wonders of nature yet well within reach of major population centers like Vancouver and Seattle. In fact, the economic benefits of tourism in the area might far outpace the economic benefits of forestry, the historic economic mainstay. But there’s a lot of logging on public lands at highly visible locations in this magnetic summer playground, and more planned for the fall.

Clients at the premium sport fishing lodges at Big Bay and Dent Island view this new cut block on Stuart Island on their trip north.
Clients at the premium sport fishing lodges at Big Bay and Dent Island view this new cut block on Stuart Island on their trip north.

Jack Springer of Campbell River Whale Watching has a primarily European clientele who can’t understand why so many trees are being cut.

“It’s very difficult to explain to them what is going on here,” he said. “They love our wildlife and scenery, but shake their heads at the way our forests are being harvested.” Springer is among the tourism operators and associated businesses that are asking, why does logging still trump tourism in the Discovery Islands and Desolation Sound?

Read full article here.

Sail, Paddle, Barbeque and Stargaze

Bottomless Oyster Bar sound good after a day on the water?  On Hollyhock’s Adventure Program, Bill Ophoff and Rex Weyler will guide you on an adventure-cational trip as rich as the diverse marine life you will be in.  Discover First Nations shellfish harvesting, the rhythym of the ocean and other natural magic like bioiluminescence.  Have a peak at how to shuck an oyster with Bill:

Join Bill and Rex for the Hollyhock Adventure Program, August 25 – 30, 2013, at Hollyhock on Cortes and Desolation Sound.

Cortes, An Island On The Edge Of Wilderness

By Hollyhock presenter Mike Moore 

Cortes Island lies at the north end of the Salish Sea, where Vancouver Island juts up against the BC mainland coast. This is a scenic and diverse area and it is at the edge of BC’s vast coastal wilderness.

To the east the view is dominated by the mountain peaks of the Coast Range with the iconic Mt. Denman towering 6600 feet above the myriad of channels and islands of Desolation Sound. The back waters of Desolation Sound have the warmest ocean temperatures north of Mexico, reaching in to the mid 20’s. There is no other place in the world where you can swim in water so warm right under snow-capped mountains!

To the south Cortes thrusts out into the Strait of Georgia at the north end of the Salish Sea. The mountains on Vancouver Island and the Coast Range create a rain shadow effect here so that the climate is warmer and drier here than to the north of Cortes.

To the west the tidal waters flowing in from the Pacific Ocean are squeezed through the narrow channels of the Discovery Islands creating the tidal rapids that this area is famous for. Currents reaching 12 knots flush the area with cold, oxygen and nutrient rich water that feeds the abundant marine life here. Some of these rapids form standing waves of up to 2 1/2 metres high, a favourite place for kayakers to play! But it also is a great place to watch for seals, sea lions, dalls porpoise, pacific white-sided dolphin and orca fishing in the rich waters.

And to the north of Cortes, there lies a largely uninhabited wilderness. There are no road accessible communities between the towns of Lund and Bella Coola, 300 km apart as the crow flies but with over 900 km of coastline separating them. The mainland coast just off of Cortes has the southern most grizzly bear populations. Cortes is home to black- tailed deer, cougar and river otters. Wolves are sometimes seen in our back yards. Living this close to the wilderness demands a level of attention and respect. We keep our livestock well protected and fenced and keep our dogs on the leash while walking in the wolf’s forest home.

While Cortes is home to the vibrant communities of Mansons Landing, Whaletown and Squirrel Cove, it is easy to find empty beaches and forest paths to explore. Kwas Park is 70 hectares and has trails that wind through first growth trees and along Hague and Gunflint Lakes. Vondonop Inlet Park features reversing tidal rapids, steep-sided fjords, and tidal flats. This rugged 1,277-hectare park has no designated hiking trails within the park, although a good trail does exist from the Von Donop to Squirrel Cove, outside the park (approximately 5 km). A rough trail also runs to the top of Cliff Peak that has an elevation of 459 metres and is Cortes Island’s highest point.

Exploring the waters around Cortes by kayak or guided boat tour is an excellent way to get a sense of the wildness of the coast. Favourite kayak launch sites include Mansons Lagoon and Cortes Bay. A swim in Desolation Sound or a trip to view the wildlife at Mitlenatch Island are regular destinations for the boat tours that leave from Cortes Island.

For further information on what Cortes has to offer, see www.ourcortes.com

Explore the spectacular Cortes Island region with Mike Moore at Hollyhock during Sea Kayaking Adventures Aboard Misty Isles July 12 – 17 or September 8 – 13.