Desolation Sound

Desolation Sound
by Heather Harbord, 11 Jul
2020

Brandishing our masks, six members boarded Misty Isles at Lund for a day trip to Desolation Sound.  Two of the 8 passengers mandated by Covid-19 regulations had got sick the day before and were unable to come.

A steady rain started but after several months locked down at home because of the pandemic, we were happy to be outside and the tarp spread across the ship’s boom was an added bonus.  Leaving Lund, we proceeded north up Thulin Passage but were unable to get close enough to the pictograph because a wide log boom was tied up below it.

After rounding Sarah Point, we welcomed the calmer seas and lighter rain.  With hot coffee and teas in our hands, we slid along the north side of Mink Island and were lucky enough to see the snowfield below Mt. Denman.  The peak itself remained shrouded in cloud all day.  This was the same weather Captain Vancouver encountered when he named the place in 1792.

Captain Jonas explained how the food chain works from plankton to orca.  He also showed us the entry in Andrew Scott’s Raincoast Place Names describing how Mink Island’s name was changed to Repulse Is and then won back by a petition signed by neighbours from Lund to Refuge Cove.

At the end of Mink Island, orange tents lit up several levels of the Curme Islands which is not a good place for boats the size of Misty Isles to visit because the water is either too shallow or too deep to anchor.  As we approached  the narrow channel between Otter Is and the mainland to enter the outer part of Prideaux Haven, a pair of Marbled Murrelets dived but most other birds and the whales stayed away all day.

The rain stopped so we toured Melanie Cove where the initial settler, Mike Shutler, built his cabin in the 1890s, well sheltered behind a small island.  Black Oystercatchers screamed round the anchored yachts, just as they did when Wylie Blanchet and her children visited in the 1930s.  Several of us had read her popular book The Curve of Time which Jonas passed around.  Parts of the inner waters of the cove were populated by large numbers of Moon Jellyfish.

Before leaving the area, we stopped to admire the sleek bodies of a small herd of silvery Harbour Seals on Pringle Rock named after the Columbia Coast Mission captain who ran up on it.

More coffee and tea plus thoughtfully provided little bags of two each of the famous Samantha’s cookies enlivened the voyage back past Portage Cove, Zephine Head and Sarah Point.  During the run down Thulin Passage we bucked a strong southeasterly wind but reached Lund on time at 5pm.

Desolation Sound

Desolation Sound
by Nancy Pezel 13 July
 2019

As Nadia brought us up alongside the Misty Isles in the dingy, what a surprise to find Mike would be our captain for the day!  With the aid of his charts, Mike explained about the currents, tides, deep waters, and warm fresh surface waters that make Desolation Sound such a popular spot for boaters.

As we headed up through Thulin Passage we stopped briefly at a pictograph;  Mike explained that mineralization of the rock helps coat and preserve the “paint” that the local First Nations made from red oxide traded to them by interior First Nations.   As we entered Desolation Sound, we learned how Captain Vancouver came to name it on a dreary day during his voyage in 1792.  After squeezing by Otter Island, a headwind picked up and the clouds threatened rain, so we sought shelter and anchored at the south end of Melville Island.  There we enjoyed a delicious lunch while two bald eagles watched us from their perches atop a Douglas-fir tree.  Tom, Captain Mike and Sarah also enjoyed a brief swim in this sheltered spot.

With bad weather ahead of us in the distance, we headed into Prideaux Haven to have a quick look at how many boats were occupying “downtown” Desolation Sound (I counted 18), before we turned back and across Homfray Channel , to Refuge Cove on West Redonda Island.   After a brief visit and chance to stretch our legs, we started back towards Lund, this time passing by the Powell Islets.  There we saw some gulls with chicks, a few cormorants and some seals.   And then, just as we were turning towards Lund we saw a small pod of Orcas!

Although the threat of rain surrounded us most of the day, somehow Captain Mike was able to keep the ominous dark clouds and rain at a distance the entire trip!  It was a wonderful day enjoyed by all!

Desolation Sound

Desolation Sound
by Andrew Bryant, 28 June 2018
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After our traditional pit-stop at Nancy’s Bakery, nine of us boarded the Misty Isles in Lund for a cruise up Desolation Sound.

Ably skippered by Jonas and deck-handled by Karie, we travelled north on the lee side of the Copeland Islands.  We mostly ignored the impressive big-money homes at “Bliss Bay”.  Instead we focussed on pictographs, marbled murrelets and that wonderful little island that, at least aboard the Misty Isles crew, has come to be known as “Littlenatch”.

Ooh ya.  Harbour seals, Pigeon Guillemots, Marbled Murrelets, apparently a few nesting Glaucus-winged Gulls, oystercatchers, assorted shorebirds, and some evidence of recovery from the sea-star “wasting” event of 2014.

We dropped anchor and lunched at the “slot” before entering Homfray Sound and Desolation Sound Marine Park.  Hopes of great views of Mt. Denman were dashed by the weather.  Oh well.   We then proceeded SW to Refuge Cove, where we endulged in some local shopping and local snooping…

All in all?  Another great day out.

P.S: Special thanks to Heather Harbord (coordinator) and Mike Moore (Misty Isles) who generously refunded payments to 3 of our members who couldn’t make this trip.  Thank you!