Desolation Sound (aboard the Misty Isles)

Desolation Sound (aboard the Misty Isles)
by Howard and Lois Bridger
, 23 July 2022

Leaving Lund at full capacity with twelve passengers, our Captain Jonas and assistant Tosh.

We couldn’t have asked for a nicer day. The temperature was perfect and the few clouds were scattered over the mountain tops. We motored around Sarah Pt., past the Curme Islands to Prideaux Haven where we discovered we were not alone.

Referred to, by Jonas, as “the parking lot” for good reason.  It seems Desolation Sound is a popular spot!  Fortunately, this trip is all about the spectacular scenery of which there was plenty.

Many small islands, narrow channels and the majestic coastal mountains filled our views. Jonas and Tosh regaled us with many stories of First Nations, early settlers and the natural history of the surrounding area.

Sightings included, Marbled Murrelets, Pigeon Guillemots, Bald Eagles, Harlequin Ducks, nesting Gulls, Pelagic Cormorants, stunted Old Growth forests on rocky islands, a seal nursery, many stands of beautiful and large Arbutus trees and more.  We arrived back in Lund feeling relaxed and saturated with coastal beauty.


Low tide exploration (aboard the Misty Isles)

Low tide exploration (aboard the Misty Isles)
by Howard and Lois Bridger
, 26 June 2022

It was a fair weather day as the Misty Isles, with Captain Jonas, naturalist George Sirk and a full contingent of twelve naturalists headed out from land towards Hernando Reef.

Bird sightings included, a pair of rarely seen Caspian Terns, a Peregrine Falcon, Kingfisher, Harlequin Ducks, Purple Martins, Nesting Glaucous-winged Gulls, Pelagic and Double-crested Cormorants, Pigeon Guillemots, Bald Eagles, Turkey Vultures, Ravens, Crows, and more.

Stellar Sea lions, Harbour Porpoise and Seals were also sighted.  Using the zodiac we were escorted to the reef where we disembarked and spent several enchanting hours exploring the reef off of Hernando Island.

Sharon Shultz donned her wet suit and snorkeling gear to see what treasures awaited in the deeper depths.  The reef was abound with intertidal life; many crabs, bivalves, corals, sponge, jellyfish, fish, sea stars, barnacles, hydroids, seaweeds and seagrasses.  On our way back to the harbour we cruised the East side of Hernando Island past the Twin Islands off of Cortez, around the Powell Islets and back through the Copelands.

Another adventure aboard the Misty Isles comes to an end.


Desolation Sound

Desolation Sound
by Pat Karis
, 13 June 2021

Eight Malaspina Naturalists arrived at Lund to take a boat trip to Desolation Sound.  Our captain ”extra-ordinairre” Jonas shared with us that he had left Whale Town on Cortez Island, that morning, 2 and a half hours prior to arriving in Lund…at 9:45.

After a few minutes of instruction around protocol inside and outside of the boat, we proceeded to get settled — unloading our gear and finding a comfortable place to sit.  There were outer decks open to all with lots of seating space.  Sitting inside was also an option that one member chose.  A little history about the Misty Isles ~ she is 43 feet in length and is a GAFF rigged schooner with a certified capacity for 12 passengers and two crew members.  She is also a ”well-loved and respected member of the west coast maritime community and a Desolation Sound icon !!

Shortly after leaving Lund, we headed north into the Copeland Islands where we drifted past many historically significant landmarks.  The weather was warm and overcast, to begin with, with many changing cloud formations floating past us above.  Later on, we ventured into Prideaux Haven, where we dropped anchor for lunch.  One of our very hot crew members, Sharon, decided to dive off the top of the boat, cooling off in the ocean waters.  We enjoyed our lunches that we brought.  Jonas’s wife surprised us with individual packages of cookies that she had baked just for us., to be served with the tea/coffee that was provided by the Misty Isles.  Yum, delicious — what a nice treat!!

Indeed, the Misty Isles is well maintained and very comfortable.  And the hospitality and knowledge of our host/captain was very impressive.  At times the boat was put on automatic pilot, so Jonas could mingle with us and point out places of interest.  At one point, we decided to venture up to and into Refuge Cove.  Unfortunately, our schedule/time didn’t allow us time to disembark from the the ship, but we did have time to sail in past some of the local shops and landmarks, etc.   Next Time!!

After a full day of being out on the water, our crew sailed back into Lund.  A great day was had by all .. thank-you, Misty Isles for another awesome day out on the water — we’ll tell our friends and other members what a great time we had !!



Desolation Sound

Desolation Sound
by Heather Harbord, 11 Jul

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

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

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!