Natural Aspects of Western Cortes–with Misty Isles

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Book soon to avoid disappointment!

  • Thursday, July 4, 2024
  • 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., departing from the Gorge Harbour dock
  • $225
  • Guided by George Sirk

Join us for this rich, varied, and rare view of Cortes Island!

George Sirk will guide your natural history experience through the legendary Gorge Harbour – an unusual island sea whose entrance, “THE GORGE,” pumps in and out millions of gallons of fresh tidal seawater daily. Journey past shellfish farms, the mouth of the Anvil Lake Creek, round Ring and Tan Islands, to the 300-foot sheer cliffs that plunge a further 60 feet into the water. Timed with “slack water,” this is your chance to drift slowly past rock walls encrusted with anemones, gumboot chitons, crabs, coral, and the rare giant barnacle! The harbour, narrows, and cliffs have been home to the First Nations peoples for millennia, and pictographs can still be seen to this day painted in ochre.

Beyond the Gorge, we will skirt the Heather Islets, making landfall (by Zodiac) on sandy Shark Spit, Marina Island. Bring out your picnic lunch, stretch your legs, beach comb, and enjoy this wild expanse. The adventure continues after lunch into Carrington Bay for a stop at the “reversing rapids” with an overview of the cultural history of the float house community of the 70s & 80s.

The journey back includes tiny Centre Islet – a rich seabird colony of pigeon guillemots, glaucous-winged gulls, and black oystercatchers. With luck, we will see the glorious and raucous Caspian terns who have recently colonized the Salish Sea. Be on the lookout for humpback whales, sea lions, dolphins, and maybe an orca or two!

This trip is your chance to experience the diversity of marine and animal life of Western Cortes up close and personal – and have some plain old fun!

Museum-sponsored historic cruises are not just a unique and educational experience but also a meaningful way to support our community and the Museum’s programs. These cruises are a fundraising partnership between the Cortes Island Museum & Archives and Misty Isles Adventures. Your participation directly contributes to the preservation and promotion of our local history and culture.

To register, visit Misty Isles Adventures website or call Misty Isles Adventures at 250-935-6756.

Other historic guided tours with Misty Isles this summer:

Dinner Cruise to the Laughing Oyster
• Monday, August 5, 3 p.m. – 9 p.m., $175 (dinner not included in fare)
• Departs from Cortes Bay

Háthayim/Von Donop Marine Park Historical Cruise
• Wednesday, August 28, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., $225
• Departs from Gorge Harbour

Check the website,, for more information.