Sonora and Thurlow Islands Boat Tour with the Museum a Favourite with Guests

PLEASE NOTE: The route for 2017 has changed as the boat departs from Campbell River rather than Kelsey Bay.  For details about the updated route contact

This summer treat yourself to some time on the water with a boat tour with the Museum at Campbell River and Discovery Marine Safaris.  One of our most popular tours is the cruise to Sonora and the Thurlow Islands, with a stop for lunch at Dent Island Lodge.  This cruise departs from Kelsey Bay, where guests are brought by bus from Campbell River, and explores East and West Thurlow Islands, and the northern portion of Sonora Island on board one of Discovery Marine Safaris comfortable boats.2014 Sonora (23)

Located 1.6km from the village of Sayward, the Port of Kelsey Bay was the home of Salmon River Logging in the late 1930s.  Years later it was the location of the southern terminus of the BC Ferries Inside Passage Route.  Visible from Kelsey Bay is Hardwicke Island.  Named by Captain Vancouver after Philip Yorke, 3rd Earl of Hardwicke, Hardwicke Island has been home to the Bendickson family since the arrival of Norweigan logger H.A. Bendickson in 1918.

The Thurlow Islands were logged with oxen in the 1880s, and mining for gold, copper and iron began in the 1890s.  According to local lore the first steam locomotive used for logging in BC was used on the Thurlow Islands.  A hub of activity at the end of the 1800s was Shoal Bay on the northern shore of East Thurlow.  In 1913 a one-room school house was opened and a government wharf was built.  It was a regular stop for Union Boats and settlers from neighbouring islands would row over to get their mail.

Sonora Island was named after a Spanish exploring vessel, the Sonora, which sailed out of San Blas Mexico in 1775, bound for the Northwest Coast.  The trip was plagued with difficulties, and by the time the ship reached Dixon Entrance only Quadra and Maurelle, the ships officers, were still on their feet.  The two men managed to sail the ship back to Mexico on their own.2014 Sonora (6)

Dent Island Lodge is a favourite lunch spot with guests.  Described as “luxury in the wilderness” they have a reputation for preparing exceptional meals in a spectacular setting.

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