Cruising the Strait of Georgia & De Courcy Island

Sep 18, 2019 - National Geographic Venture

Today we woke to a beautiful sunrise over the Canadian Rockies and cruised the Strait of Georgia to De Courcy Island. As we entered this beautiful archipelago just Southeast of Nanaimo, British Colombia, we saw harbor seals and gulls fishing among the intricate coastlines.

De Courcy Island itself holds a bit of drama in recent history. In the late 1920’s and 1930’s the island was home to the Aquarian Foundation, a religious group led by Brother XXII. Brother XII believed himself to be the Twelfth Master of Wisdom who would usher in a new age. He convinced 8,000 followers to hand over everything they owned and join him on the island. In 1933 the group disbanded and facing financial charges, Brother XII fled the island with an unknown amount of gold coins. He and the groups’ fortune were neither seen nor heard from again.

Currently, the island is broken into private lots and a popular marine park named Pirates Cove. After setting our anchor, guests enjoyed naturalist led hiking tours of the island’s trails, sea-kayaking, exploring, and Zodiac tours of the coastline. We even spotted some playful river otters amongst the craggy shoreline.

This lovely park and its rolling trails with incredible views was a special treat to enjoy. We took a lot of photos with the island’s Pacific madrone trees. These twisty species are known for their thin red bark that peels and colors the surrounding forest floor a dark maroon. Everyone embraced the cool breezes, blue skies, and sunshine.

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About the Author

Travis Patten


Travis Patten grew up in Minnesota on the shore of Lake Superior where he was brought up in a family culture of appreciation for all things water related. He learned an appreciation for nature from his grandfather and works to echo the lessons he was taught at a young age. Travis earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from Western Colorado State University and began a career in experiential education. Working with ski patrol during the winters and as a rafting and climbing guide during the summers, Travis honed his outdoor experiences and safety protocols through a variety of mediums. Returning to Minnesota, Travis earned a master’s Certificate in Environmental Education from the University of Minnesota and moved to California where he worked as a marine science instructor on Catalina Island. Since falling in love with ocean life, Travis has worked on the Sea of Cortez as a sea kayak guide and marine biologist while living in Baja and has guided eco adventure tours in South East Alaska. Travis has studied and learned from close interactions with various indigenous cultures and feels understanding their history is an integral component of each voyage.

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