Note: You can also download a PDF version of this page, more suitable for printing.
- Columbia III will be moored at the Discovery Harbour Marina in Campbell River (250) 287-2614.
- Board the vessel punctually between 6:00 pm and 6:15 pm.
- We serve snacks the first evening but not dinner. We suggest you have dinner before boarding.
- The Columbia III returns to Campbell River at approximately 2 pm on the last day of the tour.
- The Columbia III cell phone number is 250-202-4745
Our Discovery Islands Coastal History Adventure begins in the town of Campbell River, located about 160
miles north of Victoria on the east side of Vancouver Island. Here the Columbia III will await your arrival.
Getting to Campbell River
There are a number of ways of getting to Campbell River. The simplest is to fly
directly from either Vancouver or Seattle to Campbell River's regional airport.
(CYBL) Flying time from Vancouver to Campbell River is approx 45 minutes. Other
ways include the combination of either car and ferry or bus and ferry. Ferry
crossing time from Vancouver to Vancouver Island is approx. 2 hours. Driving
time from Nanaimo to Campbell River is 1.5 hours, or from Victoria to Campbell
River is 3.5 hours.
-Pacific Coastal Airlines runs
numerous daily flights to Campbell River 1-800-663-2872 or 604-273-8666 (in Vancouver).
-Central Mountain Air:
daily flights to Campbell River 1-888-865-8585 or 250-847-5000
-Air Canada: acts as a booking agent for Pacific Coastal Airlines and
Central Mountain Air if an Air Canada ticket has been purchased to a connecting
airport (i.e., Vancouver). 1-800-247-2262 (in Canada) or 1-800-776-3000 (in USA)
-Kenmore Air Seaplanes
flights to Campbell River 1-800-543-9595 or 425-486-1257 (in Seattle).
From Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta
has daily flights to Comox
(a town 45 minutes south of Campbell River by road) 1-888-937-8538.
Ferry service to Vancouver Island
-B.C. Ferries: year round vehicle
and passenger service - Routes include: North Vancouver (Horseshoe Bay) to
Nanaimo (Departure Bay), South Vancouver (Tsawwassen) to South Nanaimo (Duke
Point) and South Vancouver (Tsawwassen) to Swartz Bay (near Victoria)
1-888-223-3779 or outside B.C. 250-386-3431.
From Washington State
passenger ferry service from Port Angeles WA to downtown Victoria B.C.
-Washington State Ferries:
vehicle and passenger service from Anacortes WA to Sidney B.C. (near Victoria)
1-888-808-7977 or 206-464-4600 (Seattle).
passengers-only, from downtown Seattle to downtown Victoria B.C. 1-800-888-2535.
In Vancouver Area
-Vancouver airport shuttle: hourly service from airport to downtown bus station 1-800-668-3141
-Greyhound Canada: service from
Vancouver's downtown bus station to Campbell River. Ferry crossing included. 1-800-
661-8747 or 604-681-3526 (in Vancouver).
On Vancouver Island
-Island Coach Lines (a division of
Greyhound Canada): frequent service between Victoria, Nanaimo, and Campbell
River 1-800-318-0818 or 250-287-7151 (in Campbell River).
In Campbell River
-Campbell River Taxi/Airporter
-Bee Line Taxi
Car Rental Providers
-Budget Car Rentals 1-800-268-8900 or 250-923-4283 (in Campbell River)
-National Car Rentals 1-800-227-7368 or 250-923-1234 (in Campbell River)
Visiting Vancouver Island
Many of our guests like to explore Vancouver Island before or after their
adventure on the Columbia III. Please contact Tourism Vancouver Island (250)754-
3500 or www.tourismvi.ca for ideas and information. Accommodation throughout
B.C. can be arranged through 1-800-435-5622 or HelloBC.com.
For those guests who wish to arrive prior to our departure, or stay later
after our trip, many hotels and bed & breakfasts are available in Campbell
River. Further information is also available from the Campbell River & District
Chamber of Commerce: (250) 287-4636.
There is a variety of parking available. Please ask for directions at the boat when you arrive.
Contacting Columbia III
The Columbia III can be contacted at 250-202-4745. The Mothership office can be
reached at 1-888-833-8887 or 250-202-3229. In the case of an extreme emergency,
the boat can be contacted directly by calling the Canadian Coast Guard in Victoria 1-250-363-6333.
Ask them to send a message to MV Columbia III (quote this
number: MMSI# 316-003-614) sailing in the Discovery Islands area. We are often
off the boat so expect a response to take 12 hours. The ship's phone is not for
guest use. See our website for more contact information.
We are happy to accommodate any personal dietary needs including vegetarian
and vegan. Wine will be served with the evening meal. If you would like an
alternative to alcohol please let us know on your medical form. Please notify us
of any food allergies or needs on the medical form well in advance of your
Medical, Allergies, and Other Concerns
Mail us your completed Medical Form ASAP. Your tetanus vaccination must be up
to date (less than 10 years old) before you leave. Be sure to bring enough of
your required medications as you will be far from any drug stores. We may
encounter minor ocean swells so if seasickness is a concern, please bring anti
nausea medication. But rest assured, we travel in very sheltered areas and
overnight in calm, protected bays. We do our best to avoid swells and waves!
Weather, Clothing, and Packing
Our skipper and certified guides will not take you in any weather conditions
that are dangerous to you or the group. We will likely encounter some wind and
waves (the ocean is not always flat!), but nothing that would compromise the
safety of the group or a beginner kayaker.
For maximum comfort, a layering system of lighter "quick-dry" and warmer fleece
clothing works best. Merino wool is excellent as well. Avoid cotton which stays
wet for a very long time. Waterproof raingear is essential. When getting in and
out of the skiff on shore excursions your feet WILL get wet. We suggest a pair
of sturdy water sandals/ shoes or rubber boots. Proper protection from the sun
is essential so bring sun glasses, a sun hat, sun block and lip screen. Bring a
water bottle. Staying hydrated in the outdoors is very important.
Consider bringing the items listed on the packing list we provide.
We have waterproof bags (dry bags) onboard that you can use for your cameras
or other small items on our skiff excursions if you like. Large Ziploc bags
work as well. Hard suitcases are difficult to fit into the small storage
compartments on the Columbia III, so if possible, bring your things in soft
duffel type bags.
NOTE: Although not required, if you'd like to express your appreciation to the
guides through a gratuity, such recognition would be enthusiastically received.
The industry standard for tipping is approximately 10 percent of the trip cost.
All tips will be equally distributed among your crew
- sun hat / warm hat
- fleece jacket
- windbreaker or shell
- waterproof rain gear (jacket and pants)
- t-shirts, shorts, swimsuit (depending on the season!)
- warm Layered clothing
- shore Shoes (for walking or hiking)
- sturdy water sandals/shoes or rubber boots
- medications, prescription and non prescription
- day pack
- sunglasses, spare pair of eyeglasses
- sun-block, lip Screen
- insect repellent
- water bottle
- binoculars, journal, sketchbook (optional)
- waterproof bag
- a good book
Suggested reading/resource list annotated by Jeanette Taylor, updated May 2015:
Some of the books are out-of-print but should be available through libraries. Favourites are marked with asterisks (*); many of them will be on board for the cruise:
The Age of Exploration
- *Early Maritime Artists of the Pacific Northwest Coast, 1741-1841, John Frazier Henry; a well- researched and illustrated book with summarized accounts of numerous early voyages.
- The Voyage of George Vancouver, 1791-1795, Volume I, George Vancouver, Hakluyt Society; a reprint of Vancouver’s journals edited by W. Kaye Lamb of the BC Archives.
- *The Voyage of Sutil and Mexicana 1792, The last Spanish exploration of the Northwest Coast of America, translated by John Kendrick; the original Spanish account with illustrations and an index to Spanish place names.
- *Tidal Passages, A History of the Discovery Islands, Jeanette Taylor, 2008.
- The Quadra Story, A History of Quadra Island, Jeanette Taylor, 2009.
- River City, A History of Campbell River & the Discovery Islands, 1999, Jeanette Taylor.
- *Spillsbury’s Coast, Pioneer Years in the Wet West, Howard White and Jim Spilsbury; the biography of a traveling radio repairman in the Depression years to World War II.
- *The Columbia is Coming, Doris Andersen; the story of the Columbia Coast Mission, which served remote communities from Powell River to Alert Bay.
- Evergreen Islands, Doris Andersen; a concise history of each of the island communities from Quadra to Alert Bay.
- Working in the Woods, Ken Drushka; one of the best books on coastal logging in BC.
- *The Curve of Time, M. Wylie Blanchet; the adventures of a single mother with her large family cruising the coast in the 1930s and ‘40s; a BC classic.
- Seven-Knot Summers, Beth Hill; tales of the coast as seen through the journals and photos of the Barrows, who cruised the coast from the 1920s to 1940s.
- Upcoast Summers, Beth Hill; historical ramblings about coastal communities.
- Exploring Quadra Island, Heritage Sites & Hiking Trails, Jeanette Taylor and Ian Douglas, 2001. A guide to many special places to visit on Quadra Island.
- *High Slack, Judith Williams; an engaging history of Bute Inlet.
- Writing Nature, Finding Home, Andrea Lebowitz & Gillian Milton, 1999. A well-written biography of Cortes Island writer Gilean Douglas.
- *The Protected Place, Gilean Douglas, 2001. One of several of this prolific writer’s books that’s still in print; musings on her rural life and the changing seasons at her isolated Cortes home.
- Rumrunner: The Life and Times of Johnny Schnarr, Marion Parker; a history of the Schnarr brothers.
- Desolation Sound, A History, Heather Harbord. A well-researched book and an enjoyable read.
First Nations History & Culture
- Clam Gardens, Aboriginal Mariculture on Canada’s West Coast, Judith Williams; the book that revealed that Native people managed their primary shellfish resource.
- Cedar; Indian Fishing; and Artifacts, Hilary Stewart; line drawings and text describe the many uses of cedar, fishing technology and stone tools in traditional First Nations culture.
- Sliammon Life, Sliammon Lands; a history of the Mainland Comox First Nations people of the Church House and Desolation Sound area.
- Spirit in the Stone, Joy Inglis, 1998. A guide to the petroglyphs of Quadra Island and elsewhere on the coast by a Quadra Island-based anthropologist.
- Food Plants of Coastal First Peoples, Royal BC Museum Handbook, Nancy J. Turner, a well-illustrated and carefully research guide.
- Wild Flowers of the Pacific Northwest, from Alaska to Northern California, Lewis J. Clarke; a well-illustrated and exhaustive list.
- Plants of Coastal BC, including Washington, Oregon & Alaska, Pojar & MacKinnon; easy to use, well-researched and comprehensive.
- Listening to the Whales, Alexandra Morton. Who better to tell us this story!
- *Seagull's Cry, Maud Emery; a fiction account of a woman's life as a handlogger's wife in the Toba Inlet area.
- A Tale for the Time Being, Ruth Ozeki; a young girl’s life, partially based in Desolation Sound; shortlisted for the Nan Booker Prize.