Desolation Sound

Desolation Sound[1] (French: Baie Desolation) is a deep water sound at the northern end of the Salish Sea and of the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia, Canada.

Desolation Sound
French: Baie Desolation
Desolation Sound
Desolation Sound
Extent of Desolation Sound
LocationDiscovery Islands, British Columbia
Coordinates50°07′20″N 124°45′30″W
Part ofSalish Sea
IslandsKinghorn Island, Martin Islands, Mink Island, Protection Island, Station Island
SettlementsRefuge Cove


Desolation Sound has always been inhabited by tribes of the Tla'amin and falls within the traditional territories of the Klahoose First Nation, Tla'amin Nation, and Homalco First Nations. In the summer of 1792, two expeditions led by Captains George Vancouver, Dionisio Alcalá Galiano and Cayetano Valdés y Flores arrived and cooperated in mapping the sound. Vancouver named it Desolation Sound, cryptically claiming that "there was not a single prospect that was pleasing to the eye". [2]


The sound is flanked by Cortes Island, East Redonda Island and West Redonda Island. Adjacent waterways include Lewis Channel (to the northwest), Waddington Channel (to the northeast), Homfray Channel (to the east), Okeover Inlet (to the southeast), and the Strait of Georgia (to the south).

Major provincial parks located within the sound include Desolation Sound Marine Provincial Park, Malaspina Provincial Park, Okeover Arm Provincial Park, and Roscoe Bay Provincial Park.


Refuge Cove is the only community in Desolation Sound. It is located on West Redonda Island and administered within Strathcona Regional District. The community serves as a centrally located supply stop for boaters and local fishers travelling in or near Desolation Sound.


The major industries of Desolation Sound include shellfish farming, forestry, and ecotourism.


Visitors travelling by car to Desolation Sound can take BC Ferries from Vancouver or Courtenay to Powell River, and drive the short distance northward to Lund. By boat or kayak from Lund,

Savary Island Ferry at Dock

the Copeland Islands (Copeland Islands Marine Provincial Park) and Desolation Sound (which includes Desolation Sound Marine Provincial Park), and Malaspina Provincial Park.

Major anchorages include Gorge Harbour (on Cortes Island), Grace Harbour, Prideaux Haven (a cove on Homfray Channel), Refuge Cove, and Tenedos Bay.


  1. "Desolation Sound". Geographical Names Data Base. Natural Resources Canada. Retrieved 2020-06-16.
  2. Robson, Robson (2007). "Hakluyt edition of Vancouver's journals". W. Kaye Lamb, editor, Vol. 2, p 609. Archived from the original on 2007-06-22. Retrieved 2007-07-27.

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