Alert Bay is situated on Cormorant Island, about 2miles (3km) off the northeastern coast of Vancouver Island in the straits and channels between the island and the mainland. It is home to one of the best-preserved and still vibrant First Nation communities in western Canada. Totem poles face the waters from the Burial Grounds, and cedar-pole longhouses are painted with traditional images and symbols. The U'Mista Cultural Centre, dedicated to the preservation of the Kwakwaka'wakw culture, contains a collection of ancient and modern paintings, carved wooden masks, baskets, and potlatch ceremonial objects. View the world's tallest totem pole, measuring some 173 feet and crowned by a sun carving, under which are Raven, Bear, Eagle, a human figure, and many other forms.
In the late 1700s Captain Vancouver arrived in the area and later Alert Bay and Cormorant Island were both named after Her Majesty's Ships, Alert and Cormorant, coastal cruisers that surveyed the coast of British Columbia from 1846 to 1861. Alert Bay became a supply stop for fur traders and gold miners on their way to Alaska and now functions as one of the major fishing and marine centres in the region.
Photo courtesy of the U'mista Cultural Centre.
The following 14 cruises call at Alert Bay.
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