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Sonora Resort Canada Blog

Sonora Resort is an all-inclusive luxury wilderness resort located in the Discovery Islands, just off the coast of British Columbia. Follow our blog for highlights on BC fishing, wildlife adventures, and the decadent cuisine our all-inclusive, five star resort has to offer.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Killer whales and their amazing aerials

Now that the new season is in full swing, I have seen many of my old friends in the forest, waters, and skies around Sonora. Some of my favourite friends are the killer whales that swim through the narrow channels and deep inlets of the Discovery Islands. Yesterday I had this season's first close encounter with the killer whales and I witnessed one of the most amazing aerial maneuvers I've ever seen. 

A group of seven transient killer whales were leaping, squealing, splashing, and playing off Francisco Point on Quadra Island when an adult female made an extraordinary move. She leapt 10 feet clear of the water, leveled out, hung horizontally for a split second, then tucked over and made an almost flawless re-entry! I have previously only seen much smaller Pacific white-sided dolphins perform such graceful aerial tricks. It reminds me that these magnificent animals are truly nothing other than giant dolphins.

By Aaron Nagler, wilderness guide

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Love Sonora Resort? Vote for us!

Did you enjoy your stay at Sonora Resort?  We'd love if you'd share your experience by nominating us for  the Travel + Leisure's 2013 World's Best Awards.

Just visit and complete the form with the information below!  Thank-you and best wishes for 2013 from all of us at Sonora!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Exploring the Phillips River

This spring, our Sonora eco-adventure tour and fishing guides have been exploring the Phillips River and getting to know this beautiful river valley even better than before. Sonora Resort purchased a brand new jet boat to use for our freshwater fishing trips and we’ve been spending many hours on the river getting to know every bend, riffle, rapid and river bank. The “River Run” is sweet little boat - a 17ft Custom Weld aluminum jet boat with an inboard jet, lots of power, and room for two guests plus the guide.

 River Run - new jet boat

The journey from Sonora to the river mouth takes about 40 minutes, and the scenery in the Phillips estuary is spectacular. We have often spotted grizzly bears on the grassy shoreline of Phillips Arm as they feed on the long, green grass. Once we traverse through the estuary and up into this small and pristine river system, our guides navigate upriver to the best fishing pools, where we beach the boat and then wade out to cast. Guests have the option of either fly-fishing or casting spoons with a spinning rod, and we have tried both to find the fish. Small coyote spoons and muddler or minnow pattern flies have been the hot ticket so far. As it is early in the season, we have been catching primarily Bull trout (char) ranging in size from 1-8lbs as well as beautiful cutthroat trout. Later in the season we expect Pink and the occasional Chinook salmon to enter the system on their way upriver to spawn.

Grizzly bear in the Phillips River

Fly-fishing in the Phillips River

Cutthroat Trout from a fly fishing trip on the Phillips River, British Columbia

We have also been exploring the Phillips River valley from our van and by foot to see some of the damage that the big spring snow melt has done to the hillsides. A few small landslides had blocked the road but were in the process of being cleared when we were last exploring. In one slide, the water had carved its way through a rocky cliff creating a new and interesting little waterfall just a short hike up from the logging road

Waterfall in the Phillips River Estuary

Every time we, Sonora guides, go to scout out fish for fishing trips or check out the river before we take guests up, we are blown away by the beauty of this pretty little valley – somehow it never gets old. The Phillips River system is full of gorgeous scenery and offers fantastic angling and wildlife viewing opportunities. Sonora Resort offers full day guided freshwater fishing trips for up to 2 people from either our jet boat or as a walk-and-wade trip depending on the water levels. The half-day Phillips River experience is another great way to visit this area, as our knowledgeable guides will travel by boat to the mouth of the river, slowly searching the shores of Phillips arm in hopes of spotting grizzlies on the shore. Once at the Phillips River dock, guests travel up the logging roads by van stopping at several spots along the river to take in the scenic vistas, look for grizzlies from a bear-watching tower, photograph waterfalls and learn about the history and ecology of the surrounding area. 

We would love to show you this amazing corner of the world on your next trip to Sonora. 

-  Kaitlin Ross
   Marine Operations Manager

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Spectacular Spring Eco-Adventure Tour

Sonora guest Angela Ford agreed to share her experiences on an ecotour in late May. Angela and her husband, Jason, are yearly visitors to the resort.

It was a glorious day at Sonora as we climbed into the Eagle Master boat along with eight other guests.

Our guide was Aaron Nagler, who piloted the boat out past the sleepy seals lying on the warm rocks. We guessed that there were 50 of them, but Aaron stopped a moment to count. There were 138 sunbathing on the little island, with others splashing in the water. I just love the seals, with their dark eyes and curious faces.  

Our first stop was an active eagle’s nest. With our trusty binoculars, we could see one eagle fussing about the nest, perhaps tending to chicks. The other parent stood watch on a nearby tree, looking down at us as we floated below. That day we didn’t see the fuzzy heads of the chicks, so we continued on our way.

Our next destination was Bute Inlet on the British Columbia mainland. As a city dweller, I find Bute Inlet amazing—miles and miles of untouched shoreline, no houses, no development, just nature at its wildest.

As we meandered along the coastline, Aaron spotted an eagle swooping down into the water and carrying something up to an overhanging branch. It was a fish, and we watched transfixed as the eagle tore it piece by piece and ate it. The eagle knew we were there—he would look up and watch as we floated beneath him—but he was hungry too, and nothing would pull him away from his catch.

Around another bend, we struck gold. There on the shoreline was a spectacular black bear, digging under rocks for a low-tide snack.

Aaron piloted the boat quietly and carefully until we were about 20 feet away. With the sound of the water lapping against the side of the boat, we watched the bear dig, then look at us and stretch out in the sun. This magnificent animal appeared to be a young adult male, and we must have watched him for 15 minutes before quietly leaving him to his meal.

 It was exhilarating to see these animals so close, and it was a happy group that headed back to the resort. But the best was yet to come.

As we approached the mouth of Bute Inlet, we could see splashes as far as the eye could see. We had happened on a large school of dolphins, feeding and playing in the current.

Aaron carefully maneuvered the boat, and as we made our way, a dozen dolphins decided to play with us. They surfed the wake of the boat, some of them nestling by the bow for a fun ride. When we stopped, the dolphins darted around the boat, underneath and surfacing nearby. All around us, dozens more dolphins surfaced in groups of two and three. There must have been 100 of them, and it was a truly spectacular sight.

Here is a short video of the dolphins swimming in the wake. Two or three were on this side with another six or seven on the other side of the boat.

My husband and I are regular visitors to the resort, and this was the best ecotour yet. Each time we go out on the water, we are awestruck by the incredible natural beauty of the BC coastline. Spectacular.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Off-Season Down Under: A Wilderness Guide in Australia

During the Sonora off-season, I've been enjoying the warmth of the Australian summer. Here the whale migrations we see at Sonora are reversed. Most cetacean species in Australian waters head to Antarctica during the summer, just as they head to our coast and the Arctic in the northern hemisphere summer. Interestingly, the British Columbian coastline plays a similar role in feeding cetaceans to that of Antarctica.
Our coastline plays a similar role in feeding cetaceans to that of Antarctica.  We too have powerful upwelling currents that lead to the growth of phytoplankton. This vital aquatic plant feeds krill, which in turn attracts thousands of animals to our coastline.

This season of growth and migration is about to begin on the coast of British Columbia. The gray whales, en route from Mexico to the northern Bering Sea, are beginning to reach our coast. These, along with the Pacific white-sided dolphins, Dall's porpoises, killer whales, and many others will soon arrive in the waters off Sonora.

For me, the new season is always exciting: each year is different and our understanding of natural systems grows a little more.

Will the resident Orca—frequently sighted this past winter—arrive earlier this year? Will the upsurge in transient killer whale activity of the past four seasons continue?

The resort opens in May, and we will soon see the mysteries of the new season unfurl before our eyes. 

- Aaron Nagler, Sonora Wilderness Guide

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Chef Terry’s European Culinary Adventure - Vancouver to London

After a long flight, I arrived in London on the 18th and things have been a whirlwind since! My first day in London I visited the Museum of Natural History; it was amazing and featured so many different exhibits including dinosaurs, a life-size blue whale replica and Earth’s Treasury which features many gemstones, minerals and rocks. The Museum of Natural History is located in an area that features 3 of the largest museums in the United Kingdom. For travelers who are interested in visiting

So far, my favorite culinary stop has been Cha Cha Moon, a modern Chinese restaurant where I had dinner in Soho. The above photo is their Sticky Pork – I highly recommend it! The Soho area of London was a lot of fun with people filling the streets, drinking beer and chanting futbol songs (after a Manchester United win) late into the night.

Another memorable meal that I had was at Cinnamon located in a London neighbourhood called Brick Lane. Brick Lane is located in the east end of London in the borough of Tower Hamlets and is famous around the world for their Curry Houses. The area is also home to a wonderful market, art galleries and boutiques.

Before we were even seated this was a new dining experience for me. After choosing where we wanted to eat, we actually bargained the price of our meal with the owner. I had the most amazing, authentic goat curry at Cinnamon, and would recommend visiting this area to anyone who is visiting London and looking for a great meal.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Chef Terry’s European Culinary Adventure

Sonora Resort’s very own Executive Chef Terry Pichor is embarking on a one-month culinary and sightseeing adventure to Europe today. He will be visiting many places throughout Europe, including London, Portugal, Seville in Spain, Morocco, Granada, and Edinburgh.

As this is his first trip to Europe, he is looking for recommendations of sites to visit, where to shop, and mostly importantly, where to eat! Please leave him a comment with your recommendations.

Although it will be a solo trip, Chef Terry will be meeting up with chefs along the way and friends, as well. Who knows what new ingredients and cuisines he will discover? We are excited for him to bring a little bit of Europe back with him when Sonora re-opens in May 2012.

Follow Chef Terry’s European adventures on our Facebook page , Twitter (with hashtag #cheftravels) and this blog. Chef Terry has also been invited to participate in a special food blog with the Vancouver Sun newspaper.

Bon voyage Chef!