Gorge Harbour is for sale.

One of our favorite marinas with new and obsessively swept and washed docks, easy access from Desolation Sound, a surprisingly well-provisioned grocery store, swimming pool and hot tub, is available for purchase.

Gorge Harbour is where we always find familiar friends, like minded mariners we know and like, or soon will know and like.

The narrow entrance channel through a rocky gorge leads past ancient petroglyphs into a spacious basin where good anchorages, private cabins with docks, and several oyster and mussel farms are moored.

The spacious harbor guts the south side of Cortes Island, named for Don Hernán Cortés – the Spanish Conquistador with the distinction of destroying Aztec civilization and other stuff in the 16th century.

Although we have visited Gorge Harbor several times during the past two years we know little of Cortes Island except that much of the population migrates like humpbacks to Mexico in the wintertime.

Instructive signage on Cortes Island

The Floathouse Restaurant began life as a float house, towed on logs through the Gorge and tied to the original docks. Through some undisclosed miracle of amphibious engineering the structure was levitated 25 meters up a steep slope to the location it now occupies overlooking the marina.

Gorge Harbour Dock House with the Floathouse Restaurant in its current location on the hillside

This restaurant is the nexus where islanders and mariners gather to adjudicate one another, and to enjoy excellent and creative cuisine.

Islanders in consciously crafted clothing, embrace in earnest ways, and discuss earth guardians at Burning Man, the importance of divining one’s self, and the lessons of loons. They are poets and writers and healers.

Mariners nod, with spare greetings, in attire bleached and baggy from laundromat mishaps, and devour the restaurant menu like shipwrecked seafarers. Most are anchoring experts and know the particulars of tide and weather.

Floathouse Recipes

Cold smoked local albacore tuna is presented over tangy, crunchy fennel slaw. Finely slice fresh fennel using a mandoline, and macerate in a blend of apple-cider vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper and a drop of honey. Garnish with slivered green onions and serve with sweet soy for dipping.

Plump Salt Spring oysters in the half shell are topped with a mixture of red miso paste, coconut milk and mayonnaise, and broiled to caramelize. Serve atop fresh pea shoots with a small salad of local greens featuring feta and figs, and a creamy vinaigrette.

What we’re listening to:

Cecil Younger Series by John Straley

Audio Books
Set in Southeast Alaska , this collection is an evocative immersion in small town coastal life with twisting plots set in many of the ports we have visited.

Yacht Rock Radio

Sirius XM
Jupiter subscribes to Sirius XM Satellite Marine Weather displaying text and graphics on Garmin chart plotters no matter how far off-grid the boat roams.

The service also provides music and news with the addition of channel 311 – Yacht Rock Radio. Hits and misses of the seventies and eighties come with frequent interjections by the languid tones of Thurston Howell, the aristocratic yacht owner on Gilligan’s Island.

“We play the music we lo-ove on ya-achts where we al-ways wear collared shirts, even on the week-ends.”

Tidal Range

Rise and fall of floating docks and boats tied to docks determines the opportune time for tending flower baskets hung from piling tops. At Gorge Harbour tides pictured are running about 11 feet.


  1. Martina Carol Jones says:

    Beautiful…and, delicious looking photos, Fiona!

    We especially enjoyed cruising Desolation Sound area…Enjoy!

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