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Business notes: Mill Bay’s Outer Shores Expeditions to run day tours in Salish Sea this year

Outer Shores Expeditions readjusts operations this summer to account for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Russell Markel, (far right) owner of Outer Shores Expeditions, and two guests at the bow of the sailing vessel Passing Cloud. (Submitted photo)

Mill Bay’s Outer Shores Expeditions is readjusting its operations this summer to account for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Outer Shores Expeditions is a niche adventure travel company that operates wildlife, wilderness and cultural expeditions aboard its classic 21-metre wooden sailing vessel Passing Cloud.

Oriana Smy, The company’s guest services and marketing coordinator, said in more normal times, Outer Shores Expeditions would sail up and down the B.C. Coast to Haida Gwaii and the Great Bear Rainforest on multi-day expeditions.

But she said things are different this year due to the health crisis, so the company is currently in the process of readjusting operations to run day-tours in the Salish Sea.

“We are now attempting to refocus on ‘hyper-local’ tourism in this region, and partner with other local businesses who may also benefit, including Mill Bay Marina, Bridgeman’s Bistro and Villa Eyrie Resort,” Smy said.

“The tourism industry are facing many struggles and challenges during the COVID-19 crisis and we’re trying to prove that we are resilient in the face of adversity. We’re hoping that we can return to our regular tour season next year.”

Further details about Outer Shore Expedition’s season adjustments can be found at


CSN Cowichan Collision has been officially certified by Certified Collision Care, a non-profit consumer advocacy organization.

The Duncan-based car repair shop achieved its certification by passing the rigorous certification process essential to help ensure a proper and safe repair of the new generation of advanced vehicles.

In achieving the certification, CSN Cowichan Collision is now an integral part of the most advanced repair capable and efficient collision repair network in the world.

Adding to its credentials, the business is also now officially certified by Certified Collision Care, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, Nissan, and Kia.

Owner/operator Ron Mellson said less than five per cent of body shops across the nation are able to meet the stringent requirements to become officially certified and recognized.

“We are thrilled to have achieved this certification and industry recognition,” Mellson said.

“This certification tells our customers that they’re dealing with highly trained professionals who genuinely care about them, and will assure that their vehicle is repaired properly to ensure its safety and performance.”


The Tube Shack in Lake Cowichan is doing a booming business so far this season, regardless of the safe distancing rules that the business is operating under due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eddie March, a worker at The Tube Shack, said the business is currently fully booked, despite the restrictions which include allowing just 20 tubers being released on the river every 30 minutes, with customers having to book in advance online through the company website.

“It was slow June because of the weather, but business has picked up a lot since the summer weather began although it’s still a little slower than last year because of the new restrictions,” March said.

“We’re looking forward to a good season.”


The Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce has launched its Tour Staycation Edition.

This year’s Chamber on Tour #Staycation Edition is focused on supporting Cowichan’s tourism and hospitality members in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The chamber is programming a series of weekly, half-day excursions, during July and August, that will each include a local attraction and a local café, restaurant or eatery.

The chamber is asking those interested to take note of the flight demo and guided hawk walk with The Raptors that is scheduled for July 21, and tubing on the Cowichan River with The Tube Shack on the afternoon of July 28.

August excursions planned so far include hiking, biking, kayaking and more, and the chamber is also working on some evening options for those unable to join them during the day.

For a full program of events, visit

“Members and the public are welcome on these small outings,” a chamber release said.

“You might also consider bringing your team and making it a team building or staff appreciation event. Let us know if you might join us on any of these excursions, or even a portion of the outing, by contacting or or call 250-748-1111.

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Robert Barron

About the Author: Robert Barron

Since 2016, I've had had the pleasure of working with our dedicated staff and community in the Cowichan Valley.
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