Crew members and natural history staff were our guides today as we explored the exotic terrains that form the Gulf Islands of British Columbia's southwest coast. Our Zodiacs took us to within inches of colourful sea stars, oysters, wading birds and marine algae, all of which make a living in the rich intertidal zone, while contorted arbutus and Douglas fir trees lined the rock bluffs. A choice of kayaking or an early hike on Cortes Island started another sunny and calm day.