Sooke Harbour, Strait of Juan de Fuca

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Sooke Harbour, Strait of Juan de Fuca

by | Feb 3, 2019

Sooke is a community located on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, about 23 miles (38 km) by road from the city of Victoria, British Columbia. The town is on the western shore of Sooke Harbour, a narrow natural embayment about 2.5 miles (4 km) long, separated from Sooke Inlet by Whiffin Spit, and north and west of Sooke Basin.

Sooke is named for the T’sou-ke First Nations of the Coast Salish people, the Native inhabitants who had a thriving community and are believed to have been living in the general area for several thousand years before the arrival of Europeans. The first known European entry into Sooke Harbour was by the Spanish, during the 1790 expedition of Manuel Quimper and the schooner Princesa Real.

Manuel Quimper first learned of the protected bay from the local T’sou-ke, but contrary winds and currents prevented him from entering the inlet for three days. On June 19, 1790, weather conditions settled, and the schooner was able to anchor at the entrance of Sooke Harbour. Quimper found two Native settlements at Sooke and they traded fresh food for copper. While doing a reconnaissance of the area, the Spanish spent a few days creating a detailed chart of the harbor. When the chart was completed, Quimper performed an Act of Possession for the Spanish empire on June 23, 1790, naming Sooke Inlet “Puerto de Revilla Gigedo,” in honor of the viceroy of New Spain. Because of constant fog and less than ideal winds, four days passed before the Spanish were able to depart. On June 28, 1790, Quimper, his officers, and the crew boarded the Princesa Real and left Sooke to continue the exploration of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Read more here and here. Explore more of Sooke here:

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