Desolation Sound

Desolation Sound Sea Kayak Tours and Vacations

 

Desolation Sound's Tour Company

At Powell River Sea Kayak Ltd., our focus – our specialty – is Desolation Sound. With over 20 years of commercial guiding in Desolation Sound and with a lifestyle and location adjacent to Desolation Sound Marine Park, we feel passionate and perhaps a touch possessive of this wonderful destination on the west coast British Columbia.

 

Sitting up on the bluff of our campsite, after a beautiful day on the water, eating a delicious meal with a group of wonderful people, a beautiful sunset in the background. Priceless!

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Family Sea Kayaking on the BC coast

Topics:

  1. Understanding Desolation
  2. Creating the Perfect Kayaking Vacation
  3. Interesting Routes and Idyllic Island Camps
  4. Uniquely Private Campsites
  5. Relaxing and Engaging Experience
  6. Food, Quality and Organization: Important Elements of a Great Experience!
  7. The Perfect Location to Start your Kayak Vacation
  8. Trip Itinerary and Detailed Planning
  9. Family Kayak Tours
  10. Photo Gallery
  11. Rates and Policies
  12. Availability and Reservations
  13. Contact Us

 

Understanding Desolation

Desolation Sound Marine Park is quite large, encompassing over 14,000 acres (8,500 hectares) of upland – and this doesn’t even include other local marine parks such as the Copeland Islands, Malaspina Park and Roscoe Bay, all of which are often a key part of experiencing Desolation. In addition, lands and ocean corridors outside of these parks increase this area’s size tenfold. This includes East Redonda Island, which is an eco-logical reserve and rises 5,000 feet out of the deep Pacific waters. Toba Inlet, West Redonda Island and Cortes Island all fit into the greater Desolation experience. An intimate knowledge of such an immense area is only gained through years of contact, involvement, maturity, reality and passion.

The combined experiences of living near Desolation Sound along with guiding, paddling, snorkeling and boating this area for over 20 years have all contributed to a life of learning about Desolation Sound. In addition, active participation in land use planning initiatives, work with local First Nations, communication with earlier residents and even gatherings with eclectic locals have all played a part in our connection, understanding and stories of the Desolation Sound area.

Like so much in life, the more we learn, the more we realize we have so much yet to learn. Desolation Sound is immensely diverse and we continue to experience, to learn and to share this wonderful destination with guests from around the world. Books have been written and many more could be written, or should be, as the rich tapestry of this area has so much to offer.

Our goal has always been focused on Desolation Sound – and providing the best possible experiences for our guests. We continue to fine-tune our craft of touring guests through this wonderful area of British Columbia. Our private site on Okeover Inlet, adjacent to the marine park, as well as our privately licensed campsites in Desolation Sound all suggest a vested interest in this unique area that is not just one of our destinations – this IS our destination. We welcome you to join us. 

Sunset over Desolation Sound

 

Creating the Perfect Kayaking Vacation

“Beth and I had an absolutely wonderful time. Desolation Sound exceeded our high expectations for beauty and wonderful padding. Lorenzo was a fantastic guide/chef – some of our best meals of our 12 days in BC were on this trip.  We extend our thanks to you and your wife for the prawns, smoked salmon and delicious baked goods... Thanks for all of your assistance in making this perfect trip possible…                                                             

John & Beth - Atlanta, GA”

Touring by sea kayak through the warm Pacific waters of Desolation Sound is truly a unique, tropical-like experience for British Columbia and Canada as a whole. The unusually warm Pacific waters reach temperatures of 21 Celsius (74F), making activities such as swimming and snorkeling an enjoyable experience. Colourful marine wildlife, schools of fish and larger marine mammals add to the visual intrigue. Each summer, occasional pods of killer whales or humpback whales ply Desolation’s rich waters in search of food. Clusters of small islands and islets provide idyllic areas to relax and the towering Coast Mountains create an awesome and dramatic backdrop, clearly reminding visitors they are in British Columbia!

Desolation Sound’s temperate climate has mild and moist winters, which help feed the prolific rainforest vegetation and towering conifers. Each spring, cool and wet slowly gives way to Desolation’s warm and dry summers, which can reach temperatures between 20 and 30 Celsius (70-90F). Sun loving trees such as Arbutus menziesii, gnarled pines and even types of cactus thrive in this environment and give testimony to its summer warmth. This unique combination of British Columbia’s awesome west coast scenery along with drier summers, lush rainforests and warm Pacific waters is what makes Desolation Sound a sought-after destination for travellers around the world and the perfect destination for a sea kayak touring vacation. 

Our kayak touring vision has evolved into providing experiences and services that fit this relaxing and engaging atmosphere. Sleek touring kayaks are simply a fun and healthy way to explore and connect with Desolation’s nature - and to access idyllic sites for rest, relaxation, good food and perhaps a little swimming or snorkeling. The kayaking is certainly wonderful, as the varied shorelines provide interesting routes and the gentle currents stir up nutrient rich waters teeming with marine life. Tours are not rushed – there are no deadlines and there is no bucket list to achieve. The entire area has so much to offer, and time is taken throughout to enjoy and absorb each wonderful aspect. This may include time to try snorkeling during a low tide – over colourful sea stars, spiny red sea urchins and spiky sea cucumbers. Enjoying foods that are local, homemade and thoughtfully prepared is part of the experience. Ultimately, to simply be IN this awesome setting; to feel relaxed yet stimulated and to be away from busy lifestyles is what touring with us is about.  

Finally, we know that part of a great vacation is not having to worry about all the details: the food, the planning, the gear. We provide all the equipment for our tours, from the fresh and creative meals, to the high quality camping and paddling gear, to the expert local knowledge, which means you can relax in total comfort, knowing that we have everything covered.

Click here for a detailed equipment and packing list before you book!

Lunch is served in Desolation Sound

 

Interesting Routes and Idyllic Island Camps

The perfect kayaking vacation involves more than just being in a nice environment. Route planning and campsites also play a key role. Our vision has been shaped through years of experiences and literally thousands of guests. Routes need to be interesting, following diverse shorelines and providing unique viewscapes around each corner. Interacting with marine wildlife is an essential element, as guests are led over intertidal zones and amongst the key islands, islets and shores with the most abundant sea creatures. Campsites need to provide a wonderful west coast ambiance for chilling-out and they also need to be in locations that fit reasonable paddling distances and offer a variety of paddling opportunities. 

Camping sunset in Desolation Sound

 

Uniquely Private Campsites

To ensure our guests receive the desired experience on each tour, Powell River Sea Kayak has privately licensed campsites in select greater Desolation Sound locations. These island-sites are not only unique for our company, but they are designed to fit our vision for providing the perfect kayaking vacation. Located within comfortable paddling distances from our main location on Okeover Inlet, each site provides unique paddling experiences and the means to explore Desolation’s wonderful features. When in camp, captivating views, wave swept shorelines, glacially carved granite and west coast vegetation combine to create the perfect ambiance to chill and immerse in Desolation’s unique environment.  

Snorkelling on a kayak tour in Desolation Sound

 

Relaxing and Engaging Experience

Many of our rave reviews have come from guests whose experience with us was both engaging and relaxing. To achieve this, tours are carefully designed to provide a comfortable balance of exploration by sea kayak along with activities such as swimming, snorkeling and exploring the terrestrial features of the idyllic islands we use for camps. Time to enjoy good food and to simply relax in the wonderful atmosphere of Desolation is also an important part of the experience.

To achieve this comfortable balance, we limit the amount of camp movement – which typically requires a great deal of time and effort to pack, unpack and set-up. With privately licensed, island-based camps, we are able to provide varying experiences that radiate in different directions, thus limiting the need to move camps in order to gain new perspectives. In fact, guests often enjoy our camp locations so much they often do not want to leave! With that said, some camp movement is part of the experience, and with a few different camp options, we often have a couple of camps for guests to experience. At the end of the day – or the end of the tour - our guests certainly do enjoy the ease of the tour, the relaxed pace, the engaging experiences and to simply enjoy their kayak touring vacation.

Although we do offer more intensive kayak touring options (See our Desolation, Islands & Mountains page for 7 day expedition-style guided tours), our very popular 3, 4 and 5 day Desolation tours are designed to fit the above description and they run regularly throughout the summer.

And, of course, for guests seeking the ultimate Chill and Immerse experience, you may want to consider Cabana Desolation, our wonderfully crafted, island-based eco resort in Desolation Sound. 

Fresh oyster appetizers on a sea kayak tour

 

Food, Quality and Organization: Important Elements of a Great Experience!

I just wanted to say what a fantastic time I had on my kayak trip this summer. Jaclyn was a fantastic guide... She was very knowledgeable about kayaking and outdoor adventures. Everything was so well organized from the equipment, meals, pre trip info and staff. The food was incredible!!!! I was not expecting such gourmet meals. The homemade jams and chutney that your wife made were yummy. Oh and of course the banana bread. I have not stopped talking about my trip and enjoy showing everyone my pictures. I may have convinced two friends to try a kayaking trip.

Louise - Toronto, Ont. 

Food

Food is a motivational experience in itself. We see the power of food on TV, with entire shows and even networks devoted solely to food. Travel trends include food-motivated destinations and food-focused experiences. Globalization is creating not only an acceptance of ethnic flavours, but also palettes that seek to fuse spices and dishes from around the globe. On the flip side, busy lifestyles are fueling the proliferation of fast and flavourless foods, where time, taste and experience are lost. Perhaps this sounds a bit dramatic – especially on the pages of a kayaking tour. However, we believe food is important and we want to convey this message to our prospective guests. After all, our tours include breakfasts, lunches and dinners, along with snacks and desserts. As an active vacation, you will have an appetite. Without the distractions of everyday life, there will be plenty of time to enjoy good food along with a wonderful setting to enjoy it in!

Our food-goal is to provide healthy, local and tasteful foods, where the food experience is authentic and fresh flavours are identifiable. Homemade foods are part of our lifestyle, and we enjoy sharing some of these items with our guests. As an ocean-based trip, including foods from the sea is part of the experience, which often involves harvesting on tour. In the Powell River region, micro farming is becoming increasingly common and thus a wonderful source of fresh vegetables, fruits and berries for use in our tour menus.

Providing great food on a camping tour is not without its challenges. All food is packed into the kayaks along with all the necessary camping gear. Space is limited. Without the features of a typical kitchen, preparing wonderful meals requires careful planning and smart systems developed through years of experience. Even then, limitations exist and guests must keep expectations realistic and in context. With that said, many flattering testimonials speak of the wonderful foods provided on our kayak camping tours – a trend we are keen to continue! 

Salmon for dinner on the Curme Islands, Desolation Sound

 

Quality

We believe quality is a key variable of comfort, safety and a great experience. Quality is something we can control – unlike the weather. We choose to use high quality fibreglass touring kayaks, comfortable PFD’s and lightweight graphite paddles.

We believe in the old adage of “buy cheap, buy twice.” Not only do we choose quality equipment that withstands the rigorous usage, we need it to provide a high level of comfort and safety.

Our quality objectives extend well past the gear and kayaks we use. Quality foods include fresh, local and homemade varieties that provide wonderful flavours as well as good energy.

One may assume all kayak companies provide good quality. However, this assumption may result in disappointment, as companies cut costs by using uncomfortable equipment, cheaper plastic kayaks or the convenience of packaged foods.

We recognize our guests trust us with their valuable vacation time and the costs associated with travel. We aim to honour that trust and provide quality that enhances the experience. 

Kayaks staged for Desolation Tour

Organization

In addition to good food and quality, we also believe a well-organized tour results in a much more enjoyable experience. Not only is this important during the tour, but before the tour even begins. Our goal is to make your planning, preparation and overall experience as easy and enjoyable as possible. To do this, we have prepared pre-trip information that details everything from what to bring and what we provide to helpful travel planning advice and even sample exercises that will help tune-up your paddling muscles. A detailed medical questionnaire is provided so we can be well prepared for any health-related circumstances and food related questions help us to prepare for any allergies or intolerances our guests may have. Our pre-trip planning information has evolved over many years and has been fine-tuned with the feedback and suggestions of our many guests. It is thorough – but guests are welcome to call or email anytime and with any questions.

On-tour organization includes everything from food and camp gear to details such as repair kits, contingency plans, weather patterns and anything that may affect the overall flow of the tour. We won’t go into all the details. It is our job to be well organized – so you don’t have to be. 

Eagle taking flight in Desolation

 

The Perfect Location to Start Your Kayak Vacation

Our main location is adjacent to Desolation Sound Marine Park - and pretty much as close as you can drive to the marine park. This private and historical location was once home to the Cougar Lady of Okeover Inlet and is the perfect site for a relaxing and easy start to your touring vacation. A small office and retail shop down by the ocean provides a welcome area for guests to complete any paperwork and to pick up any last minute items, and safe parking adds to the ease of the initial experience. Desolation Sound Marine Park is a short paddle from this location and the paddle through the inlets provides an interesting and enjoyable perspective before entering Desolation Sound. 

Our launch site in Okeover Inlet 

 

Desolation Sound 2017 Tour Dates and Prices

After 20 years of operation, it is normal for our trips to book-up months in advance. Book now and start looking forward to your kayaking-vacation!

Availability and Reservations

Prices in Canadian dollars. Click here for currency converter.

 Desolation Sound

Peak
Adult
Price
Peak
Child
Price
Peak
Groups of
8+
 Off-Peak
Child/Adult
Price
  Off-Peak
Group of
5+

 3 Day Park Explorer

 $650

 $550

 $595

 $595

 $550

 4 Day Deeper
  Desolation

    $825     

    $700     

    $745    

    $745      

$700 

 5 Day Deeper
  Desolation

 $975

 $825

 $875

 $875

 $825

  • Peak dates: June 25 - Sept 10.
  • Rates are all inclusive, per person. Click here for a detailed list of what is included.
  • Peak Child rates apply to children 18 and under.
  • Minimum participants required for 4 and 5 day trips.
  • 3 day tours are available for groups of 7+. Please email us for potential dates.
  • Taxes (5% GST) and gratuities additional.

Click here for our complete prices, discounts and policies page. 

 

Cancellation Policy

At Powell River Sea Kayak we understand that cancelling a trip is the last thing one thinks about when planning a vacation, and the circumstances that result in unplanned cancellations are seldom trivial. However, being a small, family-operated company with a short operating season, we do need to enforce a firm cancellation policy under all circumstances.

Please click here to read and understand our cancellation policy before choosing to book your vacation. 

 

Contact Us

Please contact us for reservations or for more information. 

Toll free in North America: 1-866-617-4444

Outside of North America: 604-483-2160

Email: info@bcseakayak.com

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