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Stories and photos from Powell River, BC.

Adventures in Powell River: Desolation Sound in a Kayak Made for Two

Posted by on Aug 16, 2016

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Canoe vs Kayak: which is your favourite?

Bob’s always been a canoe guy; when we moved to Powell River he traded his motorcycle for a Kevlar canoe. Me, I like being one with my boat and you get that with a kayak. A couple of my best vacations have been multi-day kayaking trips.

It’s a debate we agreed to disagree on.

Then Bob picked up a summer gig working with Powell River Sea Kayak, and suddenly he’s a kayak guy.

Powell River Sea Kayak: tools of the trade

Powell River Sea Kayak: tools of the trade

Still, I like to be captain of my own boat, so it had the potential to be one of those marriage-testing experiences when the two of us set out for a day paddle in Desolation Sound Marine Provincial Park in a tandem kayak.

Desolation Sound: rugged, wild, and gloriously gorgeous

Desolation Sound gets its name from Captain George Vancouver who first explored the area in 1792 and found it to be unwelcoming, barren, and isolated. Hardly fair, but maybe he was comparing it to lush and tropical Tahiti which he’d recently navigated? Still, I think rugged and wild and gloriously gorgeous are better descriptors.

Desolation Sound: this is one of my happy places.

Desolation Sound: this is one of my happy places.

Today, Desolation Sound is a hotspot for the countless outdoor activities BC is famous for, like boating, swimming, scuba diving, fishing, camping, and hiking. It falls within the traditional lands of the Tla’Amin (Sliammon), Homalco, and Klahoose First Nations. It has been their home for thousands of years and is still an important part of their daily lives.

Hereditary Hagoos Totem Pole designed and carved by Master Carver Jackie MukSamma Timothy of the Tla'Amin First Nation.

Hereditary Hagoos Totem Pole designed and carved by Master Carver Jackie MukSamma Timothy of the Tla’Amin First Nation.

Covering 8,449 hectares (32.6 square miles) and offering about 60 kilometres (37 miles) of coastline, Desolation Sound park is the largest marine park in BC.

And from Powell River, you can be there in under an hour.

After a brief safety talk and a coating of sunscreen, Bob and I set out with our Powell River Sea Kayak guide, Erica, and a couple from Chilliwack, Shirley and Bob. The weather was perfect: warm, calm, and a little overcast. The water like mercury.

This could be you! In Desolation Sound

This could be you!

We kept mainly to the shoreline, passing oyster farms, inlets, and bays.

In the distance we’d catch glimpses of curious seals and up close, angel-like jellyfish.

A dip just beneath the ocean's surface, Desolation Sound

A dip just beneath the surface…

Lunch was spent at a little bay near Grace Harbour, a boaters’ haven.

Grace Harbour, Desolation Sound

Stopping for lunch near Grace Harbour.

The day remained calm, even in our double kayak: me at the bow and Bob back in steering. We fell into the easy rhythm of kayaking that’s soothing and yet energizing at the same time. No marital discord here.

Boat traffic was light and as we kept out of the way of larger vessels, we appreciated it when they slowed to ease their wake knowing we’d have to kayak through it. Though, a little ripple makes for a fun ride!

Throughout the day I kept thinking to myself, we should do this more often. It’s right here.

desolation sound

This little channel is a favourite of mine, only accessible when the tide is high.

And now, some time later, Bob will say at random, “You know, I really had the best day with you kayaking.”

Me too. We have the best adventures together. Next time though, I get to steer!

tandem kayaking in Desolation Sound

Angie Davey

Angie Davey

I love Powell River, especially my neighbourhood of Townsite. I've built the life I've always wanted here and it's filled with good friends, meaningful work, and fun. Originally from Vancouver Island, I believe home is where the heart is and Powell River is home.
Angie Davey

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