Desolation Sound Marine Provincial Park (sea kayaking)
Desolation Sound is a large and famous marine provincial park on the north end of the Sunshine Coast (north of Powell River, B.C.). The area is famous for its warm water and incredible sea life. The north end of the Sunshine Coast is a magical place. There is so much to do.
Our first trip was a 4-day trip into the Desolation Sound Marine Park and over to Roscoe Bay for a night. We started in Okeover Inlet, paddled up Lancelot Inlet and camped (outside the marine park). Next day we paddled to West Curme Island and camped. Day 3 we paddled to Roscoe Bay. There's a hike to a nice lake there for swimming. Last day we paddled all the way out. This is just one small sampling of the sea-kayaking possibilities. There are lots of nice day trips out of Lund also. For example, paddling to Savary Island and/or the Copeland Islands.
Difficulty: If you stay in Okeover Inlet, the area is well-protected and is a good place for novices and families. Watch the tides since there are strong currents that can really slow you down if you have to fight them. If you leave the inlet, then you can face winds but you'll still generally have protected waters following the coast towards Prideaux Haven. The crossing to Roscoe Bay is prone to chop and waves and you should be fairly comfortable in a kayak before heading there.
Kayaks and gear: We rented kayaks: a double (K and 7 yr old) and a triple (2 adults + 3 yr old in the middle hatch) from Powell River Sea Kayaking on Okeover Inlet. There are lots of rental places in Desolation Sound; just search the web.
Maps: If you just going to the Desolation Sound Marine Park, then the maps that the rental company gives you should be sufficient. If you want a detailed marine chart ($20), you can get those in Powell River at Marine Traders by the ferry terminal. Breakwater Books in Powell River (Alberni & Marine) has guide books.
Camping: BC Parks has recently instituted a 'designated camping' policy in Desolation Sound Marine Provincial Park (read about it here http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/desolation/). That means you are only allowed to camp in the designated camps. Currently (2013) there are 2 developed camps for kayakers in Okeover Inlet, and 5 outside in the NE part of the park and 2 in the NW part of the park. The camps have tent pads and privies. Not all camps have water. You need to take something to carry water and fill up where you can.
Animals: No bear problems that we heard of and the outfitters said they stored food in the kayaks, which they wouldn't do if there were many black bears about. There is a wolf pack living on Cortes Island and one in the Lancelot Inlet area. There haven't been problems for people, but they do attack dogs. So be careful if you bring Fido and keep it on leash during the day and in your tent at night. During our 2013 circumnavigation of W Redonda to the north, we spent one night near the opening to Lancelot Inlet and we had our dog with us. The wolves visited us during the night---presumably after our dog. We all had a tense hour from 2-3am while the wolves howled outside our tent and we crouched inside with paddles ready for a fight.
desolation-sound-map.jpg We did a 3-night trip here. Camps were top on Lancelot Inlet on a little island, Mink Island, and Roscoe Bay. There is a official camp at Roscoe Bay.