In our 25th year of operation – and our 6th year of running Cabana Desolation Eco Resort – we are intensely aware of the importance of good food on an active vacation. Indeed, not just good food, but fresh and locally sourced ingredients, creative meals, and menus that are designed to incorporate the history and the culture of the region that is being visited.

These are the guiding principles at Powell River Sea Kayak and have been for the last 25 years: fresh, local, creative and inspiring. The opening of Cabana Desolation Eco Resort 2014 allowed us to embrace these principles in a more emphatic way.

Local Farms

Powell River is home to a great number of local farms selling high quality produce and meats, as well as a wonderful weekly farmer’s market. Like many small towns on the BC coast, we’re passionate as a community about buying local products and foods, and at Cabana Desolation we share this passion for community and local sourced foods.

Buying local strengthens the local economy, slashes our environmental footprint and ensures the quality and freshness of our ingredients. As an added bonus, we even have a local gardener on our guiding team, further strengthening our bond to the local community.

Foraging & Wild Foods

It’s not all just farm to table, however. Since 2000 our historic launch site in Okeover Inlet – once home to the Cougar Queen of Okeover Inlet, who lived off the land here for over 50 years – has provided our tours and eco resort packages with fruits from the orchard, blackberries and salmon berries from the yard, and even delicacies such as sea asparagus from the internal zone on our beach!

For those with a more adventurous palette, our guides have for years been masters at collecting, shucking, and cooking fresh oysters from the abundant shellfish beds that are famous in Desolation Sound.

Finally, in recent years we have been focusing on growing more and more of our food for our tours on site: from garlic to salads and herbs to micro greens. Our growing garden in Okeover is supplemented by a smaller but extra-local garden at Cabana Desolation itself!

Local Influences on the Menu

A region’s history and culture shapes the cuisine that it’s population eats. Powell River, Desolation Sound and the west coast of British Columbia has had many cultural and geographic influences dating back thousands of years.

Seafood – including wild salmon, clams, mussels and oysters – have been staples of west coasters since man first stepped foot or dropped a paddle on these abundant beaches and waterways. Desolation Sound is particularly known for its fresh oysters, and lucky guests to the region often get the chance to sample these from the beach on our kayak tours.

Powell River has also had a great number of more modern cultural influences on it’s food. From Spanish explorers to Asian and Scandinavian loggers to Italian, Dutch and German settlers.

As well as creating delicious and healthy meals, we aim to tell a story with our food. Modern versions of historical cuisine using local ingredients, from farm or wild to the table at Cabana Desolation.

Created from Scratch

Finally – and it goes without saying – despite our remote island location, everything we serve at Cabana Desolation is created lovingly from raw ingredients, from our baking of fresh breads and pastries to the mixing of sauces and dips. Pestos and glazes are all freshly made, while desserts and lunches are freshly prepared and often sitting out to cool on the counter while our guests excitedly get ready for their daily adventure.

These principles are central to our guest experience at Cabana Desolation, as well as key to ensuring we have as positive an impact on our local community and environment as we possibly can. Come and experience Desolation Sound with us in 2019!

Over the long weekend in early July 2018, a group of 8 old friends, 2 guides and a resort cook from Cabana Desolation Eco Resort spent five wonderful days exploring, unwinding, and reconnecting at Cabana Desolation Eco Resort in the heart of Desolation Sound, British Columbia.

Together we experienced incredible paddling, explored forested trails that lead to breathtaking panoramas, visited historic boardwalk communities and ate lovingly crafted meals as friends on our uninhabited island oasis.

If you’re interested in our guided or unguided packages but unsure of the daily flow, read on to discover the diverse and wonderful opportunities for rest and exploration at Cabana Desolation Eco Resort.

Note that all groups at Cabana Desolation are different in their own way: this package was a group of friends that really enjoyed soaking in the ambiance of the resort in a relaxed way, while others are more proactive in the their adventure seeking and are keen to put more miles on the board. We are very flexible on our Cabana Desolation packages, and our staff are fantastic at going out of their way to tailor an experience that is perfect for each guest to the best of their abilities!

Day One

Graeme and I – guides for the trip – met early on the morning of July 1 and prepared the kayaks and equipment we would need for the 5 day tour ahead.

The luxuries of Cabana of which the guests are so appreciative – the commercial kitchen with resort cook, the comfortable accommodations, the on-demand hot water showers – are just as exciting for the staff. No need to pack 5 days worth of fresh food into the hatches, no cramming tents and sleeping pads into the very depths of the bow and stern of each kayak required. All in all it’s a very relaxed morning at our beautiful waterfront location in Okeover Inlet as the guests start to filter in around 9am.

As all the guests knew each other before the tour, introductions were brief and jovial between us as guides and each couple that made up the group. John and Tammy had visited us at Cabana the year before and enjoyed themselves so much that they had convinced their friend group to join them out here again. Bob and Amy, Clint and Sarah, and Janet and Peter made up the party.

After packing everyone’s personal items (as well as more than a few bottles of wine) we were on the water in calm Penrose Bay by 10am.

Graeme and I had been monitoring the marine weather forecast in the lead up to the trip, and were aware that they were calling for much stronger winds in the mid afternoon. We therefore pushed a little beyond our regular lunch spot on the first morning and made for a sheltered beach towards the mouth of Malaspina Inlet and the entrance to Desolation Sound after about 2 hours of paddling. The wind was a light breeze out of the NW all morning, and conditions were perfect and calm as we snaked our way north between the small islets that dot the inlet.

After a lunch of a fresh quinoa salad and a potato salad made from ingredients completely taken from Graeme’s garden, we continued into Desolation Sound and paddled up to Feather Cove on the tip of Malaspina Peninsula. With the wind still blowing relatively benignly from the NW, we aimed our kayaks towards Kinghorn Island and made the crossing to the southern shore.

The ocean was completely calm during the crossing, and we paddled round the western shore of the island and then past the northern beach where Captain George Vancouver first made landfall in Desolation Sound centuries ago. As we landed at Cabana Desolation Eco Resort the forecast wind was starting to be felt on the water, and we were all grateful to be landing and the opportunity to rest our legs and be introduced to our island retreat.

Dan – our resort cook at Cabana for the week – was on hand to welcome us and help everyone into their accommodations. The evening continued and the wind picked up from the north, and we all sat around and enjoyed the great food and warm atmosphere of the resort after an active but rewarding opening day.

Day Two

The wind continued all night and in the morning was still blowing relatively strongly from the NW. Whitecaps could be seen between our island and West Redonda Island to the north, and after a delicious breakfast we all huddled around the chart of the area prominently displayed on the wall of the Cabana Cafe and discussed our options.

The forecast was calling for the winds to die down considerably in the afternoon, and so it was decided that the group would take the morning off to explore the island on foot – or to relax a little longer in their personal cabana with a good book – and we would reconvene at lunch and further decide on a course of action.

As our guests were content to discover the island at their own pace and in small groups, Graeme and I pointed out some interesting features of Kinghorn Island on the chart and provided backpacks for our guests to use while they explored. While John and Tammi and Clint and Sarah went off in search of the cliffs on the south west shoreline of Kinghorn – which provide incredible views of the Strait of Georgia to the south – Amy and Bob found themselves a nice little beach to relax and soak up the sun while Peter and Janet got stuck into a good book and retired to the comfort of their cabin to continue to unwind.

At around 1pm Dan served lunch in the Cabana Cafe – a nice fresh Greek Salad with freshly baked muffins and an assortment of handcrafted dips – and the four couples returned one by one to eat and share what they had discovered throughout the morning.

The wind had died out by this time but the appetite for exploration had wavered a little, and the ladies had us pour them each a glass of wine and they made their way to the Cabana point to enjoy the afternoon.

Graeme and I – hearing that the men were big seafood connoisseurs, took a few of our guests over to a secret beach on the island nearby and taught them what to look for when harvesting fresh oysters, which grow big and abundantly in Desolation Sound. We picked up to our daily allowed limit of these shellfish from the beach and returned to the resort with anticipation!

As the afternoon waned and the sun dropped in the sky, Graeme went down to south beach and kindled a fire while I worked with Dan in the kitchen to prepare all manner of delicious toppings, and when I went to find Graeme again he – along with John, Clint and Peter – were already arranging the first of our oysters on the grill over the fire.

One by one the oysters popped open in the their shells and were picked up by an eagle eyed Graeme manning the tongs. Various toppings such as hot sauces, asiago cheese, white wine and garlic butter were added to the perfectly cooked oyster before they were passed around the circle and we all got our fill.

Dan came down to announce that dinner was ready and got in on the action himself, and then we all filed back up to the Cafe and sat down to a wonderful Portuguese Fish Stew – Caldeirada de Peixe – that complemented the appetizers (and wine) perfectly!

Day Three

The weather was calm and warm as day broke on the third day and Graeme, Dan and I were enjoying a quiet morning as our guests were content to relax and enjoy their freshly brewed coffee, which we had delivered to their Cabanas one by one.

After all our guests filtered into the Cabana Cafe and we had enjoyed another delicious meal, we turned our attentions to the plans for the day. With perfect weather the group decided that a quick paddle over to the boardwalk community of Refuge Cove would be an interesting day trip, allowing us to soak in some Desolation Sound history and browse the art gallery and book store for potential gifts and souvenirs.

We launched just after 11am and crossed in amazingly calm conditions to Hope Point at the mouth of Refuge Cove. We paddled over the the island in the middle of the cove and did a little intertidal viewing with the low tide and then continued on the the public dock, coming in around the back and away from the sailboats and occasional float plane that comes in and out of the bay.

Graeme and I landed on the dock and then helped people out of their kayaks onto the boardwalk one by one. Refuge Cove was bustling – but not too busy – on this early summer afternoon, and as our guests went off in their groups of twos to explore and immerse themselves in the funky little community, we took the lunch up to the store and laid out a huge spread on the table outside, including all sorts of freshly made dips and sauces.

After a couple of hours exploration, people watching, souvenir shopping and good eating, we were back in the kayaks for the return to our oasis on Kinghorn Island. We landed at about 4.30pm, giving everybody plenty of time to enjoy a hot shower and a glass of beer or wine on the point before Dan wowed everyone again with another 1st class meal in the Cabana Cafe.

Day Four

With more incredible weather, the group decided over breakfast that they would like to do a little hiking today, and Graeme and I knew just the spot.

The Sunshine Coast Trail – 180km in length in entirety – starts at Sarah Point in Desolation Sound and heads south all the way to the Saltery Bay ferry terminal south of Powell River. There is a beautiful pocket beach a short distance paddle from Kinghorn that provides access to the trail, and we loaded up the kayaks after breakfast with our hiking shoes and a packed lunch and set off at about 10.45am.

The crossing from Kinghorn to Feather Cove on the mainland takes about 30 minutes, and refreshed and refuelled after a big meal we made great time in more calm seas. We landed at the beach and pulled our kayaks up well above the high tide line, before changing into some more comfortable hiking clothes and shoes and hitting the trail!

The path leads through some great forested lowlands before it starts to climb moderately up the hill and heads slightly away from the ocean, switchbacking a few times to make the ascent easier, and then levels out upon reaching a nice mossy bluff, the sun starting to peak through the smaller and less canopied hemlocks and pines as we take our breath a little and continue on.

Within 5 minutes of levelling out, there is a spur to the right that takes us to a place known as ‘Desolation Bluffs’ – a great level area with some rustic seating and incredible views over Desolation Sound. From here we could see our island way below us in the centre of the Sound. To the east the Coast Mountains rose straight out of the water and folded into the horizon, and to the north and east the Discovery Islands broke into hundreds of little passages that led to paths unknown.

We stretched and took pictures and had a little bite, and then returned after 15 minutes or so back down to the beach below. Here Graeme and I laid out the bulk of the lunch – amazing homemade quiches and banana muffins, along with a huge, fresh green salad – and we all ate as we stretched in the sun and spoke briefly with a couple of kayakers that were about to set up some tents in the campsite nearby.

In the afternoon we returned to Cabana Desolation via the western shore of Kinghorn Island once more, observing a large colony of seals that enjoy lying on the exposed rocks at low tide and the abundant fishing below the cliffs for their meals.

Dan was hustling when we returned, and Graeme and I joined him in the kitchen to help with the food preparation. It was Mexican night, and some of the best pork tenderloin tacos we had ever experienced with freshly made corn tortillas and Mexican style salads and salsas were ravenously enjoyed by all!

Tomorrow we return to Okeover and head back home, and there was a sense of regret among the group that they couldn’t enjoy one or two more night out here, and plans were concocted amongst everyone to return in years to come.


Day Five

It was a little cooler when we rose on the final morning, but the weather remained calm and we all waved goodbye to Dan as he stood on the point and we paddled away just before 10am. (He got to leave as well, he just had to wait for the motor vessel to arrive and pick him up!)

We crossed from Kinghorn Island over to Zephine Head at the mouth of Malaspina Inlet and paddled down the eastern shore of the inlet with a nice flood tide carrying us along the way. We landed at our fantastic lunch spot just inside Grace Harbour for a final meal together, and then got back in the kayaks one last time and made our way south to Penrose Bay and our waiting vehicles, landing comfortably before 2pm.

Everyone said their goodbyes as our fabulous office staff began cleaning kayaks and Graeme and I pulled together all the group equipment for our post-trip duties. We took some final group pictures with Penrose Bay as the backdrop, and then our guests slowly left one by one to collect their vehicles and start the journey home.

Another winter is upon us, which must mean it’s time for another major addition at Cabana Desolation Eco Resort!

While in off-seasons past we have focused on building additional cabanas to bring our total capacity in line with our regular Desolation Sound kayak tours (10-12 people), this year our focus in on improving the efficiency and comfort of our staff. Namely, our extremely talented and hard-working Cabana cooks that are constantly creating delicious and inspiring meals from scratch in our cozy and modest off-grid commercial kitchen.

With the increase in capacity in the last 2 seasons, our systems and resources were starting to get a little stretched. Just ask our cook Dan how he felt dealing with two guides trying to make coffee on the same stovetop that he was poaching two dozen eggs on at 7 in the morning!

A little renovation was in order, just enough to give everyone some breathing room in there and allow our staff to focus solely on creating the best wilderness culinary experience they can.

The deck at the back of the kitchen was scrapped, and 4ft of interior flooring was added in its place. Then the framing went up, followed by the roof and the new exterior walls, before the original wall was removed and we had a whole lot more room in there!

The extra space will allow us to bring in an extra fridge and stove (meaning the guides get their own little coffee station in the morning and get out of Dan’s way…) and allows us to create a lot more bench space for food preparation.

And how does this improve the guest experience? Well, as incredible as our cooks are out there, we think that giving them a little more room to work their magic can’t possibly be a bad thing!

To celebrate the approaching 2018 season in Desolation Sound, we’re offering a killer travel deal for group leaders that organize a group trip to Cabana Desolation Eco Resort this summer and take over the entire resort!

Cabana Desolation is an exclusive resort experience, with a maximum occupancy of 10-12 guests at a time. With this promotion, trip leaders that can organize a group of 10 to stay at the resort (with either a guided or Chill & Immerse package) will receive a full 50% off their package price as a ‘finder’s discount’!

Imagine waking to the sounds nature and enjoying freshly brewed coffee in bed, kayaking through warm ocean waters with knowledgable and professional guides, and sitting down to meals created from scratch by your very own personal cook on an uninhabited island in the heart of Desolation Sound.

Now imagine all that with 9 of your closest friends and family members, and imagine all that at half the regular price as a reward for bringing your loved ones together to enjoy themselves in this stunning, intimate setting!

Whether you split the discount amongst the group or take it all for yourself, this is a great opportunity to experience Cabana Desolation Eco Resort with your friends and family all to yourselves!

Dates are limited for this opportunity, with most of the dates during our season already containing bookings and filling up fast. As of the time of publishing, the dates available for this promotion are listed at the end of the article.

Off-Peak rates can apply for the promotion, and the best deals are for packages before June 25th and after September 10th 2018, when the ‘finder’ will receive 50% off our already juicy off-peak rates!

However, for groups wishing to book during Peak times, there are a couple of dates still available in July and August, but you will need to act fast…

For your convenience, guests can book individually or as a group or multiple groups, as long as everyone knows each other or knows of each other prior to booking.

If you are interested in this opportunity, please contact us directly via email at info@bcseakayak.com or phone at 604-483-2160 and we will work with you to book your Cabana Desolation experience!

Dates available for promotion (as of 11th April, 2018):

  • Dates from May 24 – June 17 with off-peak rates
  • July 15-19
  • July 29 – August 2
  • August 9-12
  • August 30 – September 2
  • September 9-13
  • September 13-16 with off-peak rates

Please note: Discount is only applicable to one member of the group (the organizer) and limited to the base package price (i.e. not for additional costs such as motor vessel transport or other surcharges).

We’re always looking for ways to enhance our guest’s experience at Cabana Desolation Eco Resort – from tweaking the menu to include more local ingredients to installing new fireplaces for those chilly shoulder-season evenings – and 2018 will be no exception with many small and large updates in store.

One major addition for 2018 that we can for sure confirm this early in the off-season is the addition of our fifth and final guest cabana at the end of the boardwalk, which will bring our total capacity to a round and even ten guests (12 at a pinch) from next year and beyond.

Like all our cabanas, this new addition will be nestled in the rainforest with incredible ocean views out the front facing windows, and completely handcrafted from locally milled cedar and fir, creating the same rich, earthy feeling as our other accommodations. 

 

The new – and exciting – detail of this new cabana? This final structure will be a ‘solo-cabana’ – or perhaps a ‘singles cabana’, bonus points for anyone that can help us with a name – designed specifically with the solo-traveler in mind.

Effectively a regular double cabana split in two, both sides of the cabana will have a double bed and their own private shower and sink, and will allow those solo travellers – or indeed friends travelling together – the opportunity to enjoy the privacy and luxury of their own space.

 

Construction has already begun – and it’s all hands on deck before the Christmas period to get the shell of the cabana up before the cold really sets in. Adam, Dan and Jan – owner, our cabana cook and one of our guides in year’s past – are leading the construction efforts and proving that we’re a multi-talented bunch up here in Desolation Sound!

Of course, with availability for only two solo guests in this new cabana, availability will be subject to demand, and there have already been bookings for this new cabana in 2018 – so get in quick to confirm your spot for next summer before someone else beats you to it!

If you are a solo traveler or searching for more privacy when traveling with friends and the solo cabana is booked for the dates you are intending to stay, you can of course still stay in a double cabana as an individual for a surcharge. Details are on our website.

———

To check availability and book your 2018 Cabana Desolation Eco Resort vacation, click here.