• A guide learning about routes with a chart in Desolation Sound

Cabana Desolation Pre-Trip Planning

Thank You for Choosing to Stay at Cabana Desolation Eco Resort!

As you look forward with anticipation to your Sunshine Coast vacation at Cabana Desolation Eco Resort, the following information is designed to help you come fully prepared for the experience that awaits.

Due to the unique and remote nature of the resort, we highly recommend that all members of your party read the following information in full to ensure for the smooth and safe logistical operations of the resort during your stay.

If you are the ‘organizer’ for your party, please forward this link or direct your friends and family to this webpage before they set off on their vacation. They – and we – will surely thank you for the effort!

Welcome Note

Thank you for choosing Powell River Sea Kayak Ltd. and our Cabana Desolation Eco-Resort for your adventure vacation experience. We are honoured to have the opportunity to show-off this beautiful area of the planet and to share the unique and wonderful features of our eco-resort. 

Thank you also for taking the time to complete our on-line medical questionnaire. Our remote location is certainly part of the charm and we want to be fully prepared to provide a safe and enjoyable trip. If you have not yet completed this questionnaire, we will need this information to prepare for your trip. Please follow the link above and complete the form as soon as possible.

With your trip booked, we hope you are looking forward to a wonderful experience! After all, it has been said that 50% of a holiday experience happens before the trip even takes place. Imagining yourself on a remote island, perhaps enjoying a nice beverage as you soak up the majestic views towards the towering Coast Mountains, is part of the fun! To help with this, you may want to periodically go to our website’s Cabana Desolation pages, as we continue to add more photos that best depict the feeling of Cabana Desolation and Desolation Sound itself.

Another great way to keep in touch with all things going on at Powell River Sea Kayak is to follow us on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.

The information in this pre-trip document is intended to help with any planning and preparation before you arrive, and to provide details that will hopefully clarify all aspects of the experience. With that said if you need planning assistance or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are glad to help make your planning go as smooth as possible. 

I look forward to meeting you in person. 

Sincerely,

Adam Vallance

Powell River Sea Kayak Ltd.

What to Expect at Cabana Desolation

Like anything in life, hope and expectations play a role in how we react emotionally. If expectations are not met, we may feel disappointment or even frustration. If an experience goes beyond our expectations, we feel happy or satisfied. In an effort to create realistic expectations and positive mental preparation, here are a few unique details to keep in mind. 

The Resort

Cabana Desolation is a seasonal eco-resort built on a remote island. There is no other resort located in Desolation Sound. 

Why is it necessary to mention this? Creating a resort in a remote area with many land-use restrictions was no simple task. Our journey began in 2008 and it took until 2014 to prepare this unique product for guests. Certain features that may be expected in a more built-up resort could simply not be included in Cabana Desolation. For us, this was perfectly fine. Our goal was to create a unique experience that did not fit the mold of a built-up resort – and to accomplish something no one else has done. Cabana Desolation is exclusive, personal and a truly one-of-a-kind eco-resort experience located in a beautiful part of the British Columbia coast. 

The Cabanas

Our original concept was to use yurts for the accommodations  these traditional, nomadic tents seemed like a good fit for an eco-resort that was seeking to connect guests with nature. After much research, it was decided a cabin – or cabana –constructed from locally milled western red cedar and douglas fir would provide an experience more suitable to the west coast of British Columbia. 

We also liked the idea of having solid walls versus some type of vinyl/canvas material. The cabanas are basically “skinned” with wood – with no insulation and, of course, no wiring. We hope guests enjoy the rich, natural woods, cozy comforts and natural connectedness of these uniquely designed cabanas.

Toilets

We have flush toilets! I know, you’re thinking: ‘big deal’. However, for 20 years guests on our regular kayak camping trips typically had to dig cat holes and occasionally had the ‘luxury’ of a pit toilet. The goal at Cabana Desolation was to offer guests an alternative to pit toilets – something… nicer. In consideration of the remoteness, the environmental sensitivities, the minimal water supply (we’re on an island, after all) and the amount of water typical toilets use, we knew this was going to be a challenging task. 

With the discovery of a unique 1 pint-per-flush toilet, we were able to achieve our goal. Although we cannot have a toilet at each cabana, we do have two cedar toilet structures with flushing toilets – and we hope guests appreciate the luxury of a flush toilet in this remote setting. For those needing a bathroom while out paddling or hiking, well, that is an entirely different experience… 

Showers

As with toilets, our goal with the showers was to provide a feature that simply cannot be provided on our regular kayak tours. The challenge here, once again, was water: how to supply it, how to heat it and what to do with it when finished using it. After much indecision and research, it was decided that a gravity-pressure, on-demand hot water system would be provided for each cabana’s shower. Yes, each cabana has its own cedar-enclosed shower! 

We hope the ability to have a hot shower is a luxury that enhances your experience. As our water supply is quite limited, we ask guests to help us conserve water by limiting their length of showers to a maximum of 5 minutes – enough to get clean and feel refreshed. We understand this may seem a bit limiting, however, water conservation is extremely important and your understanding with the challenges of providing fresh water in a remote island setting is thankfully appreciated. 

Guided Kayaking (for those on our Guided Kayaking Package)

Paddling speed is another point of communication. Ultimately we can only paddle as fast as the slowest paddler. Our goal is less about speed and more about providing an intimate experience with such wonderful features as the intertidal marine life and beautiful scenery. 

Each day, one of our guides will lead our guests to a unique destination. Typically a delicious lunch freshly prepared by our cabana cooks will be enjoyed shore-side, and then followed by an afternoon paddle back to Kinghorn. Joining a guided tour sometimes means choosing to go-with-the-flow. We will do our best to meet the needs and desires of each paddler and to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all.  

We have been running wilderness kayak trips since 1995 – and we strive to improve our offerings every year. The addition of Cabana Desolation Eco-Resort in 2014 is certainly no exception! Apart from the unique comforts of Cabana, our trips this year provide significantly more than what our trips provided 10 or 15 years ago. Despite that, guest comments 10 or 15 years ago were fabulous. In a world of increasing gratification, we hope each of our guests’ appreciates the wonderful details that go into enhancing the entire experience in this beautiful environment. 

As you will see under the gear list, we mention bringing a positive attitude. We can’t stress this enough. Of the things under our control, we have plenty of experience and will do a very good job. However, there are many things we can’t control, such as the weather. For all the things we can’t control, it is up to each individual to choose a positive attitude. With that, we are very confident you will have an awesome experience!

Travel Information

Getting to our Office and Waterfront Launch site in Okeover Inlet

Driving via Vancouver

Due to ferry schedules, guests typically must arrive in the Powell River region the day before the tour. The exception is for guests who are either going self-guided or who are taking the motor vessel transport. In these cases, it is possible to catch a ferry from Earl’s Cove on the morning of Day 1.

From West Vancouver, take the Horseshoe Bay ferry to Langdale. Follow Highway 101 for approximately 1 hour 15 minutes to Earl’s Cove. From here, take the Earl’s Cove ferry to Saltery Bay on the Upper Sunshine Coast and follow Highway 101 for 30 minutes and you will arrive in Powell River.

Continuing north from Powell River, follow Highway 101 for approximately 30 minutes, and turn right on Malaspina Road (you will see signs for PR Sea Kayak, Laughing Oyster Restaurant and Okeover Arm Provincial Park). Follow Malaspina Road for 5 minutes until you come to the Laughing Oyster Restaurant. 100 metres beyond the restaurant, turn left on to Crowther Road (a gravel road) and follow this for another 5 minutes. Powell River Sea Kayak is on the right at the bottom of a large hill (follow the signs!)

Driving via Vancouver Island

It is possible to catch the first ferry from Little River (Comox) to Powell River on the morning of the tour and then drive straight to our site on Okeover Inlet in time for launch. From the ferry terminal in Powell River follow the instructions in the above heading to our launch site in Okeover Inlet.

Flying from Vancouver

It is possible to catch the early flight on the morning of the tour and then take a taxi from the Powell River airport to our site on Okeover Inlet.

Please note, we do not have a shuttle service.  Guests will need to book a taxi from Powell River to our site on Okeover Inlet (see telephone number below).

If flying into Powell River on the morning of the trip, the earliest you will be able to arrive at our launch site in Okeover will be 9.30am. Please make sure your gear is well organized beforehand so as to maximize the chances of getting on the water as quickly as possible once you arrive. If you need advice as to how to organize your gear, please don’t hesitate to call.

From our Launch Site to Cabana Desolation Eco Resort

From our waterfront office and launch site, guests can either paddle the 8 nautical miles to Kinghorn Island and Cabana Desolation Eco-Resort on a guided or self-guided package, or take the company motor vessel on our pre-determined staff changeover and resort maintenance runs for an additional fee. See below for trip itineraries and logistics.

Helpful Maps 

Click here for a map that shows Powell River and our waterfront office in Okeover Inlet in relation to Vancouver and Vancouver Island.

Click here for a map of kayaking routes in Desolation Sound in relation to Cabana Desolation Eco Resort on Kinghorn Island.

Ferry Schedules

Click here to view ferry schedules for Powell River and the Sunshine Coast from Vancouver and Vancouver Island. 

Pacific Coastal Airlines

Click here for the website of Pacific Coastal Airlines, with multiple daily services between Powell River and Vancouver International Airport’s South Terminal. 

 Toll Free: 1-800-663-2872 

 Tel: 604-273-8666

Powell River Taxi

 Tel: 604-483-3666  

Trip Itinerary for Cabana Desolation

Before getting into specifics, here are a few points for those on our Guided Kayak Package: 

  • We know the area very well and value flexibility and spontaneity within the bounds of weather, group dynamic and considerations for safety and enjoyment.
  • You may have a different guide for different paddling days. Our guides are busy with a variety of trips – so please don’t grow too attached to one guide. They all bring unique and wonderful qualities. 
  • Daily-guided routes will depend on weather and the type of group going out on any given day. We will aim to head in different directions and to provide different experiences for each day’s paddle. Guided trips will focus more on sea kayaking, although adding some hiking may be an option. The addition of hiking will be based on a group decision (either the evening before or the morning of). 

Kayaking Packages Day 1

For Cabana Desolation Guided Kayaking Packages9am arrival sharp.

To ensure a smooth logistical flow on the first morning, our guided trips need to be on the water by 10:30am. This allows us plenty of time to comfortably paddle the distance from our launch site to the resort (with time for lunch) and provide plenty of time for you to get comfortable and settled in before dinner.

Another consideration for the 9am arrival time is the fact that it is highly likely you are not the only participants on the trip, and arriving late means that other guests (and guides) are waiting around for your arrival, eager to get their own vacation underway. Please give yourself enough time to arrive at our Okeover site in the morning – this may mean coming up from Vancouver a day earlier and staying nearby in Lund or Powell River the night before.

For guests choosing to fly into Powell River from Vancouver, flights do not arrive in Powell River until 8:30am. This will require taking a taxi to our site on Okeover Inlet and will delay your arrival until closer to 9:30am, which is fine. In this case, we ask guests to be well organized by booking the taxi in advance and making sure any personal clothing, etc they are taking to Cabana can be quickly re-packed into dry bags for the paddle out. This will help us get on the water as soon as possible. 

Cabana Desolation Eco Resort is located 8 nautical miles from our private waterfront site on Okeover Inlet. The average speed of an experienced sea kayaker is roughly 3NM per hour. With that said, speed is not our goal – the experience is what makes the trip unforgettable. Our typical paddling speed on guided tours is 2.0-2.5NM per hour. With beautiful views, interesting marine wildlife and meandering shorelines, we take our time to savour the journey and to share the stories and features of this unique area. 

The first day of a guided trip typically entails 1.5 – 2 hours of paddling to your lunch spot, and then a similar distance again to Cabana Desolation Eco-Resort. Tours aim to arrive at Kinghorn Island between 3 and 4pm.

For Self-Guided packages (ie: kayaking unguided): 9-10am arrival recommended

Arrival time is up to you. It is 8NM from our site on Okeover Inlet to Cabana Desolation. This may take 5+ hours, including stopping for lunch or other breaks (lunch not provided on Day 1). Keep in mind wind and current. Approximate check-in time is 3pm – so please plan your day accordingly. We recommend getting on the water at a similar time as our guided trips: 10:30am – or earlier.

Here is a link to our on-line map showing kayaking routes and distances to / from Cabana.

For our self-guided kayaking package, kayaking experience is essential. This includes having had previous formal sea kayaking lessons as well as suitable touring experience and knowledge of kayaking in tidal waters and in inclement weather conditions. 

While you may share Cabana Desolation with guests that are on a guided tour, you will not have a guide around during times of actual paddling. As such, you need to be aware of all the potential dangers of sea kayaking and the effect of wind, tides and currents, sudden capsize, and other dangers that are inherently associated with the sport. 

Check out the ‘Are You Experienced’ section of our rental guide on our website for more information about essential knowledge for self-guided guests. If you do not feel that you have enough knowledge or experience before your trip, please call us to book a lesson before you depart, or consider a guided Cabana Desolation package.

Also note that for our self-guided package the first included meal at Cabana Desolation will be dinner on Day 1. Please plan to pack your own lunch for your paddle out to Kinghorn Island on this first day.

 

Motor Vessel Transport Packages Day 1

Guest arrival: 11am at Okeover.

Motor vessel departs12 noon. Travel time is a relatively quick 20 minutes to the resort. 

A few important notes: 

  • Please adhere to the above arrival

To ensure the smooth logistical operation of a very busy and multi-faceted company, we ask that guests choosing this option please adhere to the arrival and departure times listed above and below. 

Arrival and departure days at Cabana Desolation are swap-over days. This includes physical switches (bed linens, fresh food, etc) and personnel switches (cooks, guides, managers). Guests choosing this option will arrive and depart Kinghorn with staff making these changes.

When you arrive at Cabana Desolation at approximately 12.30pm, staff (and Adam) will still need time to prepare your cabana and swap-over the kitchen staff. While we endeavour to do this as quickly as possible so you can get comfortable, this does take time. Consider these first couple of hours as an opportunity to immerse yourself in the wonderful natural setting that Cabana Desolation provides: read a book up on the point, search the beaches for intertidal life, or take a backpack (provided) and explore the adjacent forest on a small hike!

If you are on a guided trip and have taken the motor vessel option, please note that the guide(s) will be paddling to Cabana on the first day and back to Okeover on the last day with other guests that have booked the guided kayak package. For all intents and purposes, consider these days as ‘kayak free’ relaxing or exploratory times! If kayaking on these first and last days are essential for you, we recommend choosing to kayak to and from Cabana Desolation.

The first meal provided at Cabana for all Chill & Immerse guests will be dinner on the first evening. Please plan to bring your own lunch on this day. 

Due to the logistical planning of our Cabana trips, the motor vessel transport option must be pre-booked at least 48 hours in advance of the trip.

Dress for the weather: motor vessel transport is in an open vessel, with little protection from wind or rain. Please dress accordingly with good rain/wind protection. This includes footwear! Both our launch site in Okeover Inlet and our eco resort on Kinghorn Island are remote locations – there are no docks, and low tide launches and landings require accessing and entering/exiting the boat on rocky, wet, often slippery terrain. Oysters and barnacles, seaweeds, and other intertidal life live in this zone of access. Good waterproof, closed toed footwear is essential to avoid slips, cuts and abrasions while entering and exiting our company vessel.

Day 2, 3, 4…

Cabana Desolation offers experiences for those who love to explore by sea kayak as well as for those who are more comfortable with their feet on the ground – or resting in a hammock. Although sea kayaking is certainly a key experience, some guests may choose to use the on-site stand-up paddle boards, go snorkeling or swimming off the point, or to explore the island by foot and discover the perfect bluff to relax and read a book or simply gaze into Desolation.

Daily guided kayaking trips will radiate to different locations each day and will last approximately 6 hours (a picnic lunch is packed into the kayaks). Weather considerations and group dynamic may affect exact route planning. We know the area extremely well and our goal is to provide the best experience for our guests. 

Please keep in mind not everyone is created equal. Fitness, experience and even attitude are all factors we must consider. Safety is our number one concern and with that in mind, we can only paddle as fast as the slowest paddler. For those with little experience or whom feel their fitness is below average, paddling in a double kayak can help balance the scales. We carry very nice double touring kayaks. They are comfortable, sleek and fast boats to paddle. Many guests also appreciate the stability of doubles – especially when sea state is less than desirable! Please let us know before the trip if you feel a double would best suit your needs.

For those kayaking without a guide, a picnic lunch will be provided for your outing. For safety, all non-guided guests will need to provide a float plan (route and return time) before heading-out for their daily exploration.

Guests, of course, are welcome to remain at Cabana during the day and simply relax or casually enjoy any of the activities mentioned. 

Daily flow aligns with meal times

At Cabana Desolation, we have set meal times each day. These times vary depending on the group and planned activities, and exact times will be posted at the Cabana Café. Generally, meals are planned something like this:

  • Breakfast: 7:30am-8:30am
  • Lunch: 12noon-1pm (unless out kayaking or hiking, then a lunch will be packed for taking with you or with the guide)
  • Dinner: 6pm (appetizers at 4pm-ish)
  • Snacks will be available for guests to help themselves as needed

 

Last Day

For guests taking the motor vessel return option: pick up at Cabana will be 12 noon. Exact time of departure may vary slightly due to our remote location and factors such as weather, number of guests being transported to and from the resort, and other unforeseen circumstances. Typically the return trip leaves with guests from 11.30am – 12.30 pm, so please be ready to leave at this time.

Please keep in mind that the resort and staff need the time to prepare the cabanas and the kitchen for the next guests arriving that afternoon, and as such these times are typically not amendable. Thank you for your understanding.

Please note, check-out time from the cabanas is 11am. Staff will be coming out to prepare your cabana for new guests at this time. You are of course welcome to enjoy the rest of the resort until the boat leaves at 12pm on the return trip, and a packed lunch will be prepared for you to be enjoyed either at the resort or back in Okeover.

If you need to rush back home on the afternoon of your final day, we ask that you please check the ferry or airline schedule ahead of time and plan or book your ongoing transport at later times that correspond to the above schedule. Thank you for your understanding!

A Note About Our 8 Day Cabana Trips

If you are staying at Cabana Desolation for a week at a time (i.e. Sunday-Sunday or Thursday-Thursday) you will be staying at the resort during one of our change-over days. There are a couple of unique logistical considerations during this change-over:

  • It is highly likely that you will not have the same guide for the entirety of your tour. This is to give all our guides enough time off during the busy season, as well as to ensure a smooth flow between all our ongoing cabana and camping tours.
  • On the morning of the changeover day, the initial guide will paddle back to Okeover with those members of the group that are leaving on that day. At the same time, the new guide will be paddling to the resort from Okeover with those incoming guests for the rest of the week.
  • This means that you will not have a guide for this changeover day.
  • You can choose to either spend this time as a ‘rest day’ exploring the island or immersing yourself in the ambience of our site at Desolation Cabana, or you can take your kayaks on an unguided day-trip into Desolation Sound. If you choose the latter option, it is imperative that you are experienced with capsize-reentry methods and knowledgable about the tides, currents, and potential weather hazards associated with sea kayaking.

Staying Additional Nights

If at some point before your trip you decide that you would like to book additional nights accommodation at Cabana Desolation Eco-Resort, please be advised that our 2 night minimum stay policy is ‘reset’ every change over day – that is, every Sunday or Thursday – and so if you were leaving on one of these days you will need to book for two additional nights at the least.

This policy is due to the fact that Thursdays and Sundays are the only days of the week that are designated for staff and cabana changeovers, and if you were to book just one extra night beyond this, the cabana would then be unused for 3 or 4 days once you have left before our staff has the chance to prepare it for the next guests. In a short season with limited capacity, it is just not economically viable for us to leave a cabana unused for such a long period of time.

Kayaking Experience

We welcome all levels of paddlers and are happy to work on your paddling skills throughout the trip. Although experience is not necessary on guided packages, we do recommend people who have never been kayaking before take an introductory lesson prior to the trip.   This will help ensure a safe and efficient journey.   Powell River Sea Kayak Ltd. offers a 4-hour introductory lesson.  Please arrange at the time of booking or contact a kayak operator in your area.

For guests on self-guided Cabana packages (ie: Chill & Immerse), kayaking experience is essential. This includes having had previous formal sea kayaking lessons as well as suitable touring experience and knowledge of kayaking in tidal waters and in inclement weather conditions. 

For our self-guided packages, PRSK is essentially providing the meals and accommodation for your vacation, as well as the rental of the kayaks and kayaking equipment. While you may share Cabana Desolation with guests that are on a guided tour, you will not have a guide around during times of actual paddling. As such, you need to be aware of all the potential dangers of sea kayaking and the effect of wind, tides and currents, sudden capsize, and other dangers that are inherently associated with the sport. 

Check out the ‘Are You Experienced’ section of our rental guide on our website (click link) for more information about essential knowledge for self-guided guests. If you do not feel that you have enough knowledge or experience before your trip, please call us to book a lesson before you depart, or consider a guided Cabana Desolation package.

While Powell River Sea Kayak will provide support in terms of basic route knowledge and weather forecasts prior to launching, full safety considerations and all associated risks are on the onus of the guests choosing to paddle without a guide.

This includes having the appropriate personal safety equipment such as first aid and communication devices (eg: VHF and/or cell phone). PRSK does not provide these devices to renters or self-guided guests. Furthermore, evacuation of self-guided guests in the event of an emergency is at their own expense. 

Type of Clothing and How to Pack

Before looking at what we provide and what you will need below, here are a few notes on clothing and packing for your stay at Cabana Desolation Eco Resort

Warm or Cool?

As a seasonal eco-resort, Cabana Desolation is unheated. For most warm spring and summer days, this is perfectly fine. However, cooler weather can occur at anytime, and being prepared to be comfortably warm is necessary. We will provide cozy comforters and warm wool blankets for sleeping, as well as hot water bottles for those extra chilly nights if desired. 

For clothing, please be sure to bring a few warmer layers of clothing so you can enjoy the outdoor setting in comfort. A toque (ie: wool or fleece cap/beanie – depending on where you are from) is also a welcome addition for cooler evening or mornings. 

Clothing for Layers

In addition to warmth, bringing clothes that you can ‘layer’ with is recommended. This way you can add or delete clothing depending on the time of day, the weather, or the amount of physical activity you are doing – or not doing. Here is how it works:

Layer 1: Against the skin

Lightweight and comfortable, this layer wicks moisture away from the skin and is used as a base layer beneath outer-layers, or it can be warn alone on a warm day. A short sleeve and a long sleeve base layer are useful (as well as long underwear). 

Layer 2: The warmth layer

It can be nice to have a couple different options for this layer. One option may be warmer (ie: thicker) than the other. This allows you to add or delete clothing depending on your activity level and the air temperature. Fleece is a good 2nd layer. 

Layer 3: Outer protection from wind and rain 

A waterproof/breathable jacket (eg: Goretex) is the natural choice of many. However, on the coast, often a decent rubber-type rain jacket is just fine or a lighter shell rain jacket.

Please note: Powell River Sea Kayak provides waterproof paddling jackets if needed. 

Cotton or Quick Dry?

Cotton can be comfortable for simply lounging about, however, when doing any physical activity or when clothing is at risk of getting wet (i.e. paddling in rain conditions or sweat), cotton is not the best choice. Once wet, cotton does not dry quickly and is not only uncomfortable but also cold. A better choice for more active times (or wet times) is some type of quick dry material. This includes materials such as polypropylene, fleece or any number of non-cotton sport-type outerwear available these days. In addition to keeping you warmer and dryer, quick dry clothing wicks moisture away from the body and is less bulky. 

Packing

For those kayaking to Cabana: dry bags will be provided for packing your personal items for safe (ie: dry) transport in the kayaks. When you arrive at Cabana, a bed-side dresser in your Cabana can be used for unpacking and organizing your personal items. 

Will I Fit it All in the Kayak?

On a regular camping tour, we take everything with us. And we mean everything. Stove, food, propane, tents, sleeping bags and pads. If we might need it, we pack it along.

For our Cabana Desolation tours, however, we are unencumbered by a lot of this extra stuff: no tents or sleeping gear, no excess food (beyond lunch), no cooking equipment. Therefore we are much less limited in what we can and can’t bring.

Upon arrival at our Okeover launch site, you will be provided with one tapered 30L dry bag for clothing, and a second 10L dry bag for each day’s personal belongings (i.e. camera, phone, sunglasses, etc). If you can’t squeeze that second book or favourite puffy jacket in one of these bags, we do have spares available. And yes, we should be able to fit it all comfortably inside our nice touring kayaks!

However, this does not mean that we can accommodate everything you can fit in your vehicle on the drive up here! We are still restricted somewhat by the shape and size of our hatches. All personal items must travel to and from Cabana Desolation in the kayaks. We cannot transport any luggage on the motor vessel, unless it is accompanied by guests that have paid for the service. Please do not ask us to do so. Thank you for your understanding.

For those taking the motor vessel transport: our company vessel has storage hatches that can transport guests’ luggage to and from Cabana, however, limits still exist as to the amount of gear we can transport. 

It may be best to think of it like flying: effort does still need to be made to pack efficiently and downsize from packing along redundant clothing and equipment. For example: a puffy jacket may be a great idea for cool evenings; but three puffy jackets, 2 wool sweaters and a change of thermal underwear for each day is overkill on a four day trip. 

Another consideration is the size of the luggage that you take on the boat. Our hatches are great for storing small to mid-sized bags; but large, bulky suitcases are awkward and take up lots of space. Again, think of it like flying! If you are visiting Cabana as part of a longer trip, it is often a good idea to pack what you need for the trip into a smaller sized bag and leave the bigger, bulkier case in the car or at our office, where it will be safe and waiting for you when you return.

What We Provide

Your cabana will have:

  • Memory foam beds with cozy sheets, comforters, pillows and a wool blanket for cooler nights.
  • Dresser to unpack your clothing.
  • Towels for swimming plus towels for showering.
  • Covered entrance deck with privacy curtains, enclosed cedar shower, sink for washing, hooks for wet towels or clothing and a potable water container.
  • Personal head lamp.
  • Lanterns at bedside tables.
  • Biodegradable soap for hand, hair and body washing. As an eco-resort, we ask guests to refrain from bringing any shampoos, conditioners or similar that is bad for the environment. If you can’t pronounce the ingredients, or there are numbers and capital letters, it is likely not good for the environment. 

Recharging station

  • Centrally located at the Cabana Café (kitchen) is a recharging station for small devices such as camera batteries and smart phones.

Extras available

  • Dry bags for packing personal items and for kayaking to Cabana (these are not needed for those boating out to Cabana).
  • Day packs for those looking to explore the island or for hiking established off-island trails.
  • A few stand-up paddle boards for those interested in a unique way to view the marine life and to explore the island’s shores.
  • Mask and snorkel sets for each guest.
  • Shorty wetsuits for snorkeling or swimming.
  • Yoga mats.

Please note: Cabana Desolation is not a typical hotel/resort. Although we have staff to ensure a clean and tidy setting, we do not change bed sheets, towels or similar during your stay (although we do have extras available if requested). 

Food & Beverages

  • First Meal:

On guided trips, lunch is provided by your guide on day 1 (if taking the motor vessel transport out to cabana, our cooks will serve this meal upon arrival). On unguided trips, dinner is the first meal (guests are to provide their own lunch on day 1).

  • Last Meal:

Lunch is provided for all guests kayaking back (guided or unguided). For guests taking the motor vessel option, the last meal is breakfast on your departure day.

  • Snacks will be available during the day as well as in the evening at the Cabana Cafe.
  • Non-alcoholic beverages (ie: water, juice, coffee, tea) are available through the day/evening.
  • Alcoholic beverages:

As a licensed establishment, Cabana is subject to the liquor laws of British Columbia.

We have an assortment of local beers for sale from Townsite Brewing. For the 2018 season we are currently sampling a selection of local BC wine options which will be be available for purchase by the bottle.

Of course, guests are also welcome to bring their own beer, wine or spirits to Cabana Desolation free of charge.

For beer we recommend our local craft brewery, Townsite Brewing (located in the Townsite area of Powell River).

  • Morning coffee/tea service in your cabana.

If you like the idea of having your morning coffee or tea in bed while you soak up the natural ambiance and slowly build anticipation for your day, then you may want to have a carafe of coffee or hot water (for tea) brought to your cabana in the morning. This service is available between 6:30am and 7:30am. Guests are also welcome to stroll down the boardwalk and enjoy their morning beverage at the point overlooking the ocean.  

A note regarding special food requests or dietary requirements: As Cabana Desolation is located in a remote area, much of the food is planned and purchased in advance (except for fresh items). Set meals are planned with the goal of providing food that is not only enjoyable but also enhances your experience. We will do our best to meet any individual needs, but may not be able to adjust our menu or accommodate all special requests. For more common requests such as vegetarian dishes, we are prepared to offer such items free of charge. 

For those seeking a gluten/grain-free or dairy-free menu, we are able to offer these options for a 5% surcharge. 

Please be sure to complete the medical form and return this as soon as possible. This form includes dietary information and is used by PRSK management, guides and cooks to plan and prepare food accordingly as well as to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. 

Kayaking

  • All kayaking equipment will be provided (including PFD’s), as well as waterproof paddling jackets if needed. 
  • For those choosing our motor vessel access option, there will be kayaks available at the Cabanas for your use.

Safety

  • On-site first-aid equipment – and wilderness first-aid certified guides. 
  • For communication, we use VHF radios as well as cell phones (there is good cell service in Desolation Sound). 
  • As mentioned, medical information is used to help us plan and prepare for a safe trip.

What You Will Need to Bring

  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Spare prescription eyeglasses
  • Duplicates of any medications stored in separate containers (your guide will carry one of these containers for the entire trip – or, you can give one container to the on-site manager upon arrival at Cabana)
  • Hat for rain/sun
  • Warm jacket (eg: fleece)
  • Rain jacket
  • Rain pants (not completely necessary but you may be thankful to have them)
  • Casual pants (eg: cotton or quick dry material) for around Cabana
  • Pants for paddling or hiking (quick dry material only!)
  • Long underwear (quick dry material only! Great for layering under pants in cooler weather)
  • Long sleeve shirt (can be used for paddling to protect from sun or for extra warmth. Quick dry is best)
  • T-shirts (cotton is fine for around Cabana but quick dry best for any physical activities)
  • Extra socks (preferably not cotton)
  • Shorts or bathing suit for swimming
  • Shorts for activities such as kayaking, hiking or paddling boarding (quick dry best)
  • Shorts for around Cabana
  • Water shoes: sturdy and closed-toed preferably, for example, Keens. Please avoid flip flops! The shorelines can be quite slippery, with barnacles and oysters. Good foot protection is important! (You will be walking into the ocean whether kayaking or boating out to Cabana. Motor vessel guests, please have these shoes ready to be worn when arriving at our launch site)
  • Extra shoes and/or sandals for around Cabana
  • Sturdy shoes or hikers if you plan on exploring the island or other trails off-island
  • Personal water bottle (this will be mainly used for while you are paddling)
  • Personal effects (toothbrush, toothpaste, etc. We will provide earth friendly soap). 
  • A positive attitude (absolutely essential!)

Note: the above list is a general checklist used for all durations of trips and may need to be adjusted based on trip duration or time of year. In our experience guests often bring much more than is needed. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us. 

You may wish to consider these extras

  • Gloves for blister protection while sea kayaking (eg: cotton gloves or bike gloves)
  • Toque (wool cap / beanie) for added warmth
  • Camera
  • Insect repellant
  • Book
  • Fishing license and fishing gear (salt water sport fishing licenses are available on-line through the Department of Fisheries and Oceans website)
  • Wine, Beer, Spirits. As mentioned above, beer and wine is available for purchase. For guests who prefer to bring their own or for those who prefer spirits, you are welcome to bring your own (if you like, this can be given to the cook when you arrive at Cabana)

 Security

The cabanas are designed to be more open to nature. Although the doors have locks, screened openings on the front do not allow for the upmost security. Before you have any concerns with regards to security, please understand that Cabana Desolation is in a remote area and we certainly do not anticipate any issues with regards to security. Security of valuables is only mentioned as part of our thoroughness. If guests have any concerns with regards to valuables or travel documents, these items can either be left in our main office on Okeover or can be left with the manager or cook at Cabana Desolation. 

Motor Vessel Transport Considerations

For those that wish to take the motor vessel transport option out to Cabana Desolation, there are a couple of considerations to keep in mind regarding the remote nature of our resort.

For those wishing to kayak once they arrive at Kinghorn Island and during their stay, we will have kayaks for your use on site. These kayaks are part of our touring fleet and are based out of our Okeover location. When booking online, please indicate whether you wish to use single or double kayaks in the appropriate field and we will have these waiting for you at the resort. 

Our company boat is an open vessel, and while the weather in Desolation Sound during the summer is often fantastic, we ask that you please prepare to dress appropriately for all conditions and eventualities on the trip out and back. The trip from our launch site in Penrose Bay to Cabana Desolation takes approximately 20 minutes. 

Our motor vessel does have dry compartments for luggage, but please consider packing your belongings in smaller bags and suitcases to best fit these storage areas. While our resort is all inclusive and allows our guests to bring more than they typically would on a kayak camping trip, huge amounts of luggage are still not particularly suitable for a remote wilderness location such as Cabana Desolation. 

For those guests paddling out – either guided or unguided – please note that our motor vessel is not able to transport excess luggage to and from the resort, beyond that which you can fit in your kayak. Our kayaks have large hatches to transport personal luggage, and dry bags will be provided for your convenience!

Dietary Restrictions

Our set-menu is planned with the goal of providing food that is not only enjoyable but also enhances your experience. The majority of our ingredients are bought fresh in the lead-up to each individual trip, and based on our set-menu and information provided by guests on our pre-trip medical questionnaire. While this menu does offer a certain level of flexibility with regard to dietary preferences, and we do our best to meet any individual needs, we may not be able to adjust our menu to accommodate all special requests.

We completely understand and respect individual food intolerances and preferences, and our cooks are more capable of accommodating for these dietary needs. However, due to the remote nature of our resort, and the fact that most of our meals are created from scratch using fresh ingredients, we are required to apply a small surcharge for certain requests.

For more common requests, such as vegetarian dishes, this is easily incorporated into our current menu.

For those seeking a gluten/wheat-free menu as well as those seeking a dairy-free menu, we can offer this for a 5% surcharge.

Our menu has been crafted to include local, seasonal, healthy ingredients and includes fresh fruits and vegetables, locally sourced meats and cheeses, and freshly baked breads and homemade pizzas, all designed to offer a balanced diet that includes all food groups collectively.

If you usually avoid an excess of gluten/wheat or dairy, but can tolerate a portion in your diet, then we can provide some basic alternatives to our meals and snacks without the need to apply the above surcharges. Most of our guests who watch their dairy or gluten intake are happy with the amounts used and the occasional alternatives we are able to serve within the context of our normal menu.

If however you cannot consume gluten/wheat or dairy in any capacity for health reasons or personal preference, we are happy to make more substantial adjustments to our set menu and purchase additional ingredients, and the above surcharges do apply. Please indicate these preferences in the appropriate space on the medical questionnaire.

Please note that if you do not select a gluten-free or dairy-free menu while completing our medical questionnaire, our cooks will not prepare a fully gluten-free or dairy-free menu, and we do not have the ability to make wholesale, last minute changes once we are at the resort due to our remote location.

Please be sure to complete the medical form and return this as soon as possible. This form includes dietary information and is used by PRSK management, guides and cooks to plan and prepare food accordingly as well as to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Notes on Extra Activities

Hiking

Hiking is an option some guests may choose to enjoy. Exploring Kinghorn Island itself can occupy a few hours or even an entire day. In addition to exploring Kinghorn, more established trails are accessible by sea kayak. A few things to keep in mind:

Kinghorn Island has few established trails – and is a wonderfully wild place to explore. Staff at Cabana will assist with optional routes and any necessary cautions.

Exploring off-island trails offers a wonderful hiking experience (including the Sunshine Coast Trail and lakes). However, to access these trails, one must paddle there! Although this is part of the experience, factors to consider include paddling distance (to and from), weather conditions, fitness and how long you would like to be gone for the day. On-site staff can assist with these factors and help you plan a suitable day’s adventure. 

As mentioned, please be sure to bring sturdy hiking shoes/boots if you plan to do any serious hiking (especially on Kinghorn, where there are no well-established trails). 

Stand Up Paddle Boarding

We will have a few SUP’s on site for guests to use. This can be a fun way to explore the shorelines around our Cabana site or hop across to the small islands adjacent to Cabana. On-site staff will be there to assist with SUP’s. 

Swimming & Snorkeling

Desolation Sound offers both relatively warm water and interesting intertidal marine life, making both swimming and snorkeling popular and unique activities for this part of the Pacific Northwest. A few things to note:

Water temperature varies by area (even one bay to the next) and can also be greatly affected by the tides, wind or air temperature. Don’t be surprised if the water is cooler than expected – or warmer. 

Beaches in Desolation are often rocky, slippery and can be covered with oysters and barnacles. Sturdy water shoes are not only used when paddling but also swimming. With that said, Cabana Desolation is located at a point of land that juts out into the ocean. This massive granite rock slopes right into the sea and is perfect for jumping in to the deep water or finding a small ledge to dangle your feet on a hot day. The interesting marine life clinging to the rock as it descends into the ocean also provides wonderful snorkeling opportunities on lower tides. 

All guests are provided with a mask and snorkel, and shorty wetsuits are provided in a selection of sizes for guests to use.

Fishing in Desolation Sound

Some guests at Cabana Desolation are interested in opportunities for fishing in Desolation Sound. Over the years we have had many avid guests and guides who have incorporated fishing into their Desolation Sound experience, however there are certain restrictions and considerations that need to be taken into account before you drop a line over the edge of your kayak. 

Please click through to our Fishing in Desolation Sound page and thoroughly read through this information before you plan to go fishing on your Cabana Desolation Eco Resort vacation.

Refuge Cove Boardwalk Marina

Some guests may choose to sea kayak the relatively short distance to Refuge Cove Marine and General Store. This water-access-only marina is a step back in time, with its timbered boardwalks, used booked store, café, artist studio and general store containing a little of everything. This experience could be planned as a partial day excursion or could be turned into a full day trip with a stop for a picnic lunch at a pocket beach along the way. 

Post Tour Information

Feedback & Testimonials

We earnestly strive to provide a great product and to provide kind and thoughtful service. We truly hope your experience is wonderful! If there is something we can improve upon – please let us know. We’re not perfect, but we want to keep improving. 

Share with the World!

After your tour you may feel inspired to share your wonderful experience with others – and we greatly appreciate this! It is often through reading positive comments and testimonials that people book with us. 

Travel Websites:

Tipping

No, this isn’t when you paddle up to your guide and flip his/her kayak over… We have included information about tipping because some of our guests suggested we should. Questions that came-up were:

  • Is tipping common?
  • Is tipping expected?
  • How much should I tip?

Guests are often quite amazed at how hard our staff work – from the guides to the cook and on-site manager/helper. Each staff member seeks to make each of our guests’ feel safe, comfortable and special. Most guests feel compelled to show their appreciation through tipping. Choosing to work in this field often attracts those who enjoy establishing relationships –and thus a hug or meaningful handshake means a lot. However, as seasonal workers making their living in this manner, tips become an important part of their income. The amount a guest tips often depends on budget as well as the emotion tied to the job done or the general experience.

Tip amounts typically range between 5% and 15%. Tips are 100% for the staff (guide, manager & cook).

Please note that Powell River Sea Kayak is unable to put tips onto credit cards. We recommend having enough cash on hand after a trip to cover this, however we have found that e-transfers, PayPal transfers and even a simple check works perfectly as well.

Cancellation Policy

Cancellation Policy

Cancelling a trip is the last thing one thinks about when planning a vacation. However, circumstances can and do occur that result in an unplanned need to cancel. Although we have empathy for events that may result in needing to cancel, we operate during a very short season and with a very limited occupancy, and this policy is in effect under all circumstances.

When traveling, it is only prudent to ensure you are appropriately insured for all eventualities.  All our guests are prompted to look into trip cancellation insurance through a travel agent or your insurance provider. Another good way to ensure you are covered for any unforeseen circumstances is through your credit card company. Check whether your credit card has the option to include travel insurance for all cancellations if you use the card to pay for your trip. 

If you need to cancel, please understand our cancellation policy belowThank you for your understanding.

The following states our cancellation policy:

  • More than 30 days  — Full deposit returned less a $20 handling fee per person cancelled
  • 30 days or less     — Deposit will be retained. 
Insurance

In addition to cancellation insurance, be sure your personal insurance is adequate to cover expenses caused by accidents in remote locations.  Any costs arising from an unscheduled evacuation will be the responsibility of the client. 

Connect With Us

For updates, photos, trip reports and general information about life at Powell River Sea Kayak and Desolation Cabana Eco-Resort, consider connecting with us on the following forms of social media:

Paddling Exercises

If you are interested in tuning-up a few of the muscles commonly used while kayaking, here are a few good examples of exercises that really help.