Montrealers looking at Desolation Sound in August

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by exit106, Mar 7, 2011.

  1. exit106

    exit106 New Member

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    Hello all,

    My girlfriend and I are planning a kayak/ hiking trip to BC in August. Not knowing a thing about BC and its coast, I'm looking for advice and/or suggestions for the trip we are thinking about.

    The trip would take us to Desolation Sound for kayaking, then change to our boots and do part of the Sunshine Coast Trail. There might be other options but this looks like an easy 2 week trip where we can relax. But I'm open to changes. Desolation Sound seems like a picturesque area to discover, wildlife (but no killer whales, darn) plenty of camping sites, protected waters and easily accessible. Hopefully not to crowded.

    A little background on us. We are avid kayakers but by no means experts in the sport. We like to plan our trips solo. We try not to push the envelope, unless we have no choice (weather). Last year we spent seven days on the Allagash River in Maine and also spent 10 days on the MITA trail in Maine going from lobster-pound to lobster-pound.

    So we think a 4 or 5 day trip kayaking in Desolation Sound would fit our idea of a relaxing vacation.

    A few questions remain:

    Water temp/ Air temp in August? What kind of exposure suit? Rating of sleeping bag?
    Tides and currents. Something to be considered in this area?
    Rain, Rain, Rain or are they calling this the Sunshine Coast for a good reason. Thunderstorms? Day long drizzle? or 30min everyday at 3:45pm (like clockwork)?
    2 sea kayaks as carry-on might be tough on airport security. Best place to rent kayaks, Powell River or Lund?
    Need to find an outfitter for camping gear? or should I send my stuff Canada Post?
    Most important; food/ alcohol. Where do we find a good place for groceries, Powell River or Lund?
    What can I eat from the ocean? Seems that mussels and oysters are plentiful. Red tide in August? What about crabs? Fishing from the beach?
    Mosquitoes on the Allagash took away my first born. Should I worry in Desolation Sound?
    Can't find day rates or camping rates for Desolation Marine Park. What's the daily rate and where's the office?
    Will need a chart of the area. Must be a place around that sells proper marine charts.
    We will bring our own safety gear: PFD's,VHF's, FirstAid, compass, GPS, the girlfriends' SPOT (not the cat), but might need to leave knifes and flares back home (again airport security). Does Canadian Tire have them in BC? They're no longer available in Quebec stores.

    In advance, thanking you for your help in making this trip possible.

    Pierre
     
  2. Rodnak Kayak

    Rodnak Kayak Paddler

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    Salut Pierre! As an Ex Montrealer and still and avid Habs fan, although gotta like those 'nucks. lets see if I can help.
    August is probably best month, the weather should be sunny, never any guarantees.
    Water temperature is "Warmest Pacific waters north of CAlifornia" no BS!! Google Savary Island, just off of Lund, at the start of, sort of, Desolation Sound.
    Tides and currents are not a major concern up that way, that is why the water stays so warm!
    If launching from Lund, you can rent kayaks from there, just forget the name. Just google Lund kayak rentals.
    Powell river may be better for groceries, although Lund will have almost everything.
    For eats from the water, check with locals at the time, and have a licence, it's cheap.
    Mosquitos? what are they?? hehe, you may see a few, if near water and a breeze, zero.. Absolutely NO black flies, the buggers.
    Forget about rates for camping, last trip we did was to Copeland islands, and it was FREE, it is cheap anyway, I think under $10.oo a nite per person.
    No offices to find, only honor system pay boxes and eagles up that way.
    I would assume any good marine supply place in Montreal would have those charts, or can get them, same out here, try MEC for some "fun" maps of area, not for navigation though.
    I now believe you can pack knives etc to fly, not just in a carry-on but check with airport rules, a shame to buy all over again.
    Last note, once you find a rental place for the kayaks, they can be very helpful in lots of details you may be missing. Flares etc...
    Bon Chance!
     
  3. Featheron

    Featheron Paddler

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    Pierre,

    Desolation Sound is a good choice for an intro sea kayak trip on the BC coast, picturesque and fairly sheltered. Several year ago I did a five day trip out of Lund with friends who had not sea kayaked much before, we had a great time. However, one warning it can be pretty busy up there, especially in August. Expect lots of power boats. Kayak campsites can get crowded too, especially on the Curme and Copeland Islands (Martin and Otter Island are better). Note, 'crowded' is a relative term, I prefer to paddle in less busy locations further north.

    For kayak rental I would go with Powell River/Rockfish sea kayak in Lund
    http://www.bcseakayak.com/rockfish/index.html

    John Kimantas's guidebook is very useful for planning
    http://www.thewildcoast.ca/WildCoastBooks3.htm

    You can pick up charts and flares in Vancouver at
    http://www.ecomarine.com/
    http://www.stevestonmarine.com/index.php?country=ca

    August often has long spells of fine, warm weather. But being the coast you can also get several days of rain, so pack rain gear but hope not to use it. The water in Desolation Sound is warmer than on the outer coast but I would still bring a farmer John wet suit. A light sleeping bag should suffice.

    Best to stock up with groceries etc in Powell River.

    I do not recall many bug issues in Desolation but it does vary year to year.

    You cannot fly with flares but knives are fine in your hold baggage.

    Have a good trip

    Ron
     
  4. exit106

    exit106 New Member

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    Thanks for the info guys. This will help in our planning.

    I am now a bit concerned about the hum of power boats. Ron you mentioned going north. Where?

    FYI knives are allowed in checked baggage. But tell that to the Dorval airport baggage handler that took away my first aid scissor last year, even knowing that the blunt tip could not go through Jell-O. What would he have done finding my Wenoka knife.

    GoHabsGo!! way better then then Go'nuksGo!! :D :D
     
  5. EvanC

    EvanC New Member

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    -Yes, weather is usually pretty nice, esp in August. This is the west coast though, so always a chance for rain. That being said, I did a 10 day trip up there 2 years ago and had 1 overcast morning, that was it. Nightime low probably isn't much below 10. Worth having a windbreaker if nothing else, sometime (esp near the inlets) you can get a good afternoon breeze that can be a little chilly.
    -We bough food in Powell River - lots of big grocery stores. Depending on how you're getting here - sounds like flying, you'll probably be going through there anyways. You'll also probably be going through Vancouver, so you could always stop at MEC for camping stuff. Canadian tire (must be one in Powell River) also has some camping gear, and I'm sure there must be an outdoor store somewhere between Sechelt and Lund.
    -There are a few spots with Mosquitos, but certainly they are not a prominent feature at all.
    - I usually get my charts from www.fedpubs.com. I'm sure you could buy them at marine stores right in Lund if nothing else, but maybe nice to have in advance to do a little planning. That being said, I also found the appropriate Wild Coast book to be helpful.

    I'm sure if can be busy - we saw few people on our trip, and I doubt you'll see many if you head outside of the normal Lund - Copeland - Desolation route, though that may be difficult with only 5 days. If you have the luxury of planning the trip to do something like leave on a Monday or Tuesday and stay out for the week, it might help to avoid some of the busy-ness since alot of trip are I think centered on weekends. You should probably try your best to get into the busy spots (Copeland island, Curme) earlier in the day if you want a spot.

    There are lots of motor boats. Lots. Especially right in Desolation Sound proper. I think alot of kayaker prefer to camp on the little outlying islands where there aren't any good moorages for larger boats. We found a nice little one with space for 2 tents and no-one else anywhere nearby. There are a few spots within an hour paddle of the busy spots, I much preferred to have quiet at night and just did a day trip through the park proper.
     
  6. SheilaP

    SheilaP Paddler

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    Hey Pierre!

    I work for Powell River Sea Kayak. The companies in Lund and in Okeover are owned by the same person. In Okeover there is a bigger selection of boats (larger property) so I would launch from that side. Give the owner lots of details about who you are and what you like to paddle and I am sure he will outfit you well! His boats are well-maintained and great quality too.
    http://www.bcseakayak.com/rentals.html

    You could inquire about renting camping gear as well. I do know he rents some things (also good quality!). I will answer your questions briefly, but many other people know the area well too!

    Water temp/ Air temp in August? What kind of exposure suit? Rating of sleeping bag?
    Water can be very warm!!! I use no immersion gear, but would recommend gear if you are doing more isolated areas. I use a crappy old sleeping bag in the summer...

    Tides and currents. Something to be considered in this area?
    Tide range can be large and worth checking to ease launching & Landings. Currents negligible. Wind waves can build up though! Check the forecasts regularly.
    Rain, Rain, Rain or are they calling this the Sunshine Coast for a good reason. Thunderstorms? Day long drizzle? or 30min everyday at 3:45pm (like clockwork)?
    LOL. Day long drizzle if it is raining. I find August to be quite dry, but always bring the gear in case.
    Most important; food/ alcohol. Where do we find a good place for groceries, Powell River or Lund?
    Lund has a small and more expensive store. In town (Powell River) there are three large stores with everything - Safeway, Quality foods, Save-On Foods (1/2 hour from Lund/Okeover area). Liquor store on North end of main mall and in Lund.

    What can I eat from the ocean? Seems that mussels and oysters are plentiful. Red tide in August? What about crabs? Fishing from the beach?
    You can eat all that! Fishing from a kayak would be more successful - read forums here for great tips. You'll need a trap for crabs they are deep.
    CHECK the openings with fisheries Canada RIGHT before you go. Red tide in August is not uncommon (especially with the warm waters!) Don't forget your fishing license.
    http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/rec/ ... 15-eng.htm

    Mosquitoes on the Allagash took away my first born. Should I worry in Desolation Sound?
    Not bad at all in the area. Just at sundown when it is not breezy!

    Can't find day rates or camping rates for Desolation Marine Park. What's the daily rate and where's the office?
    No fees! NONE! Nada. Fees at Okeover Provincial Campground and Sunlund by The Sea (has laundry).

    Will need a chart of the area. Must be a place around that sells proper marine charts.
    Place for charts: http://www.marinetraders.com/home.html
    Right in town where ferry comes in from Vancouver Island. (Ask a local - they are all friendly ;) )

    We will bring our own safety gear: PFD's,VHF's, FirstAid, compass, GPS, the girlfriends' SPOT (not the cat), but might need to leave knifes and flares back home (again airport security). Does Canadian Tire have them in BC?
    Place above will. If you are renting from Powell River Sea Kayak quality PFD will be included. :big_thumb

    Another relaxing option is to book a tour with Powell River Sea Kayak. I have heard the guides are great. :mrgreen: If you compare the fully inclusive pricing to rentals, well you may be surprised. All food is top notch, included, and cooked for you. My boss is GREAT at matching people with similar interests on tours too. (SHHhh - we know the secret quiet spots too. :wink: )

    The Sunshine Coast trail is ALSO spectacular. There are kayak camping spots that are right one the trail too! I highly recommend Feather Cove - easy day hike right to Sarah Point from there.

    Powell River is truly a tourists paradise! Feel free to ask more questions. There is much to see and do.

    Hope this helps Pierre!
     
  7. exit106

    exit106 New Member

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    Wow more great replies!! This really helps.

    A couple more questions.

    Can we get re-supplies during the trip? or are we packing all food for the trip?
    Are there fish co-ops during the trip? My fishing skills are less then adequate.
    Can I but my tent up anywhere or all the tent sites well defined? Are we mostly above high tide line? or in the woods? Back East I only have to worry about raccoons and mice, so we hear about the monstrous bears that will attack us every night. Do I really need bear spray?
    In some areas back East, we are not allowed cats holes, Do I need to bring my crap-torpedo?

    I understand the idea of organized tours, but we like to go at our own rhythm. I've found that I enjoy the planning of a trip almost as much as the trip. Hey, I've just discovered this group and plan on keeping it in my database. Wish we had EastCoast Paddlers.
     
  8. Rodnak Kayak

    Rodnak Kayak Paddler

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    Pierre,
    A couple more answers...
    Count on bringing all your food, there is one little place in DS, but no guarantees.
    Not sure what a fish co-op is...
    Tents can be put almost anywhere, these are quite "wild" sites, but there are some pads on the Copelands and maybe a few other places. Once in DS proper, you will find the beaches quite harsh, not much sand, lots of rocky or "shelf" beaches, so you will usually be back from the beach a bit.
    You willbe bugged more by racoons, mice and so forth, maybe some black bears, just hang your food, keep a clean camp, and you will be fine, NOT grizzly country, unless you go up to the north end.
    No cat holes are needed. First human poop is a great wolf attractor, so all of us do our pooping below the tide line, away from any camps, just pile a bunch of rocks over your "pile" and mother ocean will wash it away, same with food scraps. If you are in the "public eye" do it on a piece of wood, a flat rock, and then toss into mother ocean, (Torpedos away!) of course, you must burn the TP or dispose of it in you trash to carry out.
    We always suggest to have the males pee around the camp, it "marks" the camp keeping some unwanted guests away.

    P.S> in my opinion, you may want to kayak your whole trip, and just hike on "off days" of poor weather etc.. it may not get you to the sunshine Coast Trail, but you will see lots, and on some of the islands, you can hike to a nice lake to freshen up etc...4-5 days will go by in a flash!
    Hope this helps
     
  9. SheilaP

    SheilaP Paddler

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    Rod answered your questions well. Refuge Cove on West Redonda does have supplies: alcohol, ice, food(some fresh things too), tourist garb. It is a FUN place to visit. An ice cream is always a treat near the end of a trip. If you can take a "cruising guide" for boaters in Desolation out of the library it is a good way to see where the boats congregate! You can plan to avoid those areas. :)

    And please do use the 'tidal flush' system. The small islands can be very dry and any fecal matter left on them can last for years. (They are mostly made of rock with a thin layer of soil.)
     
  10. Rodnak Kayak

    Rodnak Kayak Paddler

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    Sheila,
    I respect your opinions, especially as a resident of the area.
    What do you do with your poop, if that is not too personal a question, of course when paddling) :)
    I know there has been much debate on this topic, not to get too off topic.
    Let me know, so I can do my part, if it is not good to leave my parts in the ocean...
    Thx!
     
  11. Rodnak Kayak

    Rodnak Kayak Paddler

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    Sheila,
    CRAP! to coin a phrase!
    I read do NOT use the tidal flush system??
    Making an appt to see eye doctor now...
    So now I know! :oops:
     
  12. SheilaP

    SheilaP Paddler

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    LMAO! You had it correct in your first post. Poop BELOW the tide line, waaay below if possible. When people poop on the islands it makes SUCH a mess! As a guide I often end up cleaning other people's piles. Even with gloves and supplies it is horrible. But, if it wasn't done, these camping spots would be ruined for the entire summer. :yikes:
     
  13. Jurfie

    Jurfie Paddler

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    Waitwaitwait...I demand a mod remove all responses to this stinkin' Habs fan. And Rod, wash your mouth out or else we'll ship you back to "la belle province".

    GO CANUCKS GO!



    :wink:

    Just kidding, enjoy your trip Pierre!!
     

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  14. Featheron

    Featheron Paddler

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    Pierre, there are lots of paddling destinations north of Desolation Sound (see Kimantas's guides). For a five day trip Johnstone Strait/Broughtons out of Telegraph Cove is a good option but you will use up more travel time getting there. Desolation is a good first trip.
     
  15. exit106

    exit106 New Member

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    Again, thanks for all the help.
    Desolation sound it is, in August, camping, fishing license and my swim gotchees (warm water!!).

    Sheila I'll be in touch whith your employer to inquire about kayak rentals and all.

    I'll quickly comment on the "Tidal Flush". Much of the places we kayak back East requires that you carry out all human waste. This includes kayaking in saltwater. There some solutions available. Many use double (even triple Ziplock bags), I've used the "crap-torpedo" with great success. Different torpedos lenghts for different days. Clean, cheap and good for the environment.

    http://www.blm.gov/or/resources/recreat ... -kayak.php

    Thanks again.

    Jurfie what can I say. Dream on!! :mrgreen: :twisted: :twisted:
     

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  16. geri

    geri Paddler

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    I'm paddling in the Desolation Sound area for 2 1/2 weeks this month and have been trying to find the difference between Lund and Malaspina Inlet/Roscoe Bay on the tide tables, but haven't had any luck. I definitely must be looking at the wrong websites. Can someone please help me...thanks.
     
  17. nootka

    nootka Paddler

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  18. geri

    geri Paddler

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    Thank you, Nootka...just what I wanted. I appreciate the help.
     
  19. nootka

    nootka Paddler

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    Would you like a custom plot?
    ie R rows by C columns
    each row is one location, C consecutive dates
     
  20. geri

    geri Paddler

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