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By: Author Gemma. Some links within this post are affiliate links which means if you purchase an item through these, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. A minimum of two ferries are needed to get here from the BC mainland. Powell River is the last major refuelling place for groceries and other paddling supplies. Highway ends at the tiny town of Lund.
There is a small amount of parking by the marina, with the pay and display parking lot being operated by The Lund Resort. The payment machines take cash and credit but no debit cards. In case of late arrival, the Lund Resort gave us the cell phone of the parking lot attendant. During our most recent visit mid Septthere was a note with a phone on the door to call for service. Malaspina Bed and Breakfast — Great value. Historic Lund Hotel — Fantastic location. A little further south of Lund on the eastern side of the Peninsula is Okeover Arm harbour.
A large free parking lot is located on the other side of the road. We had no problems parking here for 5 days. A very short walk away from the boat launch is Okeover Arm Provincial Park. Desolation Love in okeover Okeover — Ideal location and highly rated on Booking. Having launched paddling trips from both Lund and Okeover, my personal preference would be to leave from Lund. Both are equally convenient for paddling in Desolation Sound and have all the facilities needed, but I think the experience is more interesting from Lund overall.
While Lund may have more boat traffic, the narrower parts of Malaspina Inlet can have currents up to 4 knots at times.
There are also more camping and accommodation options closer to Lund than Okeover, handy if starting late on the first day. The perfect solution would be to start at Lund and end at Okeover or vice versa! Campsites in Desolation Sound generally come in two forms: Marine Provincial Park sites and informal camping areas. The latter offer no organised facilities but have been ly established by other boaters. Wild camping on crown land outside of the Provincial Park is allowed, but suitable land easy access with flat, cleared space is in short supply.
There are 11 deated backcountry camping areas in Desolation Sound Marine Provincial Park with almost 70 tent p total. Note that buying a permit does not constitute a reservation. The camping areas are split into three general groups — the Copeland Islands, around Malaspina Inlet and the Curme Islands. Tent p must be used due to the delicate ecosystem in each location. There are outhouses at all Desolation Sound camping ares.
No fresh water or food caches are available at any of the camping areas. The Curme Islands are a top destination for a lot of Desolation Sound kayakers. Aside from Desolation Sound, there are a few other Love in okeover Parks in the wider area. Roscoe Bay, to the north of the Curme Islands, has space for tents with an outhouse at the far west of the inlet. There are a few completely free unofficial camping areas outside of the Provincial Park.
Martin Island and Kinghorn Island both have a couple of areas each note that the latter also has an eco resort. To the north, there is an informal camping spot near the waterfall in Teakerne Arm. For more detail on these sites and others in the Desolation Sound area, check out the most excellent Wild Coast 3 book by John Kimantas. There are a few open sections that must be paddled to reach the most popular camping locations Curme Islandsbut these are very short km. That all said, we have experienced some wild windy days on the water on Desolation Sound.
On our first tripgale force winds were predicted to arrive on the afternoon of our last day thanks, VHF radio. So we packed up quickly and got onto the water early for a quick exit. The winds came in earlier than expected and we battled some metre and a half swells before finally turning into the much calmer Malaspina Inlet. There was also one ferociously windy day during our last trip, this time in the northern Desolation Sound area. Luckily we had nowhere to be so we were able to leisurely wait it out. Some very tired kayakers ed us at our Martin Islands campsite that afternoon, having taken almost the whole day to paddle the relatively short distance from the Curme Islands in high winds.
Moral of the story: always allow more time for your trip than necessary and assess the weather conditions and forecast before setting out. Desolation Sound may be one of the most sheltered and calm areas of the BC coast, but it still can be hit by high winds and dangerous paddling conditions like everywhere else!
Cell phone al is prevalent as are other boats throughout the Desolation Sound area. Even knowing this, we still like to carry a basic VHF radio. Of particular interest, at least for us, is the local whale watching boats…. There are several places to find fresh water while paddling in Desolation Sound. Not just great for collecting water, both lakes are also perfect for a swim! Keep in mind that the lake water should be treated before drinking. The best time Love in okeover Desolation Sound kayaking is May — September.
The summer months are busy, with hundreds of touring pleasure boats addition to many private and guided kayaks paddling Desolation Sound. With the limited availability of sites in summer, choosing a base camp and day touring from there may provide a less stressful experience. If you prefer to avoid crowds and have your pick of sites, plan a mid-week Desolation Sound kayaking trip in May, June or September.
Shoulder season weekends can still be fairly busy so try and avoid leaving on a Friday if possible. Our first kayak adventure in Desolation Sound was mid-week in late May. We had a whole Curme Island to ourselves for camping and we only saw a handful of other paddlers. Our second Desolation kayaking trip was in mid June, again in mid-week. We saw more passing kayakers this time, but still camped alone every night bar one. Shellfish collecting has long been a Love in okeover of Desolation Sound paddlers.
We have feasted on many an oyster during our trips; they are large, plentiful and flavoursome. Mussels are much less common, with only small ones sighted on our last trip.
Rockfish fishing was more successful, particularly just to the west of Kinghorn Island, just outside of the Conservation boundary. There are some quite specific rules and regulations concerning fishing Love in okeover collecting shellfish to follow while paddling in Desolation Sound. For example, there is a large Rockfish Conservation Area covering much of Desolation Sound that restricts any fishing of Rockfish at all. It is very important to always read and understand the area closure maps and collection limits before fishing and collecting shellfish.
Eating contaminated shellfish can be fatal. Lucky enough to own both canoes and kayaks, we have visited Desolation Sound with each type of boat. The vast majority of people paddling in Desolation Sound are equipped with kayaks, but we did spot one other canoe on our first trip. We paddled a little faster in the kayaks than the canoe and felt that they handled better in rougher water.
Most campsites in Desolation Sound are on rock bluffs or headlands. Accessing them was easier in the kayaks, with one person getting out of their kayak and then helping the other. Moving the kayaks to higher ground was also a simpler process as they weigh only 45lb each compared to the 80lb canoe and spray deck. Check out our Shop for more outdoor gear recommendations for trips like this.
Hey Gemma and JR! Thank you for all the helpful information. My partner and I are planning a kayak trip to Desolation this coming summer. Great to hear you're planning a trip! The graphics at the bottom of the post are corresponding Pinterest pins. Hi there I'm planning a sea kayak trip to the Copeland Islands about third week of Oct. Do you think there will be humpbacks still? Main question: if we leave Lund and want to spend three nights out I assume so, but that will take Love in okeover of room. Doesn't seem like one could carry that much water plus all their camping gear.Love in okeover
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