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Desolation Sound is a popular boating and kayaking destination north of the Sunshine Coast in the province of British Columbia. It is an area of huge mountains and wilderness with little civilization and untouched cruising grounds. For purposes of this guide, it includes the eastern portion of the Discovery Islands (East and West Redonda Islands), Desolation Sound Marine Provincial Park and Toba Inlet.

Understand[edit]

Desolation Sound was inhabited by tribes of the Mainland Comox First Nation prior to the arrival of Europeans. In the summer of 1792, two expeditions led by Captains George Vancouver, Dionisio Alcalá Galiano and Cayetano Valdés y Flores arrived and cooperated in mapping the sound. Vancouver named it Desolation Sound, cryptically claiming that "there was not a single prospect that was pleasing to the eye".

Get in[edit]

A moody Desolation Sound

By boat[edit]

There is no scheduled ferry service to Desolation Sound so if travelling by boat, you'll need your own, or hire a water taxi from Campbell River (on Vancouver Island) or Lund on the Sunshine Coast.

  • bareboat sailing charter. There are many yacht charter companies. Get your training and rent a boat and sail into Desolation Sound. It is one of the premier cruising destinations of the world.
  • Lund Water Taxi, Lund Marina, +1 604 483-9749. Small operator that can drop-off and pick-up to most locations in the Desolation Sound area.

By seaplane[edit]

  • Corilair, +1 250-287-8371, toll-free: +1-888-287-8366, fax: +1 250-287-3481, . Corilair operates scheduled seaplane service to Refuge Cove and destinations in Desolation Sound from their base in Campbell River three days a week in winter and three times daily in summer. There is also a daily scheduled service between Campbell River and Vancouver from late June to early Sept that will make stops in Refuge Cove and Desolation Sound, if requested. $100 and up (for scheduled service between Campbell River and the Discovery Islands).
  • Kenmore Air, +1 425 486-1257, . Kenmore Air offers scheduled flights four times a week from Kenmore Air Harbour, north of Seattle in the United States, to Refuge Cove and Prideaux Haven in Desolation Sound Marine Provincial Park from late May through late Sept. Daily flights are available mid-June to early Sept. Expect a customs and immigration stop in Nanaimo. $650 (US$) round trip.
  • NW Seaplanes, toll-free: +1-800-690-0086. NW Seaplanes operates scheduled service from Renton, south of Seattle, to Refuge Cove and destinations in Desolation Sound Marine Provincial Park. $329 (US$) and up, one way.

Get around[edit]

See[edit]

Waterfalls in Toba Inlet
  • 1 Toba Inlet, north of Desolation Sound, is known for its emerald or jade green waters and many waterfalls (particularly in late spring and early summer).

Do[edit]

  • 1 Cassel Falls / Teakerne Arm Provincial Park, West Redonda Island, head of Teakerne Arm. The highlight is Cassel Falls, which fall directly into the ocean. There is a hiking trail to Cassel Lake, as well as fishing and swimming in both the ocean (Teakerne Arm) and Cassel Lake. No fee.
  • 2 Desolation Sound Marine Provincial Park.
  • 3 Roscoe Bay Provincial Park, West Redonda Island, off the Waddington Channel. A park set around a small fjord with fishing, wilderness camping and anchorage. There is also a short trail to Black Lake, with a hiking trail along the lakeshore, swimming and fishing. Swimming is not recommended in Roscoe Bay. There are pit toilets but no other facilities. No fee for day use; $5/night if camping.

Buy[edit]

  • 1 Refuge Cove General Store, Refuge Cove Marina, West Redonda Island. All facilities open June-Sept; Oct-May only the general store and fueling station are open, M W F 1PM-3PM. Marina with a general store and food supplies. There is also laundry facilities, showers and a coffee shop open seasonally.

Eat[edit]

Eating options are pretty much limited to the accommodation you're staying at. Limited food supplies are available from the general store at Refuge Cove, otherwise you'll need to bring all your food with you.

Drink[edit]

Sleep[edit]

  • 1 Cabana Desolation Eco Resort, Kinghorn Island, +1 604-483-2160, toll-free: +1 866 617-4444 (N America only), . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Cabana-style lodging on an island well-situated to explore Cortes Island and Desolation Sound by kayak. Each cabana is made from local wood with a bright airy design and is equipped with a queen bed and shower. Toilets are shared and set throughout the property. Meals and non-alcoholic beverages are complimentary and provided in the Cabana Cafe. Guests have one kayak to use and are free to use the beach chairs, hammocks and stand-up paddleboards. Other perks include coffee/tea in bed and a complimentary happy hour beverage. personal headlamps, personal mask/snorkel sets and dry bags for kayaking excursions. Accommodation comes under one of two packages: “Chill & Immerse”, for those who don’t want to kayak or want to kayak on their own, and “Guided”, for those looking for a guided kayaking experience. The island is accessed by kayaking out to it from Power River Sea Kayak’s launch spot on Okeover Inlet or you can pay $100 (round trip) for boat transport. Open mid-May through the end of Sept; peak period is considered late-June to early-Sept. Chill & Immerse package: $975-$1575 per person (2-4 nights), Guided: $1345 and up. There’s a minimum two night stay for Chill & Immerse guests and three day minimum for Guided tour guests.
  • 2 Homfray Lodge, Homfray Channel (Desolation Sound) (behind Foster Point between Forbes Bay and Attwood Bay), +1 604-740-6032, . Lodge and cabins located on Desolation Sound. The cabins sleep 4-6 and have a kitchenette, 3 pc bathroom, private balcony and small BBQ. The Ridge Row rooms sleep 3 and have a 3 pc bathroom; cooking is done at the shared Cookhouse. Amenities include Wifi, a common room in the lodge and firepit. The lodge can arrange fishing charters and sightseeing trips in the local area including Toba Inlet and Bute Inlet, and will provide transport to and from local hiking and mountain biking spots. It rents kayaks, mountain bikes and fishing gear. Moorage is available for people with their own boats. Open mid-May through Sept. $125 (Ridge Row rooms), $250-300 (cabins).
  • 3 Toba Wilderness Marina, mouth of the Toba Inlet, +1 250 830-2269. Quiet location with overnight moorage. There is a waterfall nearby and hiking trails on the property. No onshore accommodations.

Stay safe[edit]

Go next[edit]

This city travel guide to Desolation Sound is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.