Multi-Day Expedition Kayak Tours Pre-Trip Planning
Thank You for Choosing to Explore Desolation Sound & Beyond with Powell River Sea Kayak!
As you look forward with anticipation to your multi-day expedition kayak tour with Powell River Sea Kayak, the following information is designed to help you come fully prepared for the experience that awaits.
It is imperative that all members of your group read the information that follows in full to ensure the smooth and safe logistical operations of the tour, and to understand that everyone has the right expectations and understands the nature of these unique and incredible adventures.
It is also the responsibility of all members of your party to read and understand our company policies before you arrive for your tour.
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!
First, let me thank you for choosing Powell River Sea Kayak Ltd. to provide what will undoubtedly be a wonderful sea kayaking expedition.
Also, thank you in advance for taking the time to complete our online medical questionnaire. This important information can sometimes be a little tedious, but it is very much appreciated and is necessary to ensure a safe and enjoyable kayak trip.
With your tour booked, it’s time to enjoy the anticipation-stage of your upcoming sea kayak adventure. After all, it has been said that 50% of a holiday experience happens during the imagination and anticipation stage. With that in mind, you may want to follow us on Instagram and Facebook to keep up to date with our season and build the excitement for your own visit to this beautiful part of the world.
As you may still have some details to sort out, we have prepared this pre-trip information document to help make your planning as easy as possible. Having said that, if you need any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are very resourceful and glad to help make your planning go as smooth as possible.
I look forward to meeting you in person.
Powell River Sea Kayak
Like anything in life, hope and expectations play a role in how we react emotionally. If expectations are not met, we feel disappointed or frustrated. If an experience goes beyond our expectations, we feel happy. In an effort to create realistic expectations and positive mental preparation, here are a few points to understand.
Foremost, this is a self-supported wilderness trip.
While Powell River Sea Kayak has been a key leader in the expansion of sea kayak touring on the BC coast since 1995, and we work incredibly hard – from management to our guides to our office staff – to make these experiences as comfortable, safe, and relaxing as we can, some important clarifications sometimes need to be made to ensure that all our guests are 100% aware of the reality of these wilderness excursions.
Our expeditions head to more remote areas, but have been designed so that groups attempt to avoid any overly long arduous days of paddling on the water. While we say our vacation tours spend 3-4 hours on the water each day, expeditions should expect anywhere from 4-6 hours of paddling, with breaks for lunch and short rests throughout.
Distances per day vary, with the topography in places limiting where we can land and camp as we get more remote, and some days will be longer than others. The fact that these tours aim to move every day (or almost every day) mean that guests should expect to ‘dig in’ on occasion to reach their goals. The rewards are certainly worth the effort!
Topographical Considerations & Challenges
Our expedition tours travel deep into the Coast Mountains of mainland British Columbia. While this means you will be in some truly epic and impressive locations, the steep nature of the landscape mean that the deeper the group travels, the more difficult it can be to safely launch and land kayaks, and the more dangerous it can be while hauling kayaks and equipment from the shore to the camp through the slippery and uneven intertidal zone.
From experience, this aspect of the day is often the most challenging for our guests – especially those that are less sure on their feet. The desire – even necessity – to help with this process can lead to injuries, and unfortunate evacuations, of guests. On the flip side, if an individual is unable to manage this effectively and needs to avoid helping with the camp setup, all that more stress and responsibility falls onto our guides, who are already working exceptionally hard to deliver a memorable experience and keep everyone safe.
All this is to say that if you are unsure about your ability to safely travel – and help move gear – on rocky, steep and uneven surfaces, perhaps one of our vacation camping tours or Cabana Desolation Eco Resort packages are more suitable for you.
Any costs relating to evacuations – for any reason whatsoever – of guests who are unable to complete the trip are solely the responsibility of the guest(s). As always, we highly recommend that your personal insurance covers expenses due to accidents in remote locations, including transport. An evacuation from a remote area on these trips could easily cost $500 or more.
Campsites & Facilities (or lack of…)
The camps used on our expeditions can range from provincial park sites with tent pads, to remote beaches with small clearings in the forest for tents and driftwood ‘dining areas’. Toilet facilities can range from private outhouses, to the use of a shovel to dig cat-holes in a designated area of the bush.
The positives of such remote camping, of course, is the solitude and the serenity that can only be achieved by getting away from other groups and the trappings of civilization. To get to these amazing areas, a little ‘roughing-it’ is certainly required!
Our expedition tours of course are designed to get as deep into the wilderness as possible during the 6 or 7 day duration, and guests on these tours can expect to find themselves in some truly awe inspiring and remote locations, but with minimal facilities. Some of our private tenured sites may have minimal improvements, depending on government restrictions on the tenure, but guests should expect that each camp has minimal facilities, especially as the trip goes on.
Storage & Management
Everything we use on the tour – all the food and equipment – must fit into the group’s kayaks at the time of launch. There are limitations on what we can bring – including how much each guest can bring personally on the tour.
Having said that, we have been running kayak trips since 1995, and have developed very efficient systems over this time. This efficiency allows us to bring many items that would otherwise be considered luxuries on a typical wilderness trip! The equipment we do bring is of the highest quality from leading brands in the outdoor industry.
With all the great gear we bring comes a little extra work both for our guides and our guests – and especially so on our expedition tours. We do not have Sherpas for hauling gear or setting-up camp (besides, this would make the tour significantly more expensive). When arriving at a new camp, the kayaks must be emptied and then everything (kayaks included) hauled to the camp area, above the high tide. This is a group effort (guides included) and is a great way to get the blood flowing either before paddling or after sitting in the kayaks for a few hours. The point: some hauling of kayaks and equipment and setting-up of camp is required by everyone.
Food & Water
Food can be a unique challenge on a self-sustained tour. Despite this, we pride ourselves on our backcountry meals that constantly impress and amaze our guests year after year – a far cry from traditional backpacking food and cooking!
Unique diets are becoming more and more prevalent these days. Without a kitchen, fridge, oven or well-stocked pantry, it can be extremely difficult to cater to individual tastes and diets for a large group over many days. However, we do our best and hope our guests understand these challenges!
If you have unique dietary preferences, please let us know as soon as possible so we can best prepare our menu and logistical planning.
Finally, all our water for drinking and cooking is generally completely brought along with us, and ‘showering’ is only possible if the route of the tour takes us near a hidden freshwater lake. Depending on the time of the year and the route taken on the tour, this is not always possible. This can be a challenge for some guests used to the convenience of warm running water on demand, but rest assured that it makes the inevitable shower on returning to civilization all the more luxurious.
What it Means to Choose a Group Tour
Paddling speed is another point of communication. Ultimately we can only paddle as fast as the slowest paddler. Joining a group tour assumes you are happy to go along with the group, and understand that each trip has paddlers of different strengths and abilities; if not, a group tour is probably not for you.
In a group tour, you are agreeing to listen to and respect the guide’s decisions, judgements and requirements made in the best interests of the entire group, and bring a positive attitude to respect to all guides and fellow guests.
No matter the pace, we often cover as much as 8-12 nautical miles per day on our expeditions. In addition, a more relaxed pace allows for a more intimate experience and exploration of the intertidal marine life and beautiful scenery. If you are not an experienced paddler and worried about keeping up, we recommend electing to paddle in a double kayak as opposed to singles, which often proves a great leveller for people of different strengths.
The weather on the BC coast can be unpredictable, and even the relatively warm and dry months of summer can be peppered with consecutive days of wind, rain, and cool temperatures. While many of our tours enjoy unspoiled blue skies from start to finish, you should be prepared for the potential of cooler, wetter, windier weather during your tour, even if the long-term forecast does not indicate the possibility.
While the sun and warmth are certainly ingredients for a great trip, many of our most memorable tours in the past have experienced days of moderate winds and that classic west coast rain. The scenery is rugged and inspiring no matter what the weather brings, and our guides work amazingly hard to ensure that each and every guest has everything they possibly need to immerse themselves in and enjoy this beautiful part of the world.
Choose not be to disappointed if the weather is inclement, but instead choose to embrace the many changing faces and conditions that exist on this beautiful west coast!
As mentioned, this is a wilderness camping tour. Part of the charm on a wilderness tour is connecting with nature at a more intimate level and getting out of our comfort zones in life. A little ‘roughing it’ is good for the soul! With that said, more and more guests are looking for a higher level of comfort and features on these wilderness trips. For guests seeking a higher level of comfort, we get it! We therefore created Cabana Desolation Eco Resort, which provides such “luxuries” as cozy beds, hot showers and flush toilets. However, as a wilderness camping tour, not only are these types of features unavailable but even seemingly basic features may not be possible. This includes:
- Pit toilets (aka: outhouses). Not all our wilderness sites have outhouses. What does this mean? At certain sites guests will need to dig ‘cat-holes’ for when they are using the bathroom. Guides will explain the best methods for this on the first day of the trip.
- Fresh water. We use some pretty wonderful sites for our camps, many on small islands with beautiful views and an unsurpassed connecting with the ocean. With a lack of freshwater, all this must be packed into the kayaks. If you like to wash your face with freshwater daily, this likely won’t be an option as we simply cannot pack enough for drinking and cooking as well as washing.
- Sleeping pads. There are some pretty large and luxurious options available these days. Unfortunately, these will not fit into kayaks full of kitchen gear, tents, sleeping bags – and everything else needed for a safe and enjoyable trip. We carry a standard thermarest that more than adequately does the job.
- Tents. As we often use remote sites away from the more commonly used areas, it is important that we are space-efficient with our sleeping arrangements to ensure a comfortable use of these sites. If you are a solo traveller, you will of course be offered your own tent, but if you are travelling in a group our policy is for 2 people to share (or perhaps more, if a family group).
- This list could go on and on, but the point is to simply get people in the right frame of mind. If you are starting to think this is not the right experience for you, please see: www.cabanadesolation.com
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 your experience will be awesome!
Getting to our Office and Waterfront Launch site in Okeover Inlet
Parking at our Launch Site
Our launch site address: 10676 Crowther Road – link to Google Maps).
- Our waterfront launch site has parking for all our guests driving to our site. No need to pay for parking or shuttle from the parking lot to the ocean for the start of your tour, it’s all conveniently located on our secure and beautiful property in Okeover Inlet!
- If you are driving an electric vehicle, while we don’t have a charging station on site, there are a number of places in Powell River (30 minutes south) that this can occur.
Driving via Vancouver
How to find us:
- Horseshoe Bay ferry to Langdale.
- Drive 1 hour 15 minutes north to Earl’s Cove (ferry to Saltery Bay).
- From Saltery Bay, drive 30 minutes to Powell River (Hwy 101).
- From Powell River (Hwy 101), drive approximately 30 minutes north and turn right on Malaspina Road (to Okeover Inlet).
- Drive 5 minutes to Laughing Oyster restaurant and turn left onto Crowther Road (gravel road).
- We are 5 minutes drive down Crowther Road (at bottom of large hill, follow the signs!)
Driving via Vancouver Island
How to Find Us:
- Comox Ferry to Powell River.
- Follow from point 4 above.
Note: 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.
Flying from Vancouver
There are two options to fly into Powell River from Vancouver: via Pacific Coastal Airlines from the YVR airport, or via Harbour Air from downtown 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, arriving just after 9.30am.
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).
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.
Maps of Powell River & the Sunshine Coast
Click here for a map that shows Powell River in relation to Vancouver and Vancouver Island.
Ferry Schedules & Reservations
Click here to view ferry schedules for Powell River and the Sunshine Coast from Vancouver and Vancouver Island.
If you are travelling to the Powell River area by car, we highly recommend you visit the BC Ferries website and make any ferry reservations you need well in advance. Summer is a high traffic time of year for this service and a reservation can take the stress out of traveling to and from this beautiful part of the world.
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
Click here for the website of Harbour Air, with two daily flights between Powell River and Vancouver Harbour.
Click here for the website of Coast Taxi Powell River.
We recommend that you book your taxi for the morning of the tour well in advance. For the return journey after the tour, please remind us when you arrive so we can give the taxi service a heads up, and then if it looks like our return to Okeover will be delayed for any reason we can update them so the taxi is not waiting around for an extended period of time while we return.
The journey is part of the experience – and expression of the seriousness of one’s intent. One doesn’t take the train to mecca. – Anthony Bourdain
We have been running trips in Desolation Sound & the mainland coast since 1995, and as such we know the area very well and value flexibility and spontaneity within the bounds of weather, group dynamic, and considerations for safety and enjoyment.
Arrival at Okeover Launch Site: 9.00am sharp.
- Upon arrival guests will be provided with dry bags to pack their personal items.
Location: Powell River Sea Kayak (10676 Crowther Road – link to google maps)
- Important: other guests will be paddling with the guide(s) as well. Please give yourself enough time to arrive for 9:00am sharp.
- Guests flying in to Powell River and taxiing to Okeover will arrive slightly later. Please be sure to pre-book the taxi and have your personal items ready to re-pack into the dry bags provided upon arrival.
Kayak Launch Time: Approximately 10:30am (after a pre-launch introduction, packing of personal belongings and warm up)
Kayaking to Camp: The paddle to camp on expeditions can be anywhere from 8-12 nautical miles and includes beautiful views, interesting marine wildlife and meandering shorelines. Paddling time is roughly 2-3 hours in the morning, a nice lunch break and then another 2-3 hours paddling in the afternoon. Weather and group dynamic may affect actual times.
Arriving at Camp approximately 3-4.30pm.
Day 2, 3, 4…
You wake to the smell of fresh coffee and rise to the sight of breakfast being prepared in your island camp.
Breakfast: Approximately 8am
Launch Time: Approximately 9.30-10am
- Most days consist of 2-3 hours of paddling each morning to a beautiful site for a shoreside lunch, followed by 2-3 more hours to camp, with plenty of on- and off-water breaks as needed to regroup, refresh and refuel along the way.
- Definitive routes and camps can vary depending on many factors: group paddling speed, time of year, wind and weather considerations. Expedition trips should expect to move camp every day, meaning taking down camp and packing all gear into kayaks before launching.
Arriving at Camp: Approximately 4-5pm
- This is a group effort, with guests and guides working together (under the guides’ leadership) to haul kayaks and gear and set up camp. The intertidal area between the shore and the high tide line is usually steep, rocky and uneven, with oysters and barnacles at lower tides, so good sturdy footwear and steadiness on your feet (and a great attitude) are essential on these expedition tours.
Dinner: Approximately 6.30-7pm
- In the evenings, relax by the ocean with a glass of beer or wine while your guides prepare another creative and appetizing meal from fresh ingredients you never thought possible in such a wilderness environment!
Return to Okeover: Approximately 2-3pm – depending on variables of weather, current and group speed.
- One-way expeditions with water-taxi back to Okeover aim to return at 2.30pm, while ‘loop’ expeditions may be a little later as mentioned above.
- Please plan your schedules (ferry, flight, etc) based on this return time. You are part of a group kayaking back with 1 or 2 guides. The other guests in your group may want to enjoy their last day paddling and not rush back. It is also important to note factors such as weather conditions and group paddling speed may affect the final return times.
What You Need to Bring
Please note: outside of personal clothing and items, we will provide pretty much everything needed to ensure the trip is safe and that each guest is comfortable and able to thoroughly enjoy each day to its fullest.
You need only bring your clothes, compact sleeping bag and a few personal items such as a camera and items for personal hygiene.
Clothing Hints and Reminders
Try to avoid cotton – especially when paddling.
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.
Layers of clothing work best
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.
Layer 2: The warmth layer. It can be nice to have a couple different options for this layer. One option may be warmer 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.
Please note: Powell River Sea Kayak can rent waterproof paddling jackets if needed for $35 per person.
Tightly rolling your clothing will allow for a more efficient fit into the dry bags.
Sturdy and protective footwear is a necessity due to the rocky, slippery, steep, and oyster covered beaches, especially at low tide. Footwear should be closed-toed, protect your ankles, and have a thick tread. Here are a couple of examples:
- Keens Watershoes – perhaps with neoprene socks for extra protection
- NSR Neoprene Booties
For any and all medications or emergency interventions (epipens, inhalers, etc) that a guest absolutely requires on this tour, you should not just bring enough but more than enough.
For required medications that you cannot do without, guests should bring at least twice as much as required for the trip and separate in two containers, one of which you will give to the guide.
For emergency related medications (epipens, asthma puffers, etc) it is important for you to know that if these are used – and you do not have enough to safely continue the trip – your trip will be over and evacuation will be made at your expense. We recommend you bring more than enough of these medications to safely participate in these very remote environments.
Shoulder Season Considerations
Shoulder season trips (May-early June & September) can produce some of the best paddling conditions on the coast, but also can be less predictable weather-wise, with cooler evenings and more chance of rain. If you are paddling with us during these times of the season there are a few other items you may consider bringing beyond the packing list in the next tab:
- A good padding jacket (can be rented from PRSK), as well as a rain jacket for camp
- Long underwear, for both the upper and lower body, for camp
- Rain pants to pull over dry clothes at camp
- Rubber boots or water proof hiking boots such as goretex, for camp to keep your feet dry beyond regular camp shoes
- A few extra layers, within reason (mid weight layer) – fleeces, long sleeve shirts and pants, etc
PRSK Packing List:
- Spare prescription eyeglasses
- 2 of any medications stored in separate containers (your guide will carry one of these containers for the entire trip)
- 1 warm fleece jacket
- 1 rain jacket for camp
- 1 rain pants for camp
- Hat for sun and rain
- 1 pair pants for camp (may be cotton but quick dry is best)
- 1 pair pants for paddling (quick-dry material only!)
- 1 pair long underwear pants (quick-dry material only!)
- 1 long sleeve t-shirt (quick dry best)
- 2 t-shirts (at least 1 quick dry material but 1 cotton for camp is ok)
- Extra socks (avoid that cotton!)
- 1 pair shorts or bathing suit for swimming
- 1 pair shorts while paddling or in camp (quick dry material)
- 1 pair wettable shoes (no open-toed sandals for paddling unless a thick pair of wool or polyester socks are worn with the sandals. This is to avoid serious cuts which may occur from walking on shorelines covered with oysters and barnacles)
- 1 pair dry shoes, sandals or rubber boots for camp
- 1 personal water bottle
- Personal effects (e.g.: toothbrush, toothpaste…)
- Towel (preferably a quick dry pack towel vs. a big cotton towel)
- Compact sleeping bag in a compression sack (if your compression sack is not waterproof, line the sack with a garbage bag and then re-stuff your sleeping bag). If you need to rent a sleeping bag, we have these available for a fee of $30, regardless of trip duration. Please book this in advance.
- A positive attitude (absolutely essential)
You may consider these extras
- Cotton gloves or bike gloves for blister protection
- Toque (wool hat)
- Pillow case cover (stuffed with a fleece jacket it makes a decent pillow)
- Insect repellant
- Fishing license and fishing gear
- Camp chair (e.g.: Crazy Creek or converter chair for a Standard Thermarest)
- Small flashlight or headlamp
- Tent – if you have one that is lightweight and would prefer to use
- Beer, wine or spirits (please keep this within reason, it is a paddling trip first and foremost!)
- A portable charger is a great way to ensure that your devices last for pictures (and any sneaky social media updates) you may need
What We Provide
- All meals and snacks
- Due to the difficulty of providing great food in remote areas, we may not be able to adjust our menu to accommodate special requests or serious allergies. Having said that, we will do our best to provide food that is enjoyable and meets individual needs. This may include asking a guest to augment a particular meal with their own dietary option, or, to add a small up-charge in order for PR Sea Kayak to purchase unique food items. At any rate, we are keen to work with each guest to ensure a safe, easy and enjoyable experience all-around, including the food.
- Please see the ‘Dietary Restrictions’ tab for more information on unique menu surcharges.
- Please be sure to complete the medical form and return this as soon as possible. This form includes dietary information and is used by PR Sea Kayak management and guides to plan and prepare food accordingly.
- Non-alcoholic beverages
- Tents (3 season, waterproof with vestibules, single and double) – 2 people per tent unless solo travellers
- Thermarest Sleeping Pads (full-length, standard size)
- All sea kayaking equipment
- Dry bags
- 1 x 20 litre tapered dry bag that fits into the unique shape of the bow or stern of a kayak. This helps for efficient packing.
- 1 x 10 litre cockpit bag is intended for items you need while paddling but also need to be kept secure and dry.
- First-aid equipment
- All cooking equipment and utensils
- Snorkeling gear
- Waterproof paddling jackets are available to rent if needed. A good personal rain jacket or shell is great for paddling. If you wish to rent one of our paddling jackets, please contact us to do this ahead of time.
- Soap for washing
- And a guide…with a smile
Do not bring the following
- Hand or hair soap (unless safe for environment – PRSK provides environmentally friendly products on tour)
- Pillow (hint: a pillow case works great when stuffed with a fleece jacket)
- Toilet paper (PRSK provides this essential item!)
- Personal dry bags (PRSK have specific tapered dry bags that fit neatly into the bow and stern of the kayaks)
- All meals and snacks
Our guides create meals from our company set-menu 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.
We completely understand and respect individual food intolerances and preferences, and our guides and support staff are more that capable of accommodating for these dietary needs. However, due to the remote nature of the tour and the limited gear we can bring along, 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 menus.
Requests for the following dietary omissions will incur a surcharge of 5% of the package price per request:
- Gluten / Wheat.
- Eggs as a general ingredient in baking or recipes (saying “no” to eggs as a meal in itself will not incur a surcharge).
- Nightshades or other ‘food group’ allergies that cover a variety of common items.
- Any other diet that requires a unique menu (low-glycemic, no-sugar, lean-protein, etc).
Most of our guests who watch their dairy or gluten intake are happy with the amounts used in our regular menus. It is not an option for guests to bring any of their own food on tour to supplement our regular menu.
Please note that if you do not select a dietary omission while completing our medical questionnaire, our guides will not prepare a menu without these ingredients, and we do not have the ability to make wholesale, last minute changes once the tour has started.
Certain extremely restrictive requests like keto and paleo, or celiac disease, are not able to be accommodated on camping tours. We are unable to allow tour guests to bring their own food.
Please be sure to complete the medical form online as soon as possible. This form includes dietary information and is used by PRSK management and guides to plan and prepare food accordingly as well as to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
Fishing in Desolation Sound
Some of our guests 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 Desolation Sound kayak vacation.
Feedback and Testimonials
We truly hope you have a wonderful kayaking experience. From the high-end kayaks and equipment to the great food and attention to detail, we truly strive to provide a great product. 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. Here are some great ways to share your experience with others:
No, this isn’t when you paddle up to your guide and flip their kayak over… We have included information about tipping because many of our guests suggested we should. Questions that came-up were:
- Is tipping common?
- Is tipping expected?
- How much should I tip?
- What is the best way to tip staff?
Guests are often quite amazed at how hard our guides work. 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.
Total tip amounts typically range between 10% and 20% of the package rate. Tips are 100% for the guides.
Guests sometimes like to tip each guide individually to show their appreciation, while others prefer to give the entire tip to the lead guide and have them divide the amount evenly amongst the two (if applicable).
Please note that we are unable to process tips from credit cards. We recommend having enough cash on hand after a trip to cover this, however many guests will simply bring along a blank check that they can fill out after the tour, which works well for both Canadian and US guests. We also have wifi at our Okeover launch site, and have found that e-transfers and PayPal transfers to the guides once you have returned to base work perfectly as well.
Items Left Behind
When returning from a trip there is a lot of equipment that our office staff will immediately move quickly to clean and organise for the next day. Please take a moment to ensure you have everything from your kayak and PFD before you leave. We are happy to ship items that are forgotten or inadvertently left behind by guests, but please note that responsibility for shipping such items is on the guest and it may take some time for us to be able to do so due to our remote location.
Powell River Accommodations
Looking for somewhere to stay in the Powell River region before and after your trip with us? We’ve compiled a number of our favourite accommodations – from campsites to resorts and lodges – conveniently for you to peruse on our website.
Cancellation Policy, Payment, Insurance
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 should look into trip cancellation insurance through a travel agent or your insurance provider. Further to this, all guests should ensure that they have insurance that covers any evacuation – either emergency or non-emergency – that arises in the event of an incident and means that they cannot continue the trip.
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.
- A deposit of 50% including tax is required for all reservations at the time of booking.
- The remaining 50% balance is due 60 days in advance of the trip date. We will email a reminder with the invoice one week before this date and instructions for how this balance can be paid online.
- Any trips booked within this 60 day period of the trip start date will be required to pay 100% of the balance at the time of booking
- If received 61 days or more prior to the scheduled start, a $200 CAD per person cancellation fee applies.
- If received 0-60 days prior to start, then the reservation is 100% non-refundable.
If you do need to cancel, we will make every attempt to fill the cancelled spot. If we are able to fill the cancelled spots on a tour to 100% capacity, we will provide a full refund less the $200 per person processing fee.
- If you wish to change the date of your booked tour to another date in the same season:
- A $50 processing fee will be charged for such date changes if made more than 120 days before the date of the original tour.
- A $100 processing fee will be charged for such date changes if made between 119-60 days before the date of the original tour.
- It will be considered a cancellation if made less than 60 days before the date of the original tour and the regular cancellation policy will apply.
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.
Weather and Environmental Considerations
Summer in coastal British Columbia is generally a time of relatively clear skies and light winds. However, it is important for our guests to understand that at any time of year Desolation Sound and its surrounding waterways can experience extended periods of rain, high winds that can make sea kayaking dangerous for multiple days at a time, and in recent years periods of smoke in the atmosphere that reduces visibility and air quality for undetermined periods of time.
Please note that Powell River Sea Kayak Ltd. is not to be held responsible for any environmental factors that may cause a tour or portion thereof to be cancelled due to safety concerns, or any perceived reductions in quality of a tour due to rain, wind, smoke, fog, cold, heat, or any other environmental phenomenon during the tour.
We welcome all levels of paddlers and are happy to work on your paddling skills throughout the trip. Although experience in not necessary, 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 3 hour introductory lesson. Please arrange at the time of booking or contact a kayak operator in your area.
Any costs associated with evacuations due to guest illness or injury – or any other reason – are the responsibility of the guest and not Powell River Sea Kayak. For expedition tours that visit remote areas of the BC coast, this cost could easily come to $500 or more.
In addition to cancellation insurance, be sure your personal insurance is adequate to cover expenses caused by accidents in remote locations.
Note that even if Coast Guard or a third party evacuate a guest from one of our tours, there are likely costs related to PRSK picking up kayaks, equipment, etc, that will also be the responsibility of the guest. Fees related to picking up kayaks/equipment are as follows:
- Desolation Sound area: $100
- Redonda Islands area: $200
- Toba Inlet: $300
Urgent evacuations that require immediate hospitalization from Desolation Sound are likely to be taken to Campbell River hospital, not Powell River. Guests should be aware of this, and also that the cost and logistical considerations of returning to Okeover from Campbell River is the sole responsibility of the guest.
If you’re interested in tuning-up a few of the muscles commonly used while kayaking, here are a few good examples of exercises that really help.