• Snorkeling with the Stars in Desolation Sound

Snorkel with the Stars!

Warm Pacific water & prolific marine life make snorkeling a key part of the Desolation Sound experience

Snorkel with the Stars in the warm waters of British Columbia’s Desolation Sound

Desolation Sound is famous for its abundant marine life and unusually warm Pacific temperatures, where you can experience Colourful Sea Stars, Spiny Red Sea Urchins and Pacific Sea Cucumbers up close as you drift easily with the meandering tide.

‘Snorkeling with the Stars!’ with Powell River Sea Kayak has been chosen by the Canadian Tourism Commission as a Canadian Signature Experience, and wherever you go in Desolation Sound, the snorkeling combined with the warmest water temperatures on the BC coast is a memorable experience.

How Can We Help You Snorkel?

  • Take a 7 hour guided Combo Kayak & Snorkel Tour into the colourful marine gardens of Desolation Sound Marine Park.
  • Join one of our guided Multi-Day Camping Tours and take advantage of many opportunities to snorkel throughout Desolation Sound – during a break for lunch, after a long day of kayaking, or even first thing in the morning to invigorate yourself for the rest of the day!
  • Stay at Cabana Desolation Eco Resort and gain full access to snorkel gear and wetsuits at any time – the rocky bluffs and islets immediately surrounding Cabana Desolation is full of colourful life – with the added comfort of a nice hot shower to return to afterwards!
  • Rent snorkel gear – or bring your own – with your kayak rental and choose your own Desolation Sound adventure.

A man with a mask and snorkel finds a Giant Pink Star in Desolation Sound

Comparable with the Best in the World

Jacques Cousteau, the famous diver and explorer, often frequented the waters of this area. He considered the diving in these parts to be second in the world only to the Red Sea. This is certainly a valid testimonial.

Snorkeling allows us to focus on areas that offer excellent wildlife viewing and habitat, known as the “Intertidal Zone”. This zone is located between the lowest tides and the highest tides, and contains a vast diversity of species compressed into what is essentially a narrow band, which allows incredible viewing of a high amount of marine life just below the surface!

One area in the marine park is so prolific our guides have dubbed it “The Aquarium”. At this site, the current moves like a very slow river, ushering in plankton and nutrients to feed the many creatures that inhabitant the area. Most of the marine life lives in shallow waters, allowing for optimum viewing – especially when snorkeling!

What Will I See?

The areas we snorkel is home to a large variety of intertidal creatures. While most areas in Desolation Sound offer great snorkeling, over the years we have identified key areas that are especially rich and diverse.

The most common creatures we encounter include Giant Sunflower Stars, Purple Stars, Mottled Stars, Leather Stars, Blood Stars, Painted Stars, Gumboot Chitons, Pacific Sea Cucumbers, Orange Sea Cucumbers, Shield Back Kelp Crabs, Spiny Red Sea Urchins, Green Urchins, and Plumose and Aggregating Anemones.

Seals are the most common mammal in this part of the marine park, but early season tours can also sometimes see California and Steller Sea Lions hauled out on rocks and swimming powerfully beneath the surface!

Check out our extensive wildlife page to get a grasp on the incredible amount of life found in Desolation Sound, as well as to learn a little about some of the key species found here (and maybe even impress your guides in the process!)

Red sea urchins in the intertidal zone seen on one of our Okeover kayak tours
Two young guests get ready to snorkel in Desolation Sound

Quality & Comfort while Snorkeling

As with our kayak and camping equipment, we want to make sure our guests are 100% safe and comfortable. We therefore provide everything needed to ensure safe and enjoyable snorkeling.

For combo snorkel & kayak tours: we provide full (5mm) wetsuits, hoods, gloves, fins, masks and snorkels.

For Cabana Desolation Eco Resort: we provide shorty wetsuits, masks and snorkels.

For multi-day camping tours: your guide will pack masks and snorkels for use by guests during the trip, but limited space in the kayak hatches means it is impossible to provide wetsuits for all guests. While summer water temperatures are often high enough that a wetsuit is not necessary, if you wish to bring your own wetsuit you are more than welcome.

Although little swimming actually occurs (the current, wetsuits and fins do the work), it is mandatory that each ‘combo snorkel & kayak’ guest be able to swim.

  • For our 7-hour Combo Snorkel & Kayak tour: Click here to go to our Day Tour page for more information.
  • For Cabana Desolation Eco ResortClick here to learn about our packages options.
  • For Multi-Day Camping ToursClick here for more information.
  • If you want to rent kayaks and snorkeling equipment: Click here to visit our rentals page.