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A honeymoon in Desolation

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We’re the kind of people that fly by the seats of our pants, throw caution to the wind, do things at the last minute, and hope of the best.

Which is why upon returning from our wedding in Ontario at the beginning of June, we found ourselves about to embark on our honeymoon to the Sunshine Coast with little more than a vague idea that we would go kayaking in Desolation Sound… with our dog.

The expedition began, as these things do, at Mountain Equipment Co-op. It’s so hard to restrain oneself at MEC so with new stove, new lantern, new dry bags, and why not, some new clothes too, we set sail at Horseshoe Bay on the 7 p.m. ferry.

It was only then that we turned our minds to where we were going to stay that night.

We began calling from the ferry, using the brochures as our guide. Within five minutes we were booked into a place in Sechelt for the night – $150, ocean view balcony and Sadie, our very clean and well-behaved (most of the time) border collie, was allowed to stay with us. Feeling very satisfied with ourselves, we relaxed and enjoyed the rest of the short sail and the drive to the quaint ocean-side town of Sechelt.

Things took a turn for the worse when we pulled up to the hotel to see a couple of guys hanging outside drinking beers. This wasn’t included in the brochure picture. It didn’t get any better after a quick walkabout of the room. Usually we’re not so picky but this was the first night of our honeymoon after all. We decided to keep looking – at 8:30 p.m. as the sun started going down.

A few more phone calls to bed and breakfasts along the highway and the first unspoken feelings of despair settled in the car. Had we turned down a questionable hotel room only to spend the first night of our honeymoon in the car?

And then we stumbled upon a place called Lord Jim’s in Halfmoon Bay. It’s in the process of being renamed Rockwater Secret Cove Resort.

I don’t know if there was a look of desperation in my new husband’s eyes (knowing that one of his only jobs for the past year was to plan the honeymoon as I planned a wedding for 150 guests) but things all of sudden took a dramatic turn for the better.

We could stay in the honeymoon cabin overlooking the water. It was where Joni Mitchell wrote one of her albums. "Sold" said my husband before asking the price, which turned out to be the same as now long-forgotten dodgy hotel.

The next thing we knew we were bustled out of the front reception bottle of wine in one hand, candles in the other and sitting on the honeymoon cabin’s deck in time for the setting sun. I couldn’t have imagined a better first night to the honeymoon if I tried.

The next day dawned bright and sunny and as much as I could have languished in the king size bed for the morning we decided to stick to what little plan we had and head out to the water kayaking.

We set off from picturesque little Lund in our two-man kayak with Sadie in the middle and made our way to the first campsite at the Copeland Islands. I like to believe that I found the way (although anyone could find the way from Lund to the Copeland) and in my mind I began to think of myself as captain, which was to prove a bit of a fiasco the following day when I adamantly got us "a tad off course" in Desolation Sound – apparently you’re not necessarily going "north" when you point the kayak, you know, "upwards".

Though we had been told the two-man kayak was the marriage ender, it’s hard to get into a fight in the majesty of Desolation Sound, with bald eagles swooping overhead, a group of killer whales coming up for air close by and seals poking up their heads to check us out. You feel as though you’re at the end of the world.

After a few hours searching for our campsite I was told to relinquish the map. We, and by we I mean my husband, found our second campsite close the top of Okeover Inlet. I looked duly ashamed… briefly.

The next day the weather turned and we exchanged our plans to camp on Savary Island in favour of the Desolation Sound Resort, via the Laughing Oyster. I don’t know if it was because we’d been eating boil-in-the-bag food for two days but my creamy oyster pasta was the perfect way to begin an afternoon of hot-tubbing and lounging in a cabin in the woods.

And while I once had grandiose plans for a honeymoon abroad soaking up sun and culture, Desolation Sound turned out to be the most romantic, dramatic, and wonderful holiday – far better than two weeks on a boozy beach which inevitably would have turned me into a fried tomato!

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