Reply To: desolation sound

Clark Perry-Bater

Hi Sandra! My wife and I paddled in Desolation Sound for the first time last July. We had a great time, including a few challenges:

1. We launched at Okeover Inlet on a dropping tide. There is a very small marina with a boat launch ramp, but there are signs everywhere telling kayakers not to use the ramp. So we had to use the VERY rocky beach and by the time we finished loading our boats, I was standing in shoulder-deep water cramming our gear into the hatches. We could not find one bit of beach between the rocks to load our boats! So try not to launch at a low tide. If you have to, there is a better spot below the campground parking lot about 100 metres up the beach to the north.

2. As we paddled up the inlet (North), we encountered a bit of a headwind, even though we were told 3 days later as we paddled into a stronger headwind on our return that the prevailing wind in the inlet is a southerly, regardless of what the wind conditions are on the west side by Lund (which was a strong NW wind when we were there). So we ended up paddling against the wind both ways on Okeover.

3. You asked about currents. We only paddled as far as Grace Harbour (the first campsite on Okeover Inlet in the marine park.) Just before we turned right at Kakaekae Point to go up the harbour, we noticed a fairly strong current (1-2 knots or more, depending on the tide cycles) coming through the narrows beside that point. So if you plan to go through there, it would be a lot easier on an ebbing tide.

4. You said you plan to make a stop en route to Cumes. We found Grace Harbour to be a lovely campsite, as long as you don’t camp on the tent pad on the left before the outhouse. It was pretty stinky! We camped up the hill to the right – a bit of a climb with all our gear, but it was worth it. We stayed 3 nights! Of course, the water in the harbour is great for swimming – so warm!

So good luck, have fun, and may the wind be always at your back!    – Clark Perry-Bater