[From the Archives: Oct 26, 2021]
Spirit of the West Adventures had a much better season than expected.
Co-owner Breanne Quesnel says that after BC’s interprovincial travel restrictions were lifted, last June, “we saw unprecedented demand for our particular outdoor experience.”
The kayaking company adjusted their routine to be more COVID friendly.
“For example we met customers in Squirrel Cove, instead of transporting them from Quadra,” explained Quesnel. “We didn’t accept as many reservations as we had previously; We were trying to keep it slow, limit group sizes and be responsible in that manner.”
Spirit of the West still had 80% of the volume they experienced in 2019, their peak year.
“Last year was about 10% of 2019,” she added. “We were only taking private levels; We were only running one tour.”
Her customers typically come from around the world, but have mostly been British Columbians for the past two years.
By the time the U.S. border opened this year, Spirit of the West only had three spots left.
“So we did have three Americans join us, but the rest of our customers were all Canadians this summer,” said Quesnel.
Though Spirit of the West is based on Quadra Island, they run tours all over the BC Coast. The Broughton Archipelago, Johnstone Strait, Bella Bella area, Nuchatliyz, and Great Bear Rainforest are all popular areas. Four or five times a year, they also come to Cortes Island to embark upon an expedition into Desolation Sound.
“The majority of our tours are in the Johnstone Strait region, so based out of Telegraph Cove and into the Broughton Archipeligo,”she said. “We run trips abroad in the winter as well – in Chile, Patagonia, and the Bahamas.”
Q/ Where is your favourite destination?
“I know it sounds like a cliche, but the whole coast! Everytime I get in a kayak, anywhere I go – you just can’t help but stop and pause and love it all. The Johnstone Strait region when you see a whale surface, or for that matter, off Rebecca Spit or in the backyard of Quadra or Cortes. We are just surrounded by beautiful places.”
Top photo credit: Paddling in the fog – Photo courtesy Erin Schlueter
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