Discovery Islands Kayak and Yoga Retreat

About the Experience

If you are craving a complete rejuvenation, renewal and rewiring, the Discovery Islands Kayak and Yoga Retreat will unwind you in all the right places.

Each day begins with grounding mindfulness, meditation and a yoga practice with a certified hatha yoga instructor. You will have extensive free time to curate an itinerary that includes all your pleasures and pursuits. Experience a guided forest therapy walk and tend to your neglected body and soul with a thorough bodywork treatment. Book a private yoga session. Or, simply distill in the wild surroundings with a sketchbook, journal or binoculars!

We’ll kayak everyday, exploring nearby islands and refuel with organic and divine picnic lunches. Skirting the coastline, we’ll be immersed in nature above and below. Humpback whales, orcas, harbour seals and sea lions are sometimes spotted in the depths and shadows. The intertidal pools are a complete marvel too–from colourful sea stars to fantastical anemones. 

In the comfort and sanctuary of Hollyhock’s Cortes Island campus we’ll be privy to twice-daily yoga sessions, reawakening sunset kayaks, a paddle through the ghostly bioluminescence of the Salish sea, sea stars, sky stars and live music by a local folk artist.

On our Discovery Islands Kayak and Yoga Retreat, the surrounding Coast mountains and ancient temperate rainforest are everything you need to fill that empty space. National Geographic named this extraordinary puzzle-piece collection of islands in British Columbia’s best-kept secret.

 

Click here to see the full itinerary!
Discovery Islands Kayak and Yoga Retreat

About the Experience

If you are craving a complete rejuvenation, renewal and rewiring, the Discovery Islands Kayak and Yoga Retreat will unwind you in all the right places.

Each day begins with grounding mindfulness, meditation and a yoga practice with a certified hatha yoga instructor. You will have extensive free time to curate an itinerary that includes all your pleasures and pursuits. Experience a guided forest therapy walk and tend to your neglected body and soul with a thorough bodywork treatment. Book a private yoga session. Or, simply distill in the wild surroundings with a sketchbook, journal or binoculars!

We’ll kayak everyday, exploring nearby islands and refuel with organic and divine picnic lunches. Skirting the coastline, we’ll be immersed in nature above and below. Humpback whales, orcas, harbour seals and sea lions are sometimes spotted in the depths and shadows. The intertidal pools are a complete marvel too–from colourful sea stars to fantastical anemones. 

In the comfort and sanctuary of Hollyhock’s Cortes Island campus we’ll be privy to twice-daily yoga sessions, reawakening sunset kayaks, a paddle through the ghostly bioluminescence of the Salish sea, sea stars, sky stars and live music by a local folk artist.

On our Discovery Islands Kayak and Yoga Retreat, the surrounding Coast mountains and ancient temperate rainforest are everything you need to fill that empty space. National Geographic named this extraordinary puzzle-piece collection of islands in British Columbia’s best-kept secret.

 

 

DAY ONE: ARRIVAL

Our journey begins in the coastal town of Campbell River at Discovery Harbour Marina (vehicle parking is available here). We’ll meet our local guides and quickly get into the off-grid mood with our next mode of transportation: a 45-minute water taxi cruise to the remote island lodge of Hollyhock, an oceanside retreat centre on Cortes Island’s southern coast.

We’ll soon be enveloped by the Discovery Islands dramatic coastlines, temperate rainforest and the Coast Mountain peaks that backdrop Desolation Sound. Pockets of true wilderness emerge from nooks, inlets and ancient stands of Douglas firs.

After checking into our rooms in the late afternoon, there will be time to explore the Hollyhock campus and meticulous French-intensive gardens before gathering for a globally-inspired, wholly local dinner on the ocean-view deck. An orientation that will answer all your burning questions will follow dinner.

Hollyhock will be our basecamp for the next four nights. This experience is dedicated to all the senses. Our days will revolve around nourishing organic meals, a deep immersion in nature, recalibrating bodywork, movement and the serenity found in paddling.

We’ll also find 24-hour organic tea, toast and fruit bars; ocean-view hot tubs, a fireplace for cozy chats and confessions and stargazing to the max!

Fun fact: In 1982, a group of 10 Hollyhock founders purchased the land from the abandoned Cold Mountain Institute. Originally named “Hollyhock Farm,” the founders ran seminars and workshops for environmental activists. Hollyhock was a place where the “innies” (those dedicated the internal arts of personal and spiritual development) and the “outties” (those dedicated to change-making and activism) could meet and inspire one another.

DAY TWO: MINDFULNESS AND EXPLORATION

Today will begin with a laser focus on mindfulness and meditation. We’ll stretch our hamstrings and our minds with a certified hatha yoga instructor in the freeing space of the garden, orchard or forest.

After a deep centering, we’ll enjoy a healthy yet indulgent breakfast on the lodge deck that overlooks the beach. 

Each day will allow for extensive free time after breakfast and also again in the afternoon upon return from kayaking. You can book a deep, full body massage or open yourself up to the reawakening that can be found in a guided forest therapy walk. Private yoga sessions can be arranged to further your pursuit of healing and connection in this sacred place. You can also simply wander and take in the wonder of the woods at your own pace! Some optional organized activities will also be available to choose from.

A few of our paddling launch sites may be accessed by shuttle vehicles (this is weather dependent). The shuttle transport is short (5-10 minutes) and the alternate launching areas allow for some flexibility in case of inclement weather. 

We will learn about basic kayak safety and paddle techniques like rudder steering today before sliding out into the sea. Along the way we’ll scan the skies for cruising bald eagles and learn about the deep First Nations history of this area. The toq qaymɩxʷ (Klahoose), ɬəʔamɛn qaymɩxʷ (Tla’amin) and ʔop qaymɩxʷ (Homalco) Nations will always be, the original caretakers of Cortes Island.

We’ll explore the intertidal ecosystem with childlike curiosity as we learn about anemones, sea stars, limpets, crabs, cockles and butter clams. Our paddle will continue to a nearby uninhabited island for an en plein air picnic lunch (*no, we will not be eating the crabs and clams we just observed!). There will be time for a rejuvenating plunge and swim for those who like the adrenaline spike of a bracing sea.

Tonight, there will be an optional sunset kayak and you’d be crazy to opt out! 

 

DAY THREE: CRUISING THE COASTLINE

Yawn. Stretch. Yoga. Breakfast. Free time. Kayak. Free time. Yoga. Dinner.  This really is the dream itinerary, isn’t it?

After moving through hatha’s Mountain, Tree and Locust poses, we’ll move into organic tea-drinking pose and breakfast. There will be free time to write, sketch or just chill out in the fragrant woods. Or, poke around the gardens with your camera and take some macro shots of what might end up on tonight’s menu.

We’ll meet around 10:30 AM for a longer paddle, picnic lunch and swim en route. Hugging the coastlines or following a spontaneous cool distraction,  we’ll poke around nearby islands under paddle power. 

The biodiversity here is enormous–we must be on high alert for movement above and below! Humpback whales and orcas are sometimes seen in these waters in addition to harbour seals and animated sea lions. 

Skyward, keep watch for circling vultures and bald eagles. Along the shores, we’ll cross fingers to see a deer pausing for a drink.

Today we will venture into the gorge, paddling beneath imposing glaciated granite cliffs and the unexpected open-air gallery of 1,500-year-old pictographs. We’ll let the ebbing tide ease us back through the mouth of the gorge to nearby islets to look for wildlife. 

Tonight there is an optional otherworldly bioluminescence kayaking experience that shouldn’t be missed. We’ll observe the radiant sun as it slips into the belly of the mountains as the sky blurs into a shifting canvas of buttery yellow, neon pink and marmalade orange.

Once dusk falls, the magic below begins. The bioluminescent phytoplankton will illuminate the water beneath us, seemingly mimicking the pinprick of the stars above. With the calming sounds of the night ocean as our soundtrack, we’ll follow the shimmer of the stars above and sparkle of the phytoplankton below.

*Please note that the sunset and bioluminescence paddle evening may be combined. They are 100% weather dependent!

 

DAY FOUR: REST AND RELAX

Have you figured out the pattern yet? Yep. It’s yoga, breakfast, free time, kayaking, picnicking, free time, yoga, dinner, repeat! Tonight we are privy to the talent of local folk-pop singer/songwriter Jemma Hicken of Jemma & the Good Thing. The undisputable crowd favourite is an ode to her family’s old silver Volvo hatchback that constantly broke down. There’s a contagious sing-along, clap-along section that makes this song Jemma’s favourite to perform live. 

But before that, there’s more exploring to be had from the kayak cockpit! We’ll kayak to a marine park with an intertidal lagoon and slide through the gin-clear waters observing the incredible, colourful biodiversity beneath us. Later, we’ll have the opportunity to hike through a coastal cedar grove to a freshwater lake for a purifying swim.

Back at the sanctuary that is Hollyhock, take advantage of this afternoon’s free time to breathe in the potent forest, read in a sunny spot or sign up for another yoga session. A private session with an instructor can help you refine your postures and finesse for the future! The beach directly in front of Hollyhock is designed for swimming–the sea is like a warm bath in the summer.

After dinner, it’s jamming with Jemma and your fellow Wild Women. And that’s a Good Thing.

 

DAY FIVE: LEAVING PARADISE

After our daily yoga session and a filling breakfast, we will use our free time to pack up before taking in one last short kayaking loop before lunch. 

At 2pm (sigh), we’ll depart by water taxi for Campbell River. Be sure to take in every sensory inch of the 45-minute crossing from Cortes Island! Relaxed, renewed and rewired, we’ll swap hugs and emails until next time! Where next?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to see upcoming trip dates to book your spot!