February 20th, 2019
Written by Rachel Ash
“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” – Vicki Corona.
In search of those moments…I headed to Spirit of the West Adventures, and boy, was I in for a treat!
As soon as I arrived on Quadra Island for my volunteer experience on the Whales and Wilderness Glamping trip, I knew I had found what I was searching for.
To start with, the owners of the company Bre & Rick, are some of the most genuine and caring people you’ll ever meet. They love what they do, have incredible knowledge of the BC coastline and have created a passionate, dedicated and family-friendly vibe within their team which is very noticeable from the start…you instantly feel like part of the Spirit of the West family.
My fun started when I joined their Whale & Wilderness Glamping tour, which takes guests 3.5 hours north of Quadra Island by boat, to a remote island called Swanson Island.
As the name suggests, this isn’t your ordinary camping trip. You sleep in beautiful big canvas tents, on actual beds…with lamps, pillows, duvets and even hot water bottles for the colder nights! You eat like royalty, with a private chef happy to cater for all dietary requirements.
The team jokingly call this tour the ‘float and bloat’ tour …you definitely won’t go hungry.
And, if all of the above isn’t enough…there’s even a wood-fired hot tub with world class views!
The island itself is located in the middle of Blackfish Sound, one of the most incredible wildlife spotting locations you’ll ever get the pleasure of visiting. Whales will be your alarm clock, waking and falling asleep to the sounds of blows as whales frolic only meters from your tent. Your real life, relaxation soundtrack.
Marine and wildlife will be your new neighbours. If you’re lucky you may see humpbacks, orcas, porpoises, dolphins, inter-tidal life, sea lions, seals, eagles, bears, deer and fish (to name a few). Witnessing these incredible creatures in their natural habitat is truly breathtaking!
As for the volunteering, I was a host for these trips, which meant my main responsibilities on the tour were to help the team, assist all guests, ensure they were well fed (by assisting the talented chefs), keep the glamp site clean & tidy and make sure the hot tub was heated to an optimum, post day-of-kayaking, body soothing temperature.
Like any good family-run operation, you roll up your sleeves when there’s work to be done, pitch in when someone needs a hand, then relax at the end of the day after a job well done!
My time at Spirit of the West was incredible. I was fortunate enough to meet great people from all over the world, share once in a lifetime wildlife/ kayaking experiences with them and leave with a full heart, with new friends & memories that I’ll never forget!
Thank you, Spirit of the West!
Rachel and ‘Glamping’ chef Neil preparing a delicious meal for dinner.