About Coast Mountain Expeditions
Sea Kayaking Vancouver Island at Canada’s Original Kayaking Lodge and west coast British Columbia Kayak Camping Trips.
Coast Mountain Expeditions is a local family owned kayak adventure tour company operating in the Discovery Islands since 1987. Many years of hiking, climbing and kayaking in this part of BC have contributed to our understanding and deep respect for the land and sea. We’ve helped pioneer and develop the professional standards of British Columbia’s kayak touring industry, and we’re founding members of the BC Sea Kayak Guides Alliance and the BC Wilderness Tourism Association. We’re politically active with special interests in forest biology, renewable energy and sustainable economy. We support initiatives to preserve wilderness recreation areas, and are negotiating with government and industry to protect sensitive ecosystems and forest landscapes.
Life on our remote island homestead has given us experience, familiarity and respect for this place we call home. We offer sea kayaking experiences for people of all ages, abilities and interests. Sharing our remote island lifestyle and the natural beauty of our place at the edge of BC’s highest mountains is a real pleasure, and we hope that experiencing Canada’s west coast environment will remind and inspire everyone to lighten our footprints and help protect all of earth’s wild places.
The Food at Coast Mountain
Our food is slow food. At the lodge and on our kayak camping trips, we serve abundant, wholesome meals that feature seasonal produce from our own organic gardens, and fresh local seafood. Our home-baked breads and desserts are extra tasty because we fresh-grind organic flour and our chickens supply happy eggs. When we purchase food, we try to buy BC organically grown and we actively avoid genetically engineered products. Coast Mountain food is healthy, delicious, and deservedly popular!
How We Got Here – Our Story
Ralph and Lannie Keller began operating Coast Mountain in 1987 as a way to make a living close to home. We moved here in 1979, leaving behind the urban economy and most conveniences. We arrived in a small open boat with a chainsaw and some hand tools, a tent, campstove, kerosene lamp, transistor radio, our trusty dog – and an incredible abundance of enthusiasm for the adventure that lay ahead. We soon learned about island time. We were not able to finish our house the first year, but it had a good roof and insulated walls. The next year Lannie started the garden, and we kept building. We lived a nomadic lifestyle digging clams and planting trees to pay down our mortgage and buy nails. In 1984 when daughter Emily arrived, we settled down and pursued our original dream: to build a lodge and offer wilderness expeditions.
Coast Mountain began like that. Lannie’s brother, Steve, was at loose ends and joined in on the adventure. He and Ralph spent the following two years log-salvaging and hand-milling timbers which became the beautifully functional Coast Mountain Lodge – where Lannie’s kitchen got the best view and her creativity produced deliciousness from garden and sea. Ralph developed sustainable living systems including small scale, renewable energy from water, wind and sun. This has greatly reduced our dependence on fossil fuel and we now operate two lodges 95% carbon free. We’re proud of our conservation, and glad to showcase and advocate low impact energy systems.
Since 1987 we’ve offered guided kayak tours in the beautiful wild that is everywhere out our back door. When large clearcuts and industrial logging invaded our island paradise, we defended the land and “environmental activism” reshaped our future. Another awakening was when our teenage son, Albert taught us about whitewater kayaking as he and other thrill-seeking friends pioneered paddling on the local tidal rapids. In 2000, we bought what is now Discovery Islands Lodge, near the play-place at Surge Narrows. It was a ramshackle coastal building that was an almost overwhelming project, but a few years of effort recreated a comfortable end-of-the-road B&B for kayakers and other travellers who want to stay a little further out!
Our daughter Emily now lives in Vancouver and works with the Environmental Youth Alliance. Albert is a Coast Mountain kayak guide and now the young part of this family business. We still live in our little self-built house, grow the garden, keep things fixed and run the trips that let people share our backyard. We love what we do – and we appreciate ever-so-much the incredible community of people we’ve met along our journey through time in the place we call home. We hope you’ll keep on coming!