Fortune favours the brave, we’re told, and adventurous souls carve their own path where few others have travelled before them, creating for themselves a wilderness paradise that would be the envy of most of us, or at least those who can imagine themselves living off the grid, a good distance from shops, services and the modern comforts we consider so essential to our very survival.
In the care of two of these intrepid folks, you can travel beyond the end of the road and wake up in the comfort of a hand-crafted floathouse or seaside cabin, listening to the heartbeat of nature and exploring secluded shorelines by kayak – alone or in the company of your hosts Bruce and Josée McMorran, owners of Paddler’s Inn in Simoom Sound in the Broughton Archipelago, accessed from the community of Telegraph Cove on northeast Vancouver Island.
Bruce moved to his chosen secluded site by kayak in 1980, at the age of just 18, following the call of the whales and nature and his passion to live in and be a part of the wilderness. His homesteading began as a seaside squatter, who after years of persistence and on-site presence and development, was able to arm wrestle the provincial government into allowing a small tenure and right of occupation.
The form of the resort began to unfold over the years, facilitating seaside vacations, guided kayak tours, and wilderness immersion. When not ‘homesteading’ or offering guided kayak trips, Bruce could be found planting trees where once great forests had stood. This suited Bruce’s all-seasons approach to outdoor life, assuring that his personal activities demonstrated a form of wilderness immersion, and an ecological contribution, and allowed for a communal living experience, a welcome contrast to his independent pioneering hermitage lifestyle.
After 10 years of reclusive ocean-side living, Bruce met Josée the world traveller, and they began their family life together. They lived in Simoom Sound running the resort in the summers, and a tree-planting company in the fall and spring.
When the children (Indra and Solomon) were school age, the family moved to Cortes Island to begin a new life of schooling for the kids, and seasonal employment at the Hollyhock Retreat Centre for Bruce as a bodywork practitioner, where he provided Jin Shin Do acupressure, Reiki, deep tissue Esalen massage, and Hakomi body-centered psychotherapy for six years.
Once the offspring were on their own, Bruce turned his attention back to their homestead, and life in the wilderness, returning to re-open the lodge, and live in ‘the cradle of nature’ again. Bruce gets great pleasure out of welcoming guests to reconnect with nature and experience the beauty of the Broughton Archipelago.
Josée comes from a large Quebec family, where everybody and their friends would gather every Sunday to celebrate family life by cooking and dining together. Her father’s career as a chef taught her both comfort and expression in the kitchen by preparing nourishing meals for people to savour and enjoy.
Josée’s love of people and children, combined with her curiosity and hunger to know the world, first led her toward a degree in education, followed by years of travelling to many countries to experience a variety of cultures, languages, and ethnic foods.
During one of Josée’s periods back in Canada, after traveling abroad, she met and fell in love with Bruce. She appreciated his lifestyle of ‘living off the land’ and being self-sufficient, living in a small community in the wilderness, where kayaking was their primary mode of transportation.
Never one to shy away from hard physical or mental work, the idea of raising a family and building a business in this wilderness paradise, having to paddle to the post office for mail or paddling home in the dark after a dinner out with a neighbour, seemed more like adventure than hardship.
While on Cortes Island, Josée studied to be an herbalist, and started a line of products under the name Living Soul Herbs. Josée had a huge garden where she grew over 100 varieties of herbs and much of the vegetable needs of her family. Freezing, canning, and drying foods and herbs seemed constant. The life of a farmer is closely connected to the soil, and health of the earth. Her children learned all of the things that would nurture their growth and understanding, as well as their independence and creativity.
Today, with her family grown and rippling out into the world, Josée finds great pleasure in creating an environment where she and Bruce can welcome and receive guests from around the world to enjoy the peacefulness and vibrancy of the nature. She can easily recall the needs of the traveller, and loves to now be able to host world wanderers.
Josée manages guest services at Paddlers’ Inn, ensuring that all the accommodations are fresh and welcoming. She also creates dozens of flowering baskets, adorning and accenting the beauty of each cabin. Her Quebec culture continues to express itself as she creates spectacular meals, inviting guests to gather around their table, to dine, laugh, and celebrate the good fortune of being gathered together in the Broughton Archipelago.
Contact Bruce and Josée McMorran
Paddler’s Inn Broughton Archipelago
Voice Mail: 250-230-0088