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Floating sauna opens its doors on Deep Cove waters

Hot and cold water therapy gets an aesthetically pleasing upgrade with this nature-inspired floating sauna

By now, it’s likely you will have heard of hydrotherapy. Maybe you’ve even tried it for yourself in the pursuit of wellness, by joining the masses plunging themselves into frosty waters and sweating it out in gym saunas.

But have you reaped the benefits of hot and cold water therapy while taking in serene, panoramic views of the Indian Arm?

Just launched in Deep Cove by Cove residents Robin Klassen and Nathan Morris, floating sauna Sisu Swim Sauna is a facility that wouldn’t look out of place at a luxury wellness retreat. 

“There are so many health benefits and circulatory benefits of hydrotherapy, but being able to look at the Indian Arm fjord and the mountains and the seals, jellyfish and orcas, that’s what takes it from just a sauna experience to something more - a nature experience,” said Morris.

“There’s something really special about being in the sauna and then being in the cold water five seconds later. We have some of the cleanest, coldest, most beautiful water of any major city in the world, it would be a shame not to be able to take advantage of it,” he said.

Morris, the founder of Burnaby’s Driftwood Athletics gym and Gastown’s Club Row, has always had an interest in optimizing his own health and fitness. It was while living in Scandinavia that he first became acquainted with hydrotherapy, an experience he describes as like “taking two melatonin” due to its ability to improve sleep and mood. 

He had felt compelled to create his own sauna upon his return to Vancouver, when he found the outdoor Nordic spa experiences he had become accustomed to were different to the hydrotherapy practices the health community were embarking on at home.

“It’s done quite differently here. A lot of the time the heat element is done in a sauna, and the cold part is just a trough or garbage can filled with ice,” he said. “I just didn’t find that as satisfying, having just my driveway or parking lot to look at.”

Given the numerous “emotional, spiritual and natural benefits to being out in the actual ocean,” it was only logical to build the sauna floating on the water as "opposed to in a trailer 100 feet from it", said Morris.

Now with commercial captain’s licences both Morris and Klassen are technically qualified to cross the Atlantic, but the sauna won't be logging that many nautical miles - the sauna will only be travelling intercoastal waters.

"Up and down the arm and that’s it," said Morris. 

More of a passion project than a business venture, the sauna was initially created so Morris and Klassen could introduce close friends and family members to their Deep Cove backyard, alongside the benefits of hydrotherapy. Since the venture kicked off in December, however, there has been so much clamour around the facility that the two are planning on hosting the occasional private charter. 

“Even though it’s a personal vessel, we’ve had more people asking us how they can get on it than we could ever serve. We’ve had hundreds and hundreds of people requesting to come on a ride or to rent it. So that’s really exciting,” said Morris.

The sauna, which holds a maximum of 11 people, will be operating out of Lynwood Marina for just a few hours on weekends, and while the queue to get on board may be a long one, Morris promises that the experience is more than worth the wait.

“You can spend your money on dinner or a movie, or a workout, and this experience has an equally satisfying feel to it,” he said.

“We want to share this with as many people as possible.”

Mina Kerr-Lazenby is the North Shore News’ Indigenous and civic affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.

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