When we get tired of life in the tent we’ve fallen into the habit of staying in hostels. It’s a good way to meet new people, save money on food (they all have kitchens) and save some money while sleeping in a warm bed. Right now we’re hanging out at the Painted Turtle hostel in Nanaimo and it’s the best.
We’re full up tonight due to the holiday weekend and there are some really great folks here. James from Australia is showing his DVD of his own personal version of Stupid Human Tricks. That James is a crazy guy. Seems to enjoy jumping off stuff with a bucket on his head. Over supper a few folks started a really wild singalong too accompany the cooks. Sweet. Cindy and Robyn bought me a birthday cake big enough to share which doesn’t hurt either
If you need a fun place to stay in Nanaimo, this is it. Come check it out.
So today’s my birthday and the kids decided that we must head off to the bungy zone park. No, I wasn’t going bungy jumping, but we were going to try out the new rage, “TreeGo.” Basically, you get all harnessed up and run around the forest going through an obstacle course. Oh yeah, and you’re in the air the whole time. Way up. Like 60 feet up. Crikey…
It was actually quite a bit of fun, even though I’m extremely scared of heights. There were some awesome zip lines that went way over 100 feet, some rock walls up in the trees, and all sorts of swinging bridges, board walks, ladders, etc. I didn’t like the swinging logs much at all, but the rest was pretty decent. Although I need to confess that Cindy and the kids went significantly further than I did. That’s OK, we all had fun and now I know who to get to roof the house later.
Thanks to John and the folks at Wild Play in Nanaimo for a really fun afternoon!
We took two ferries to get from Seshelt to Nanaimo — up at 4:30AM to make it happen too. The early morning was due in part to the fear of long holiday lineups at the Horsehoe Bay ferry terminal. So we beat the traffic by getting there at 7AM.
A couple weeks back I wrote a post about my first impressions of Nanaimo and frankly, they weren’t very good. I had a couple folks comment that I missed all the good bits and made some suggestions on how to improve things. This time round I did a couple things differently:
- on the ferry ride over, I reviewed the comments from Mindi, Tratz and Jeff.
- First place we went was the visitor centre for a better map of the city. Nanaimo has a large number of streets that change names for no apparent reason, so it can be a little confusing to get around at first.
- Second thing we did was drive to the harbour and PARK.
I can honestly say that the harbour area of Nanaimo looks a lot better on foot. Earlier I bemoaned the lack of decent restaurants — we really enjoyed the floating Mexican restaurant right on the harbour that I’m sure we drove past the first time without spotting. We also found 3-4 other places we’ll be checking out this weekend. It looks like a really friendly downtown to travel on foot.
We took a spin out to the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre for a great swim and soak — it’s an excellent facility and we’ll be going back.
Our hosts for the weekend are the excellent folks at the Painted Turtle Guesthouse and Hostel. it’s a neat little place — clean rooms, well lit common area (if a little small) and really friendly people. Looks like we’re in for a great Canada Day weekend!
We went on a three hour sea kayaking tour yesterday along Porpoise Bay. What a great time! Although I admit I felt a little like that wooden model canoe from the children’s cartoon at the start. A wee bit tippy and tough to steer. After a couple minutes though it was smooth going.
We saw a lot of wildlife – bald eagles mostly, but the highlight was a pair of seals who kept bobbing up right beside the kayaks, checking us out then diving down for a while. Quite a treat!
We went over to a marine park where we could camp overnight if we wanted. Lots of tide pools and starfish there.
Kayaking is a pile of fun. I can see myself buying a “lake” kayak when I get home. Very peaceful and fun way to travel.
Got up at 4:30AM (no kidding) to catch the first of two ferries which will get us back to the Island. We left early since this is the start of the long weekend and Horseshoe Bay can get super busy.
We’re giving Nanaimo another try, thanks in part to some comments on this blog. I’ll be sure to report on any ‘finds’…
Forgot to mention the really best thing…sitting on the patio, looking over Lund Harbour, and watching a bald eagle soaring over the harbour. He made three lazy circles over the harbour before beating his wings once and taking off over the ridge.
This may well be the best bakery I’ve ever been to. The bread is good but not the best (Christies in Saskatoon is still #1) but the pastries, the lunches, the friendly staff and the amazing views are unbelievable.
You might think it crazy to drive 50km down a somewhat paved, very twisty road to visit a bakery, but this one is worth it.
It is as good as the Okeover campground is bad. Helln it’s even better, and that’s saying something.
I have some pics but they will need to wait till I get home.
(Written Sunday, but I just got in range to post now)
Rather boring day. We’re at the end of the line on highway 101 and we’re bored. Tired of being wet. Tired of the mosquitos that come out when it stops raining. Most especially tired of trying to get a fire going with wet wood – but by jiminy, I got it going…
Found a wet sock in the ditch beside my campsite, which pretty much sums up the highlights of Okeover Arm Provincial Park. Thought it might be fun to see it go up in flames. No such luck. It just sat there and steamed till it turned into a sock shaped piece of black ash.
I think Okeover is Finnish for that part of the arm to which deodorant is applied.
We’re moving on tomorrow.
We took a couple days off from the tent and headed for Courtney and Comox. Good thing too because it rained harder then ever on Saturday. But we were hanging out at the pool at the Best Western.
The first impression of Courtney isn’t pretty. Block after block of big boxes – the same concrete and stores as any other North American city of over 50,000 people. Why oh why do people want this? Why oh why do they want to do this to SW Regina now too??
The good news, however, is that they citizens of Courtney have been able to preserve their downtown. It’s only six blocks, but it’s lovely. Narrow streets, interesting shops, bakeries, restaurants, sporting goods, library, museum and art gallery. Sweet! We spend several hours (and more than a few dollars) in downtown Courtney and loved every minute.
Today we’re off to Powell River on the mainland – just about ready to board the ferry – see you on the other side!
I don’t know what happened, but 10 days into this trip and my butt has disappeared. Maybe it’s the nuts and berries we’re eating on hikes, or the two city block walk to the bathrooms, or hauling surfboards half a mile from the beach, but my new shorts keep falling down. The kids think it’s funny.
Budda belly is well and good, however.