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.