Exploring Nanaimo – boats, planes, beaches, and a foster pup

Days 32 and 33, May 27th and 28th, were Cathy’s final days travelling with us. She had to fly back to Whitehorse to get back to her job, so we planned a couple of low-key days of wandering around Nanaimo. Also, though, I had finally made arrangements to visit the new family of one of our foster puppies from December. I had been excited about seeing the former Blueberry for months – she was the first of the pups that really burrowed into my heart.

We didn’t really have a plan for Nanaimo. After getting set up at the Living Forest Oceanside Campground on Day 31, we made the short drive to downtown Nanaimo. We drove through part of the historic downtown, then ended up at the harbour. From the parking lot, this is the old and the new Nanaimo – the octagonal Bastion was built by the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1853.

The Bastion in Nanaimo, BC
It felt so good to have some sunshine in a spot like this – we haven’t had very much of it on this trip.

Nanaimo harbour, BC
The harbour is a busy place, with all manner of boats and planes coming and going, and we enjoyed just watching the world go by.

Nanaimo harbour, BC

Nanaimo harbour, BC

Nanaimo harbour, BC
By 6:00 pm, Miss Bella was overwhelmed and tired. A safe spot was what she needed. Love and trust – this little girl melts my heart.

Murray and his dog Bella at Nanaimo, BC
On the walk back to the car, it struck me that if a painting with just 3 bars of color is worth millions of dollars, imagine what I could get for this!! 🙂

Abstract at Nanaimo harbour, BC
This is the last remnant of the ugly industrial harbour of Nanaimo into the 1970s. The transformation really is quite remarkable.

Nanaimo, BC

Three family members joined us around our campfire for a couple of hours that evening. Two had been at the family dinner at my sister’s a few days earlier, but one I had never met. Her and I have been Facebook friends for a long time, though, largely because of our mutual passion for rescue dogs, and it was great to finally meet her.

This was our forest campsite at Living Forest Oceanside Campground the next morning. It was fairly spacious, and washrooms and trails were close by.

Living Forest Oceanside Campground aT Nanaimo, BC
The campground loop road is funny – it should be a one-way road, but isn’t, and that can get complicated.

Living Forest Oceanside Campground at Nanaimo, BC
We use TripAdvisor a lot. It lists Neck Point Park as #1 of 75 things to do in Nanaimo, so after exploring some of the huge campground, we began our day there, arriving at about 10:30. This is Morningside Beach, where the parking lot is located.

Neck Point Park in Nanaimo, BC
I found this warning sign to be quite funny, with “Bear” taped over “Cougar”. Wild beasties abound! 🙂

Neck Point Park in Nanaimo, BC
The park is only 36 acres, but the variety of terrain is amazing, with “rugged rock cliffs, pebble bay beaches, and winding trails through Garry Oak groves.”

Neck Point Park in Nanaimo, BC
Stairs take the main trail over rocky outcrops. There are a few beaches to explore, lots of benches, and 23 interpretive signs to help visitors undrerstand this special place.

Neck Point Park in Nanaimo, BC

Neck Point Park in Nanaimo, BC
At the top of the rock to the right is a steel pole with a shelf on top. One of the interpretive signs explains that this was a datum point for mapping early North Nanaimo. It was also used for nautical charts, and as a landmark by sailors. The sign hints that the shelf once held a light, but that’s not clear.

Neck Point Park in Nanaimo, BC
Walking back to the car, a couple of people went by on stand up paddleboards. It was certainly a superb day to be out on the water.

Neck Point Park in Nanaimo, BC
A feature worth noting at Neck Point is the dog-friendly stairs. There’s a rubber mat down one side so dogs don’t have to go down the open grate stairs, which provide great traction for human footwear but are tough on dog paws.

Neck Point Park in Nanaimo, BC
Family time at Neck Point Park. There are 20 chicks there, but two other Canada geese were watching from about 30 meters away, so this is a babysitting outing.

Canada geese at Neck Point Park in Nanaimo, BC
Pooped-out pups – time for a little nap!

Dogs asleep in the back of the car

We went back to the campground and dropped the dogs off, then went to what TripAdvisor reported as the best fish and chips in Nanaimo. While the Crow & Gate Pub rates a very high rating for location, atmosphere, and food, there were no fish and chips on the menu.

We spent the rest of the afternoon lazing around the campground, did a bit of walking there, then after dinner, went back to the harbour. We just can’t get enough of that place.

Nanaimo, BC

The next morning, Cathy’s final one on the Island, was a lazy one. We didn’t get on the road to visit Brianne, our foster pup’s new mom (and the rest of the family) until after 10:00.

Here’s a flashback to December when I had a garage full of rescues. This was Blueberry and her mom, who was called Elderberry.

Rescued husky and one of her puppies
Blueberry is now called Aurora – Rory for short – and is as healthy, happy, and social as I could have hoped for. She’s often quite submissive, which her mom is as well. Those were crazy days when she lived with us, and it’s hard to imagine that she remembers Bella and Tucker, but maybe. Rory really wanted to play with Bella, but Tucker was being a jealous brat.

A Yukon rescue pup in Nanaimo, BC
All 3 of them did play for a bit, but they were moving much too fast to get any pictures. When Bella was finished, Rory wasn’t quite 🙂

A Yukon rescue pup in Nanaimo, BC
Rory’s mom, now called Klee, sure cloned herself with his pup. Not only physically but in the way they act, they are virtually identical.

A Yukon rescue pup in Nanaimo, BC
“Bye, Dad.” The visit was far too short, but it was wonderful to meet her family and to see how well everything has worked out for everyone. I particularly loved seeing Brianne’s 2 little boys who have a very special dog to grow up with.

A Yukon rescue pup in Nanaimo, BC

We took Bella and Tucker back to the motorhome for a nap, and then we returned to the harbour. We had things to do now that weren’t dog-friendly.

First, we wanted to try again to taste the best fish and chips in Nanaimo, so went to Troller’s down on the dock. It was very busy, not surprising on a day like that, but we found a couple of bar seats. I had the 2-piece ling cod and chips. It was very good, and great value at $15. We’ve had excellent fish and chips at so many places now that I’m not willing to award a “first place,” but I certainly wouldn’t argue with Troller’s position at TripAdvisor.

Troller's Fish & Chips in Nanaimo, BC
We had a couple of hours to kill before Cathy’s flight, but that was no problem. We walked a bit, and sat and watched the harbour action a lot. Nanaimo harbour is now one of our favourites. It’s beautiful, an extremely comfortable place to wander or sit, and there’s a lot of varied action with planes, boats, buskers, people, and dogs.

Nanaimo harbour, BC
Cathy checked in and then we spent a half hour or so in Harbour Air’s very nice departure lounge high above their seaplane dock. At 4:47, there she goes in a Turbo Otter, off to connect with an Air North flight at YVR. *sigh*

Harbour Air Nanaimo, BC
A final photo of the harbour before making the short drive back to the RV park. The Norwegian Sun is one of my special ships – in 2012, Dad and I sailed on her from Vancouver to San Diego, and Nanaimo was our first port of call.

Nanaimo, BC

The kids and I had a very quiet night – the world has a very different vibe when Cathy isn’t there and all of us were sad. The next, I’d move somewhere not too far away, but I didn’t know where yet.


Exploring Nanaimo – boats, planes, beaches, and a foster pup — 1 Comment

  1. You tied it all together nicely here…especially loved the floatplanes…good oldies too, all Canadian Otters and Beavers, including the shot of the radial engined one as well, probably not that many doing commercial work anymore with that setup, everyone seems to have gone to turbo powerplants.

    Floatplanes are cool, seaplanes are even cooler, wondering if you saw any of those, private or commercially licensed?