Saturday, February 2, 2013

Nanaimo Harbor


Nanaimo. Now there's a name to call up memories, some recent and others decades old. Nanaimo meant sunny summer boating in our early-married years. We felt oh! so adventurous after we upgraded to a fast 24' Sea Ray and finally cruised north of the American San Juan Islands, crossed the Georgia Straits and the Canadian border to spend RL's too-short vacation time in British Columbia. Scuba diving, fishing, water skiing and exploring filled our days with non-stop activity, and our time in port was just as busy. Nanaimo Harbor featured a shopping mall with convenient access to replenish ice for the coolers, and to buy the groceries and beverages that we couldn't legally bring across the border. Then there was the year we hit town the weekend of the Bathtub Race - OMG, what a crazy harbor happening! The bathtub boats departed Nanaimo Harbor (on Vancouver Island) and headed across some big water to the city of Vancouver (on the mainland), but the party reportedly went on for days. 

In recent years we've just passed through Nanaimo on road trips to and from the boat. We use the Duke Point ferry as our Vancouver Island access point, lingering in town only when necessary to sit in line at the terminal's parking lot, waiting to board the ferry. My August seaplane stop in Nanaimo (link) doesn't count as a visit since we were back in the air again minutes later. 

The shorter hours of winter daylight didn't encourage us to wander through town on this month's cruise south. We did meet some interesting boaters on the dock and enjoyed a leisurely cruise of Nanaimo's working waterfront the next day as we departed. I'd like to spend more time shoreside exploring southern Vancouver Island, the parts we don't see from the water.


Photo: Containers and container cranes line the waterfront.

Photo: Small but mighty yard tug works the log booming ground.

Photo: This large Colossus of a ship had an unusual bow profile.

Photo: B.C. ferries link Vancouver Island with the mainland and smaller islands.
Trivia question: What do you call a Canadian harbormaster or dock master?
Answer: Wharfinger

   

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