Our friend Pascale has gotten into the habit of booking a group site on Newcastle at some point in June. This was the first year we were able to join. We have however been to Newcastle before. Last time was in fact N's first camping trip at 5 weeks old. Originally we had planned on just walking on the nanaimo ferry, and walking along the waterfront to the Newcastle ferry. Wednesday night Christian suggested that we try to bring a canoe, since the kids have this newfound joy of canoeing. I have been trying to pack for our trip to Newfoundland next week, so even the thought of finding a canoe and organizing the stuff seemed overwhelming to me, so I told him that he would be in charge. By Friday evening he had borrowed a canoe, removed the roof box from our car, and packed most of our stuff. We were ready to go.
We had a leisurely start on Saturday as we were aiming for the 11am ferry. However, on the way to pick up the canoe at our friends house, I got cold feet about our time estimates, and had that familiar ferry stress feeling. We did however make the 11 am ferry.
In Nanimo we wheeled the canoe of the ferry and found the nearest public dock just outside the ferry terminal. We managed to pack a weekends worth of stuff, the two kids, and three adults into the canoe. It was tight, but alright. Newcastle Island is just across a 200 m wide channel from Nanaimo. On google maps it looks like the docks on the Nanaimo side reach half way across the channel. I was therefor surprised at how peaceful it felt paddling along the shore of Newcastle. We spotted sea stars, herons, geese, and even a racoon digging for clams along the shore. It did not feel like we were just a few hundred meters from the Nanaimo waterfront.
After an hour or so of easy, relaxing paddling we reached the dock on Newcastle, pulled the canoe and all our stuff out of the water, and wheeled it to the campground. The other eight families had already arrived previously that day or the day before. It was just an hour before low tide, so we immediately went down to the beach, where we spend the next two hours exploring the shore and walking in the water between Newcastle and Protection Island. Both kids and adults were fascinated exploring the sand dollars, craps, sea stars, sea slugs, sea weed, and so much more. The water in the small channel was very shallow due to the low tide and also quite warm, so the kids ended our water walk with a small swim. Out of the water everyone quickly got cold, so we hurried back to shore to look for our shoes, hoping that the tide hadn't reach them. F had a bit of a scare because crab had taken shelter in her crocs. She swore that she would never wear those shoes again.
Say Nuth Khaw Yum
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