When you live on an island, taking an afternoon excursion can involve more than just a leisurely drive through the countryside.  Eventually all roads lead to the edge of the Earth, where the decision then becomes whether we find a boat and keep on going or don a wetsuit and start paddling!  On this warm, still day we thought better of giving our flippers a workout and appropriately took our place in the eclectic line of others who had also reached the edge of the Earth.

And so, off we set to discover new frontiers and experience new adventures, just as our forefathers had done before us.  An unlikely group of people brought together by nothing other than an aversion to a swim in the cold Pacific ocean.  Some in designer yoga suits, others in crocheted hats and hemp shirts.  Some with rosy-faced children who, in their excitement, reached decibels that could only be heard by the three huge dogs who fuelled the temperature to sauna levels and provided an ambient scent of wet blanket as we all chugged along in our little ferry toward the new world, Newcastle Island.

We’re so happy that you could join us today as we head back to Newcastle Island, off Nanaimo, B.C., where we continue our photoblog series “Island Hoppin’“.  Some interesting information about the history of this tiny island, just a ten minute ferry ride from Nanaimo, can be found here.

So, all aboard mateys!  Find yourself a spot between the baby strollers and the bicycles, the hippies and the yuppies and the scallywags, and of course, the dogs, as we set sail on a brand new exploit!

Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park - Nanaimo, BC, Canada

Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park – Nanaimo, BC, Canada

Once home to at least two, centuries-old Salish First Nations villages, a fish salting facility, active coal mining and a sandstone quarry that is still visible, today it is a Provincial park and campground with some interesting stories and a breathtaking landscape.  Twenty-two kilometers of hiking and walking trails provide fresh adventures around every corner and ample opportunity to explore every facet of this unique place.  On the day that we visited, there were hundreds of people playing games, hiking, camping, eating ice cream and finding perfect spots for naps on the beach.  In the winter months it is not impossible to hike the entire island and not see another person, and in the eerie silence, history gives way to imagination as old foundations, rusty machinery and locked mine shafts peer out from the lush forest.  Once bustling with life and activity, they now stand as silent reminders of times long past, providing layers of history that, without them, would be lost forever.

Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park - Nanaimo, BC, Canada

Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park – Nanaimo, BC, Canada

Many folks find their own forms of transportation across the water, and during the summer months the beaches are dotted with bright colours as their occupants make their way across the sandstone in search of the perfect nook or cranny to read a book or enjoy a gourmet balogna sandwich at what could arguably be called the world’s most scenic diner.

Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park - Nanaimo, BC, Canada

Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park – Nanaimo, BC, Canada

Just across from Newcastle Island sits Protection Island, a melting pot community of folks who prefer the quietness of life without cars, amazing heron rookeries in spectacular Arbutus groves, and their very own floating pub.  The islands sit so close together that it is actually possible to walk from one to the other at low tide!  More details about Protection Island can be found here.

At the end of a long and happy day, we once again take our places on the little wooden dock, thankfully minus the three huge dogs, and watch as the ferry winds it’s way through the maze of moored boats to come and collect us.  With the city of Nanaimo as a backdrop, it makes for a formidable sight.  Rich with history and folklore, it is made richer still by the friendly people who call it home.

Thank you so much for coming along with us today, we sure appreciate your visit!  As a new year begins here at the Hollow, we look ever so forward to the adventures that await us, and even more forward to sharing them with all of you.  If life truly is a bowl of cherries, then all of you, our wonderful friends, are the sprinkles on top!

See you next time!

Warmly,

Mrs. Toad




  1. You have such a wonderful writing style Mrs Toad, I feel as if I am there on the dock alongside you, breathing in the sea air and waiting to set sail for new territories.
    Thanks for sharing this splendid scene with us today.

  2. avatar Mrs. Toad says:

    Thank you so much Chris, your comments have brought huge smiles to our faces this morning!

  3. avatar Richard Taylor says:

    Sounds, and looks like a beautiful place to explore. Thanks for taking us there.

  4. What fantastically expressive prose, Mrs. Toad! I felt as it I was there with you as you experienced this summer outing.

  5. avatar Rich McPeek says:

    Wonderful post! It seems like such a beautiful place! Thanks for sharing! Great shots too BTW!!

  6. nicely done Toads! 🙂

  7. avatar Jim Nix says:

    nicely done Mrs. Toad, great pics!

  8. Lovely images of what is to me a familiar and much appreciated place!

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Thank you Laurie, I just love it when folks are familiar with the places that we photograph! Thanks for your comments today!

  9. avatar Edith Levy says:

    Mrs Toad you’ve out done yourself. Wonderful and fascinating post and the photos are beautiful.

  10. Beautiful images, and a wonderful write-up. Thanks for sharing this with everyone.

  11. avatar Rick Louie says:

    Looks like a wonderful island hop! I love visiting places during the off season when there aren’t the crowds around. Love the quietness which allows you to really enjoy the beauty!

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Thank you for your visit today! I suspect you would truly enjoy this place, lots of interesting stuff to explore!

  12. avatar Len Saltiel says:

    I sure wish I had your way with words Mrs. Toad. I always seem to struggle when I have to write one of my posts. I wish I had your talent. Wonderful writeup and terrific images, especially the first one.

  13. avatar abarlow says:

    Those are some awesome shots. What fantastic views!

  14. Well Mrs. Toad you pictures are beautiful. I would love to come to this Island and see the same beauty first hand as you did. I love the Northwest… so full of opportunities to capture most excellent photographs like the few you did. Thanks for more inspiration.

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Thank you Spencer, and welcome to the Hollow! I would love to take credit for the beautiful images but that is all Mr. Toad’s fine eye! I absolutely agree with you that this part of the world is truly blessed with enough beauty to fill our camera for many years to come. Thanks so much for your visit today and we really hope to see much more of you!

  15. avatar Jimi Jones says:

    Mrs. Toad, this was such an enjoyable read, and I thank you for the digital journey. Twas a pleasure to be with you.

    The photos are wonderful and make me want spend a considerable amount of time exploring each, without those smelly dogs of course. 🙂

    Thank you again for hosting a wonderful excursion. I look forward to the next. By the way, the gourmet bologna was wonderful, even the green part around the edges. 🙂

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Thank you so much Jimi, we really appreciate your kind words and your friendship. It is such an amazing place, it is most definitely worth visiting despite the pungent pooches! And we had no idea that you liked green eggs and ham…but we still prefer flies. 🙂

  16. Beautiful work and scenery, second is my favorite!

  17. Mrs Toad: I really enjoy your writing! You are an inspiration to those of us who sometimes stuggle to find words and write things like “this is a giraffe” before hitting the delete key and trying to think of something a little more profound. I thoroughly enjoyed your eloquent words about a place I consider home. I grew up right there. This past summer my boat was moored a stones throw away. I sometimes thought it would be faster to just swim than start up my boat and putter over 🙂 Thank you for such a lovely description.

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Anne, thank you so much for these wonderful comments, your friendship and support mean the world to us! What a lucky lady you are to have grown up in such a beautiful place, every time I visit another part of this amazing island I immediately want to move there! Thanks so much for your visit today!