Distance Walked: 7.01 km
Walking Time: 1 hr, 42 min
Trail Rating: Easy
Protection Island is located in the harbour of Nanaimo, BC. It is home to 350 full-time residents. Locals commonly travel across the island by golf cart, while some transfer their groceries, recycling and garbage from the community dock by wheelbarrow.
Many islanders access the area by private boat, kayak or rowboat. A small, public ferry takes passengers to and from Nanaimo-Protection Island ($10 return ticket).
Protection Island is part of the City of Nanaimo and is serviced by municipal water, sewer, hydro, Shaw and Telus. It offers residents and visitors a community dock, boat ramp, library, museum, public garden, community hall and fire station. The Dinghy Dock Pub is Canada’s only floating bar-restaurant.
This distinct island is made even more unique by its quirky pirate signs and street names. At low tide, it’s a short walk from Billy Bones Bay to the east shore of Saysutshun (Newcastle Island).
There are currently no paved roads on Protection Island. A short 4 km trail will take you around most of the shoreline. The individual streets are well worth looping through. Most residents have gone out of their way to delight you with a sense of humour and provide a bit of local history. Since there are no commercial stores, and garbage and recycling can be a hassle, some locals simply leave unwanted items outside of their homes. The intention is, if you need something, help yourself.
After yesterday’s long day (both in hours and in kilometres), we were looking for a hike that was quick, easy, novel and ended in refreshments. Protection Island checked all four boxes and more. It’s a captivating spot to spend a sunny afternoon. Stopping at Dinghy Dock’s is a definite must!