One of the many joys of living on Vancouver Island, B.C. is that nearly all communities are near, or adjacent to, the beautiful Pacific Ocean.
Living in Nanaimo (population over 100,000), there are so many diverse ways to explore nature and the outdoors. This blog post focuses on one of the favorite kayaking areas to explore in Nanaimo. Newcastle Island, is also known as Saysutshun by the local Snuneymuxw people.
The following excellent website thoroughly explores Newcastle Island (Saysutshun) from Ferry Schedules, to Camping, Moorage, Maps of Trails, and Explanation about the Culture and History of the Marine Provincial Park. http://newcastleisland.ca
Newcastle Island is less than a kilometer’s paddle across the water from several launching locations in Nanaimo. It is about 8.5 km to circumnavigate the island by water. These aerial views of Newcastle and Protection Island were taken from a float plane while flying in/out of the Nanaimo harbour.
Newcastle and Protection Islands are popular locations, so expect to see other kayaks, sailboats, pleasure craft, even B.C. Ferries sharing the water with you!
There are several FREE locations available to launch your kayaks. The size of your kayaks and ease of parking influences your selection. Some locations have free parking. Other locations require pay parking. You can launch from the following locations: Nanaimo Harbour Marina (downtown);
Maffeo Sutton Park has access for smaller kayaks to launch;
More launching sites include: Brechin boat ramp; Queen Elizabeth Promenade (near the Yacht Club); Departure Bay Beach; and Stephenson Point.
We own touring ocean kayaks which are longer than most day trip recreational kayaks.
Our boats are very seaworthy, designed for multi day trips with 2 hatches, but are over 16 feet in length! Our usual launching location is Brechin Boat Ramp.
Let’s get kayaking! The following kayak adventure photos were taken during 3 different adventures while kayaking around Newcastle (Saysutshun) Island. One trip occurred during April (Spring), the other 2 trips occurred during August (summer).
April: Needing to take a break from Covid masks and restrictions? Kayaking on a sunny day in Spring is such a pleasant remedy to any feelings of confinement. We departed from Brechin boat ramp and headed along Newcastle, toward downtown Nanaimo, then continued across the water to Protection Island.
My husband and I paddled past a log sort boom and continued towards a beacon. From this location, there is a fabulous view of the cliffs on Gabriola Island.
Dingy Dock floating pub was open with limited capacity due to Covid. A pleasure craft arrived before we could maneuver our kayaks to the back dock, so there was no space in the floating pub for us today!
Returning to Newcastle Island, we explored the spit area adjacent to the park picnic area.
As we continued to explore the craggy notches between the island and the water, we observed a few raccoons feasting on low tidal delicacies.
It is common to observe raccoons on Newcastle Island, but today we glimpsed a couple of the more rare, albino raccoons.
Albino raccoon scavenging along the tidal rocks at Newcastle.
Time to head back…
Summer (August) kayak highlights from our paddle circumnavigating Newcastle Island.
The 8.5 km trip around Saysutshun is lovely and there are many gorgeous hidden gems to discover. Expect a few larger waves when you round the corner and head towards the more open strait on the outside of the island.
Here is a video highlighting our kayak adventure around Newcastle island in mid August.
The sunny weather and beauty of this location drew us back for an additional kayak the very next day! This time we went out for an evening kayak and swim in the ocean at Newcastle.
August Kayak adventures and swimming at Newcastle…Part 2. The evening sunset glows were magical.
No wonder Newcastle Island is such a popular kayaking destination in Nanaimo. Meanwhile…Switching sports, I have hiking adventures around Nanaimo to blog about next. Keep Safe and Keep Smiling! S
What glorious days you had on the water. Great info about where to launch, places to see etc…
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Thanks so much for your encouraging comments Marilyn! Do you enjoy kayaking too?
I haven’t kayaked, but it looks very enjoyable.
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Maybe you’d like to try with us one day?