Last Thursday (Oct 30) about 2:30 we first buzzed the Gentrys--John and Maureen--the owners of the condo where we’re staying for the winter. They’d offered to put us up for the night before they departed for their Mexican winter. Was a great opportunity for us not only to get to know them but also to quiz them about the area. Maureen has spent much of her life in Nanaimo and John worked for 46 years in the forestry/milling industry all over Vancouver Island. They’re fun-loving, outgoing, friendly, and welcoming, and gave us an excellent rundown and rating of the local pubs and other services. We dropped off the Gentrys at the ferry to the mainland Friday morning and excitedly began settling in to our temporary home.
The condo is fantastic: The big living room windows look toward the mainland, east-northeast. The tree-covered Provincial park Newcastle Island is maybe 300 yards distant, separated from us by Newcastle Channel (where an Orca whale cavorted not long ago--we read about it at the time in the online version of the local newspaper). To the south we see smaller and sparsely populated Protection Island and larger Gabriola Island. The tiny seaplanes that taxi travelers to Vancouver and elsewhere descend over Newcastle Channel and land in Nanaimo Harbour. The top photo is our building. Our unit is on the 2nd floor, visible just above the hedge, between the Seaview entrance sign and the blue & white road sign.
Early yesterday morning, while Laurie slept in for a while and after enjoying a beautiful sunrise over the mainland, I took an early morning walk downtown along what’s called the seawall. The seawall walkway (photos 2 and 3) runs from downtown north along Nanaimo Harbour, through another waterside park (called Maffeo Sutton Park--seen in second photo with fall colors), and then alongside Newcastle Channel to Departure Bay a total distance of perhaps 2-3 miles. So the walkway passes only about 150 yards from our building. This is a major amenity for us. The second photo looks southward toward the park--this morning we saw a sea lion hunting about 30 yards from shore in the bay in the foreground--and downtown residential buildings beyond. The third photo shows the view northward from roughly the same spot. That’s Newcastle Island on the right with the tall trees. The sailboats are ‘parked’ at the Nanaimo Yacht Club, which is across the street from our building. I made it downtown in about fifteen minutes--visited the bank, drug store, and picked up some groceries--and walked back along the waterfront toting my purchases. As virtually everything we need is available downtown, we’ll be able to walk, mostly, to get stuff and enjoy the waterfront and stunning scenery at the same time. It all seems rather incredible to me, I just shake my head in near disbelief.
So right now we’re both in a rather ecstatic mode, which of course will fade over time. Learning into what mode our mood and outlook fades is part of the reason we’re here.