Gerry Thomasen's Blog

Snake Island location thumbnailFour of us went to Snake Island in a couple of canoes. It's a long way: 6 km from Downtown Nanaimo. The waters were calm that day, which was very good because Snake Island is out in the bigger waters of the Georgia Straight, and canoes aren't good for that.

It took an hour to inch across that expanse of ocean, safely out of the way of freighters and the three BC Ferries routes. As we got farther out to sea, Nanaimo opened up behind us, and the mountains got a lot bigger.

Paddlers approaching Snake Island

As we approached the island, we could see there were already tons of mammals already occupying the beach, and they were staring right at us. Were they murderous, two-tonne sea lions bent on our destruction? Or, just cute seals the size of golden retrievers? It was hard to tell

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If you live in Nanaimo and haven't heard this story...

1910:
The scene: An explosives factory above the shore of Departure Bay, at the bottom of today's Cilaire neighbourhood. (Cilaire is named for the last powder works to occupy the space.)

What happened: An explosion ripped the place apart. It was so powerful that it wrapped a rail around a tree - here's a photo:

Rail wrapped around tree trunk

That explosion also killed five men. Three kilometers away, the people of Nanaimo thought there had been another disaster in the mines underground.

1913:

Jan01: A new four-sided clock, Nanaimo's pride and joy, is set in motion for the first time on the (already old) sandstone post office overlooking the harbour on Front St.
Here's a photo of that post office (I freaking love

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I've become accustomed to canoeing home from work in the evenings, to my place on Protection Island. I love it.

But I was annoyed at work today, because my canoe was back on the island without me (long story), so I was going to be riding the boring old ferry home instead of having my personal time with the ocean.

It was a hot day (32°C?), so it was easy to decide —once and for all— to swim home to Protection Island. I've always thought it would be cool to swim across the channel from the Yacht Club to Newcastle, and I think every capable Protection Island resident should consider swimming home at least once.

 Swim route to Protection Island

I told everyone at work that I was going to do it, so that I couldn't psyche myself out later, when I would be standing in my ginch

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