There's some confusion in our editorial room about the names of these islands. There seems to be one larger island, called "Five Finger Island" according to some maps, and then the five little islands themselves are called the "Hudson Rocks".
The Five Fingers are clustered together in the open water outside of Departure Bay. (They're visible on your right as you approach Nanaimo by ferry.) They are beautiful and desolate, with interesting stuff washed ashore. A lot of seals congregate here, too, lying on pebbly beaches and rushing into the water when humans approach.
Large groups of the Pacific Common Seal hang out at the Five Fingers group (as with nearby Snake Island).
These cute, furry creatures are loathed by commercial fishermen. The seals will often follow the boats, taking medium-sized bites from large numbers of salmon and cod. But if you're not relying on fish for your living, you will probably agree that these are some of the cutest mammals around.
These islands are great places to clamber around on the rocks. However, there may be some prohibition regarding going ashore at the group of smaller islands. They appear on maps as the Hudson Rocks Ecological Reserve, "established to protect a nationally significant breeding population of Pelagic Cormorants".
They're also very accessible. There are two boat ramps within range (Brechin ramp, 3.9km from the islands; or Lagoon Rd at Pipers Lagoon, 2.8km), and a canoe/kayaker can easily launch from Pipers Lagoon (Place Rd, 1.3km).
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