Protection Island is a rare and beautiful kind of place; it’s rare because it’s a little island right in the city’s harbour, without a bridge going to it. The culture on Protection Island is part of the draw for visitors. This is a community where people know their neighbours. Protection Island is so gorgeous, with its dense woods and beaches that turn exotically sandy when the tide is out. Hundreds of kayakers come exploring, or paddle joyfully back and forth from the city to their island getaways.
Protection Island is the smaller of the two islands in Nanaimo Harbour. The other is Newcastle Island, a massive and densely forested Provincial historic island park. You can walk to Newcastle Island from Protection Island at low tide! Nanaimo Dive Association made local headlines when it sunk the RivTow Lion, a retired deep sea rescue tug, the third vessel in Nanaimo to join the fleet of British Columbia’s world famous artificial reefs. The Rivtow rests at a manageable depth of about 50 feet in Departure Bay on the North side of Newcastle Island.
The Dinghy Dock is a floating pub on the city-side of Protection Island. You can take the Protection Connection ferry, a converted BC Ferries lifeboat, from downtown near Port Place Mall on the waterfront.