Nicole and I have always enjoyed the time we spend in Nanaimo. It seems to be a very boater-friendly place, with just about everything you would be looking for within easy walking distance to the harbor. There is a good sized supermarket and liquor store just across the street from the government docks, a well stocked chandlery (boating supplies) one block further, and several ice cream/gelato shops right on the water. The harbor is protected from bad weather by two islands, Newcastle and Protection, making it a decent place to wait out any storms passing by before crossing the Strait of Georgia. Newcastle Island has docks and (new this year) moorings, as well as room for anchoring, and the island has an extensive trail system that offers welcome relief for stretching your legs. Protection Island is mostly private homes, but does feature the Dinghy Dock Pub, a floating bar/restaurant accessible by private boat or via the walk-on ferry from the town dock.
We decided because we usually spend a couple days in Nanaimo re-provisioning that we would have our mail sent up from Seattle. Along with bills and other things we probably don't want to see, our mail contained a replacement part for the boat that we wanted to get installed before continuing north. Unfortunately we forgot that it is Easter weekend, and in Canada this means a four day break from life's luxuries, including mail service. Thus, we are here until Tuesday, enjoying all the area has to offer, and trying hard not to spend our entire savings in one place.