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Old 03-09-2016, 02:36 AM
Treebeard Treebeard is offline
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Default Vancouver Island camping/diving trip

Some questions for the Canreef islanders.
My wife and I are doing a summer camping trip, starting with 5 days on the island and heading south into Washington, working our way back to Glacier in Montana.
We would appreciate recommendations for a nice, quiet campground somewhere in the Nanaimo or Victoria area. We are tenters, but our tent is 10x15 because we like room for all of our stuff, so we need a good sized campsite. We like treed campsites with privacy from our neighbors, and we must have a fire pit. Flush toilets and showers are also required because my wife gags in the long drops!
We plan on doing some diving, so someplace close to a dive shop and shore diving would be great. Oh, and we also love hiking, something with some elevation gain and a stunning view at the top preferably.
Living Forest Oceanside looks pretty good, but I am not sure about the campsite privacy.
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Old 03-09-2016, 02:49 AM
SeaHorse_Fanatic SeaHorse_Fanatic is offline
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We always enjoy our camping trips to Gabriola Island. Short ferry ride in Nanaimo harbour. Good sites, island/water views, and a liquor store near the terminal to stock up before you get on the boat
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Old 03-09-2016, 05:50 AM
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Near Nanaimo, look into Rathtrevor and/or Qualicum Beach provincial parks. Also maybe a bit inland but Little Qualicum Falls and Englishman River P.P.'s are great spots and not far things. Rathtrevor and Qualicum book up fast though so decide on your dates and look into reservations.

The cost of a ferry crossing to the gulf islands is stupid, but, Denman and Hornby Islands (north Gulf islands, and the jumping off point is French Creek) might be worth a visit. At one point there were sixgill sharks to be seen off Hornby if you went diving, although I think I've heard that they might not be there anymore.

There is a day use provincial park on Hornby, Tribune Bay, that on a nice day is almost incomprehensible that you're still in Canada and not somewhere tropical. White sand, sheltered cove full of boats at anchor, great snorkelling. Used to love going there on our V.I. pilgrimages but last few years have had to give it a miss on account that seriously, the ferry prices have gotten stupider than stupid (sorry BC'ers, hope I'm not being too mean, but seriously, holy crap them ferries!!). My advice is if it's sunny and warm, don't think about the cost, go to Hornby and see it at least once. If the weather is not exquisite though maybe save it for another time. Because ferries. Just hand them your wallet and shake it upside down until its empty, maybe they won't take your kidney..
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Old 03-09-2016, 08:04 AM
SeaHorse_Fanatic SeaHorse_Fanatic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Delphinus View Post
seriously, the ferry prices have gotten stupider than stupid (sorry BC'ers, hope I'm not being too mean, but seriously, holy crap them ferries!!)... Because ferries. Just hand them your wallet and shake it upside down until its empty, maybe they won't take your kidney..
I used to work up in Powell River and did a round trip twice a month. Thank God this was before they privatized the BC Ferries and paid the incompetent CEO tonnes of money to rip off passengers, cut services, reduce sailings and pocket the savings in his own bank account. I HATE the BC Ferries and now we might go once every two or three years. Haven't been up since going to Powell River for my good friend's funeral. It's just far too expensive and not worth it. Unfortunately, going up to the Sunshine Coast this summer to go camping at Porpoise Bay (a beautiful "car-camping" park with full amenities including hot showers).
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Old 03-09-2016, 04:38 PM
The Guy The Guy is offline
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Thumbs up Reverse your camping trip

Hey Treebeard why not start your vacation in the USA and work your way to Port Angeles Washington and take the Black Ball ferry to Victoria do your camping on the island then return to Port Angeles via Black Ball ferry and not use the BC ferries at all. I agree with Sea-Horse Fanatic the cost of the BC ferries are way too much, Christie you need to get rid of all the high paid space wasting fat cats and bring the ferry system back to a realistic cost effective way to travel.
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Old 03-09-2016, 04:46 PM
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I live just north of Nanaimo and everything Delphinus said I would probably say as well. However I would not recommend Denman or Hornby. Just a bunch of no income hippies over there honestly. You're all ready emptying your wallet to get to Van Island.... don't keep giving BC ferries more money by going to another island once youre on the island.

There are 2 campsites near Cameron lake/Little Qualicum falls. Even the campsite at Comox lake is nice, I've been there a few times, but that might be a bit further north then you want to go... +/- an hour north of Nanaimo. Englishman river is nice, lots of good trails and swimming holes though there.

However don't hold you breath for the idea of a fire pit. Last year we were some of the first areas to ban ANY type of fire when the summer heat hit.
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Old 03-11-2016, 04:44 AM
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I've camped a few times at Living Forest and depending on the site the privacy isn't too bad. Back side, away from the water, is the most sheltered with lots of shade and probably better for tenting. Waterfront sites are set up for large units with full service. But they really aren't water front. You're sitting probably 50-60' above with a decent overview, but you need to walk down a dirt road to where the estuary is.
As for dive shops, I frequent Nanaimo Dive Outfitters and Sink or Swim Scuba. I've found both are run by decent folks, both offer Nitrox (if you do that) and are quite knowledgable for local dive site. So far for me, the better shore dives are actually north of Nanaimo up in Nanoose Bay and area. For me the not to be missed sites are The Big V in Nanoose Bay and Tyee Cove just a few K's south of there.
If you want to come up to my neck of the woods (45 min -1 hour from Nanaimo) in Port Alberni, we have a sunken immigrant ship that's pretty cool if the viz is good and a nice wall dive just a few 100 yards from it out in China Creek.
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Old 03-11-2016, 05:36 AM
msjboy msjboy is offline
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Salt spring island is very nice in the summer.... mayne/pender/galiano,thetis island is smaller and worth just a bike ride. Lots of other gulf islands as mentioned but Saltspring has a nice community setting.

Also got to oak harbour/whiteby island where they shot "officer and a gentlemen in usa is nice from Victoria; they have camp grounds in most places.
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