I will likely either get a ride to, or park at Horseshoe Bay, and then wheel my kayak onto the ferry. At Nanaimo Departure Bay Terminal, there is a boat launch about 300 metres from the ferry slip, and Newcastle Island is even closer (although we have to paddle around the island to the far side (about 3 km). IMHO, Having a car in Nanaimo is not particularly useful at all. So, short of paddling the entire way across (which is what we are celebrating), rolling on the ferry is the next best route to get there.
I would myself love to carpool with people from the eastern lower mainland to split parking costs at Horseshoe Bay.