I am going to try very hard not to overuse the words beautiful, stunning, breathtaking, and gorgeous in my remarks about our voyage through the Georgian Bay. I will warn you right now that it is not going to be an easy task. We have discovered that while portions of this area are definitely more remote than our travels through the canals were, this is still "cottage" country. With over 30 thousand islands to choose from, it has not been too difficult to drop our anchor where there are no homes in sight. The temperature has taken quite a dip, which pleases me immensely, but it is not always to Jess' liking. At least not when he comes out of the water after one of his many swims. We have also had to deal with some windy weather, causing us to search for safe harbors in which to wait it out. When living on a boat, it doesn't take long to realize that wind is your biggest weather issue. It is not always a bad thing, because it gives us the opportunity to catch up with fellow loopers, have a lazy day in a quite cove, or tend to all of those little chores that require some attention. We have a tendency to always be on the move, so when the weather slows us down it is O.K.
Port Severn was so busy when we came through the lock that there was no place for us to tie up in order to pick up a few things that we needed before traveling into some remote territory. Local information told us to head for Honey Harbor, where we would be able to restock the cooler. Honey Harbor is a very busy boating spot, and with us arriving on the weekend we decided our best bet was to just drop anchor and chill until Monday. We took the opportunity to drop our dinghies in order to try our luck fishing, as well as making a visit into town. I'm not sure whose job it was to tie off Janet & Ralph's dinghy, but as you can see it was taking a little trip on its own until Jess dove in to retrieve it. We headed back to the National Park on Beausoleil Island first thing Monday morning after a quick stop at Picnic Island for fuel and water. If you time your stop just right the most scrumptious breakfast pastries to be found anywhere will be just coming out of the oven. If they are not ready yet I highly recommend that you wait for the them!
Jess and I love visiting our National Parks, so we were excited to check out what this one in Canada had to offer.
Decked out for a nice hike around the lower end of the island. I love birch trees and we couldn't resist posing with this big guy that we came across along the trail.
This historical cemetery is the resting place for many of the native inhabitants of the island before it became a National Park in 1929. Most of the headstones were dated in the 1800s.
Our little hike through the woods was going great while we were out in the open enjoying a beautiful sunshiny day. Then we entered a shaded forest area that was home to at least 500 million mosquitoes and everyone of their cousins. Luckily we had brought some spray with us that all four of us quickly bathed in. Of course, if we had not had something to ward off the mosquitoes, we would not have had an up close encounter with this guy. This part of Canada is home to only one poisonous snake. You guessed it, this is a Massasauga rattlesnake! By the way, Melinda, he did rattle at us!
We were rewarded for persevering through our little adventure with this beautiful meadow of wildflowers, as we reached the summit of our hike. Actually, the mosquitoes had evidently all been blown to the east side of the island, because they didn't give us a problem at all on our trek headed north along the western shore. There are several trails on Beausoleil Island that we could have explored, but we had had all of the fun we could handle for one day, so it was time to haul anchor and continue our journey.
All of the local fishermen have given us the inside scoop on what baits we need to catch fish in these waters. We have taken their suggestions and increased the profits of several bait shops along our route. Finally, we gave up and went back to our old standby that catches fish in the Tennessee River. As you can see everything likes our watermellon flukes, even this big mussel that grabed on and wouldn't let go.
A lovely end to a very busy day. We anchored behind Bone Island with several other cruisers and another Albin. No luck with the fish, but the scenery more than made up for it.
We met up with Gud-Nuff and At Last in Brown's Bay. The day couldn't have been nicer. It was a little on the warm side, so we all enjoyed a nice swim. Had a great time fishing here, but the best part was the beautiful anchorage.
Show Off! Jess was getting our fishing stuff out of the dink and just threw my bait one time and comes up with a pike. Sometimes I think the fish know which line is his and they just come swimming and say "Here I am"!
After a great pot luck dinner, we still had room for my version of a boater's lemon icebox pie. When you live on a boat you soon learn that if you don't have quite everything you need, you improvise.
We have discovered that we like catching smallmouth bass. It's a good thing, because that is most often what bites.
A move into Twelve Mile Bay opens up some more fishing possibilities, but we are also sad to see Ralph and Janet leave us as they move on to Parry Sound. Hopefully we will meet up again somewhere on the water. These smallmouth bass don't give up without a fight. I love to watch them jump out of the water as they try to shake out the hook. I told Jess to let me know when he had one hooked so that I could try to get some shots of the fish jumping. I was really amazed that I managed to catch him basically in flight.
One more flip and Jess had him landed. We usually just catch and release, the excitement of the hit and retrieval is enough for us.
On the move again as we maneuver around a multitude of islands on our way to Port Rawson Bay. This bay is a Provincial Park for overnight boaters and remote camping. There are no private cottages within the park.
I figure you are all tired of looking at our fish pictures, but this is one nice smallmouth. Jess would have been very disappointed if everyone didn't get to see his catch.
This has been a very dry year here. The lack of rain made for a very disappointing blueberry crop. Jess managed to find just enough berries to add to our breakfast cereal in the morning. I am a little concerned about what the bears are eating this summer.
Surrounded by the beauty of nature, Bama Dream has brought us to the most amazing places as we traverse the Great Circle Route and its many side trips.
A full moon peeks through the clouds as another awesome day comes to a close.
I can't let Jess's catch of the previous day go unanswered.
As much as we hate leaving Port Rawson Bay, it is time to move on. We have been fighting some windy weather for the last couple of days and from what we hear it is going to get worse. We only stayed in a marina one day in July and since it is now the 1st of August it is probably time to look for a nice dock until the weather improves. The closer we get back to civilization the more cottages we cruise by. Many of the cottages are only accessible by boat, but most of them do have power. Our charts show submarine power lines running all over the place.
The water is getting a little choppy as we work our way to Killbear Marina. We were thrilled to find our friends on Aunt Aggie, as well as four other loopers already in the snug harbor.
Time for boating stories at an impromptu docktail gathering, After drinks and snacks we all enjoyed a great meal at the Ships Store Restaurant.
The heavy rain clouds are threatening and cruisers are rapidly heading into the marina as they look for a safe harbor until the storm passes. We were hit by three strong thunderstorms over the course of the evening. We stayed dry in Bama Dream with George and Martha, having a fun evening playing cards and marbles.
The weather cleared enough for us to head for an anchorage behind Stairs Island. Absolutely breathtaking is not even close to how beautiful this anchorage is. We stayed here for two days and other than fighting the wind it was perfect.
The dinghy ride through Hemlock Channel is amazing. We have seen some lovely places while riding in the dink, but I think this one tops them all so far!
If you have never heard the call of a loon you owe it to yourself to make a trip north in the summer just for that purpose. We enjoy just watching them as they preen themselves, dive for their supper, land so gracefully on the water, and carry their young around on their backs.
This huge beaver lodge was directly behind our boat. We kept a watch on the area, but if there was anyone home we never caught a glimpse of them.
This 1889 lighthouse marks the entrance to Pointe au Baril. It also guards the channel that leads out to open water. We are hoping for a smooth ride, but are not sure what we will find when we enter the bay.
Sorry, my horizon line leaves something to be desired, but it was quite rough when we left the protection of the islands. There are also many rocks just under the surface that are making my captain very nervous. The white caps you see are actually the waves hitting the rock ledges that are not kind to props.
Enough rough water for us. We are able to tuck back into the protection of some islands as we strive to make a few more miles before calling it quits for today.
Someone didn't explain to these misguided folks what a cottage in the north woods of Canada should look like.
If all goes well and the wind finally ceases to blow, this will be our final anchorage before heading into the North Channel. Many boaters spend years traveling through these islands and I can understand why. The beauty and serenity found here is nothing short of amazing.
The waters are mirror calm as Jess pulls the anchor in order to begin our trip across the bay to Killarney and the beginning of our travels through the North Channel.