The Adventures of Ninkasi

Journal for 2006

May 24 Weekend Tracey, Harley and Lucy's visit Parry Sound Trip
Wanikita The Rest of the Summer

May 24 Weekend

The May 24th (May two-four) weekend is the unofficial first weekend of the summer in Ontario and has always had a rather infamous tarnished reputation which usually involved a younger crowd often with a mixture of excessive behaviour usually fueled by large quantities of alcohol. Alex and Emma at the Visitor's arch Of course being youthful usually meant you had other fine qualities such as a limited income and thus would usually choose the cheapest place possible to partake in these activities. At the time (late 70’s) there was no better place for this than in the great outdoors in one of Ontario’s fine Provincial Parks.

After a few years of this, the Ontario Government decided that in the interest of the public good they would impose an alcohol ban in all Provincial Parks until the following weekend. I must admit that during my sometimes misspent youth I probably did my part to solidify this reputation.

Since the May 24th weekend is also notorious for being consistently dreary, rather wet, cold and often in the height of black fly season, it has managed to lose it’s charm and the camping crowd is usually reserved for either the die-hards or the “first time didn’t know any better, won’t happen again crowd”. This has the benefit of being a potentially good thing for the more adventurous boaters as we aren’t quite as deterred by the wet whether since we have a dry place to retreat to.

Alex and the Trilliums What this often means for us is that on this first long weekend of the summer we are frequently one of the only boats at the island. As there are typically only a handful of campers, we feel like we have the place to ourselves.

Well this weekend didn’t let us down, sure we had some rain and the nights were cold but we managed to have some great hikes (without bugs), we had the cruiser dock to ourselves, the trilliums were in bloom and there were only two sets of campers in the park, and they left early probably due to the rainy nights.

Alec and Emma on the Stump Emma and the Trilliums

Tracey, Harley and Lucy's visit

Tracey, Harley and Lucy on the boat Tracey, Harley and Lucy came up with us to spend a weekend and it turned out to be one of our most memorable weekends. On the way out to the island Tracey, Kathy and the kids went up to the bow and enjoyed the ride. The weather ended up being great and the kids were able to jump off the dock which is about eight feet off the water. For both Emma and Harley it was their first time.

On Saturday Kathy, Tracey and the kids went down to the kiosk to do some arts and crafts and ended up making some frog masks. While the kids were doing their crafts, I decided to forego my usual maintenance and upgrading jobs and joined Mark (one of our boating friends). He was in his lawn chair waist deep in the water with an umbrella and a beer. He looked lonely so I grabbed my chair and a beer (or two) and joined him.

Later that evening we had probably the funniest night at the fire since we’ve been boating. Mark and Elaine were there as was Rick (blue Rick) with his weekend female companion. Rick was the butt of the ongoing jokes for the evening and as Tracey was to tell us later, it was one of the best weekends she has had in a long time.

We lied and told her that this is just a normal weekend for us, and we will have the same experiences for the rest of the summer.

Harley on the Dock Alex, Emma, Harley and Lucy in Kitchi's chair

Parry Sound Trip

Ninkasi at Henry's This year we planned our two week summer vacation with a trip up to Parry Sound. This was to be our first big adventure with the Edel and the kids. We decided to miss the weekend crowds and leave early on a Sunday morning. There are two possible routes up to Parry Sound from Penetang; the inside thorny path or heading out the north side of the Giants Tomb and up to the entrance to Twelve Mile Bay or into the Waubuno Channel just south of Parry Island. Our original plans were to head up the outside route as this would cut off about four hours compared to the inside route and we might actually get to do some sailing. We started off fine but after about 90 minutes we started heading out of the outer harbour past the west side of Beausoliel Island. As often happens in a sailboat, if you make plans to go a certain direction you can almost always guarantee that there will be no wind or even worse it will be right on the nose.

Anchored off of Killbear

Well, right on the nose it was and to make matters worse it was fairly strong and the water was quite unsettled. After an hour or so we were doing less than 2 1/2 knots and we had planned for about 4 to 4 1/2. We were going to be a bit later than planned and the ride was getting rough. Since I’m a rather anal person (which I think is a good thing when it comes to boating), I had planned for possible bailout routes. After an hour of very little headway and a less than comfortable passage we changed direction and headed for the Musquash channel. This was both a blessing and a concern. Although we were now out of the worst of the wind and rough water, we were now into some seriously tight navigation. It usually always seems tighter the first time through.

The girls at Scott Island

We continued on through the thorny path for another few hours and decided to spend the night in behind Starr Island. This ended up to be a great spot to spend the night as we were out of the wind and sitting in about 30 feet of water with lots of room to swing. The night was uneventful and after we started back out along our route, the wind was still about 20 plus knots and mainly on the nose. We slowly moved our way forward and made it to Henry’s Fish House for lunch. From here we followed the thorny path and worked our way up to Kilcoursie Bay off of Killbear Provincial park and anchored in 30 feet of water about 100 feet from shore.

Anchored off of Killbear
We stayed the next three days anchored in Kilcoursie Bay and spent the time going on hikes through the park, swimming and relaxing on the beach. We also took the dingy over to Scott Island for some exploring and lunch. For some reason the girls really enjoy spending time on the island and continue to talk about it. It was while we were staying there that I realized the 3.3 hp motor on the dingy wasn’t quite enough. I had to make a trip for ice to Killbear marina and the round trip took me over an hour. When Mike made the similar trip after anchoring next to us he was there and back in 40 minutes.

Kathy, Alex and Emma on Scott Island Steve, Alex and Emma on Scott Island

Mike and the girls at Big Sound Marine After three days we pulled up anchor and headed into Parry Sound to stock up and spend some time in the town. Mike and Ruth left about an hour after us and of course ended up being there about an hour before us. We spent the next 2 days in Big Sound Marina (Mike and Ruth headed out after the first night) and this ended up being an ideal spot as it was just a short walk from downtown. The girls found their new favourite restaurant, the Bay Street Café and since they were serving Creemore on tap I wasn’t going to argue. As it turns out you can get almost anything in downtown Parry Sound, except groceries. For groceries you have to take a cab to the other end of town. So Kathy grabbed a cab to go get some supplies and since none of the cabs have meters in them, its $8 to go anywhere in Parry Sound.

Alex, Emma and Steve tubing

We left Parry Sound and headed over to see if we could meet up with my good friends Bob and Kathy as they have a cottage on Mowatt Island. Bob took me on a tour of the island and then we joined them for a great dinner. The next morning Bob took the girls and I for a tube ride. As you can see, Emma really didn’t enjoy it. At the end of the weekend we headed back to Parry Sound for a couple of days and then started heading back down the south channel around Parry Island. Ninkasi at Bob and Kathy's

The trip back was rather uneventful -- which is a good thing. On the way back we did have to wait for the swing bridge which was a first for us but a rather interesting experience.

We found the South Channel to have a few more tight and shallow spots. We continued on and stopped a Herny’s for lunch. After lunch we continued back along the inside channel and went about a mile up into Twelve Mile bay where we pulled into a nice hidden cove just past Bowes Island, anchored and spent the night. The next morning we were up early and headed out Twelve Mile bay past O’Donnell Point and into the open water of the bay for an outside passage down past The Giant’s Tomb and back to our marina.

Parry Island swing bridge Hauling anchor at Killbear


Emma sitting at lighthouse In the middle of September we decided that since it was later in the year we would check out another spot on the island that during the summer months is frequently quite busy. We also figured that this would probably be one of our last weekends of the year that we’d be able to make it out to the island. Since the girls were already getting a PA day from school, I decided to take the Friday off and make it a long weekend.

On our way out we were passed by our friends Mike and Ruth who decided they were going to the north side of the island. We waved at them as they quickly disappeared out of our sight. About an hour later we pulled up to the dock at Wanikita and met Mike and Ruth, who had apparently changed their minds about 10 minutes after passing us.

Emma jumping across the rocks

After we pulled in we realized what a great spot this was; it had a great beach, nice place for a fire, the weather was going to be fantastic and there was only one other boat.

Well, it stayed this way for a couple of hours and then all of the sudden the boats started coming and it filled up within an hour of the first one arriving. Apparently we had stumbled into a yearly potluck party.

We got up the next morning and decided to take a hike along the “lighthouse trail” over to the other side of the island. September in Ontario is a great time for a hike; the temperature is a bit cooler, the bugs are gone, the wildlife is a bit more active and there are usually a lot less people around.

On the way over to the other side we found an enormous tree that had fallen over and managed to pull all its roots and dirt up with it. Alex and the Fallen tree This is a good reminder that the weather around Georgian Bay can be quite severe at times. When we got to the other side we were rewarded with a magnificent view of the lighthouse and a great place to do a lot of exploring.

Later that evening we sat around the fire and Mike played the guitar for at least two or three hours. At some point I decided to help out by showing my lack of vocal talent and lyrical memory. Since almost everyone else had also had a few by then it wasn’t really noticed.

The big event of the evening however happened in front of our boat while we were around the campfire. Apparently the picnic table that was on the dock in front of our boat flipped over sending the table and everybody that was sitting on the one side into the water.

View of the Lighthouse

They were all very lucky. No one got hurt and in the morning I had to reseat my 20kg anchor that sits on the bow. It must have been hit by the picnic table. Between the rest of that night and the next day the story must have been retold about 100 times. I'm sure by now it's become a legend and gets retold every time they get together. The next morning there were people in the water pulling out cups, glasses, cutlery and a number of other items. We decided to leave about midday and had a great sail/motor back to the marina.

Lesson Four: Never put four people on one side of the picnic table and only one person on the other side, sooner or later that one person will have to go to the washroom.

The Rest of the Summer

Various Summer of 2006 Pictures

Previous years Journal Next years Journal