The Adventures of Ninkasi

Journal for 2009

Start of the Season Canada Day Christian Island
Massasauga Park, Parry Sound Trip Mark and Terry's Visit The Rest of the Summer

Start of the Season

Alex and Emma at the Visitor's arch 2009 We wanted to get off to an early start this year but for the most part May was a pretty crappy month for wet and grey weather. It was just the girls, Stevie (no Gord) and I for the May 24 weekend this year and we decided to head out to the island despite the predicted gloomy weekend. The weekend actually turned out not bad, there was no rain during the day and we had most of the island to ourselves. The water was up about 18 inches this year so we decided to attempt and grab our usual spot on the wall. Usually this wouldn’t be a problem but remember we have a boat that is now eleven feet longer and it was just the girls and I trying to dock.

Everything went well and the girls performed like old pros. It was a bit cold for playing on the beach this weekend, but the girls played on the wall and we did a number of hikes. I let the girls do their own thing as long as they followed the rules; stick together, don’t go in the water and if it rains grab your toys on the way back to the boat. There were no problems with the rules this weekend, however later in the summer the first two were broken rather quickly. The trip back was actually rather rough, the wind was on the nose with gusts over 30 knots and some good sized waves to knock us around. The girls however were exhausted and fell asleep missing all the excitement.

Kathy wasn't able to make it up until the first weekend in June this year, so we again headed out to the island and took the girls yearly picture at the visitors arch. The pictures are a bit scarce this year, between me constantly forgetting the camera and it starting to act up we ended up relying on our friends and guests for many of this years shots.

Canada Day

Alex kayaking

We again decided to take our first week of summer holidays around Canada Day, however since it was on a Wednesday this year there was no long weekend to work around. Kathy spent the Monday and Tuesday in the marina along with Hailey (see stowaways), her sister Chrissy and her mom Barb. I met them up there on Wednesday and we watched some of the best fireworks we had ever seen, put on by the town of Penetaguishene.

We left the next day and headed out to the island for just over a week. We were able to sneak into our spot again, however it would turn out to be the last time for the year. Most of the week was actually quite cool and we had to really bundle up. We brought the girls bikes up with us and they spent hours riding around the campground, Alex even decided to head down to the bottom of Beausoleil by herself so we packed her a snack some water and gave her a cell phone. She was gone for about two hours and it was a great boost to her self reliance and freedom.

The girls spent a fair bit of time on the beach, but we also took the dingy up to Wana Keta and hiked the Massasuga trail, it was one of the few on the island that we still had to conquer.

Emma at the Beaver dam on the Massasauga trail Kathy and the girls on the Massasauga Trail
Emma on the beach Alex in the beach
Emma pushing the boulder Steve and Emma taking in some rays

Christian Island

Everyone on the beach

We had never stayed at Christian Island, although we have circumnavigated it, if you add a number of different trips together. However Mike and Ruth keep raving about it. Now if you remember last years trip Mike and Ruth also raved about Methodist Point, so needless to say we were somewhat sceptical. As it turns out we had a great weekend and they are now batting .500 when it comes to places that they suggest. This was the August long weekend and the start of Mike and Ruth’s two week vacation. As we were to later find out Dave and Maureen were also starting their vacation with the intention of meeting up at Christian Island.

I decided to take the Friday off since Kathy wasn't working and then we could have an extra day. We had a rather uneventful trip and had to motor most of the way until we got down near the bottom of Giant's Tomb and then the wind started to pick up and we had a nice sail for about an hour and a half. As we were approaching Christian Island we saw quite a few sailboats off in the distance that seemed to be heading up the east side of Christain Island.

Emma on the beach As we approached the anchorage that Mike had suggested there were about 10 boat already anchored and so we worked our way in between them to try and find a nice spot with lots of room around us. The water in this are was about eight to ten feet deep and was crystal clear so you could see the sand bottom. This can actually be a little disconcerting since you always get the feeling that it is shallower then what the charts and the depthsounder are telling you. We found a great spot and set the anchor, looked around at the other ten boats and thought boy this is a nice spot.

Well once again things were about to change, within an hour all the sailboats we had seen off in the distance that had already passed Christian Island suddenly turned around and were swarming on the anchorage. We were now surrounded by more the fifty boats, it seems we had ventured into the middle of the Georgian Bay regatta. So of course I had to call Mike and let him know about his great peacful spot. We managed to give him a good ribbing but they were all up and gone the next morning by eight.

Mike and Ruth arrived about mid day on the Saturday and Mike decided that he wanted to anchor with his stern facing the shore (it’s a power boat thing), so myself and the girls jumped in the dingy and went over to help them. We learned that Dave and Maureen were having battery issues but intended to head out when it was resolved. We sat on the beach most of the day and kept an eye out for Dave and Maureen, but when they finally arrived they anchored way out past everyone. Of course this now meant that Dave would be the main target for ribbing the rest of the weekend, actually on the Saturday night Dave mistook his own anchor light as the Hope Island lighthouse, which is about ten miles away (lots more ribbing). The weather ended up being great and we had a great sail, at times reaching seven and a half knots almost all the way back to the bottom of Beausoleil Island.

Alex reading on the beach Steve, Kathy and Alex on the beach

Massasauga Park, Parry Sound Trip

Check out the map of our Trip

A fully loaded boat For this years two week vacation we had originally planned on heading up to the Bustards (Maureen has a slightly different name for them), but after talking to a number of different people we decided to check out Massasauga Park south of Parry Sound. The Park is only accessible by water and we would be able to reach it in a single day of travel so it seemed like a great idea. Mike, Ruth, Dave and Maureen were also in their second week of holidays so it seemed like a good place to meet up.

We decided to check out Port Rawson Bay first. We had heard about this spot from other boaters and Mike and Ruth had been there earlier in the summer with a power boat flotilla, remember up to this point they are still only 50/50 on their anchorage suggestions. We took the outside passage up and tucked back in at O’Donnell Point. The ride up was uneventful, which means it was very enjoyable and we were able to motor sail at about 6.5 knots. As we approached the Point the wind really started to pick up to, but as we were heading into the inside passage we were dropping the sails and were well protected.

Kathy taking the girls tubing To actually get to Port Rawson Bay is a very winding path with a number of very tight spaces, in fact at one point you pass between two thirty foot rock walls which are only about fifty feet apart. Although this may seem like a lot of room you are always nervous about meeting up with another boat. We pulled into the area that Mike and I had discussed earlier and dropped the anchor in about 25 feet of water. It was only about two hours later when we were suddenly in the middle a very vicious thunderstorm. In fact it was raining so hard that the drains on the deck could not keep up and the water was pouring over the rails into the lake. It disappeared as quickly as it arrived and we were back in the middle of a beautiful sunny day, I was certainly glad we were anchored.

Points North with the dingy on deck
The next day Mike and Ruth arrived before lunch and then Dave and Maureen showed up later in the afternoon. Dave and Maureen had just travelled down from Big Sound Marina in Parry Sound and were not to happy, apparently there dingy was punctured by the marina dock and the marina was not taking any responsibility. We were later to find out that this actually a rather common occurrence even though the Marina insisted it was the first time they had heard about it.

We were to stay a total of three days in Port Rawson Bay and I can now say that Mike and Ruth are improving their odds and are now two for three. The water was about 75 degrees and the girls spent a lot of time swimming and touring around on the kayaks. We caught the big one When we decided to head out I was having a very difficult time hauling in the anchor, we have a manual windlass which is quite the advantage when pulling up over 100 pounds of chain and anchor. I assumed I had snagged something but as you can see it ended up being a lot more then I bargained for. This rock was the perfect size, any smaller and it have fallen out, any larger and it would not have fit. As it was I had to reach over the side, tie a line to the top of the anchor and flip it upside down and it came out with a large swoosh. I'm guessing it weighed about 150 pounds.

Dave relaxing

Dave and Maureen had left earlier in the day to head back to Penetang and deal with their dingy issue, apparently the damage was on a seam and was a specialised repair. We followed Mike and Ruth out of Port Rawson Bay and headed for Three Finger Bay, which was still in the park but about 10 miles away. Mike and Ruth arrived about 30 minutes before us and found a nice spot near the end of one of the fingers. We pulled in next to them and had a great protected anchorage for another couple of days.

Mike at the fire

For our first night in Three Finger Bay we decide to head to shore and have a fire at a site Mike and I checked out earlier in the day. We choose this night in particular because the sky was clear and it was supposed to be one of the most spectacular viewings of the Persieds Meteor shower in years. This event occurs each year on a specific day in August as the Earth passes through the debris field. I had read that on a typical year the average sighting of about 30 shooting stars a second could be seen. However this year it going through and even more dense area and we could expect over 200 shooting stars a second as well as fireballs (basketball sized meteors as opposed to the normal grain of sand size). Well the sky was clear, beautiful and full of stars, but woefully short on the meteor sightings.

Steve obeying the regulations We still saw about 30 in a two hour period, which at any other time would have been great but the build up ended up being a let down. Oh well the fire and the company were great.

Dave and Maureen pulled in the next day and Mike and I took turns picking them up in the dingy and taking them from boat to boat. You could really tell that “Dingy Dave” was out of his element, usually Dave will spend a fair bit of time in his dingy and well, he was just a lost soul. That night everybody came aboard our boat while I mixed up some Mojitos and we talked about our upcoming trip to the British Virgin Islands. When we were last all together at Christian Island we confirmed our plans to rent a 47 foot sailboat in February (the kids are staying at home).

Emma and Alex in the tube Emma in the lifelines
Emma in the tube Alex and Emma off the stern

The next day was Thursday and we had now been out six days. We were at the point where needed to charge the batteries, stock up on groceries and find a place to dump the garbage and recycling. We decided to head into Parry Sound, Mike and Ruth were heading back to Penetang and Dave and Maureen were staying at least another night, so we all headed into Henry’s for a nice fish lunch.

Coast Guard ship in Parry Sound

Mike and Ruth offered to take Alex and Emma to Henry's on thier boat for something different so I dropped them off and we headed off, followed by Mike and Ruth in their boat. Dave and Maureen also joined us in Mike and Ruth's dingy. We left first and arrived last, but since we were in the sailboat there was no hurry.

After lunch we headed to Parry Sound through the rather tight south shore route. The big concern with this route is the combination of the shallow areas and some really tight passages. As we approached the entrance to the southern route we saw the cruise ship that operates out of Parry Sound. I was really glad to see it ahead of us, rather than coming up behind us through the tight areas.

Alex and Emma on the bouy

The trip into Parry Sound was mostly uneventful, there were a few butt clenching moments with a few idiots blowing by you at 30 miles an hour in some of the really narrow sections. We had to wait for about 30 minutes for the swing bridge to open, but its always interesting to see.

We stayed in Parry Sound for three days which allowed us to get rid of the garbage and recycling, stock up on groceries, get ice, showers, pumped out and charged up the batteries. While we were here my brother dropped by on his way home from Sudbury and at the same time we had Hailey, her sister and grandparents join us for a few hours.

On previous trips to Parry Sound we've had to take a cab up to the grocery store out by the highway, however this year Sobey's decided to provide a shuttle bus from the Marina. This is a great idea, we were able to make use of a couple of times and each time had a great conversation with Oz the driver. I hope Sobey's decides to do this again next year.

Emma and Alex on the Kayak Emma on the Kayak

Other than the visitors and the re-stocking we didn't do much else in Parry Sound this year. Of course with did have the obigitory visits to the Bay Street Cafe and the Ice cream shop, but we also managed to have dinner at Wellington's (Creemore and Guiness on draught).

Steve with the girls

After leaving Parry Sound we had a great sail all the way into Kilcoursie Bay off of Kill Bear Provincial Park. We anchored in 25 feet of water and stayed here for three nights. For the most part the weather was nice and we spent time relaxing on the beach and taking the dingy over to the Visitor Centre. The girls enjoyed the visitor centre so much that they jumped at the chance to join me in my annual camping trip in October.

As we left Killcoursie and headed for home we decided to take the Wabauno Channel out past the inside passage and had a nice downwind sail all the way down to the bottom of Giant's Tomb. We continued our sail until the entrance of the Severn Sound and then motored the rest of the way into our slip. The whole trip which we usually do in two days we managed to complete in eight hours.

Mark and Terry's Visit

Mark, Terry and the girls on Kitchi's chair

We had Mark and Terry join us again for a weekend in September. The last time they joined us was the September of 2005, which was the first summer that we owned the Edel. They seem to be establishing a pattern since this is our first summer with the Pearson, however I have no intention of moving up to another boat in four years so we will have to get them up aging sooner this time.

This ended up being probably one of our best weekends of the summer. The weather was excellent, the sailing was great, there were no bugs and we managed to get a great spot. This weekend also coincided with the annual Polish sailing rendezvous, which meant it was a bit busier but we met some nice people with interesting stories.

Alex trying out the new composting toilet
On Saturday we made the ritual hike through the campground and out to Kitchi’s chair and then out to Thumb point. Thumb point was a must on our list this weekend beacuse Alex had to check out the composting toilet and it was all we heard about for the entire hike. Well after all that I think she found it a little disappointing but we insisted that she get a full experience and try it out as well.

With it being the end of the season the office where we usually buy our firewood had not planned very well and was sold out. The group for the rendezvous had bought the last 18 bags and we were surprised when the park staff had suggested grabbing some from the bush, which is usually against the rules. Mark and I managed to find a few good pieces and we had a great fire with the usual drink and food accompaniments.

Terry, Steve and Kathy out by Kitchi's chair Mark relaxing with a beverage
Alex riding in the caution area

The next day we headed out for a hike to the cemetery and then over to Christian Beach. On the way we head to keep our eyes open since there were still signs posted warning that there could be a bear in the area.

The girls rode there bikes over and we had a great view of the west side of Beausoleil. We enjoyed the hike so much that we decided to continue down to the southern most point of the island. This was designated as a “no bikes” trail, but since we had already ignored the wood rule we pressed onwards. This was a new trail to all of us and we realized that there was a good reason for the “no bikes” designation. Although it wasn’t tough hiking there were a number of spots that the girls had to push or carry their bikes.

We were treated with a great hike and there are still signs of a bad storm that had caused a lot of damage about fifteen years ago. The size of some of the uprooted trees really gave a good indication of how severe the storm had been.

After a short rest at Beausoliel Point we were back on the trail heading back to the boat. What started out as a short hike ended up being about 3 1/2 hours, but it was such a nice day it was a great way to finish up our boating season.

Mark at the Helm Mark and Steve

The Rest of the Summer

Summer of 2009 Pictures

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