The Adventures of Ninkasi

Journal for 2010

Easter Weekend (April 2nd-5th) May 1-2nd Weekend May 8-9th Weekend
May 24th Weekend May 29-30th Weekend June 5-6th Weekend
June 19-20th Weekend June 26-27th Weekend Canada Day Weekend
July 17-18th Weekend July 24-25th Weekend August Long Weekend
Summer Vacation August 28-29th Weekend Labour Day Weekend
September 18-19th Weekend September 25-26th Weekend Thanksgiving Day Weekend
The Rest of the Summer

Easter Weekend (April 2nd-5th)

The Easter long weekend is always hit or miss for the weather, some years have been sunny and warm while one year I think Kathy and I were the only ones in the Marina, I guess no one else thought -6 Celsius was considered a working weekend. This year however the entire month of April was great.

Our goal for the weekend was to get the boat washed, waxed and to touch up the bottom paint. Things went better than usual and this was all done the first day. By the end of the weekend we had also polished all the chrome, stripped all the rails that I had spent hours refinishing last year (I was not very happy) and completed a number of other small jobs.

Even though it was in the twenties during the day the night temperatures were still dropping below zero which meant we decided to spend a couple of nights at the Shamrock Motel in Midland. It’s nice to be able to have a shower and relax and the girls enjoy using the trampoline.

May 1-2nd Weekend

Since the weather was fantastic this spring we had the boat ready to go by the second weekend in April. The marina however has us way in the back with about a dozen boats in the way and they were not launching until the last week in April. We arranged to be launched on the 30th of April and Alex and I arrived around nine that night. I spent the next few hours getting the boat ready to move. We woke up early the next morning the engine started right up and the two of us moved the boat into our spot like a pair of experts, of course there was no one around impress.

Kathy and Emma showed up later in the day and we spent the next two days getting the boat into shape.

May 8-9th Weekend

We had big plans for this weekend, since we were ready earlier this year than any other the idea was to head over to the island. Since the last three weekends were great and we had already taken home the heater we were looking forward to having the island all to ourselves. After wearing shorts the weekend before we were in for a big surprise, we had sleet, rain, a few flurries and a high of about eight Celsius. We were smart enough to bring the heater back up and it was going the entire weekend. As it turned out the head broke on Friday night and that gave me a new priority job to take care of, so it was off to West Marine on Saturday morning.

Since this was also the mother’s day weekend the ongoing joke was that new head would be Kathy’s present. We did the usual when we stay in the marina, dinner at the Cellerman’s and then to Dairy Queen for dessert.

May 24th Weekend

The girls fishing Gord and Stevie joined us again this year for the May 24th weekend. We managed to slip right into our spot and had a great weekend weather wise. This was by far the best May 24th weekend that we have had in the last eight years. We had a few fires at night, went on hikes, the girls were biking, fishing and for the first time actually went in swimming, I finally broke down and went in Monday morning before we headed back.

The girls kept Gord busy with the fishing and Stevie ended up catching what we all thought was the ugliest fish we had ever seen. After searching through the nature books we determined it was a Sculplin, Gord and anyone else we talked to had never seen one before (later we found that my mom used to catch them when she was a kid in the maritimes). Each of the girls caught a few fish and enjoyed it so much that they used up all the worms.

Alex, Gord and a Perch The girls on the bow

May 29-30th Weekend

The girls at the Welcome sign It was just the girls and I this weekend and as usual we managed to get in a hike, well I hiked and the girls rode their bikes. The girls did a lot of biking, playing on the beach and were in swimming a few times.

The big event of the weekend was the rather excessive campfire that was built by the power boaters on the dock (always have to do things on big side). One of them saw me taking the picture and I told them it was for insurance purposes. We took our little (legal) bag of wood to the fire, however it was just ridiculed and in the end wasn’t required. It may be hard to tell from the picture, however the firepit in the picture is about 15 feet in diameter and it was full.

Emma on her bike The girls on Kitchi's chair
Powerboater fire Emma and aAlex about to swim

June 5-6th Weekend

This ended up being a boat job weekend, I came up by myself on Friday and had dinner at the Cellerman’s. The weekend was kind of crappy so I couldn’t tackle the exterior wood work. Instead I replaced the name of the boat so we are now once again Ninkasi. I also entirely ripped the boat apart so I could run some wiring for both the 12 volt and 110 for the TV that we will mount on the front bulkhead. It was a good thing I was alone for this as the boat was a complete disaster.

June 19-20th Weekend

Ron on Kitchi's chair Kathy’s friends Ron and his wife Annette came up to join us for the weekend. Currently Ron and Annette boat out of Bayfield on Lake Huron on a 27 foot Mirage and are considering moving up to Georgian Bay so we invited them up for the weekend to give them a taste of where the real boaters play.

We headed out to the island but unfortunately there was no wind so we motored. We did not find a space on the wall and had to anchor out but apparently our anchoring techniques are to be commended given that Annette wanted Ron to take note that Kathy and I did not yell at each other through the entire procedure.

Sunday was Father’s day and the girls were eager to give me the rest of my gifts. They had given me my one gift on Friday night which was a Wi-Fi antenna for the boat. The reason for getting the Wi-Fi early was so I could do an install and test it out with hopes that we could get an internet connection at the island. As it turns out we can get a connection but the signal is a bit too weak to maintain a connection. Maybe next year there will be some new possibilities.

The wind on Sunday started out at 15 knots and the sailing was quite comfortable until we were out of the lee of the island and approached the channel where the winds reached 25 knots, proving to be quite the sail back. Ron had the helm until once again the winds were on our nose. Annette once again advised Ron to take note that I was not yelling at Kathy during the sail.

June 26-27th Weekend

It was just the girls and I this weekend. We left our marina about nine on Saturday and headed for Beausoliel. We managed to sail with on headsail alone but after we turned up the east side of the island the wind was on our nose and we turned on the motor for the rest of the trip.

Emma at the Helm

We spotted an open spot on the wall and headed for it. Since the fenders and the lines were already on the starboard side we decided it would be easier to tie up on that side. Bad idea, by then the wind had picked up to about 25 knots and was now on our stern which made it very difficult to steer (read impossible).

Wham!!!, we ended up hitting the dock rather hard and we were quickly being blown off the wall. Even with lots of help from the other boaters that were already there we were unable to dock, the wind overwhelmed our helpers and took the stern around the opposite way. So within a few seconds we changed our game plan and ended up tying up on our port side. As the stern swung around we had a lot more manoeuvrability and I was able to bring us in and tie up.

Lesson Seven: When the wind is over 20 knots always head into the wind when trying to dock. When possible, of course.

This was the weekend we ended up meeting Mellow Yellow, which is a house boat from our marina. Ever since Alex could talk every time we passed by Mellow Yellow she would mention it was her favourite boat. The girls spent the day riding their bikes and went on a guided hike with one of the park staff. I managed a few boat jobs and later that evening Lar and Laurie from Mellow Yellow joined us in the evening for a fire.

After all the wind of the previous two days there was almost none on the way home so we ended up motoring back to the marina. Alex fell asleep while Emma and I took turns at the helm.

Canada Day Weekend

The girls finished school on the 29th and Kathy was off work so they headed up to the boat on Wednesday morning to get the boat ready to go. When I arrived early on Wednesday night we decided to head out to the island and ended up eating supper on the way.

Emma planting a tree We arrived at the island around 8:00pm and were happy to grab a spot on the wall.

The holiday fell on a Thursday this year and this meant the park was not very busy. We checked the activity board at the kiosk and decided to go and plant some trees. The park had arranged for some tree planting up at the old maintenance compound so the girls each planted a tree. They then made metal tags with their name on them which were put around the tree. Eventually these will be placed on permanent wooden stakes.

Alex planting a tree

They had their pictures taken and were given posters of endangered species in the park. There was also a scheduled hike to the light house in the afternoon but the girls decided that they didn’t want to hike that far today and instead choose to ride their bikes around the park.

Later in the day when we were talking to the park staff, the new ranger remembered the girls from the previous weekend. He had taken them on a guided hike and he had first asked them what they knew about the park. Poor sap, apparently they taught him things about the park he was not familiar with and another job offer was extended to the girls when they get older.

Alex, Emma and Pineapple Jr.

Later that night we enjoyed a fire and were able to watch the fireworks from the towns all around us.

It appeared more people were given the Friday off as the holiday since there was a noticeable increase in the boat traffic. Despite this a spot remained open on the wall all day. "Timings Everything" showed up late in the day and took the spot for the night so we enjoyed a fire with Randy, Maryanne, and their kids (and friends) Friday night. We were able to reminisce about the Canada day weekend we shared together two years previously. If you can’t remember that incident go back and check it out(the police were involved).

On Saturday we decided to take a dinghy ride over to Picnic Island for ice cream after lunch so we could break in the new motor. Kathy has now been deemed bad luck in the dinghy because once again we got swamped on the way out of Big Dog Channel. The girls have now banned her from the dinghy.

Emma and Pineapple Jr.

The park was also having a snake presentation in the late afternoon. They had brought over a fox snake named Pineapple Jr., which turned out to be Vixen’s son. Vixen was the fox snake they use to keep at the Visitors Center (back when they had a visitor’s centre). The girls had become quite fond of Vixen and Christine who worked at the park. They would visit every chance they could. Vixen also was the snake that Kathy and the girls watch shed her skin one afternoon.

Alex having a rough morning

“Red” Rick and Lee were also out for the weekend and by mid afternoon on Saturday they became the hub for an impromptu eight boat raft up party. I of course decided it would be rude if I didn’t drop by, so I took a kayak and paddled over. As it happens “Blue” Rick had a new boat and as such his new designation is now “Brown” Rick.

The boat "Forever Young" from our marina tied up to the wall in the afternoon. The girl’s were quite happy to see Don’s great niece and nephew Megan and Devin were on board whom they had met a few years ago. We had another fire, this time with sparklers and glow sticks. After a great weekend we headed back to the marina just after lunch on Sunday.

July 17-18th Weekend

Barb, Alex and Emma Kathy’s friend Barb finally made it up to the boat this weekend. She entirely missed out on our last boat but had been on our Nash 20 a number of times. As usual we headed out to the island but to our surprise again we were unable to get on to the wall so we remained anchored out for the weekend. This actually ended up being a blessing since there were three rather large powerboats tied up and seemed to be partying rather hard. It would not have been a kid friendly environment.

Barb, Alex and Emma

On Saturday we went to shore, hiked up to Kitchi’s chair and then grabbed some ice. We came back later to see Shawn’s turtle presentation. The girls and Barb spent a few hours in the water and we spent the evening in the cockpit playing cards and chatting.

July 24-25th Weekend

Kathy cleaning We had some boat jobs that needed to be done so we decided that we would stay in the marina this weekend and see what we could get done. Kathy cleaned and polished the coach roof, which is something we have been trying to get done since the spring. I replaced the two pulls on the rear cockpit lockers and re caulked the propane locker. I also epoxied the teak cap rail and bolted it together where it had split on the one side.

My mom came up for the first time to see the new boat and stayed the night. We went to the Cellerman’s for dinner and then returned for movie night at the marina where we watched Old Dogs.

In the morning we discovered that our oven was not working. Kathy was wondering why is it every time we stay at the marina that something breaks, however I prefer to think of this as good luck rather than bad. The girls left with my mom after lunch to spend a week with her and Kathy and I continued with our boat jobs and left around supper time.

August Long Weekend

Kathy and I decided to head out to Christian Island for the weekend since we had not been out since the last Civic holiday. We left the marina around 10 and arrived at around 1:30. There was no wind so we motored the entire way and most of it using the auto pilot.

Mike and Ruth There were very few boats in the anchorage which seemed strange for a long weekend, but we wern’t complaining. Later in the day Mike and Ruth joined us on their way back from holidays in the North Channel. Mike and Ruth dropped by for drinks which also gave Mike and I some time to review some of the charts of the North Channel. Mike and Ruth had a number of great suggestions for some good anchorages to try.

They were a little surprised and disappointed that the girls were not with us. Ruth was really looking forward to a fire and smores. After supper they returned for more drinks, Kathy and Mike managed to polish off two bottles of wine and I attempted to prepare Ruth’s smores on the barbeque.

Sunday Kathy and I cleaned the canvas and removed all the spiders and their webs. We then sprayed with Spider Ban by C.I.L. that Ron and Annette had recommended, great stuff. We then scrubbed all the cockpit cushions. Nothing beats good old Spray Nine!

Avron and his girlfriend showed up in the anchorage later in the day and then came over for a few drinks. Mike and Ruth left in the afternoon and Kathy and I ended up playing Rummy in the cockpit until Kathy could no longer see the cards. We were up at 5:45 am and were on our way by 6:00 am as we had to pick up the girls and Kathy had to be at work by 3:00. We made good time and were able to sail until the bottom of Giants Tomb.

Summer Vacation

Check out the map of our Trip

Emma going for a swim Saturday was the start of our summer vacation and we had a later start. We left the marina at 11:15 after fuelling up, pumping out and making sure we had an extra fuel filter on board just in case.

We headed out to Christian Island and just as we left the marina we ran into 25 dinghies racing by us towards the dock in Penetang. As we passed Asylum Point we were once again surrounded by about 20 dinghies, apparently we had stumbled into a dingy poker run and they were all retrieving a card from a sail boat off the point while being shot with a water cannon.

As usual the wind was on our nose the entire way out and we arrived in Little Sandy Bay around 3:00 pm and noticed there were very few boats in the anchorage. The girls took the kayaks into shore and then came back for a swim and try out the new rope swing we introduced to them. The last time we were at Christian island we watched some kids from another boat using a halyard to swing off the deck of the boat. The rope swing is proving a little more challenging than we had anticipated as the girls were rather apprehensive. The day ended in the typical fashion, with dinner and then followed by crazy eights or rummy in the cockpit.

August 8th

The rain woke us up around 3am and we ran around closing windows and hatches only later to find out that we had missed one. Everyone slept in as it was raining and the rain continued throughout the day and finally ended around 4 pm. We continued to hear about severe wind warnings in the area and even though we kept an eye out we never experienced any. The girls spent the remainder of the day kayaking to shore to collect stones to make jewellery, swimming and once again attempting to master the rope swing.

August 9th

Alex and Emma kayaking past the Gargantua

The alarm went off at 5:30 am, so we checked the weather which remained unchanged with light winds which would be diminishing to no wind by the end of the day. We raised the anchor at 6:15 am and headed between Christian Island and Hope Island on our way to Wingfield Basin.

The girls finally woke up some time after eight and we were able to motor sail for about 3 hours before the wind died. After that the water became glass and a light fog rolled in. We spent the next 6 hours surrounded by fog and that meant we saw absolutely nothing else, not even another boat until we the anchorage at Wingfield Basin.

There were about 20 boats in the anchorage and we found a nice spot in front of the Gargantua shipwreck.

August 10th

Kathy, Alex and Emma at Cabot Head

We woke up to a beautiful clear calm morning and most of the boats had already left the anchorage. After we had a big breakfast, Emma went in for her morning swim and Kathy decided to join her for the first time this year.

After the swim we took the dingy over to the entrance of the bay and followed the trail up to the Cabot Head Lighthouse. The light house is also a museum and we had a chance to speak with some members of the "Friends of Cabot Head Lighthouse" who shared some of their local knowledge with us.

Anchored in Wingfield Basin

While we were at the lighthouse Emma met a girl from the boat that was anchored in front of us and it turns out she was also part fish. After we returned to the boat Nicole joined Emma for a swim off our boat.

As we left Wingfield Basin and headed for Tobermory the skies were clear and we could see both Bear’s Rump and Flower Pot Island. However within an hour both these islands and the shoreline quickly disappeared from sight. A fog rolled in and we were fully engulfed, visibility was extremely poor, but thank God for the chart plotter. We now know one of the reasons why there have been so many shipwrecks in the area.

Kathy found it less of a sphincter clenching trip than the entrance to Meaford - I was quite the opposite. Although we could not see them there were a few other boats in the area. We continued to hear their security warnings, position and direction. We also assumed they could hear ours.

We passed Bear’s Rump, Flower Pot Island and Middle Island, which are supposed to be fine examples of the Georgian Bay landscape. Of course we could not see a damn thing! We were only able to make out the shore line just as we approached the entry to Little Tub Harbour and the green buoy suddenly appeared about 150 metres off the bow, right where chart plotter said it would be. Just as we made the turn into the harbour the fog lifted and we could see clearly into the town.

Johnny Angel out of Midland

After tying up at the commercial dock we went for a walk to the Harbourmaster’s office where we met the people from” Johnny Angel” a Hampton 600 out of Bayport. This was the only boat we had seen on our trip into Tobermory. They came out of nowhere and the captain (John) said that we came up as a very strong signal on his radar. He decided to come up directly behind us so we could see him before he passed. It was good to know that we appeared on radar with a very good signal, even without our radar reflector up.

After checking in with the dock master we walked around the town and checked out the many little shops and boutiques. I was also able to pick up some charts that we may need further along in the trip.

Tobermory is a busy little town in the summer; it is at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula and is a very popular destination for scuba divers who come to visit Fathom Five National Park. It is also the main port for the Chi-Cheemaun ferry which will take cars and passengers over to Manitoulin Island. It’s easy to tell when the ferry is about to leave town as the population will usually be cut in half.

We enjoyed a supper out at the Crows nest, a hopping little restaurant at the boat launch. We then headed back to the boat and watched the fog roll into the harbour for the night, while we played Crazy Eights and a game of Clue in the cockpit.

August 11th

There is no need for an alarm clock in Tobermory. At 6:50 am each morning the Chi-Cheemaun blows its horn twice for the last call to board the ferry before it leaves. The town’s snooze alarm goes off at 7:00 am as the Chi-Cheemaun leaves for Manitoulin Island and it again signals that it is leaving port.

Tobermory in the fog

It was a good thing our plans included spending another day in Tobermory. The fog is even worse today and the entrance is totally engulfed and the town completely surrounded. While we were touring the town and checking out the local stores, a woman that runs a Kayak rental and tour place mentioned that she had received a call from the Harbourmaster in the morning and was told that they were not to let anyone go out until the fog lifted. This apparently was the first time she had ever received a call from the harbourmaster in the 11 years she had been in business.

We decided to walk up to the Bruce Peninsula National Park along the Bruce Trail and have a look around the museum there. We then came back for lunch and although we were told to have the Whitefish at Craigie’s Harbourview Restaurant we decided to eat at the “Shipwreck” where they served Flying Monkey's "Hoptical Illusion" and kids ate for a toonie. I cheaped out and went with the Alaskan Whitefish and Kathy ordered the Georgian Bay White fish. The Georgian Bay Whitefish was by far the better fish. It was a good thing it was all you could eat because I ordered a few more pieces of Georgian Bay Whitefish. I had a good beer conversation with our waiter/owner and of course the meal and service were excellent.

alex and Emma in Tobermory

After lunch the girls and Kathy headed to the “Sweet Shop” for some candy and ice cream while I went back to the boat for a nap. Back at our dock I spoke to one of the dive boat captain’s who said it was horrible out on the bay with only about 50 feet visibility. After getting back from a charter he mentioned that if he still drank he would be a having a few good stiff ones after today’s trip.

We had supper on the boat and headed off to the legion there was a couple putting on a slide show presentation of their trip from Georgian Bay to the Bahamas on a 36 C&C. Although the presentation was good the information and the couple were entertaining it was not really timely. It appeared that their cruise took place in the late eighties. Even though it said all were welcome, it was being held in the legion and the girls were not allowed to stay so Kathy took them for a tour of the town. Since we arrived the girls had been looking forward to their first Beaver Tail. Alex had a Nutella (of course) and Emma had an Oreo tail. They also watched the Chi-Cheemaun come into harbour, unload and load up again for its last run of the night.

August 12th

Lighthouse at Big Tub Harbour, Tobermorry

The fog has finally lifted toady and it looks like we can finally head out, much to Alex’s disappointment. Alex has enjoyed our stay and has decided that she will be moving to Tobermory when she is older. In all our boating experience we’ve never really had to deal with fog before, however most of our vacation so far has been dealing with fog. With this in mind we put up the radar reflector, topped up the diesel and got pumped out before leaving Tobermory.

After about 90 minutes our winds lessened in strength and changed direction. Yes you guessed the winds were now directly on our nose and then the fog also decided to roll in but thankfully only for a brief time.

The Chi-Cheemaun

We were headed to the anchorage at Rattlesnake Harbour on Fitzwilliam Island and when we arrived at about 3:00. We were the only ones in the anchorage.

There were actually people working on the island, although we could not really tell what they were working at. They ended up leaving by 4:30 and we had the entire anchorage to ourselves for the night. The girls opted out of swimming when they found out the water temperature was 66 degrees. We spent the evening playing Crazy Eighties.

August 13th

Just after we woke up this morning I noticed a sailboat entering the anchorage, they said that they had been in James Bay and had left to get some rest as they had been rocking and rolling most of the night.

The girls hanging over the side

After breakfast we pulled up the anchor and were on our way by 10:00. Today we were headed for Heywood Island; Mike had mentioned it as a rather nice anchorage and I think he has now redeemed himself.

The winds were 12-15 knots on the beam and we were under full sail for four to five hours; however, the swells were one to two meters so the ride was a bit rough. The swells continued to build and for the girls it became a G2 summit (Gravol and ginger ale). They enjoyed hanging over the side and getting their legs soaked.

We think that Alex might have swimmers ear; luckily we had ear drops on board and they seem to be working. For the last week Dave and I have been trading emails. We were about a week behind them and to our surprise we crossed paths with them as we were entering the North Channel near the entrance buoy.

Dave and Maureen, heading to Killarney

They were intending to head to Rattlesnake Harbour (where we had just left five hours ago). However after we explained that the currently rough conditions were actually greatly improved from what we had just been through they quickly changed their minds. Since they have been heading right into the rough conditions they plotted a new heading for Killarney. As it turned out, they would be stuck there for another four days and would get rather beaten up on their return trip.

When we arrived at the Heywood Island anchorage there were five other boats however by the end of the night there were 12 of us spending the night. Emma was eager to get in swimming as the water temperature was 71 degrees, which is rather warm for the North Channel.

Kathy had asked me to show here where we were in Georgian Bay, as she had “lost her bearings” and needed a point of reference. Upon hearing this Emma unwittingly gave us a new boat quote, she mentioned that she too was “lost in the berries”.

After supper we finally had a chance to watch “Avatar”. Everyone enjoyed the movie except Kathy who fell asleep after the first 45 minutes.

August 14th

We slept in this morning and noticed that four boats had already left the anchorage as the winds are supposed to pick up later this morning. We decided to remain at Heywood Island as the winds were changing to the south later this afternoon and thought we would be more protected here than at Beaver Island.

Emma in snorkelling

It was looking like it was going to rain this morning and even though we did receive a few drops I decided to go ahead and sand the front half of the side rails. I then managed to scrub and clean them with teak cleaner. So I don’t end up with the same peeling problem next year I’ll follow the technical advice from Ephiphanes and put a bead of caulk at the base before I varnish them again. Kathy cleaned the dinghy and then continued to scrub the sides of the boat as well.

After lunch we decided to take a dinghy ride to a nearby marina in the town of Sheguiandah on Manitoulin Island so we could pick up some ice. The marina was rather difficult to find and when we did finally locate it we had a hard time finding the entrance. It wasn’t until we were tied up that I watched a powerboat (with windows that were blood soaked and covered with fish guts) approach the Marina entrance at full speed and then slow down just as they entered.

Emma in snorkelling

So if by chance you should ever wish to venture in for ice at this Marina, the trick is to line up the two 20lb floating propane tanks and then continue to stay between sticks that are just breaking the surface of the water. I guess this is what they mean by local knowledge.

We tied up to the second dock as it appeared to be the safest and had the largest part that wasn’t submerged. We were about to cross the road to the main office for ice but we were lucky the owner was at the fish cleaning shed and we were able to grab our ice there for $2.75 a bag (it probably cost $10 in gas to get there).

The owner told us that his parents had started the marina and cottage rental (12 in total) in 1948 and that he had just had a customer leave last week that has been coming up for 52 years. We are not sure if anything has changed since 1948, especially the docks. The owner then went back into the freezer to get the girls a Popsicle. We then headed back out through the sticks and past the floating propane canisters. After we returned there was a steady stream of boats coming into the anchorage with 13 by the time the sun went down.

August 15th

Heywood Island in the fog

This morning the fog was so thick we could barely see the boat beside us let alone all the other boats in the anchorage, but within a few hours the fog was burning off quickly and we were on our way to Little Current by 10:30 am. Unfortunately the wind was against us so we motored and arrived at the Swing Bridge about 11:35.

Since the bridge only opens on the hour it gave us a little time to observe the current. We also gave ourselves a pat on the back for leaving when we did as the Coast Guard put out a Squall and high wind warning while we were waiting for the bridge to open. The current was not too strong so it made way for a smooth passage and entrance into our slip but as noted in the Ports book the current quickly changed and became quite strong as well as the winds. I’ve renamed the town to “Big Ass Current” as you can see from the picture of the bouy just across from our dock.

The lighthouse on Strawberry Island Bouy in Big Ass Current

For lunch we went to the Fish and Chip shop at the end of our dock. The fish was excellent but we know for next time only order one dinner and extra fish as the amount of fries was incredible.

The bridge at Little Current

Kathy and Alex went to the laundromat to do some laundry while Emma and I stayed at the boat to have a rest before I decide to tackle the caulking for the cap rail. The girls had a Farquhar’s ice cream in the late afternoon so as usual we ended up having a later supper at the Anchor Inn Bar and Grill.

The meals were good but since they didn’t have a kids menu Emma and Kathy split the Barbeque Chicken Breast. Alex finished off a plate of perogies and I had one of the last servings of Prime Rib. While we were at supper I received an email from Dave and Maureen saying they have been fogged in at Killarny since Saturday and they would be listening for us on the Cruisers’ network in the morning. Kathy and Emma played Crazy Eights while Alex read. The winds and the current remained strong throughout the night with both finally slowing early in the morning.

August 16th

Little Current is home to the Cruiser’s Net. Every morning at 9:00 Roy Eaton signs on to channel 74 on the VHF. He starts the show by asking if there are any emergencies and then follows with the weather. He will then give all boaters within a 50 mile radius a chance to call in and let everyone know where they are. It’s a great way to keep tabs on some friends or to get an idea of some good anchorages.

The girls in Little Current

We tuned into the Cruisers’ Network this morning and heard Dave and Maureen calling from Killarney. When it was our turn we called in and Roy had a little trouble with our name but eventually got it. We are planning to go to tomorrow’s broadcast which is down from at the Anchor Inn.

A few boats left today but since the winds are supposed to be in the 25-30 knot range most boats, including us are staying put. One of the boats that left our dock in the morning returned about two hours later, they bailed due to the winds and the seven to eight foot waves.

When we arrived in Little Current we dropped off our garbage and then asked where we could drop off our recycling. One of the staff on the dock mentioned that we could drop it off at the Shell station up the road. Turns it was just a regular sized blue box. I guess recycling is still being introduced.

After finishing our grocery shopping at the Value Mart we walked back downtown for lunch at “The Pantry”. As the day went on boats continued to come into Little Harbour for the night as the high winds persisted well into the evening. A severe thunderstorm warning was also issued with the possibility of tornadoes. Luckily we only had the rain on and off for about an hour. Alex spent the night reading while Kathy and I were getting tired of crazy eights so we taught Emma how to play Rummy.

August 17th

Our alarm went off at 7:35 so we could go out for breakfast at the pantry and then go to the Cruisers’ Network for the broadcast. We had a good time at the broadcast and the girls had their picture taken with Roy. A picture of our boat will also be added into the Cruiser’s Network’s photo album.

Roy and the girls

We didn’t hear Point’s North call into the net this morning so we are hoping that they have made it out of Killarney and are on their way home. The wind warnings are still out and boats were reporting 25 knot winds in the North Channel. We have decided that we will remain where we are for another day as the winds are supposed to lessen a bit in the morning so we will make a run for Killarney.

After the Cruiser’s Network we walked down towards the Spider Bay Marina and went into the chandleries but there was a very limited selection. We also found a park where the girls played for awhile. I discovered there was a Rona in Little Current so after a while at the park I decided to search it out so I could buy some supplies to finish the cap rails.

We went for ice cream in the afternoon and Kathy spoke with some sailors who had just came in. They mentioned they had to deal with 6 foot seas and it was a very unpleasant journey. We received an email from Point’s North (Dave and Maureen) saying that they headed to Beaver Stone River yesterday, will head to Britt today and then to Kilcoursie Bay tomorrow. Dave had hoped we were hunkered down somewhere as it was quite hairy out there. I guess we made the right decision to stay put.

Emma in the playground Alex in the playground

We spent the afternoon puttering around the boat and listening to the wind howl. I finally got around to taking a look at the oven. It appeared that it was only a pressure problem with the propane, so it was an easy fix. Since there were so many boats that had come to hide at the marina there ended up being an impromptu get together at the covered picnic area. We had a late invitation so we joined the party late. We think we will make a run for Killarney tomorrow morning as the winds are supposed to be 15 – 20 knots in the morning and hopefully we will leave early enough before it picks up again.

August 18th

Leaving Little Current Kathy and I were up at 6:15 am even though our alarm was set for 6:30. We had to prepare for the trip to Killarney and we wanted to make the 7:00 am bridge opening. The wind had finally let up and it wasn’t supposed to last very long so a lot of boats were up and trying to get out of Little Current early.

Our planning worked out well, we were waiting only a few minutes for the bridge to open and then were on our way. The winds were again on our nose and the girls slept for another hour or two. Shortly after leaving, Gary from “Watermark” passed us. He contacted us on the VHF and asked if we would call into the cruisers net for him as he thought he would be out of range by the check in time. In the end he managed to get in touch with Roy before he started. We were able to check in but they were still having problems with the boat name.

Alex on the way to Killarney Emma on the way to Killarney Emma catching some rays

Steve and the girls at the Killarney lighthouse We ended up pulling into Killarney around 11:00 am, the winds were really starting to pick up again and we had managed have a pretty good sail for about an hour or two. We topped up our diesel, got a pump out and registered at the Killarney Mountain Lodge for the night.

We went to Herbert’s for lunch, the white fish was excellent with the girls eating one dinner between them and Kathy and I splitting another, the portions are very large. Throughout our trip the whitefish has been a big item and this was by far the best we had on the trip.

We had supper on the boat and afterwards we headed to the Carousal Lounge for a few drinks and to see the entertainment. Andy Lowe is the regular entertainment four times a week in the summer and professes to know well over 200 songs from memory. The girls enjoyed themselves they drank Shirley Temples and especially liked it when Andy sang Sweet Caroline.

August 19th

We woke up this morning to get ready to start our trip home. During our departure preparations it started to rain and the wind reports did not sound very promising. We did not want to get trapped in Killarney like Dave and Maureen had, but on the other hand we did not want to take a beating by leaving in bad weather. We made the decision to delay our departure when it began to pour down. As we were eating breakfast the Coast guard changed their forecast stating the winds would be gusting to 30 knots from the southeast this morning and then we started to hear the fog horn from the lighthouse, looks like we made the right decision.

Plane taking off in Killarney

The fog lifted and the sky cleared late in the morning so we were starting to regret our decision. That was until we heard from Dave and Maureen saying that they had a terrible trip back but were finally in the marina.

It was still too rough outside of the channel so the planes had to take off right behind us - I would hate to be coming through the channel and see a plane coming at me.

The girls met a girl named Macara from the boat “Scuba Doo” that was on the dock next to us. The girls invited her to our boat to play with the horses while we sat in the cockpit with her parents Ian and Carrie who are out of Wiarton. Kathy did not feel like cooking so we went to the Sportsman’s Inn for supper and came back to watch a movie. The girls stayed up but I went to bed early as we knew we would have a long day ahead of us.

August 20th

Leaving Killarney Kathy and I were up by 6:00 and on our way by 6:30 just as the sun was rising and the mist was coming off the lake. After checking out the marine weather report it looked like it was going to be a calm day but as per usual the wind was going to be on our nose most of the way.

Our plan was to head straight down the middle of Georgian Bay all the way to Christian Island, which I estimated would be about a 16 hour trip. We were able to sail for about two hours of our trip and we were out of sight of land for the majority of the day. In fact we only saw two other boats all day and they were off in the distance.

Kathy and the girls

At about 5pm we were back in cellular range and we received a wind up date from Dave. Although we were currently experiencing good conditions it was going to worsen in the early evening. The winds were supposed to pick up to 20 knots right on the nose and the waves would be between one to three meters. We had to make the call of whether we stick to our original plan and keep going to Christian or try and cut in at O’Donnell point.

With O’Donnell point we would just make the entrance as it got dark, there are also a lot of rocks and other hazards and then we would have to find a safe place to anchor. With Christian, we knew the area better and there were less hazards but it would be a rough ride. We ended up choosing to stick with our original plan. Both the winds and waves grew as predicted we were being pounded by the waves. At one point we were only doing 3 knots with the engine running much higher than normal.

Kathy and the girls

For the longest time Hope Island Lighthouse seemed to stand still. We finally pulled into Little Beckwith at 1:00 am (18 hours from our start time) and were finally anchored at 1:30. It wasn’t our best anchoring job as Kathy and I were both tired and the initial spot we had picked was not to the approval of another boat nearby. We all slept well.

After all this it is always a good idea to take a look back and see if we would do anything differently. All in all I think we made the correct decisions when we needed to, but I think the overall trip was too long. I would probably cut the trip in half next time and pull into Killcoursie for the night. The winds and waves were still high the next day we would still have had to deal with the winds, but we would have been better rested. It was really only the last couple of hours where we got tired.

August 21st

In the end we didn’t sleep as well as we had thought we would, so we were up around 9:00 and had breakfast. The plan was to do the last run to the marina before the weather turned nasty so we were on our way with the winds on our nose by 10:30. We arrived at the marina around 2:00pm only to discover there was a boat in our spot. We were at the fuel docks for about an hour while they figured out what to do with the other boat. They ended up moving it to Dennis and Janet’s spot and about an hour later Denis and Janet showed up and they had to move it again!

Back in our spot

We topped up our diesel again to see how much we had used and I wanted to calculate how many gallons we use an hour. We put in 60 litres and I have figured out we use approximately 0.6 litres per hour which works out to 72 hours of motoring or about 350 nautical miles at a speed of 5 knots. Always good to know.

We returned to our slip to see that Tug’n has returned from their trip to Lake Superior. They mentioned how much they enjoyed their trip and how glad they were to be back. We told them about the people that had their spot while they were away and that we were also glad "they were back". We headed to the Cellerman’s for dinner and of course to DQ for dessert before returning to the marina. It was movie night at the marina but we elected not to go as we were all still tired from yesterday's adventure. Sonja and Derrick from “SAN D” a new Edel owner at the marina dropped by for a visit. It was an early night for everyone.

August 22nd

After two weeks on the boat it required a major cleanup. Kathy was able to get the inside of the boat cleaned while the girls and I went into town to fill up the water jugs, the propane and take a quick trip to West Marine for some parts.

When I got back Kathy and I began to tackle the outside of the boat. We started with the anchor locker. Since we anchored a lot in mud it was in dire need. It began to drizzle while we were scrubbing but we continued on and managed to finish everything but the cockpit before it started pouring. We were almost out of Spray Nine and given the state of the cockpit it may need a whole bottle itself. I guess we will have another job for next weekend. We ended up closing up and heading home around 4 pm.

Over all everyone enjoyed the trip but Kathy and I were a little disappointed at how little we saw of the North Channel. The high winds had kept us pinned down in marinas most of the time. However, I’m sure that was better than being in a bad anchorage.

Of course there is always next year. The girls are already talking about it!

August 28-29th Weekend

Cardboard boat race The weather this weekend was calling for high winds and possibly rain. Usually we would not let this bother us and we would just head out to the island and tie up to the wall. However, the part of the park that we like to visit is shut down for the rest of the year. After the long weekend in August, Parks Canada closed the “Cedar Springs” campsite, main dock and the cruiser dock for some upgrades and repairs.

We decided to stay in the marina this weekend and do a few boat jobs. The marina was also having a cardboard boat race, dingy poker run and then a dance. At first the girls were not really that interested in the cardboard boat race, but when we told them they could take their water bazookas and spray the people in the race they were game. Of course we did not tell them that the people in the race would be fighting back. Kathy and the girls had a great time and the girls even got to race one of the boats in the second round.

Girls in the Cardboard boat race Later in the afternoon we jumped in the dinghy with the water bazookas and headed over to the start of the poker run. The idea is to visit 5 places and collect a card at each place and the one with the best poker hand wins. Before we even started the water was flying and people were getting soaked. We found the best part was after picking up the card from the designated spot we would soak the person handing out the cards and they were totally caught off guard but were very good about it.

All the cards were in sealed envelopes so we had no idea of our hand until the dance later that night. We ended up in third, but the girls were happy to get prizes anyway. In the end we had a great time and the girls want to spend this weekend in the marina again next year.

Labour Day Weekend

Girls at Discovery Harbour

Yolande and Peter came up this weekend and the problem was the weather was not co-operating again. I had talked to Mike and Ruth earlier in the week - they were out at Beausoleil but had decided to head back to the marina after hearing the forecast. Since this was the first time up for Yolande and Peter we wanted to give them the full experience. However, the winds were over 30 knots all weekend.

The last thing you want to do with people on their first visit is have them turning green and feeding the fish. It ended up raining all day Saturday so we just sat in the cockpit and talked. Peter forced me to start drinking earlier than usual, I would not have been a good host to let him drink a beer by himself.

Kathy at Discovery Harbour

Mike and Ruth came over for dinner. It was the most people we’ve had on board for a meal and it worked very well. Yolande had brought up some wine and then Mike also brought wine. Needless to say, we went through a few bottles and in the morning we felt it, so we blamed it on Mike.

Although Sunday looked like it was going to be a nice day the winds were still very strong. Kathy took the girls over to Discovery Harbour while Yolande, Peter and I went for a trip around the shoreline and over to Balm Beach for lunch. By the time we got back we were feeling good enough for a couple drinks in the cockpit. We took it a bit easier tonight and spent the evening talking in the cockpit.

September 18-19th Weekend

This was the annual Polish weekend. Every year about 30-40 boats get together and have a very large party with lots of food and even more to drink. Although we are invited each year (honorary Poles) we usually have something else on the go, but we always come away with some new stories. This year they all went up into Chimney Bay since Cedar Springs is closed. Knowing how crowded it would be we decided to anchor off the cruiser dock instead.

It was a relaxing weekend. I had a sprained ankle so we didn’t really do any hiking, instead we took the dingy over to Thumb Point. The weather was nice so the girls ran around and played by the water while Kathy and I soaked up the last of the summer sun. Alex drove the dinghy back - we were getting her used to steering and getting comfortable with handling the engine.

September 25-26th Weekend

It was just the girls and I this weekend and it was once more a cold and windy weekend so we stayed in the marina and did a few boat jobs. I was still getting over a sprained ankle which would have made going out a bit difficult by myself.

We went to the Cellerman’s for dinner on Saturday and then spent about two hours taking the dinghy up and down every dock row. Alex was learning how to handle the dingy at slow speed and in close quarters. Whenever we came across two empty slips beside each other I would get her to go in and then turn around. This would usually mean she would have to use forward and reverse a few times. It was excellent practice and she did very well. Next time we will work at getting up on plane.

Thanksgiving Day Weekend

Killbear campsite Ok, so we didn’t go boating this weekend, instead we went camping. Myself, my brother Kevin and my friend Greg have been going camping every Thanksgiving weekend for the last 22 years. For the last 2 the girls have been joining us. This log doesn’t quite fit into a boating adventure, however the park we camp at, Killbear Provincial Park we also visit by boat, so it sort of fits.

I took the Friday off work and the girls took the day off school (they were very disappointed about it) and we stopped by Kevin’s house to pick him up. Since we were going by Parry Sound we felt the need to stop in at the Bay Street café on the way up. When we arrived at the park we had a notice on the bulletin board that Greg was at site 619. Emma was upset, because she wanted to go to the same site as last year - however this ended up being our best site so far.

Killbear campsite with pumpkins

That is saying a lot seeing how often we’ve been coming here. The site was at the end of a loop, with no sites on either side and only one directly across from us. It was also very close to the water, however far enough away to be protected from the winds which can be rather fierce in October.

By the time we arrived at the site Greg and Cheryle had already set up the kitchen tent and Greg’s tent. Cheryle wasn’t staying as she had to work on the weekend, but she wanted to see the girls and they only live about an hour away.

The weather for the Thanksgiving weekends has been fantastic for the last 10 years, however since September had been so wet, cold and windy this year we were not sure what to expect. We ended up having another great weekend - the mornings and evening would only get down to about 10⁰ but during the day the sun was always out.

Greg and the wedding party

The first day we carved pumpkins - the girls did two each and both Kevin and I helped when they needed it.

Each day we would also go for a bike ride in the afternoon. The first day we rode all the way down to Granite saddle and spent a few hours on the top of the cliff overlooking the bay.

The next day we went the opposite direction over to the day use campground. This is the spot where we anchor the boat when we visit in the summertime.

Emma and the Beaver

While we were sitting in the day use area we could see some activity on the rock shoreline by our campsite. We pulled out the binoculars and noticed an orange school bus by out campsite. This was rather puzzling and we realized when we got back to our site that they had held a wedding right next to our campsite and the school bus had brought in all of the guests. I managed to get a picture of the wedding party and if you look in the lower right corner it looks like Greg is one of their guests.

On Sunday morning Kevin and I took the girls over to the visitor centre so they could check out the stuffed animals and the exhibits that tell the history of the area and the park.

The weekend was once again a big hit with the girls and they decided that next year we will have to come up and get the same site again.

The Rest of the Summer

Summer of 2010 Pictures

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