The Adventures of Ninkasi

Journal for 2011

April 2nd April 9th-10th April 16th-17th
Easter Weekend (April 21st-23rd) April 30th-May 1st Weekend May 6-8th Weekend
May 24th Weekend May 27th-29th Weekend June 3rd-7th Weekend
June 17th-19th Weekend June 24th-26th Weekend First Summer Vacation
July 15th-17th Weekend July 29th – August 1st Civic Long Weekend Second Summer Vacation
August 26th-28th Weekend September 2nd – Labour Day Long Weekend September 16th-18th
October 7th – Thanksgiving Weekend The Rest of the Summer

April 2nd

For the last six or seven years we’ve managed to come up the first weekend of April and all but one year the weather has always been great. This year was no exception. I was only able to come up for the day but I managed to remove the winter cover and frame. I also removed the old (came with the boat) chunky cleats so I could replace them with some nice stainless Herreshoff style cleats. These new cleats are larger, look better and are able to handle multiple lines at the same time.

April 9th-10th

We were not planning to come up this weekend as Kathy had to work but we received a letter early in the week stating that our splash date had been scheduled for April 15th. The marina had mentioned last year when we were hauled out that since we were coming out late that we would be going in early as the boat would be in the way. This seemed odd since last year we had to beg to get put in before May 1st, but the sooner the better.

So Kathy took the weekend off and we came up. The weather was excellent on the Saturday and we were able to wash and wax the boat while looking at the thin layer of ice that still covered the bay! We went to supper at the Cellerman’s for supper as Emma has been eagerly talking about their wings for the last few months. Sunday it was cold and wet! The monsoon rains would arrive every time Kathy went on deck to help with the cleats while I remained warm and dry inside the boat. Given that it was so cold and damp we decided against putting on our first coat of varnish in the Galley.

April 16th-17th

The marina gave us a call on Wednesday to ask if they could delay our launch date as they weren’t ready for us as yet. Although we had rushed to get ready this at least gave us some time to complete the new cleats as we had only been able to complete the three on the starboard side. We were able to put up the dodger and bimmini as well as the remaining safety equipment and we were able to start the varnishing of the galley.

Easter Weekend (April 21st-23rd)

The marina called again this week hoping to delay our launch date again but I mentioned my disapproval and we went in the water as scheduled on Thursday the 21st. The girls and I came up the Thursday night so we could move the boat on Friday Morning. We were unable to move the boat to our usual berth as our dock had suffered some damage over the winter and was almost fully submerged. So I moved the boat onto A dock, which is much closer to the car and a lot easier for loading up the boat.

The girls and I met our neighbours on A dock, Jim and Brenda from Once Again. Finnegan was adjusting well to the boat as he has mastered going up and down the stairs to inside of the boat. This was something we did not figure he would even be able to do given that they are so steep. We’ve determined that Finnegan is definitely a boat dog as he is very comfortable wandering the deck and particularly enjoys sunning himself in the cockpit.

April 30th-May 1st Weekend

Kathy and I were up by ourselves this weekend as the girls were at Girl Guide camp. We noticed our regular dock was repaired so we were able to move to our usual slip. The only other boat on the entire dock with us was Double Double. On Saturday I was able to sand and wash the rails that I was not able to get to last year while Kathy managed to apply the third coat of varnish to the Galley.

We went to the Explorer Cafe for supper as Mike and Ruth had highly recommended it last year. The meals were excellent and the calamari appetizer was the best we’ve ever had. Early Sunday morning the wind picked up and Kathy had one of her worst sleeps ever on the boat. We awoke early so we could put on our final coat of varnish and then leave to pick up the girls from camp.

May 6-8th Weekend

The new cabins

We arrived Friday night to find our dock was now on a 30 degree angle and one of our fenders has been destroyed. The dock was damaged in the winter and I guess the repair job wasn’t quite up to par. In the morning I had to be really careful when I took Finn out for his nature call, the dock was covered in frost and with the not so slight incline either one of us could have slid right into the water.

Since this was our first weekend with the galley finished we spent the morning emptying the car and after lunch we decided to head to the island. The winds were seven to ten knots with gusts of 15 – 17. Since this was one of the rare occasions that the wind was in the right direction the sails went up and we made our quickest trip out to the island. We made it in less than hour and a half and averaged six and a half knots. At one point we even topped out 7.2.

Alex and Finnegan

We arrived at the cruiser dock to find the signs were still up stating the site was closed. We promptly ignored the signs and tied up in our usual spot. Since there was no one was around and we did have our park pass we did not think it would be a issue. The main problem however was that we were hanging out past the end of the dock by about five feet due to the low water level. It appeared to be down about eight inches from last year.

Finnegan did very well on his first sail since he slept most of the way, I think he takes after Alex. We went for a hike through the day use and camp ground areas to check out what our well spent federal government infrastructure dollars had purchased. This part of the island had been closed since the previous August and they have certainly been busy. Four cabins have been built in the day use, two new washroom buildings, a Visitor centre and some new docks at the squeakies (I don’t know if we can still call them this).

We did the usual first weekend pictures, the girls and this time Finney at the welcome arch, the stump and out at Kitchi’s chair. The girls managed to find both bear and deer tracks in the sand. The bear tracks were rather large so we kept our ears open for any snapping twigs or loud noises around us. We were hoping that he has been eating well since waking up!

May 24th Weekend

Gord, Toni and Stevie came up for the usual Victoria Day weekend. Since this was Toni’s first time to the boat we let her know that she would be earning her nickname this weekend so she might want to be careful. The drive up was horrid, it seemed every turn or new road put us behind someone either really slow or with high moronic tendencies.

Stevie, Toni, Gord and Finn

When we came back from the island the previous weekend we had moved the boat to a spot with less of an incline. When we arrived we had a mini D dock reunion since now everyone had to go right past us on the way to their boat. It started with Dennis and Janet and then Dave and Dave joined the group. Both couples had been working on their boats all day however I think both Dennis and big Dave may have had a few beverages while working. We sat in the cockpit and had a few drinks until around 12:45 when we decided to call it a night. Although we thought it might take all weekend to come up with something, we think Toni’s boat name is either going to be “Sweet Meat” or “Gnarly Yam”.

The girls had been planning this weekend for over a month and were eager to get out to the island. So we got up, made coffee, bought some ice and had breakfast on the way out. We encountered heavy fog in the sound and there was absolutely no wind. We were able to get a good spot on the wall which we ended up sharing with only three other boats.

Kathy and Toni

Shortly after we tied up the girls took off on their bikes and once everything else was settled the adults went for a walk out to Kitchi’s chair. Since our last visit they had finished most of the construction work and we were able to check out the new washrooms and showers.

It was turning out to be a great day so when we got back from our walk we had lunch at the picnic table, pulled out the lawn chairs and started into our DEAD time. The girls fished for about five minutes and then ventured off on their bikes again.

It seems Stevie decided to take on the injury role which is usually dominated by Emma. She managed to cut her left foot, snag her leg with a fish hook, scrape her other leg with a bike peddle and then fell off a rock promptly cutting her other foot.

We attempted a fire but we were driven back to the boat in order to avoid further loss of flesh due to the swarms of mosquitoes. We spent the next few hours in the cockpit swatting the little buggers. Kathy was trying out a remedy to keep them away (Listerine in a spray bottle) which seemed to work but in the end we were just severely out numbered.

The next morning were awakened by the sound of mosquitoes buzzing in our ears. We have no idea how they were getting in since all the screens were done up tight, but the boat was full of them. The girls gave in early and took to wearing the mosquito nets even while they were inside the boat. Mosquito’s were the theme of the day; even a nice breeze did not seem to reduce their numbers. Gord and I took advantage of an afternoon nap and we decided against an evening fire.

We thought about attempting to haul me up the mast so I could mount the TV antenna; however I was concerned about the increasing wind so we had breakfast and headed back to the marina. Mike and Ruth dropped over for a visit on their way home and Mike surprised me with a case of Sierra Nevada that he had picked up in Chicago. We were packed up and on our way by 2:30 since Kathy had to work that night.

May 27th-29th Weekend

Just Alex and I came up this weekend. It was not supposed to be very good weekend weather wise, so we did a few boat jobs and went to the Cellerman’s for dinner.

June 3rd-7th Weekend

Kathy and the girls went up on the Friday night so they could give the boat a good cleaning. The boat was in dire need of cleaning since we were unable to manage a quick cleanup at the end of the long weekend. There was still a lot blood and crushed Mosquito bodies to deal with and the girls wanted to be at the boat for the Family day. Kathy’s nephew Jeff was coming from Alberta to spend a few days with us and go sailing so we had planned an extra-long weekend.

Jeff piloting the boat

When we are at home Finnegan usually does not stroll out of bed until sometime after 7:30 as he has become accustomed to at least ten hours of sleep. Somehow being at the boat seems to inspire him and shortly after sunrise he will wander into our room and I will get a paw to the head. This is his subtle way of telling me to get my ass out of bed because he has some business to take care of. Since I was still at home he found Kathy’s head to be a convenient substitute.

Kathy and the girls woke to a beautiful day on Sunday after a very miserable, dreary and wet Saturday. Emma and Kathy once again cleaned the cockpit, while Alex perfected the art of being lazy and managed to do even less than Finnegan.

The girls and Jeff

Jeff and I arrived in the afternoon and were soon on our way out to Beausoleil. We managed to have a great sail most of the way with no engine and both sails. I’m sure Jeff thought this was the norm; who am I to shatter his illusions. We arrived later in the afternoon and were very pleased to find our spot on the wall was available. The kids were eager to start showing Jeff the island so we got settled and went for a hike down to the kiosk. This was the first weekend where the new cabins were finally completed and all furnished. Since they happened to also be opened we were able to go in and have a look. They are rustic and rather sparse but seemed well done. Since we were late getting out to the island we decided against a fire, so we just had a late supper and stayed up late chatting in the cockpit.

Jeff piloting the boat

The next day we woke up to another beautiful sunny day. When I was out for my morning stroll with Finnegan I noticed that the garbage and recycling bin were covered in rather large and sandy bear paw prints. There was also some other physical remnants of a bear in the area, which was just a bit too large to be mistaken for a dog. We then remembered that when the girls had taken the recycling out the night before they had mentioned that the bin had been knocked over. I think the girls may have just missed a close encounter.

After breakfast we took Jeff for a hike up to visit Kitchie’s chair. While we were there we spotted a garter snake in the chair and two water snakes near the shore. It was another beautiful day and since there was hardly anyone around we made the decision to go up to Wana Keta. We made a quick stop at the Toby docks to grab some ice from the kiosk and were informed that the docks were closed temporarily as they had been damaged by the high winds on Saturday.

Ninkasi at Wana Keta

There were only two boats at Wana Keta when we arrived, so there was lots of space. Usually this dock is packed but it was still early in the year and it was a Monday after all. The horse or deer flies were taking huge chunks out of Kathy so she was heavy into the Benadryl while the girls kayaked and played on the beach. In the afternoon I decided that with Jeff here to help it might be time for me to go up the mast and install the TV antenna. The hoist up went without any problems, however as usual the job took at least three times as long as I thought it would.

We now had the docks all to ourselves as the others had moved on. Later in the afternoon a staff member from the YMCA camp popped by to tell us that a bear has been wandering through the camp and the docks over the last couple of nights. We had originally planned for a fire, but changed our minds since if the bear did come for a visit he would have to come directly down the path and past the fire. Instead we chose to watch Vancouver be massacred by Boston eight to one.

We woke up to another great morning and as far as we could tell there had not been any bear visits. After breakfast Jeff and I jumped into the kayaks to check out the area, while Alex practiced driving the dinghy while up on plane. She is really enjoying the extra freedom and responsibility and we think she has become a better driver than Kathy. After lunch Jeff and the girls played on the beach, made sand sculpture of Finnegan lying down (big surprise) and then they did a horses head. After lunch it was time to pack up and start heading back, we managed a short sail until the winds eventually died. Jeff bought us dinner at Boston Pizza and then we headed for home. We had a great time with Jeff and the girls have now decided that Jeff is their favourite cousin.

Emma and the Sand Finnegan Jeff and Alex sand scuplting

June 17th-19th Weekend

Emma on the rocks

We did the usual and came up Friday night and managed to leave early in the morning for Beausoleil. This weekend there was a event organised by the marina to head out to the island. We were not part of it however we wanted to beat the crowd. This year the marina was putting on a few more group outings and although we did not sign up for any, we might have a look next year.

By leaving early we were able to get into our second favourite spot on the wall, Randy and Maryanne from Timings Everything beat us out for the best spot. It was a beautiful weekend and I was finally able to caulk the rails. I had been waiting since April for enough days without rain to make sure they were thoroughly dry. I was also able to apply the first varnish as well, only six more coats to go!

Kathy and Emma st the park

Everyone on the dock seemed to be engaged in boat projects, “Timings Everything” was doing a major recovering of all their seats and cushions and the boat behind us was working on their engine. With everything going on I was unable to get a nap in, however this did not deter Finnegan.

We visited the kiosk and I had my usual chat with Bob. He had mentioned that the bear was still on the island and they think the construction workers had fed him. The bear did not seem to be afraid or leery of people and as the saying goes “a feed bear is a dead bear”. It was only a matter of time before the park wardens would have to do something.

Just before we left Kathy’s shoes went missing off the dock. She was rather angry that someone would actually steal her shoes. The blame ranged from someone walking by and taking a liking to them or perhaps one of the dogs that were running around off leash. This was some dog, since he decided to take both of them.

June 24th-26th Weekend

It was just the girls and I this weekend and we left rather late. We only had one cart and the girls were tired and not very helpful so I got rather angry at them. It turns out our new temporary neighbour was up and I’m sure he heard most of my displeasure with the lack of help. I apologised to him in the morning in case I woke him up, but he understood,afterall he also had two kids.

We decided to stay in the marina for the weekend and get a few jobs done since we would be heading out on vacation next week. Alex helped me clean up the old boat with hopes of selling it this year. Later in the day we took the dinghy over to Beacon Bay and stop by Mike and Ruth’s boat. Stevie was going to be joining us this year for a weeks’ vacation so we were borrowing a kayak. Although Mike and Ruth had left by the time we got there we managed to run into Dave and Maureen before they went out for a sail.

Later in the day I had to call Kathy and let her know that whoever stole her shoes the previous weekend must have felt really bad and decided to track us down and return them to the boat. Actually they had just been put on the other side of the dodger, maybe one of the dogs put them there!

We went to the Cellerman’s for supper and of course the girls wanted DQ for dessert. On Sunday I just worked on boat jobs that were on this year’s list. This included another coat of varnish on the rails and mounting the TV on the forward bulkhead. I also added some items to the list, just so I could mark them off. They were either completely new jobs that had to be done to complete something else or when Kathy made the list she had grouped some similar jobs together and I just felt the need to see some progress.

First Summer Vacation

Check out the map of our Trip

This year we had planned two vacations, a single week in July (this one) and then another two weeks later in August. We invited Stevie along on this one and she was rather excited. Although she has been coming up to the boat for about five years now, this is the first time she was going somewhere other than Beausoleil Island. The main reason for this is that usually Gord and Stevie come up on the May 24th weekend and since the weather can be rather unpredictable we usually stay close to home and in a secure location.

Canada Day

This year the fireworks where being put on again in Penetang Harbour and since they did such a great job the last time, we stayed in the marina, as we have the best view. We were not disappointed. The boat was absolutely filthy so we spent the morning washing it. After lunch I managed to get another coat of varnish on the rails while Kathy took the girls over to the pool for a swim.

July 2nd

Emma, Alex and Stevie in the water

The marina was packed today and just as I was going up to have a shower there was an announcement that they would have to shut the water off for a few hours. The well had been drained and a water restriction would be in place for the rest of the weekend. This was the first time we had ever seen this occur in the ten years that we’ve been here. No shower for me, I'm sure no one will mind.

We started out for Christian Island and managed to get in a short sail before the winds died. We had just made the turn out of Severn Sound towards Giants Tomb we passed by Dave and Maureen heading the other direction. They had spent a rather uncomfortable night in Methodist Bay and decide to head over to Beausoleil. We initially turned around and decided to join them, however we then realised that it would add another two to three hours to our trip the next day so we resumed our original course.

We arrived at Christian Island in the early afternoon and there were about 20 boats in the bay, so we decided to anchor close to my friend Avron. The girls were eager to get in swimming and since they didn’t ask the temperature of the water, I chose not offer my knowledge. It was only 61 degrees so they didn’t stay in long. Unfortunately I had to take the plunge since my shower was cancelled and no one was hiding the temperature from me.

Kathy and Finnegan

Since the girls swimming time was cut short they decided that they should go for a dingy ride and explore the bay. After only a few minutes into their ride we noticed they were having trouble and had started to row back to the boat. They were not progressing very well and since I had no way of getting to them Avron got in his dingy and towed them back. I spent a while trying to figure out what was wrong; I knew it was not getting fuel but could not determine why. Just as I was about to give up for the day I noticed the fuel line was kinked underneath the fuel tank. A quick fix and the girls were again off on their adventure.

We’ve been told that there is only one other boat in Ontario like ours and I noticed that they were also anchored in the bay. On my way in to drop off the girls on shore I swung by for a visit. The boat is called Holuk which Tom and Shannon keep in the Collingwood yacht club. Since Kathy’s brother also keeps his boat there it made for an easy introduction. We made a plan to drop over the next morning for a visit. I dropped the girls at the beach and they went for a nice long walk; explored the area and collected some shells.

I had mentioned to Avron that the winds had a possibility of rain and thunder storms with the wind picking up and shifting to the north. Since Avron had been here before with north winds and had a few uncomfortable nights he decided to pull up and head over to Hope Island. I also contemplated the move but in the end decided to stay. After dinner we played a game of clue before heading to bed. The weather held off and we had an enjoyable and uneventful night.

July 3rd

Emma, Alex and Stevie at Henry's

When we woke in the morning the anchorage had a bit of a roll and as this was Stevie’s first real boat trip she was feeling a bit queasy so she asked for some gravol. After breakfast we dropped the girls and Finnegan at the beach and we went over to visit Tom and Shannon. Since this is the only boat we’ve ever seen like ours, we were busy comparing everything. Ninkasi is hull number 10 and Holuk is number 25, however they were apparently both built in the same year.

The exterior of the boat was almost identical to Ninkasi; however the interior had some significant differences. The engine was located where our fridge is, which leaves a bit more room in their bedroom, but their fridge is smaller and uses up some cupboard space. Their aft head is larger with a separate shower stall, but it also takes space away from the navigation station and eliminates a wet locker that we have. They have more cupboard space in the saloon as there are cabinets that fully enclose a shelf area on Ninkasi. All in all it is a very nice boat and it is in great shape.

We picked up the girls at the beach and got the boat ready to leave. We pulled out of the anchorage at 1040 and followed a course I had charted straight up to O’Donnell Point. We had our best sail of the summer so far, a beam reach for about three hours in 10 to 15 knots of wind. We averaged over 6 knots and decided to stop at Henry’s for a late lunch. After lunch we were about another hour to Port Rawson where we dropped the anchor about 1730 with a dozen other boats.

Sailing towards Port Rawson Alex, Stevie and Emma on thier boards

Our plan was to spend a couple of days here and then head into Parry Sound. The girls decided to have a boat bath and since the water here was 75 degrees they stayed in for a longer swim. After their swim they jumped into the kayaks to do some exploring. We had our usual late dinner and then Alex and I took Finnegan in for his last bit of business for the day. This was one of the fastest trips that we’ve taken ashore, the mosquitoes were the worst I’ve ever seen them. We wisely chose to forgo the fire tonight and zipped up all the canvas tight. The girls spent the evening playing downstairs while Kathy and I sat in the cockpit and enjoyed the quiet of the park.

July 4th -- "Happy Birthday Kathy"

Nikasi at Anchor

Finnegan was so excited about Kathy’s birthday that he woke me up at 05:30 to go ashore for his morning ritual. When we got back from our trip Finnegan had no problem getting back to sleep (he never does), I on the other hand managed maybe another 15 minutes before I got up again and made breakfast. While I was doing this Emma and Stevie went for their morning dip.

Around the Campfire

After breakfast Kathy opened her presents and then Emma and Stevie returned to the water. Alex spent the morning sitting in the kayak and reading. I was reading and napping in the cockpit, remember my 5:30 wake up call, while Kathy was up on the deck enjoying the sun.

Five lined Skink

After lunch I put another coat of varnish on the port side rails, this allowed the girls to still jump off the starboard side. In the afternoon we inflated the tube and took the girls for rides around the bay.

We decided on an early dinner on the boat so we could try and get in a fire. Alex took Finnegan and I over to the shore so we could start the fire while Emma and Stevie did the dishes. It seemed funny to be having a fire while the sun was up, however we could not forget the mosquitos from the night before and the girls have been craving roasted marshmallows. Kathy had the bejesus scared out of her by a five lined Skink that scurried under the rock she was sitting on. This is Canada’s only lizard, which is also an at risk species that we have never seen before. I managed to get a quick shot off before it ran under the wood pile and disappeared.

It was starting to turn dusk and there was kind of an ominous feeling that we better end the fire soon or suffer the wrath of the new vampire mosquitoes that had invaded the area of Georgian Bay this year. We were just in time; as I was zipping up the cockpit enclosure I could see the little buggers all over the screen. Kathy and I sat in the cockpit and taunted the bastards by wearing shorts and t-shirts. The girls watched and few episodes of the Pink Panther and then we called it an early night.

July 5th

Tight passage through the south channel Finnegan was up early again, however last night Alex mentioned that she would volunteer to be woken up and take him in to shore. It took us a few tries to wake her up, but it eventually happened. I however seriously doubt a repeat performance.

Shortly after breakfast we pulled up anchor around 10:15 and headed to Parry Sound through the South Channel route. This is a very scenic route with a number of very tight and shallow channels. We were fortunate enough to see a couple of nesting Osprey and just missed the 1:00 bridge opening by about 15 minutes. We would have to wait for the next opening on the hour, but at least now I know how long it takes us from Port Rawson to the bridge.

Osprey in a nest The bridge opened for us at 2:00 and just as we were going through it began to rain quite hard, fortunately it stopped as we were coming into the marina. The wind was rather strong and it made our docking a little difficult as the wind kept pushing us on the side but after the second attempt we tied up without any scrapes or bangs and minimal amounts of cursing.

The girls were quite eager to visit the book store, so right after lunch we dropped in for a visit. On the way back we stopped for ice cream and could tell the previous weekend had been a busy one. There were only four flavours to choose from and it wasn’t an easy choice. I had a nap in the afternoon while Kathy and the girls took advantage of the marina showers. We had pizza delivered for dinner and the girls just read and surfed the net before bed.

July 6th

Parry Sound fire tower Kathy was up around three in the morning to close all the hatches and windows, there was a lot of rain and lightning but very little thunder. I don’t know if I managed to sleep through it, or just pretended to. Finnegan decided to sleep in until eight this morning so Kathy had no problem volunteering, especially since there was no donning of the life jackets, lifting him in and out of the dinghy and then driving to shore and back. We were all up about five minutes later.

Our plan for today was for Kathy to catch the shuttle up to Sobeys to pick up some groceries while I would take the girls into town for a bit of shopping. The shuttle was having some problems, at first it was delayed and then cancelled for the day due to some mechanical issues. This meant we all went into town, Finnegan and I sat outside while the girls checked out the shops. We ventured back to the boat to drop off Finnegan and the purchases so we can go to the Bay street Cafe for lunch. As we were walking back the Sobeys shuttle passed us, so I guess they fixed their problem.

Alex hanging from the bouy

The sun was out in full force and it was getting very hot on the boat. So we opened all the hatches and windows and turned on the fans for Finnegan while we went for lunch. About ten minutes after we sat down and ordered the skies darkened and there was a torrential downpour for over 30 minutes.

After lunch I went back to clean up all of the water while Kathy took the girls to visit the Fire Tower and museum. Stevie bought everyone ice cream on the way back. The girls read for a couple of hours while Kathy and I cleaned some varnish off the fibreglass. We had another early evening.

July 7th

The girls on the beach at Killbear Kathy was up early and took the first shuttle to Sobey’s to grab a few groceries for the next few days. Shortly after she got back we were off to Killcoursie Bay. There was little to no wind so we motor-sailed most of the way. When we arrived we were only the fourth boat in the bay and the camp ground beach was pretty empty. After lunch we dropped the dinghy and ventured into the beach for the day.

The girls played in the water most of the afternoon while I tried to get Finnegan into the water on his own. We had a quick chat with someone who was camping in the park and they mentioned the camp grounds were only about half full. This is actually rather strange since there are usually no open spots for all of July and August. Just before supper we headed back to the boat just as a couple of bus loads of kids from camp pulled in to swim and have their supper.

The girls desperately wanted a fire so we went ashore after dinner. Once again the mosquitoes were horrible so we moved the fire to the beach area for about thirty minutes, but just as dusk approached the mosquitoes swarmed in and we quickly retreated back to the boat. Alex and Kathy were in the second dinghy load and were eaten alive waiting for me to return.

July 8th

Kathy steering the boat Last night we made the decision to make a straight run back to the marina rather than stop over at Christian or Beckwith Island for the night. We had set the alarm for an early start in the morning, but Finnegan decided that we should actually start sooner than planned so I took him to shore and we were on our way by 7:00.

Kathy took the first shift and for the first four hours managed to manoeuver with ease through some of the tighter buoys on the way out to the bay. Once we were out on the bay and heading south the winds were in our favour and we managed to sail most of the way back to the marina.

We arrived back in the marina around 3:30 and stopped for a pump out. We felt we were pushing it with the holding tank with five people for a week. Next year’s wish list will include a gauge for the holding tank. Since it was Friday night a visit to the Cellerman’s was in order and of course Dairy Queen after that.

July 9th

After a week of constant use the boat was in dire need of a good scrubbing both inside and out. I worked on the outside with the somewhat less than enthusiastic help from Alex and Stevie while Emma and Kathy scrubbed the inside. After the clean-up and lunch we packed up the car and then went for a swim before heading home.

July 15th-17th Weekend

I came up by myself this weekend and decided to get a few boat jobs done and relax in the marina. It turned out to be an exceptionally hot weekend, which curtailed a few of the jobs. It was also the first time that almost every other boat on our dock with exception of ours was out of the marina. Even a few of the boats that almost never leave were also gone. Since I had no one to chat with I headed to the Cellerman’s for a couple of pints, some dinner and maybe a conversation.

July 29th – August 1st Civic Long Weekend

Barb on the boat We arrived on Friday night and Kathy’s friend Barb was joining us for the weekend. Our original plan was to head out to Christian Island for the long weekend but after checking the wind and weather forecast we decided that we would head to Beausoleil instead.

Since many boating plans are written in Jello it always make sense to have a backup plan. Kathy also had to work on Monday night so it would have also required a much earlier departure time to make it back.

Alex and Emma at the sign We were up at a reasonable time, (Finnegan must have been tired) and left the marina by 8:30. We had breakfast on the way and once again there was very little wind so we were unable to set any sails.

We arrived at the island about an hour and a half later and as predicted there was no room on the wall. However as we were scoping out the best place to anchor a spot opened up so of course we grabbed it. Within the next half hour two more spots opened up including our end spot but we were settled and comfortable so decided to stay where we were.

Alex, Emma, Barb and Finnegan at Kitchi's chair

We spent the day sitting around enjoying a few beverages, reading, relaxing and swimming. The water temperature was 77 degrees and everyone was in the water. Not unexpected, Emma spent the entire day jumping off the dock and swimming to the beach. After dinner we enjoyed a nice night by the fire.

Sunday was another beautiful day so we took Barb for a walk to the kiosk and then over to Kitchi’s chair. To our surprise the campground was pretty much full; however after talking to Bob he mentioned that many of the other more secluded sites on the island had been closed due to as many as three bears in the area.

Alex and a catepillar

The cabins also were all booked so the beaches were also busier than usual. We had a breeze all day but in the evening it just died and the bay was as smooth as glass so we opted against a fire due to our blood sucking friends.

Kathy and I were up by 7:00 so we could get a quick start to the day. The boat however had other ideas. At the beginning of the season I had been having problems with two of the house batteries (of course it had to be the expensive batteries) and there was not enough power to start the engine.

For situations like this we always have a dedicated starting battery, which still wasn’t enough to start the engine. I suspect I have a wiring issue from the starting battery. I had originally planned to run the generator this weekend and now I even had a good reason.

Kathy in the cockpit

After running the generator for about 15 minutes the engine started without any issues. We were back at the marina around ten, had a pump out and topped up the fuel. Our next weekend at the boat would be the start of our vacation so it was one less thing to remember. We managed to leave around eleven so we could get Kathy back home in time for a shower before heading off to work.

Second Summer Vacation

Check out the map of our Trip

Finnegan relaxing We arrived Friday night and four cart loads later all the stuff was out of the car and on the boat. Another hour later and it was all put away. Due to the problems I had last weekend with the batteries I had brought up some distilled water to top off the batteries that seemed to be giving me problems. When I went to check them they were extremely hot and all the water had boiled out of them. I was going to need more water.

Fortunately only two of the batteries had a problem and the other two were fine. This meant I would have to keep a closer eye on them and we would be using the generator a bit more during our vacation.

August 6th

I made a quick run into town to fill up a propane tank and top off the spring water. We managed to leave the marina around ten with plans to stay at Christian Island for the night. We were teased by a little breeze which did not amount to anything so we motored again. That’s alright the batteries needed a charge after being boiled dry.

Finnegan licking Kathy

It turned into an excessively hot day and with no wind Kathy ended up taking off her top and driving the boat in her bra and life jacket (Sorry no pictures!) .

At the bottom of Giant’s Tomb Island (most of which is Awenda Provincial Park) is a green buoy (M3) which marks a shallow area. For some reason Kathy has a very difficult time locating it on the water. Perhaps its like Barney the dinosaur, however she is the only one that can’t see it. After an extensive search and the chart plotter showing her precisely where it is she managed to pick it up. I considered this a good thing since she was driving.

Before the buoy Kathy spotted a blue cooler floating upside down in the water (maybe that buoy should be blue) and we decided against changing course to swing by and pick it up. As we approached the top of Beckwith Island about an hour later a boater was putting out a general call for assistance on the VHF radio. It appears that they had lost their cooler and was wondering if anyone had seen it. I gave him a call to let him know where he could find it.

We arrived at Christian Island around 1:30 and anchored beside Mike and Ruth. The heat was still rather extreme so everyone jumped in for a swim, except Kathy who made lunch. The water was 77 degrees which is unheard of for Christian Island, but no one was complaining. After lunch we headed into shore and spent the day at the beach. The girls snorkeled and looked for interesting rocks while the adults sat in the shade, read and had a few libations. After dinner we returned to the beach for a fire so Ruth could enjoy her smores.

August 7th

Alex and Emma snorkling

We had excellent winds for the trip up to Port Rawson. We were pushing 6.5 knots right up to O’Donell Point with just our headsail (I also ran the engine to charge the batteries given the issues we had Friday night). When we arrived at Port Rawson there was only one other boat anchored in the bay. When we were here about a month ago we scouted out the perfect spot which involved us dropping a bow anchor and then backing up and tying our stern to the mooring pins on shore.

Part of what made this a perfect spot was that being tied off to shore we were only fifteen feet away and in ten feet of water. This meant we could just drop Finnegan into the dinghy and pull it to shore whenever he had the need.

It also had a great fire pit, a nice flat spot to put the lawn chairs and we were able to pull the kayaks up on shore. Oh did I mention that the water was 80 degrees. Are we really more than half way to the North Pole? After supper we played Scribblish and went to bed to read.

August 8th

Alex and Emma snorkling

Since we are on vacation it was another lazy day, swimming, reading and relaxing in the cockpit. Emma and I took the kayaks around the bay and checked out some really shallow areas as well as other possible anchoring spots.

After lunch Emma and I took off in the dinghy to see if we could find the marina to pick up some ice and supplies. Even though I took the charts we had a hard time finding the correct route, there are at least a two dozen different turns, bays, channels and islands to navigate around in order to get there. About half way there I started following three other dinghies that seemed just a little less lost. It took us about 45 minutes to get there and about ten minutes to get back, I only had one point where I had to check the chart on the way back. Apparently Finnegan sat on the deck and pouted the entire time we were gone.

Kathy and Alex took the Kayaks out in the afternoon for some exploring and managed to see a painted turtle. While they were gone another sailboat pulled into the anchorage, making a total of three boats.

Steve, Alex and Emma on the trail

August 9th

Today we decided to take the dinghy out for a ride. Mike had asked us to check out the entrance to Shotgun bay as a possible anchorage. While we were at it we also took a tour of Ram Rod Bay. Both were nice anchorages with Shotgun being the best for almost any type of weather. If it’s going to get nasty then Shotgun is the place to go, it’s entrance is no more than forty feet wide with sheer granite cliffs about fifty feet high on either side.

We continued our tour back in the other part of Port Rawson Bay. We noticed on the map that there was a portage trail at the end of the bay which led up to another lake, so we decided to take a look.

After pulling the dingy through the weeds and mud we only made it about half a kilometre up the trail before turning back. The trail, if that’s what you could call it was very overgrown, while the low lying swampy area was a perfect breeding ground for the dreaded mosquitos. We hopped back in the dinghy and headed for the boat. On the way we spotted a heron sitting in a tree and we were able to get quite close to him.

The rest of the day included more reading and swimming, while at night we chose to have a fire since they were calling for rain tomorrow. Another boat arrived shortly before dinner increasing the population of the bay to four boats.

August 10th

Heron in a tree

As predicted the rain started early this morning and it varied between complete downpours to nothing. So it sounded like a good day for relaxing and reading.

After lunch it cleared up a bit so Alex and I took off in the dinghy for a trip to the marina. This time we decided to take Finnegan with us since he just sat there and pouted the last time Emma and I left. I managed to find the correct route without any problem. This time however, the bad weather had just ended and the final leg across an open bay was rather rough on the way there. As rough as it was on the way, it was four times as bad on the way back. We were pounding into three foot waves with the spray soaking us right through. Finnegan spent most of the time in the air; I bet he would have preferred to have missed this trip. After we crossed the bay the rest of the trip back was easy, although we were soaked.

Kathy and Alex kayaking

Shortly after we got back about ten boats pulled into the bay over the next two hours. The winds were supposed to pick up to fifty kilometres overnight. Many times it can be very entertaining to watch the power boaters pull in and try to tie up. They all want to be tied up to shore and each other. Next to us was about eight boats all rafted together with at least twenty lines to shore. It made it almost impossible for them to use their dinghies without at least two other people to manage all the lines.

The girls spent the rest of the afternoon and the evening watching the first season of Glee.

Emma playing on the kayak

August 11th

Despite the predicted fifty kilometre winds our night was rather uneventful, except of course for the kayaks banging against the hull in the wee hours of the morning. Apparently other anchorages weren’t as well protected as we were. As the morning progressed eight more boats pulled into the bay.

One of the eight was a sailboat that dropped by for a visit. They mentioned they had spent a very rough night in Echo Bay getting bounced in all directions. As soon as it was light they hauled their anchor and headed for Part Rawson.

We invited them over for a fire that night and we were joined by Jason, Leila, Macala and Danielle. As it turned out Macala and Danielle were the same ages as Alex and Emma so they had a great time. Macala had also just finished the Hunger Games so that became the main topic of conversation for the evening.

August 12th

Alex on a buoy

We were up and gone by 8:45 in the morning. From our last trip we determined that it was a three hour run to the swing bridge. Since we did not want to repeat the forty minute wait like the last time we managed to plan a bit better. As it turns out we were cutting it a bit tight for my liking, we still had about five minutes to spare but I could feel my butt clenching until we made the last turn and could see the bridge.

Just after we passed through the “Seven Mile Narrows” we heard Kathy’s brother (Del) on the VHF radio announce that he was about to enter the “Seven Mile Narrows”. We had just passed a boat about five minutes ago that I though looked familiar. Kathy gave him a quick call and was able to find out that they had just spent the last two nights in Parry Sound and were heading south. We lost radio contact shortly after.

We pulled into Big Sound Marina and took a spot on ‘A’ dock, this time on the outside with our stern facing the bay. Originally I thought this might make our stay a bit rougher however we did not seem to notice a difference. This year, if you stay three consecutive days then the fourth is free, so we decided to stay the four days for about $180. There were only about ten other boats here when we arrived, however since it was Friday it filled up a bit more for the weekend.

We noticed Kelly’s boat (Playhouse, from Hindson Marine) on the end dock; it was there the entire time that we were however we did not see anyone. We went for lunch at Subway then had some much needed showers, tidied up the boat and did three loads of laundry. For dinner we ordered pizza and wings from Pizzaville, the wings were excellent so we will have to remember for next time.

August 13th

I spent some time in the morning trying to revive my two batteries that have been giving me trouble, but as it turns out I was fighting a losing battle. Kathy, Emma and I took the shuttle up to Sobeys to pick up some groceries and stopped in at Canadian Tire. We had lunch after we got back and then Kathy and Emma walked downtown to check out the kid’s fun fair on the main street. Alex had a nap while I read and waited for my mom to show up for a visit. Shortly after my mom arrived we gave Kathy a call so we could meet up at the fair, however it turned out the “Fun Fair” did not quite live up to its name so we met them for ice cream on their way back to the boat. Alex decided to wake up for this portion of the day’s activities.

We spent the afternoon playing crazy eights and went to the Wellington Pub for dinner. Kathy and Emma split a rack of ribs, of which I think Kathy had two ribs. I enjoyed a couple of nice pints of Creemore.

August 14th

I realized today that we meet a lot of people through Finnegan. Since we all share the duty of taking him for his necessary strolls, it is quite common for one of us to meet someone that will in turn want to meet him and then ask questions about him. So, it is also common for one of us to be out walking and we will be stopped by someone we’ve never met before but seems to know Finnegan very well.

Finnegan on deck

This happened with me when I met the manager of Big Sound Marina; Cathy was on a first name basis with Finnegan, knew all our plans for the next few days and was pleased to announce that Finnegan was her favourite dog of the summer.

As it turns out we had an excellent experience at Big Sound Marina and both Cathy and her staff were great, knowledgeable about the area and always very friendly. At one point I had left my phone in the washrooms and she was able to track down that it was my phone and made sure that it was returned first thing in the morning, before I even knew it was missing.

My mom left later in the afternoon and we had a quiet evening on the boat playing crazy eights.

August 15th

We awoke early so we could go to the Bobby Orr museum, but when we got there we found it was closed on Mondays. So we went into town to do some shopping and then went to the Bay Street Cafe for lunch.

While we were eating we could not help overhearing the two couples behind us. We often joke about how little Americans know about anything outside of the US and this was a perfect example. Both couples were from the North Carolina area and one of the women was very disappointed when she asked for the “local” crab and they were unable to fulfill her request. She then proceeded to ask about any local seafood. I guess she had not looked at a map before she left, otherwise she would have known the closest ocean is only 1000 miles away.

Kathy and Emma took the shuttle up to Sobeys to replenish our fresh food supply. Alex and I went back to the boat so I could apply another coat of varnish. After that I spent a few hours tearing apart the interior of the boat so I could finish installing the TV antenna that Jeff had helped me install in June. We watched some local TV and played cards in the evening.

August 16th

Emma at the Bobby Orr museum We got up early so we could visit the Bobby Orr museum again. This time we arrived there about ten and happily it was open. It’s not very big however there was a lot of information and we had no problem spending a couple of hours there. Even though I’m not really a hockey guy it was not a bad museum.

After the museum we went back to the boat and prepared to leave the marina. Our departure was based on the afternoon departure of the Island Queen since we need a pump out and it was located behind the Queen. I did not want to try and manoeuvre around her as it is rather close quarters.

We had a 2½ hour trip to Killcoursie Bay and we were surprised to find only a handful of boats in the anchorage. The day beach was packed with day visitors so we passed on the beach and went for a walk through the campground after dinner.

August 17th

Alex lost in the Ferns

Today we ventured ashore to take advantage of the day use beach. We decided to go for a hike on the “Twin Points Trail”, which took us 1 1/2 hours. We then spent the rest of the day on the beach, relaxing, swimming and reading.

In the afternoon I took both of the girls for a tube ride and then we went back to the boat for dinner. Emma and I watched Hoodwinked (Kathy saw the first 30 minutes again) and then we called it a night as the plan was to get an early start in the morning.

Ninkasi in Killcoursie Bay

August 18th

We were up a 6:45 and I actually had to wake Finnegan this morning so I could take him in. We left about 8:15 with no winds. Kathy took the wheel again, I think she is getting used to the route from Killcoursie Bay and out the Waubuno channel. Once we were out of the Waubuno Channel the winds picked up to ten knots so we put up the head sail and motor sailed down to the west anchorage at Beckwith Island.

Once the anchor was down the girls took Finnegan in for a visit and they spent some time wandering the beach. This is probably a nicer anchorage then either Little Sandy Bay or Hope Island, however this was our first time here. On the weekends this bay is just packed with power boats and I’ve heard the stories of the rather loud all night parties that are quite common in the summer.

August 19th

Steve and the girls on the way back

We were in no hurry this morning as we were only a few hours from the marina. We started out trying to sail but the winds just got lighter and lighter. I finally gave in, started the engine and two hours later we pulled into the marina. After a pump out, we topped up the diesel and tied up into our slip after two weeks away. We tidied up the boat and then went for dinner at the Cellerman’s.

August 26th-28th Weekend

Finnegan and Emma in costume It was just Emma, Finnegan and myself this weekend, Kathy had hurt her back and did not think it would be a good idea to be climbing around the boat. We stayed in the marina this weekend as it was their annual party and event weekend. Emma had been working all week on her and Finnegan’s costume. <>/p>

The first event in the morning was the dog contest, Finnegan and Emma won the best dressed and he also picked up an award for best trick and most obedient. After that we went back to the boat while teams started to put together their cardboard boats.

Finnegan, Emma and Marlene in costume We left Finnegan on the boat so we could watch the cardboard boat races. We took our power soakers, but on the way there Gord leant us his huge power soakers. When the boat race starts all the participants and a number of the spectators try to soak or spray each other. With Gord’s super soakers we were able to completely drench the racers from over 30 feet away.

In the afternoon we joined in on the dinghy poker run, but this time we got soaked as much as everyone else. In the evening we went to the Cellerman’s for dinner and then went to the Pirate themed party at the marina. Unfortunately our poker hand was a bust, so we did not win any prizes this year.

September 2nd – Labour Day Long Weekend

Steve and the girls on the way back

It was just the girls and I for the long weekend, Kathy was still recovering after injuring her back. The forecast was grey with possible winds and rain so we did the usual and went out to Beausoleil and grabbed a spot on the wall. We went for a hike out to Thumb Point and Kitchi’s chair. In the evening we joined some of the other boaters on the wall for a fire.

As the girls were starting school on Tuesday morning we left just after breakfast so we could get home early. We were able to sail part way back and ended up crossing paths with Dave and Maureen (Points North) as we passed through the narrows entering Penetang Harbour.

September 16th-18th

Kathy and Finn

It’s been a month since Kathy has been up to the boat after hurting her back. Although she was feeling better for the last couple of weeks she did not want to push her luck. On the boat there is a lot of bending over, crouching down, twisting and confined spaces which could easily re-aggravate her back.

The wind was supposed to pick up later on Saturday night so we decided to do the usual and head over to the island. We also did not want to over do Kathy’s first weekend back. We left the marina about nine and had no problem grabbing a spot on the wall. Both Beaujolais (Mike and Ruth) and Seaclusion (Eric and Debbie) were going to head out as well, so we had planned on getting together.

Alex and Penny

Mike, Ruth, Eric and Debbie showed up a few hours later and anchored off the cruiser dock. They landed at the beach and came over to our boat and sat around the picnic table for a few drinks, a chat and enjoy some of the great sun. Eric and Debbie invited everyone over to their boat for a few drinks and some snacks before dinner, so I had a quick nap and we dropped by.

After spending a couple of hours on Eric and Debbie’s boat we started discussing the weather forecast for the evening, which included the increasing winds. With this in mind I noticed that there were two spots open on the wall, including the coveted end spot. Within two minutes we were all hands on deck and hauling anchor to grab the open spots, I took Mike and Ruth’s dinghy and Alex took Eric and Debbie’s while Kathy helped on Beaujolais and Emma helped on Doc Space. Once I arrived at the dock I ran to the end spot to assist Mike and Ruth, it was kind of a rough landing, but there were a few drinks involved and for some unknown reason a false sense of urgency. After they were secured we went to help bring in Doc Space. Then we all breathed a sigh of relief.

October 7th – Thanksgiving Weekend

Kevin, Alex and Emma

For the last 24 years - with a few exceptions - my brother, Greg and I have gone camping up to Killbear Park and for the last two years the girls have been joining us. This year Greg had just moved to Elliot Lake and I was getting back late from San Diego (I know boo hoo for me) so we decided to go to the boat instead.

We figured that most people would have given up for the season and if we left early we could grab a coveted spot we’ve never tried before. We had our eye set on the dock at Ojibway on Beausoleil Island. That ended up being a pipe dream. We found out later that a number of boaters will come up the weekend before, grab a good spot and take their dinghies back to the marina. They will leave one person there for the week to keep an eye on the boats and have a prime spot for the weekend. We managed to grab our usual spot on the cruiser dock so everyone was happy.

Emma in Lost Bay

On Saturday we went for the usual hike through the park, over to Kitchi’s chair and then on to Thumb point. The weather was fantastic, the beer was cold and the leaves were in full change.

Sunday we jumped in the dinghy and took a run up to the dock at Ojibway. We were on a mission to complete a trail that we had never done before. The Dossyonshing trail, which apparently translates to diaper would take us about three hours with a couple of stops for a some beer and snacks. The trail takes you around the north west end of the island and has some great views of Long Bay and Lost Bay.

Alex Enlightend Alex looking up

The Rest of the Summer

Summer of 2011 Pictures

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