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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Georgian Bay, Byng Inlet.....rustic....

Continued difficulty with loading pictures. When we have a good signal, will upload more pics for the last few days.
A bit narrow on the waterway, but so pretty...

Perfect weather again today. We left the harmony of Hopewell Bay and carefully threaded through the rocks and between the buoys. We passed by Port au Baril and cruised on the outside (that means in the open water of Georgian Bay) to Byng Inlet.
Another of the beautiful white and red lighthouses. Port au Baril.

Before GPS, Loran, RDF.....there was the barrel! Port au Baril was named so because the Byng Inlet was identified by the barrel!

Small waves and little wind made for a great day.  Found Brit to be a bit rustic, but the Wrights Marina staff was cordial and friendly. No services nearby (except ice cream!), so again we cooked our dinner in and tonight found a table and umbrella to enjoy the outdoors.
Kate and Greg are delivering their goodies to the delectable meal.

How nice to have a table outside with such good food and friends! Hey, where is Glo? Is she missing from the picture...again?

Note the yellow electrical cord draped over the teak that Jim worked so hard to refinish. He found a towel to protect his work. Blue tape indicates Jim is adding another coat of varnish to the new teak installed in Stratford, CT.

This buoy indicates a wreck on the chart. Oh yeah! are seeing another of those wonderful boat houses. Looks more like a house boat house.

Weather forecast for tomorrow is for a bit more wind so we are leaving early, hoping to arrive at the Bustard Islands before the winds come up on Georgian Bay.

Georgian Bay, Hopewell Bay and what a honey it is!

Honeywell Bay is now on our list of favorite spots. Put it on your Bucket List. The Bay is surrounded by pink granite, sometimes covered by lichens (?) of other colors. Rocks jut out of the clear glistening water and the water is so clear, we could see the bottom as we cruised in the dinghy.
Someone had built this little man of stone. Bud and Boo were admiring it on the colored granite.

The Bay is large and there were two sailboats rafted together as well as two cruisers rafted together. We thought we would RAFT! Crawdad came in first and dropped the hook, next came Grianan and we grabbed their lines and tied them to us. Both boats were protected with fenders and we smiled at the pleasure of the bay and sharing the beauty with Kate and Greg.
Can't have too many fenders!

Two of our friends rafted off the Hudson River when a storm came up and bounced them against each other with significant damage. The smaller Formula tore their canvas and a few spots of the hull were cracked. Also, screws from the Mainship rubrail tore into the fiberglass. Not pretty. The Mainship header and rail fiberglass were significantly damaged. So, we remembered the story and put out probably 10 fenders. Should be good!
So nice to be rafted with Grianan in such a beautiful place. Only a few other boats were in the bay with us.

Two happy guys!

Just "hanging" out together!

The weather was perfect and we dined up on the bridge on Grianan (a 40 foot Mainship).
Our car......

Kate and Greg investigating the area in their dinghy.

Both boats must run their generators for a few hours twice a day when we are at anchor.

What a gorgeous sunset!

We sat on our swim platforms and dangled our feet in the water. Other boaters were swimming with delight and we were delighted with the anchorage we had found. The anchorage was recommended by our friends at the Rendezvous. Two cheers for Beacon Cove in Midland, ON!

See why were were enjoying the sunset so much!

Snug Harbor light house. Many of the lighthouses in this area are similar.
Quiet spot with only the hum of our generators for a short time.

Georgian Bay, Parry Sound

Cruising in through the islands in Georgian Bay has been a pleasure. Everywhere are rocks. Cottages are built on rocks. Cottages range from modest to large homes. We cruised up the South Channel into Parry Sound and back out the North Channel, which adds 11 miles to the small boat channel.
Such interesting cottages built on rock. How do they do that?

Some cottages are easier than others to build....

We stayed at the Parry Harbour Town Dock. Big Sound Marina is managed by the Chamber of Commerce as well, but Big Sound was full.  The Town Dock is a long cement dock that is a bit too high for pleasure boats, but we made it work. Sobey's, the local grocery store picked us up in a van and drover us the 3 miles to the store. Sobey's is probably the nicest grocery store we have seen on the trip and we roamed every aisle and found almost everything on our list! What a pleasure to have transportation!
The dock was much higher than pleasure boats would usually use, so climbing onto the wall can be a job for long legged people. Anyone know any long legged people?

Grianan cruising through one of the many tight spots. Can't fall asleep on this run!
Parry Sound booms in the summer when the boaters and cottagers are in town. The remainder of the year, we hear, is...pretty quiet and with 75% of the population back in their primary residence.
The rocks are beautiful even without the evergreens and shrubbery.

So many interesting lights along the way.

Loons are camera shy. By the time I turn to take a picture, a loon has dived under the water and won't be seen for some time and some distance away. Don't worry, I have not given up! I'll get you Mr. Loon!
The rain began, but we slept soundly through the night and left the dock in the rain. A light rain can settle the waves down and make the water flat. The trip was different than the perfect days we had experienced of late, but not difficult. We did encounter a bit of fog along the way, which appeared suddenly and was extremely thick. Lasted but a few minutes and we found sunshine along the way.

Georgian Bay, Beausoleil Island, Frying Pan Bay

The Big Cooper, a Monk 36, is moored in Midland Harbour City Dock with us.  Fortunately for us, Beacon Bay, Sponsor of the Georgian Bay Rendezvous, offered to pick us up this morning so we could attend the chart review of the Georgian Bay. We hadn't planned on attending the Rendezvous, so the wine and cheese party along with the chart information sharing was a nice and pleasant surprise.

Ken & Mike, managers of the marina sponsoring the Georgian Bay Rendezvous , along with a few other marina residents, shared their knowledge of Georgian Bay.  What a relief to have this information! We have marked our charts and are ready to go! They informed us of the good spots and the "don't go there" spots. This truly is a great help.

The water was so calm with a slight breeze. Gorgeous.

Took the boys in the dinghy to shore and climbed the rocks. This is what we saw!

Thank goodness the wind died while we were charting and we had a great run up Georgian Bay to Frying Pan Bay on Beausoleil Island. Tonight there are 24 boats in the Bay. Since the Bay is a National Provincial Park, there are a few docks, which by the time we arrived were filled.
Glo, Bud and Boo on the top of the mountain! Nice boat in background!

There is a trail here at the Bay, but  poison ivy lines each side of the trail. Next time we will wear hiking shoes, socks and lightweight long pants.  We decided to turn back and just enjoy the day.
Jim wanted Bud to go swimming. You would think a lab would want to go into the water. NO!!!

Note the boats rafted together. Quite a fun place.

Had to include one boat house! Love those old boathouses. Such charm.

Quiet in parts and crazy in other parts of the small boat channel.

Now we know where the Pride of Midland goes - small boat channel!
Dinner with Kate and Greg was delightful as usual. They climbed into their dinghy and motored over to Crawdad to share the meal. Tomorrow we are off to Henry’s  Fish Restaurant in San Souci on Frying Pan Island (different Frying Pan!) for lunch with no final destination in mind. We are loving this anchorage and are thinking we would like another naturally stunning anchorage tomorrow.

Another incredible sunset......

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Midland, Ontario - Georgian Bay here we come!

The day was rainy, but rain can "lay" the water down flat. As we left the last lock (our VERY last lock) the buoys changed to the opposite side. Missing one buoy in this area could mean a destroyed propeller. We knew Dream Fever had damaged their props in this area. Also, if you do not choose to round Potato Island, the route is extremely difficult to follow. The buoys are not on any chart we had. I am the "chart girl", so I am not sure what chart you could buy to have all the charts in hand. Following the Potato Channel would have been a better route. Locals told us there is plenty of water in that Channel.

Grianan locked through separately in the last lock. This lock is the smallest lock we encountered.

Midland, ON is the city of murals, exhibiting Midland history.

Midland Harbour Marina City Dock.

The Grand Mariner was in dock the entire time we were in Midland. Most of the passengers are elderly and can enjoy the trip beginning in Midland, through Georgian Bay, through Lake Huron to Detroit and Cleveland, through the Welland Canal to Toronto. Trip takes a week. The Pilot House drops four feet to fit through the Canal.

We needed Shell Rotella 30W, so we rode our bikes in our quest. West Marine, Walmart and Napa did not have what we needed. Throughout our entire trip, these three stores were our source of engine oil. Finally, we found a furnace (why?) retail store that carried Shell Rotella. Midland is hilly and we got a good workout.

Canadians love their "Timmy's". No Starbucks in sight.

Nice town. Very little retail is vacant in Midland. Canada's economy continues in good shape. They did not suffer the real estate recession as we have in US.

Jim always has help when he is working in the engine room. Buddy is especially attentive.

This mural is especially interesting. During my childhood the North and South America were berthed on 16th Street in Holland during the winter. My Dad worked as a watchman on  one of the boats as a young man. We have a fire alarm from the South America on our guest room wall that I purchased at auction when the boat was scrapped.

More history of Midland.

At the City Dock. The slips are too small for boats our size. The wall was taken by Grand Mariner and we were directed to the slips.  The wind was raging and we were happy to be tied to a dock, any dock.

Around the corner in Penetanguishene (spell that baby) we attended a wine and cheese party at the Museum. We met new Loopers as well as visited with Loopers we had originally seen in Jekyll Island and other stops. Beacon Cove was extremely accommodating and Pentatagguishene is a charming town. Would be a good stop next time we are in the area.

Beacon Cove picked us up the next morning to drive us to the chart review for the Georgian Bay and the North Channel. Nice people and good information. The wind has slowed and we are anxious to anchor.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Big Chute - never will we see anything so unique!

Another early morning out of Port of Orillia to cruise through cottage territory. The Waterway is extremely narrow in parts with rocks protruding through the water with evergreen vegetation. This cruise was probably the most beautiful cruise we have made along the Great Loop to date.
Narrow channels - we called Channel 16 for a Securite - to tell other boats we are entering the narrow channel. We listen before we enter to see if other boats call Securite.

Most buildings are cottages. Don't know what this is, but it is interesting!

Nice boathouse!

Guess on a nice day you might see anything.

You think the channel can't get narrower....hang in there!

Beautiful rocks and evergreens.

Don't see a lot of these beautiful wooden boats. These guys look like they are having a blast!

This group of 8 isn't having as much fun as the guys in the wooden speedboat!

Just cruising behind the boat!

Crown this boathouse King of all Boathouses!!

This is the railway car on the Big Chute that carries the boats over the hill and down to the water.

Stop the traffic, boats coming through!

Hanging off the back is not a problem.

Once the railway car is in the water, the boats are floated off. New boats are then floated on and lifted with slings.

Headed down the hill!

Everyone is on the boat and looking over the edge. Yikes!

Somehow it seems like the boats hang over the end tooooo much!

On the Blue Line, waiting to enter the railway car. Who knows when you will be called. The operators pack them in.

The guy in front of us was listing to one side.

Now it is our turn.

Casual as can be. In a day's work!

The bottom of the railway car falls away, as do the straps. Floating away.

Grianan in the sling. They were taken alone. Lucky Grianan!

We arrived at the Big Chute and the area was buzzing. We saw the blue line, but no railway car and squeezed into a spot on the municipal dock, helped by friendly locals. Many stops we encounter friendly Canadians who remind us that being neighborly is important to them.
A few minutes later the railway car rolled in over the hill. Wow! Boats were inside the railway car and then soon thereafter they were floating and driving away. The boats on the Blue Line were called by the Railway Operators without order to the lineup. The operational park guys know how to pack the boats into the railway float. We watched a few boats go over the top of the hill on the railway car and decided instead of waiting until tomorrow morning, we would just get in line and go. How fascinating!
We were called into the car and drove in behind a small boat. The straps under the boat were tightened and that was it! No more boats in the car with us and we were hanging off the back of the car. Off went the railroad car on the tracks and climbed the hill. We were on the boat and could see the water on the other side. As we dropped, we enjoyed the scenery and in less than 7 minutes, we were back in the water. Grianan rode the previous car and had saved a spot for us on the dock.
Tourist was anchored below the lock with us and Rick and Pam enjoyed appetizers and cocktails with us outside on the dock. Beautiful evening and dinner with Greg and Kate was delicious as always!

Tourist hanging over the edge. Rick is inspecting and isn't too happy.

Tourist and Crawdad on one side with Grainan on the other side of the dock. Nice quiet spot at the bottom of the Big Chute.