Georgian Bay

We had been watching the progress of some Tacoma friends and knew they were in Killarney at the Sportsman Inn marina. We needed to pump out after several days on anchor so chose Sportsman’s Inn in hopes that we might run into our friends.

As we pulled into the dock, guess who was there waiting to help with our lines?

John and Carol from Tacoma, our home town

Killarney is quite a little destination, with a historic lodge and world famous fish and chips restaurant. The marina let us pull into an empty slip while we walked to the grocery store to replenish a few things.

Busy channel! Requires a sharp eye and a head on a swivel.
Historic Killarney Lodge, as we passed by

The fish and chips place wasn’t open yet, but we were able to stop in the local bakery to pick up some goodies.

Butter tarts are a Canadian thing. They are similar to pecan pie, but may or may not have pecans. And they are small. Like cooked in a muffin tin and able to be eaten in a couple bites.

The butter tart we picked up at the bakery was maple walnut flavored and is by far the best one we’ve had.

As we headed out of Killarney, we saw more of the bare rock islands that Georgian Bay is known for.

We took a route through Collin’s Inlet, a narrow 10 mile fjord-like waterway t that connects two bays. For most of it, there is plenty of room to pass if you do it slowly.

At the end there is a very narrow, very shallow piece that you don’t want to meet a boat in. Fortunately, our AIS picked up that there were a couple boats coming towards us, so we slowed down to let them come by.

There turned out to be five big go-fast boats, so we were glad for our AIS. We had heard some vhf radio calls about “Hey, you weekend warriors, slow down through the anchorages. You are responsible for your wakes.” We are pretty sure these five boats were the ones he was talking to.

Note the kayaker and the beaver lodge. Lance says the beavers here don’t know how good they have it; they do not need to dam up a stream to have enough water to make a safe lodge.

We spent that night at an anchorage in aptly named Beaverstone Bay. There were lots of beaver houses and lots of rocky islands.

The next day we followed the route to the Bustard Islands. They are a circlet of islands similar to the Benjamin’s in the North Channel.

We spent one night there. The waves had been forecasted to be kind of high the next day, but when we woke up, the forecast had changed to 0-1 foot waves. So we left.

Well, the forecast was wrong. It is hard to tell how big the waves are from the fly bridge, but they were big enough to have to brace yourself as you sat in the chair. When I went downstairs, I sat on my butt and went down step by step.

We had a “bail out “ plan which we decided to implement. Instead of going all the way to an anchorage near Point au Baril, we cut in at Byng Inlet and went to Wrights Marina in Britt where we stayed three days waiting for the seas to subside.

You can see the implementation of the bailout plan. We had intended to go from point A to C. When the waves were too big, we headed to point B. The shoreline is so rocky you cannot just head in anywhere. It must be at a marked entrance.

There was another route we could have taken, but the books suggest that boats over 40 feet might consider bypassing it. We do not regret taking the more open route even though it put us in bouncy seas.

The anchorage near Point au Baril inlet was very peaceful. We spent two nights there and enjoyed the almost full moon.

“Prime Meridian” in the moonlight. Some fellow loopers we first met in Wrights Marina in Britt.
Blessings Flow in the anchorage. Picture by Maggie on Prime Meridian. Sometimes we take pictures of each others boats!
While we were at this anchorage, Seth and Jennifer from Witness stopped by to say hello. We have been following their YouTube channel for a couple years and had corresponded a few times. It was a huge honor to have them go out of their way to see us. They are from Portland, Oregon and are close to finishing their loop with their two teenagers.

Our next stop was Parry Sound. Parry Sound is the biggest town in those parts and we did a major provisioning run to Walmart. It involved a taxi both ways.

As we pulled into Parry Sound there was a cruise ship in port, the Viking Polaris. Our friends had been on the sailing just prior to this one, so we missed seeing them.

Viking Polaris in Parry Sound

The route out of Parry Sound was one of narrow passages where you have to really keep an eye on the buoys. There was one swing bridge we needed to wait for.

Along that route there are also osprey poles that have been erected. There were nests and ospreys in most of them.

We went to a popular anchorage, Echo Bay. It was a Tuesday when we arrived, but the bay ended up being quite full by the end of the day. It was the first place where we “med moored”, tied the back of the boat to a metal post installed in the rocks. We learned a lot by observing how the boats after us did it.

Tied to the shore. This lets more boats occupy the anchorage. There were 24 boats here by the time night fell.

One boat tried five or six places before finding one that worked. He backed in to where he wanted to be, then pulled forward a ways, a little over a boat length, to drop the anchor. In a couple of his tries, it looked like his anchor would be on top of others, so he abandoned that spot and went to another.

Most boats kept their motors running after dropping anchor in order to keep the back of the boat in position, then someone from the boat took a rope back to tie it off. Some swam the rope back, some used a paddle board, some used a dinghy.

Other boats stern tied as well

The next morning when we went to take up the anchor, a plastic piece on the windlass broke and the anchor rode would not go down into the locker. Bad news. Lance ended up pulling the 65ft of chain and the 55 lb anchor up by hand. It was not easy.

After he got it up, he tied it off and that was the end of our anchoring for the near future. He was able to identify the part and order one from Fisheries Supply in Seattle. We’ll pick it up when we’re home in a couple of weeks.

We headed out from Echo Bay for the southern most part of Georgian Bay where there is a national park with docks available on a first come, first served basis.

God blessed us with a dock in a small bay called Honeymoon Bay. We had first tried the larger Frying Pan Bay around the tip of the island, but the docks there were full. A looper on Clare told us that he had seen an empty dock about an hour earlier in the next bay over. There was a small work boat just leaving as we pulled in, so we took the dock and stayed three nights.

Tucked into the single dock at Honeymoon Bay, Beausoliel Island, Ontario.
There is a Parks Canada campground at Honeymoon Bay. People either canoe in or get dropped off by a water taxi.
This is Clark and Laura. They are teachers and serious canoeists who were camping here. Clark is an outdoor educator and educated us about poison ivy!
Yikes! And to add to it, there are rattlesnakes in the island that are protected, as in you cannot hurt or relocate the snake. Clark almost stepped on one as he was on a hike. We didn’t get out on the trails much!
A storm blew through one afternoon.
The storm is brewing
The storm is here