Augusts 14 -21; Days 231-238   Georgian Bay: Epitome of Nature’s  Beauty…. and the Beast Bayliner


Ok, Ok… I know we aren’t posting as often as we should be; but seriously, the internet connectivity is a REAL problem here.  And now that is compounded by multiple nights at anchor in the middle of nowhere which in and of itself has been compounded by a 3 day small craft warning requiring us to hole-up  where we are lucky to get a sporadic half-bar signal a couple of times a day.  That’s where I sit as I start to write this…hopefully we will make it out to a town of 400 by Sunday the 20th and hopefully there will be connectivity there!  We’ll see.

In the meantime, the days are blurring together so perhaps the photos here will not be in exact chronological order (but unless you are omniscient (or have been here) you probably won’t know the difference!)

The bottom line (from this perch that feels like the top of the world) is the soul-fulfilling visual trip caused by the geology formations.  Georgian Bay and the adjoining North Channel, is a mere sub section of Lake Huron –separated from the main body of Lake Huron by the Bruce Peninsula and Manitoulin Island. Georgian Bay alone is almost as large as Lake Ontario.  The whole area is famously referred to as the Canadian Shield with its igneous and metamorphic bedrock exposed by the passage of time and the last ice age—kinda like a rock yamaka perched on the top of Canada.

2017-8-21 big chart overview
Here’s a big picture of the area we are boating in for a few weeks.


The northern shore is dotted with literally thousands and thousands of solid rock islands and even more wannabe, little islands the size of cars, busses and large houses (some of which are dangerously submerged under merely 6-12inches of water)—hence, the area is called 30,000 Islands.  They are the mere remnants of 39,000 foot mountains that were formed with the accumulations of multiple layers of volcanic molten from over 150 different volcanic belts.  And the shallow waters between all the islands and the mainland are lined with that same solid rock…making anchoring sometimes tricky!

Stunningly beautiful, impossible to capture in a photo, and treacherous if you meander out of the channel for a blink.  (kinda sounds like a teen describing his first crush!) Here is a geologic sampling to give you an idea of what we’ve had in the last week.

2017-8-15 wreck island beach

2017-8-15 wreck i molten rock hardened

2017-8-19 grey peach best


2017-8-17 wreck is
Imagine the hot molten lava swirling down and cooling at water’s edge…or maybe there was no water yet?
2017-8-16 white vein
No,  not a property line…NOR graffiti… just a big long white vein! Looking at the rocks is like going to the granite store for your kitchen counter top…every hue: black, grey, pink, white, red. Some solid others with layers, veins, and warps
2017-8-15 moss etc sandy bay
  And from every crack, crevice and depression a little pocket of accumulated decomposing leaf and sand or thin layer of soil makes a home for bright green moss, muted lichen, grasses and then the occasional tree and bush.
2017-8-21 parry sound
A zoomed in overview of just Parry Sound area– a tiny section from the bigger navigation chart (Parry Sound Harbor is on the right hand side in the first chart above)  Shows the mazes between the islands and the water. Remember there are over 30,000 of these land chunks!
2017-8-16 zig zagging thru hairpin turns
Zig zagging our way through the mazes.  We frequently have to make hairpin turns on this journey! Literally and figuratively it seems!

It is actually impossible to get a feel for all this geology and aura by photo (and certainly even less possible by words alone)…you’ll just have to make the journey.  Georgian Bay is so cool that it actually inspired the second best art work of all of Canada (behind the amazing British Columbia totem poles of the Salish and other Firsts):  The Work of the Group of 7.

2017-8-20 group of 7 4 part art
Around the 1920’s, they famously collectively committed to exploring art through the unique character of the Canadian landscape and, in particular, Georgian Bay, With nationalistic sentiment and a break from the European tradition their work reflects a distinct Canadian identity. Up here you see reference to their work allllll over!

2017-8-20 group of 7 art

And here’s my photographic version of the above:

2017-8-21 phto like group of 7
Just missing the stormy clouds!  But i’ll take those blue skies over what we had a few days later…even at the sacrifice of an artistic pic!

So that’s the geology stuff….here’s a smattering of the rest of the week.  Our highlights have included Beausoleil, Monument Channel (a big hang out for the Group of 7 artists), Wreck Island, Sandy Bay, Strawberry Island in the Bustards.  We’ve also stopped at Killbear Park, Parry Sound (for a harrowing taxi ride to the grocery store and back),and  Ojibway Club for gas and a look around at their nice getaway locale.  Here’s a collection of shots of some of our stops, scenery and beautiful anchorages:

A few pix that got left off from our boating time with the Canadians last week: pancake delivery…..and yes! WITH Canadian maple syrup, double rainbow after a thunderstorm/rain dump; dinghy safari to the rapids.

Sandy Bay:

2017-8-16 sunset pano sandy bay

2017-8-16 sandy bay from high
At anchor ….noone else in sight.


Hers and His Ways to Explore

2017-8-16 sunset sandy favorite
This was perhaps our favorite anchorage during the whole 6800 miles to date.


Although we do see little cabins and large homes  along the shore more frequently than you might expect, often you would be hardpressed to know humans had even passed by.  But here are a few “signs” hard to read: “Site of the original barril denoting safe passage thru turbulent waters” barrel marks ; quintessential island with sign marking towns; and cuter than average arched cairn.


Strawberry Island in the Bustard Islands Group:

2017-8-17 bustards pano strawberry

We took shelter here for 2+ days of a storm/small craft advisory.  It also happened to be N’s birthday (a big one, btw, …just sayin!!)


2017-8-17 sunny bday eve at anchor better
Stern tied and ferried back and forth to shore in motor disturbing the solitude…nor heave ho’s from rowing!


2017-8-17 blueberry crack
Blueberries! Fortunately the rough and ready (and yummily ripe in August!)  blueberry has taken ahold on some of these outcroppings! Just 20 feet from the stern.
2017-8-17 blueberry patch patience
A whole patch on the warm side of the little island: Our backyard!  Wild berry picking is for the patient person….or in the alternative one becomes patient while wild berry picking. Either way, it’s good for the soul!
2017-8-17 blueberry pickins
How handy—a birthday gift for N!   Doesn’t get much better than vine ripened, fresh picked (with love!), wild, organic, non-gmo blueberries!
2017-8-17 bday blow
Happy Birthday! Brownie and yogurt with the blueberries and donut peaches (from Washington)  snatched up at the Parry Sound grocery store!
2017-8-18 rain strawberry
Big storm blows n as i write this but we were tucked into our nice little anchorage where it’s calm….but still wet!

Being holed up for 3 days in one spot on a 28 foot boat under weather watch, with no generator for back-up power, shore excursions onto patches of land the mere size of a double-wide, no “third parties” to interact with could  lead  to ____( I’ll let you fill in the blank!)  But seriously, B was fine with her naps, tiny island explorations, minimal reading, rock yoga and swimming (aka skinny dipping)  while N barely hung in there with a morning swim/shower, ipad solitaire, finishing all his books on his kindle and cleaning non-stop….suffice to say “ I’m going expletive deleted insane” was his mantra. As this is typed, he has actually announced he will simply leave B (and presumably Z) on shore with a tarp and sleeping bag and make the crossing, regardless of condition, and return when the weather is better. With that pronouncement the loons started their wailing, haunting call and lyrical return whistle  that we’ve grown accustomed to.   Not sure what they were communicating to us with but it did sooth!

Well,  after watching the big sailboats that were in the abutting small inlet all scoot out earlier, N managed to hang in there and we sat out the weather watch  for the second night in a row under even bigger winds that attacked us from a different direction than the prior night.  We were fine after adding our second anchor (in addition to our really great and well-set anchor AND the stern tie).  We fared the night well and, in the morning, after checking about 4 websites by holding our arm up in the air to get a one-dot-signal and waiting for downloads of weather, wave and wind info, pulled up anchors and brought in the stern tie and headed out to take a peak and maybe make the 20 mile crossing back to the mainland.

2017-8-19 ready to cross N

2017-8-19 dinghy tow
Here’s N making slow but steady headway pulling the boat into Killarney.   Ok I have to admit that one fun thing about the whole event was that a monarch butterfly  (they are on their way back across the Great Lakes right now to Valle de Bravo, Mexico) flittered and followed N and his lime green rain coat for about 10 minutes and then abruptly turned left and headed southward.  Despite the flitting, it was so intent on its whole purpose and,personally, I thought it was a good omen!
2017-8-19 tow ropes to NVR
Tying up for a more efficient tow
2017-8-19 towed by nvr
Loopers Jim and Jeff from NVR II NAUTI towed us in!  Actually, we think the boat should be re-named: NVR II NAUTI AND NICE ! Thanks for the ride!

Made it to Killarney! It’s cute and one of the last Canadian “towns” for us.  They have some fresh oysters on the half shell flown in here! Yay! Ok not the cheapest on the trip (well, to be honest definitely  the most expensive…) but we indulged after our tough last few days and enjoyed while relishing in how really bad that whole problem could have been.

2017-8-20 dingy ride rescue
We ventured out in the dinghy to explore and take a swim….and ended up rescuing a father/son duo who had flipped in their rented canoe…that was fun!

We now sit, at a nice dock, slooooowllllly downloading and re-uploading to the blog website one pic (REPEATEDLY (btw. this is about my 4th attempt at getting this posted) at a time, wrapping up this writing and (happily) waiting for the mechanics from Orillia (who replaced the engine a few weeks ago) to drive up on Monday.  Phone diagnosis is the clutch and they plan to just fully replace the outdrive to be done with the matter….hmmmmm. ok—it’s all on warranty—yay!

OK you’ve heard of concierge doctors, personal chefs and life coaches, right!  Does this guy look familiar?

As this attempts to upload to the world of Blog,  Supermechanic Kyle (also known as pancake deliveryman (see above photo!)  and his buddy (prbably an even more super mechanic) have just arrived (after a 4 hour drive from Orillia!!)–luckily not quite a personal mechanic but being under warranty is the next best thing!

Let’s see, more on all that later. In the meantime, enjoy that eclipse wherever you are!

Epilogue:  Posting this at 3 am when wifi connectivity is a bit better (but still some tech difficulties…so post isn’t perfect   and ….ok, yes,  I might appear dedicated!  aka obsessed! but the reality is that there is a major lightening and thunder storm right now so might as well do this while i enjoy the scene.  and yes, the boat trial was a success… outdrive slammed in quickly (and under warranty!)…but bad weather for a few days so looks like we’ll be in Killarney even longer! Yikes…need to get off the Great Lakes by the first week of September or the weather will be even more problematic! Cue the thunder rolls outside!

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