Monday, July 29, 2013

Parry Sound to Killarney, End of Georgian Bay

First of all, for all of our friends and family in the heat of the south, we have the heater on in the boat tonight and have been wearing jackets most of the day.  The high today was 61, low tonight is 56.  We are in Killarney, junction point between Georgian Bay and the North Channel.  

Remember our lily pad blossom picture on the last post?  Here's one in full bloom with a special treat - a frog on the lily pad beside it!  

It doesn't get much more exciting than that in Killarney, but that's kinda the way we like it.  Anyhow, to catch up our travels of the past 2 days, let's go back to Parry Sound, 109 water-miles back. Here are a few more pictures to finish up our 3 days there.

Nice waterfall by downtown along their hiking and fitness trail.

They have a graffiti bridge on the trail also. A local artist told Rhonda that artists from all over would come and paint the individual panels, but then people started defacing the paintings with graffiti. Rather than trying to stop the "graffiti artists" and saving the artwork, the local officials painted all of the panels black and now supervise local kids who paint the panels. When the graffiti builds up, the panels are just painted over again.

A harsh reminder of how cold it gets here in the winter.

I guess if there's nothing else to do in the wintertime, you can always go curling.  And why is that a winter Olympic sport event?  Am I the only one asking the question?

This was a pretty cool mural - seems like lots of the towns we have been through on the trip had the lumber industry in their histories.

After our trek along the fitness trail, Rhonda and I sat down for a rest on a street bench.  She wanted me to walk across the street and get her some of the energy crystals they were advertising, but I needed some of the crystals myself to have enough energy to get across the street to get some for her!  Sad, huh?

And if there is a picture to describe Parry Sound, this is it.  Boats and float planes mixing together nicely.

Leaving Parry Sound you pass Killbear Point.  Killbear also has a nice anchorage and a marina.

Speaking of anchorages, I was way out in left field on my understanding of these before we got to Georgian Bay.  I thought there were an unlimited number of anchorages everywhere and you just pull over whenever you feel the urge to do so and a few minutes later you are anchored and done.  Well, that is sort of true - there are definitely plenty out there, but there are only a few that are noted in Active Captain and other cruising guides that have been "sounded" and are safe to enter without worry of hitting unknown rocks.  On a trip like this where time is of the essence, we were not interested in exploring unknown anchorages and running the risk of damaging props/shafts, etc.  Those are repairs that are not made in a day or so and can put a serious dent in a schedule, not to mention the bank account.  In the 109 miles we ran from Parry Sound to the Bustard Islands, there were only about 10 anchorages noted that we felt comfortable with.

We decided to pass them all up and make some serious time and miles this day.  It was a very windy day as you can see with the chop and whitecaps below - and that was inland and in protected waters.  We had to run offshore in one stretch of about 17 miles and it was very rough.  "Help Me Rhonda" takes rolling seas pretty good on the bow and stern, but those rollers from the beam make for an uncomfortable trip.  We had about 3 hours worth of three-to-four-footers and were glad to be back in protected water later on.

The "water toys" are getting pretty creative these days - a climbing tower and trampoline.

Point Au Baril is a well-known scenic stop on the small craft channel.

Pointe au Baril was named after the barrel on the point that originally (1870s) marked the treacherous entry to the main channel from the open water of Georgian Bay. As the story goes, early fur traders from Penetanguishene lost a canoe near the point. Their canoe included a barrel of whiskey that was found by stranded traders the next spring. After a drinking spree the barrel was left on the point as a beacon. French mariners were soon calling it Pointe au Baril. Later this marker was improved to include a lantern in the barrel that would be lit by the first fisherman returning inland to light the way for the rest of the boats.

And in memory of those days....

Time for a navigation lesson.  Remember the range markers we posted down in Georgia to keep you aligned in the channel? These are the same principal, just using lights to line them up.  These are in place to assist in returning from the 17-mile run offshore.  We're slightly left of course here, correcting.

Before and after the off-shore stretch, it's a constant zig and zag around the rocks, frequently in narrow channels.  This picture shows a little bit of that since you can see some of the course traveled behind the boat.

And we've got hundreds of scenery pictures - it's difficult to select which ones to post.

We finally made our way to The Bustard Islands - what a beautiful stop.  We anchored in the center, noted with the arrow in the diagram below.

We were pleased to hear that our cruising friends, Geoff and Patty aboard "Osprey," had arrived just before us.  We initially met them in Bellhaven, NC and our paths have crossed many times since then but we have not had a chance to really sit down and visit.  We enjoyed swapping stories and getting to know them better.  They are from Oregon, took a year off from their jobs as a builder and a nurse, bought a boat in Florida to cruise the Loop, and are about halfway done at this point.  That's Rhonda and Becky of course on the left.  Galen was on Mooring Dove taking care of some business.

 "Osprey" - anchored next to us.  Technically, I guess we anchored next to them since they arrived first.

"Mooring Dove"

And "Help Me Rhonda"

And this is pretty exciting, right there along the lines of watching frogs on lily pads!  Rhonda has been trying to get a good picture of a loon forever, but they have a tendency to dive under water when the boat gets close.  This one was bathing behind the boat while we were anchored and I was finally able to get a few good shots - a beautiful bird with an interesting call.  Notice that they sit a little lower in the water than most.

After our 3-hour crossing the day before, we decided to get an early start today before the wind picked up - 26 miles of open water ahead of us to Killarney.  We got up at 5 AM for a 6:30 departure time.  There was no activity at all on Mooring Dove at the proposed departure time, so we had a little fun with that.  We pulled up anchor and slowly made our way over close to their boat and gave them a loud wake-up call with the hailer on the front of our boat  - it's pretty loud if you crank up the volume.  They caught up with us later and we had an absolutely beautiful crossing.  Again, auto-pilot is a wonderful thing.  Rhonda ran the boat while I took my chair up front, along with the CD player, and I cranked up Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir for awhile.  I know this is starting to sound like a broken record, but the scenery here is stunning.  We'll be in those hills tomorrow as we enter the North Channel.

Some clouds were forming in the distance as we approached Killarney.  Rhonda got a good shot of a donut-hole formation.

Killarney Lighthouse is to starboard as you approach the Killarney entrance channel.

Killarney is a really nice town - it sits on both sides of a narrow and short channel (probably not more than a mile long) that joins Georgian Bay to The North Channel, and every establishment and business is accessible by boat.  

As a matter of fact, the town was not even accessible other than by boat until 1962. The air is clean, the water is crystal clear, and there is definitely a nautical sense around town with boats everywhere.  It has a very laid-back feel and would be near the top of my list of "Places I Could Live" except for that winter weather problem that I could not handle.  We were enjoying the arrival into the town so much that we failed to get a good picture of the channel.  This is the best we got.

Float planes in the area just like Parry Sound.

We docked at Sportsman's Inn - very nice.

They have most everything you could expect here - weight room, sauna, restaurant, live music every night, etc..  And how about this - a Boat-In Theater with the screen mounted on the hillside across the channel.  Weather permitting, they have movies just about every night.  You dial up a marine radio frequency for the audio.

And if you come to Killarney, you don't even want to miss Herbert Fisherie's Fish and Chips.  Pickerel to die for is what I'm talking about.  Delicious.  It's run out of an old school bus, the menu is very simple, just different quantities of fish and chips!  You buy your drink out of a machine, condiments are on the table. Instructions are simple - put your trash in the cans and please don't feed the birds.

Hawberry Jelly was something new that Rhonda wanted to try.  You guessed it - made from hawberries.

Rhonda and I rode our bikes over to the lighthouse noted previously.  

The granite rock and the scenery across the bay is really gorgeous from there.

There were a couple of rainstorms in the distance but we managed to escape the rain all day.

And a nice end to the day in Killarney.  One end of a nice rainbow.

Tomorrow we venture into The North Channel.  First stop, Baie Fine Channel, pronounced "Bay Fin."

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