Saturday, August 9, 2008

Killarney to Little Current, North Chanel

After the horrendous storm of last night, the four of us boats very carefully "un-rafted" on a clear, beautiful morning and headed towards the end of the Georgian Bay at Killarney. When we left Mills Bay where we had been rafted and traveled the narrow channel that morning, we saw so many trees that had been snapped off, and others simply felled, high and low, and for several miles too. We knew the storm was really bad, but to see all the damage it had especially done just around us made us believers for sure! As we progressed that day, evidence of the storm waned and we knew that whatever had hit us was definitely the worst part of the storm.

As we were making our way, we passed huge, pink, granite rocks--we had heard they were up here, but had not seen them yet. The cliffs were so tall and pretty, and occasionally we would see a waterfall--something we probably wouldn't have seen the day before, but with the storm the night before--water was definitely streaming off those cliffs! All of a sudden, we were at the end of the channel, and the waters opened up to a beautiful bay with aquamarine water--just like in the Caribbean--what a surprise! And in the distance, a mountain range looked like it had snow on top--only it was white quartz boulders peeping through the trees. What a preponderance of colors--blue sky, white top/tree covered mountains, pink cliffs, aqua water, and us! Yes, we took lots of pictures.

Killarney, Georgian Bay, is a wonderful little town--where we spent two nights in the Sportsman's Marina with a bunch of other Loopers. We all were spread out over three marinas--all within walking distance of each other--the town is just about three blocks long. The first night there, all us Loopers gathered at the dock for an impromptu party--I counted 24 people--what fun! Killarney's claim to fame is the Red Bus Fish and Chips. Now we have really been eating a lot of fish up here, but this was definitely the best we'd had to date. In fact, it was so good--we ate lunch there twice!! (We have not done that on this trip until now.) And I would have eaten there again and again--it was that good. They sell only two things, fish and fries. No slaw, no hushpuppies, no crackers or bread, no nothing else--even the drinks are sold out of 3 drink machines (with only two working!). And the fish is sold out of an old red school bus! People are lined up, day and night, eating is outside at picnic tables only, and the servings are plentiful--with the ice cream shop just next door--amazing. Ice cream is everywhere in Canada.

While we were in Killarney, we took our dinghies to Covered Portage to look for the Indian Chief rock and hopefully, some wild blueberries. We found the Indian Chief but no berries. The animals or other boaters must have picked them all. But we were determined to find them--sooner or later! And we would.

We left Killarney with "Phantom" on Friday, August 8th--8 other Loopers had left the day before. We headed for Baie Fine--a long ride up an off-course route--to see and spend the night at anchor in "The Pool". We had an easy ride to the Pool--"Bella Luna" getting probably as close to a fjord as she will ever be. We anchored in a cul-de-sac bay, rafted up with "Phantom" and launched the dinghy. We were headed for a walking trail that led up the mountain just behind us, through a creek bed, through the forest, and up, up, up to the top--where we would find "Topaz Lake". The lake there is definitely the most pristine one I've ever seen--the water was the color aquamarine, and you could literally see 30 feet down into it. I'm sure it's all fed by snow and rain, so unspoiled by man, and truly breathtaking in beauty. We all stopped at the top to reflect on the journey so far, and said our thanks. We also found wild blueberries! It's been quite a while since I've been on such a hike, and I must admit I got winded a few times, but the views were spectacular! Bruce found me a "walking" stick, and it really helped me with my uncertain balance--living on the boat now for 3 months has made me unsteady, to say the least!

Saturday, August 9th, we left the Pool in the rain--we had left our hatches open again--it being such a beautiful evening the night before--and yes, our comforter and other things got soaked again! UGH. But our short time there was worth it--we had seen an eagle, a huge beaver, picked wild blueberries, seen Topaz Lake, and had a wonderful evening under millions of stars with good friends. Wow.

We got to Little Current, North Chanel a little after 1pm--tying up at the town docks along with "Wanderin L & M", "C-Life", "Prime Time", "Phantom of the Aqua", "ETC.", and "Grace Full". The other 5 boats, "Southern Comfort", "Sunshine", "Blue Max", "Golden Lily", and "Ithica", had reservations to be at the marina at the end of town--Spider Cove. We were lucky to get a spot here, as this "marina" does not accept reservations--just a first come basis. We really like where we have been now for 2 days--right beside the laundry, near 2 grocery stores, an LCBO and beer store, and just across the street from cute shops and restaurants--just like being on the town docks at Beaufort, NC. Lots of people walk the docks, and it's been fun being here--plus great wireless!! Just poor cell phone reception--guess we can't expect it all, right?! Little Current is the eastern most spot in the North Channel.

We've had more rain today, but we expect it to clear this evening and all 12 boats plan to leave in the morning headed west to The Benjamin's--great anchorages and pink rocks. Then on to Gore Bay and another anchorage. It will probably take us 5 days to reach Drummond Island, where we'll clear customs, and be back in the USA. From there, we'll be working our way down the western coast of Michigan to Chicago, arriving there sometime mid September. For lots and lots of reasons, I'll be sad to leave Canada--I'll try to do a special posting on our reflections of this special place and time in our lives.

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