After Eagle Island, we headed eastward once again driven along by further mechanical issues. But I’m letting Dan cover those gory details – I’m going to focus on the positive. Those rose-colored glasses really do help improve perspective!
We arrived in Little Current (again) and tied up alongside the wall right downtown. Also arriving in Little Current were throngs of people celebrating the First Gay Pride weekend in Little Current—or even that part of Ontario. Adding more than a little color to the environment, the town was decorated with rainbow-colored Pride flags.
I knew the Pride weekend in Minneapolis was highlighted with a huge parade. Parade? In Little Current? The downtown is only a few blocks long. But parade there was – complete with several marching bands, a variety of floats, and lots of big smiles everywhere! So glad I didn’t miss it!
Where my rose-colored glasses failed miserably was when I felt the boat move as we were tied up along the wall. I peaked out the galley hatch to see a butt sitting on our boat while his friends and family took pictures of him! So thankful he didn’t have a plumber’s crack! I’m sure I scared the bejesus out of him as I flew up the companionway steps. Now if I had only been smart enough to tell him he owed me $20 bucks for using my boat as a prop! FYI – for those of you who are not boaters, it’s a big no-no to step (or park your butt) on a boat without permission.
We caught the 2:00 PM opening of the Little Current swing bridge and headed to Marianne Cove up Baie Fine, northeast of Little Current about 15 nautical miles. Winds were in our favor and we sailed the entire way right up to the opening of Baie Fine channel. As we pulled into my favorite North Channel anchorage, a couple from a motor vessel (Last Dance) anchored across the cove from us came over in their dinghy and graciously tied our stern line to a rock on shore. What was even more impressive was that they left their Happy Hour drinks behind to help us! So Glen and Jill retrieved their drinks and came back over to Gaviidae for proper introductions and afternoon chatter. Turns out they saw our Great Lakes Cruising Club burgee and they are also members. You gotta love fellow boaters!
Hiking or Swatting?
The next day was the highly anticipated solar eclipse. We kayaked to a trailhead and hiked up Casson (aka Fraser) Peak. This peak, which is named for a Group of Seven Canadian artist, offers amazing vistas of the North Channel in nearly every direction. We arrived just as the moon began to cross the sun, but scattered clouds and general haze diffused the sunlight. The partial eclipse at that latitude in that light was a nonevent. I went in search of a Geocache; Dan took a nap.
The search for the cache took a bit longer than expected as I kept stumbling across blueberry patches – including taking a major tumble into one of them. All good. Didn’t spill any of the blueberries already gathered and didn’t squish blueberries on my clothes!
We headed back down as quickly as we dared. The trail was a bit slippery due to recent rains but the mosquitos on our tail kept us motivated to move along. We kayaked back to the boat to find that Magic Carpet had arrived in the anchorage with grand daughters aboard. Shrieks echoed across the bay as the two young girls took turns jumping into the cool water and splashing each other. We sat back and relaxed with adult beverages in hand.
A few days later we headed further up Baie Finn into an area called ‘The Pool’. It’s normally a popular anchorage but with nine other boats it was pretty open. Crowded would be 30-plus. We took advantage of a nice, sunny day and hiked to Artist’s Lake with Jeff and Debbie of S/V Tiger Bay, a couple we met in Marianne Cove who followed us up Baie Finn to The Pool. We continued on to Topaz Lake – another exquisite place of pure beauty. No rose-colored glasses required in this area!
We were back to the boat and underway shortly after noon. We headed to Covered Portage at the east end of the North Channel. Covered Portage is yet another gorgeous anchorage in an area replete with gorgeous anchorages. It has the distinction of being a perfect hurricane hole by virtue of the dramatic cliffs that tower above it, especially on the north shore.
The next afternoon we traveled an arduous 3.3 nautical miles to Killarney where we picked up a mooring ball across from the Killarney Mountain Lodge. Last year we managed to drop two boat hooks into the water trying to grab the mooring ball without a pennant. This time we chose a different mooring and snagged it on the first attempt. Magic Carpet grabbed one of the other moorings and then we headed into the lodge to celebrate Clare’s birthday and our 30th wedding anniversary. These events are not on the same day, but are close enough to blur lines.
Accidents do Happen
From Killarney we headed to Thomas Bay which I’m guessing might be considered part of Georgian Bay rather than the North Channel. We stepped gingerly into our not-so-steady inflatable kayaks and headed out for a morning paddle with Jerry and Clare. Ducking back into bays sheltered by small islands and shoals we kept our eyes open for signs of life. Other than several groups of Japanese tourists learning how to paddle canoes (mostly in circles) we only saw the usual assortment of birds, ducks and geese.
Since we gave our arms a workout paddling, it was time for some hiking. So, we followed Jerry and Clare in our respective dinghies to a nearby park that was accessible from the lake by a small river. As Clare was exiting their dinghy with a line to tie it ashore, she took a tumble out of their dinghy and badly jammed her shoulder. Once ashore, she fainted and was nauseous from the pain. We got her somewhat dried off and back into their dinghy, and we raced back to our sailboats so Clare–a registered nurse–could assess the damage and self-medicate for the pain.
Turning on our VHF early the next morning, we were immediately hailed by Jerry informing us that Clare needed to see a doctor for her shoulder. The nearest emergency room was in Sudbury. Getting there required sailing 4 nautical miles back to Killarney and a 100-kilometer ride in an ambulance. Jerry requested that we lead the way out of the shoal-infested entrance to Thomas Bay as Clare was in no position to maintain bow watch. Once out of the bay, we raced ahead to greet the ambulance already summoned to the Sportsman Inn docks in Killarney and assist landing Magic Carpet at the fuel dock.
Lumpy Bash to Killarney
The wind was up out of the east pushing waves across the bow once we cleared Thomas Bay. It was not a comfortable ride and I could not imagine how Clare was doing with the rough water. We pounded our way forward and arrived about twenty minutes ahead of Jerry and Clare. By that point the dockhands at the Sportsman’s Inn in Killarney were on hand to assist as well. The ambulance arrived just as Magic Carpet pulled up to the dock. Did I mention that the nearest hospital was in Sudbury, 100 kilometers away? That’s 75 miles!
We saw Jerry and Clare off in the ambulance. Since we were tied up at the Sportsman’s dock, we did some laundry and took showers. We had access to an unlimited supply of hot water and time to kill while waiting for word from our friends. With laundry and personal hygiene attended to, we moved Gaviidae down the channel to the mooring balls to await word from Sudbury. Looking for something to do that night, we dinghied to the Lodge to take in the music in the lounge. We were entertained by a great harp guitar player. As we sat cuddled next to each other in front of the fireplace,
I was suddenly tapped on the shoulder by a young woman. She had wagered a bet with her friend as to whether we were married or not. She won and her friend had to buy all of us drinks!
Jerry and Clare returned from Sudbury around midnight. Her shoulder had been dislocated when she slipped. With her shoulder back in its proper position, properly restrained, and Clare properly medicated, she was in much better spirits and frame of mind. They left the next morning to start their trek east and south towards their home port of Midland ON.
As for us, I sat in the cockpit with my rose-colored glasses planted firmly on my nose while Dan tried to figure out yet another ‘boat issue’.
August 19 – 29, 2017 Killarney Ontario 45°58.064’N 81°30.376’W 1482.2 Nautical Miles