July 31, 2001
On Sunday, we left mid-morning and headed for Snug Harbor. (Note: It seems that boaters leave later in the morning here than they do on the Chesapeake. It is not unusual for a harbor or marina to just start clearing out at 10:30/11:00 in the morning. Heck, Brian and I are usually GETTING to our destination about that time!) We slowly made our way back into Snug Harbor (drifting in neutral and praying over a small 4' area in the channel), only to find that the small public dock was full and the channel to the one marina not very appealing (narrow and shallow). So we continued for two more hours on to Pointe au Baril Station.
Pointe au Baril Station was an interesting place. As we went up the ~5 mile inlet to the town, we were passed by lots and lots of runabouts in both directions. This was puzzling in that we knew the town was not that large. As it turns out, Pointe au Baril Station is the port where a lot of the people who have cottages and/or own islands in that area go for minor provisions, picking up and dropping off people, arranging delivery of large items to their islands, etc. And on Sunday, people were returning in their runabouts to the marinas in Pointe au Baril Station and then driving "home" (e.g. Toronto, Thousand Islands, the airports, etc. - - we met one couple at the dock from Charlotte, North Carolina who were waiting for their daughter to arrive - - they live in Charlotte and come up to their island for 2 months or so in the summers). It was an interesting place of minimal shopping and restaurants (2 each?), but amazingly busy. We considered ourselves lucky to get docking space at the public dock (this time for only $13/night! - - restrooms, but no electric/hydro or showers).
On Monday morning, we left the small boat channel and cruised "outside" to the Bustard Islands (about 6 hours, ~35 miles). The seas were good - - 10 to 15 knot winds, 1 1/2 foot waves. The Bustards are beautiful! Many, many islands (and only an occasional cottage), around which we VERY CAREFULLY kept a lookout for rocks and worked our way back to a known anchorage, a harbor next to Pearl Island. We were the only boat in the harbor and passed only one other trawler that was anchored on the way in. However, after 5 attempts at anchoring (i.e. Brian laying down and pulling back up a 35 lb plow anchor and up to 75' of chain), we concluded that we had forgotten how to anchor and started back out of the harbor, discussing our alternatives. Fortunately, the anchored trawler hailed us on the VHF radio and told us that no one had been able to anchor successfully in that harbor for the past two days. He suggested that we anchor in the small bay near him (behind Pearl Island). We did and the anchor held with the first attempt, restoring our confidence! Turns out, the bottom of the harbor where we originally tried is a thin layer of clay over solid rock. We can only conclude that over the years, the clay has broken up from all of the anchor use and that there is no longer anything down there to hold an anchor. Brian kept saying that there are rocks EVERY WHERE, but we could not find even one to hold our anchor!
Anyway, the Bustards were quiet and lovely. In the evening while Brian was grilling BBQ chicken and garlic roasted potatoes and onions for dinner, we watched 27 Common Mergansers swim by single file - - it looked like a mother with 26 babies. It reminded us of traffic on I-95 around Washington. Once again, we remembered why we enjoy anchoring so much. The stars that night were phenomenal!
This morning (Tuesday) , we set off early for the town of Killarny. Depending on whom you talk to, Killarny is either the end of Georgian Bay or the beginning of the North Channel, never both. The trip to Killarny was wonderful - - some open water, but the rest was through the islands, Beaverstone Bay, and the Collins Channel, a channel of high rocky ridges on both sides with water an icy color of blue that is indescribable! This area was more of what we expected to find throughout Georgian Bay (although we haven't been disappointed with reality!).
We arrived in Killarny in 6 1/2 hours. Killarny is a "drive/boat-through" sort of town, meaning the town has built up on both sides of an approximate 1/4 mile wide by 1 mile long channel. Although our first choice was to dock at the public dock for the night (in order to partake of a meal at Mr. Perch (known for its fish and chips) and to find a library, the public dock was full. And since the marinas were looking for $1.25/foot (and we have gotten so used to paying less than .50/foot!), we continued on to find an anchorage.
We took several people's recommendation and went 3 miles past Killarny into Covered Portage Cove. It is easy to see why it is such a popular anchorage. It is in a "bowl" off of Killarny Bay and there is room for both free anchoring, and mooring with a bow anchor and then also tying a stern line to shore. After we anchored, we dinghied to the shore and walked up one of the stone ridges (about 175') to overlook the cove and bay. Hopefully our pictures will turn out because, once again, it is impossible to describe how beautiful the view was from up there (and we didn't see any bears or snakes along the way!).
When we got back to the boat, Brian took a swim and checked out the water intake, prop, etc on the bottom of the boat. Although I stuck my feet in off of the swim platform, I knew that swimming in this water was not for me when my toe nails turned purple from the cold! But I must say that Brian did not need a refrigerated beer for happy hour - - his hands were cold enough to chill the beer straight out of the case!