As we carefully exited the beautiful, friendly Trent-Severn Waterway and gently slid into the open waters of Georgian Bay the realization that we were just a breath away from our home waters of the Great Lakes slowly crept into our thoughts. Jim and I first began to quietly reflect on the scope and breadth of the adventure behind us. Then it was all we could talk about. We shared our excitement while anticipating the return home to family, friends and a familiar lifestyle but we also took time to look back. Sure, we still had some of the most beautiful parts of Canada to cruise through but having been here before – our thoughts and conversations easily cast backwards as we suddenly found ourselves approaching familiar waters.
|It was fun to look back at the Big Chute standing empty and already carriage-less as it had already returned to the other side to pick up more boats.|
It was an unusual feeling, not knowing whether to push forward or retreat. Could we just turn around and do it over backwards and delay the return home ten more months – maybe forever? It seemed the right time to take stock of our revved up and mixed emotions and I guess you could say that we began to realize one undeniable fact – the course of our lives had changed drastically in the last year. Life could never be the same after a year such as the one we did the Loop in – more importantly, WE would never be the same. All of the time spent planning and finally executing our Great Loop adventure has reshaped us for our future lives. Experiencing adventure is a thrill that once had is addictive and also hard to let go of. On the other hand, the knowledge that home loomed just over and around a lake or two made us feel like the horses on Mackinac Island on their return trip as they near the barn where all the comfort and warm “welcome homes” lie in wait for a weary traveler.
The ride on the Big Chute Marine Railway was exhilarating and long awaited. Although this wonder is practically in our backyard we’d never been on this ride, so as we headed over the crest of the cliff and Kismet glided off the carriage into the last of the Trent-Severn waters we were actually making a long sought after boating dream a reality. We were like two kids mastering a new bike trick as we approached Severn and the LAST LOCK of our trip. After transiting through 110 locks in the past 10 months, it was certainly a milestone but again it was also one more door closing on an amazing adventure.
|Lock #45 at Port Severn was busy this day with lots of little boats as we exited the lock and headed for the Detroit Severn Sound.|
We immediately understood the warnings we’d heard about this stretch of water almost the minute we exited that last lock. Lock #45 at Port Severn and all the way through the Detroit Severn Sound was white knuckle boating as we were faced with large boulders above and below the water and not far from where our boat plied through the shallow waters. I remembered that although the scenery was stunningly beautiful we had little time to relax and enjoy it. Soon enough though we were through that hurdle and into the magnificent Georgian Bay heading towards Penetanguishine, Ontario.
We spent one night at the Beacon Bay Marina in Penetanguishine. This is a must stop for Loopers. A friendly establishment that caters to boaters on the Loop and has in the past hosted many of the American Great Loop Cruisers’ Association’s (AGLCA) summer rendezvous. We were again traveling for a few days with fellow Loopers, Rick, and Mary, on the other Kismet. We all used the marina’s loaner car that night to tour the town, stock up and relax at one of the seafood restaurants on the water.
|We love cute little tug boats and this one was no exception. We came across this one at Scully’s Crab Shack, in the neighboring Midland, when we joined Rick and Mary for dinner during our stay in Penetanguishine.|
Our next night was spent at Lion’s Head on the Bruce Peninsula, well-known for the shape of the limestone cliff which resembles a lion’s head. In the past, lumber and fish were exported from this active port town and passenger ships regularly visited there. Now, Lion's Head provides a perfect spot for anglers, boaters and sailors. There’s a full service marina with transient docks and that’s where we stayed during our visit. This community is proud of their many artists and the popular hiking opportunities on the Bruce Trail along the high cliffs of the peninsula. The hike is well worth the effort because part of the trip takes in the expansive views of Georgian Bay.
|The Lion’s Head area is a popular climbing and hiking destination and they are very proud of their local artists.|
After we left Lion’s Head we made the short jaunt to Tobermory. The weather was misty and overcast – all of a sudden, out of the haze before us shortly before we entered the larger bay to secure our proposed anchorage, appeared a big ferry, returning to port. As we slowly entered the mouth of the bay, and passed the little lighthouse on the edge, to drop anchor for the night we knew right away that we had picked a special spot as we soon became one with the quiet noises and activity of the few cottages surrounding us. A little bit of hammering at a cottage close followed later by a quiet buzz of happy people noises signified the close of the day. We’ve never been on land in Tobermory and still have only touched its waters but we know we’ll be back someday to get better acquainted.
|The larger bay of Tobemory provided us with a peaceful anchorage for our last night in Georgian Bay.|
Our next few logs will cover the North Channel – some of our most cherished and familiar cruising grounds. We felt the waters in this part of Canada were an excellent place, full of peaceful retreat and heart stopping beauty, to slow down and reflect back on an adventure shared. We also stopped to appreciate the energy and commitment we gave to each other in making our mutual dream and goal a reality. Looking back and deep into the reflecting pool, as we cruised through the final stretch of what we hope is only one of many future adventures, we found the time spent along the edge of our familiar cruising grounds was exhilarating and more than anything – rejuvenating.