continuousWave--> Sail-Logs --> Georgian Bay 2001 --> Day Seven

A long run to the south gets us back on schedule. We linger briefly in the warm morning sun at Killarney, then venture offshore across the northern coast of Georgian Bay to rejoin the Small Craft Route at the Bustard Islands. From there we run south in wonderfully fair weather. In all, we cruise one-hundred miles in an easy day. (Eleven Photographs)

Day Seven

Date:Friday, August 3, 2001
Weather:Fair, beautiful sun
Winds:E-10 going to N
Waves:2-foot from East
Departure:Killarney, Ontario
Destination:Parry Sound, Ontario
Distance:100 miles by Small Craft Route


[Photo: Gateway Marina in Killarney.]
Gateway Marina
We spent three enjoyable nights at little Gateway Marina. Their showers and laundry are top-notch. The low water has reduced the depth in their harbour to the point where only shallow draft boats can use certain docks. That worked to our advantage as there are not too many transient boats our size visiting Killarney--most are much larger.

[Photo: Gateway Marina in Killarney.]
Harbour View
This photograph reverses the view to show some of the rest of the cruising fleet. Killarney is like Venice: it's built around the water and it attracts a lot of visitors.
Photo Credit: Larry Goltz

[Photo: Larry Goltz(LCG) and Jim Gibson, Gateway Marina in Killarney.]
Patio Breakfast
With 100-miles of Georgian Bay to be crossed in a small boat awaiting you, you need to relax a bit and enjoy the morning before embarking. Larry Goltz (LCG) and Jim Gibson soak up the sunshine at Gateway Marina's patio.
Photo Credit: Larry Goltz

[Photo: Dockmaster Fred, Gateway Marina in Killarney.]
Dockmaster Fred
Our stay was made especially pleasant due to the extra courtesy we received from dockmaster Fred. He moved his livery fleet of fishing boats around to make room for us at the docks when we returned for an unplanned third night. He was a great help and a first-class host. That's the famous carry out grill window in the background and a few of the regular breakfast gang at the picnic tables.

Shore Breakfast

The Gateway Marina runs a little carry out grill, and people from all over town and other docks come every morning to have coffee and breakfast. In fact, this morning we are treating ourselves to eggs, pea-meal bacon (or Canadian Bacon as we call it in the States), cottage fried potatoes, and heavily buttered toast. It is the kind of food that puts chloresterol in your arteries, but a couple of times a year while on vacation you cannot resist it.

I take a few minutes to yack with some of the other boaters staying at the marina, Canadians for the most part, who have been having breakfast at the picnic tables adjacent to the docks every morning that we've been here. They are an interesting lot of characters. There's a big fellow with a gravelly voice, nicknamed "Red Dog" after his boat name. In his youth he might have played football--too big for hockey--and his hair might have been red, although now it looks like perhaps it maintains its current shade with some assistance. He is a gregarious fellow, easy to talk to. We briefly discuss the differences between American and Canadian politics, covering issues like the Clinton Presidency and the Secession of Quebec from Canada.

He refers to his boat or himself in the third person.

"Red Dog's gonna do some fishin' today, yes Sir. Come on, mum, let's get ready to go fishin'."

I think he is referring to his wife as "mum", but then I realize it really is his mother. A woman in her eighties comes up the dock and heads for the bathrooms.

"Okay, mum, we're gonna be out for three or four hours. Get yourself ready." says Red Dog in his low-pitched, gravel voice.

Red Dog and his mates have been part of the morning entertainment at Gateway Marina. We'll miss them. Finally it is time to go.

[Photo: View to the north from Killarney Channel. LaCloche Mountains in the distance. Many yachts in harbour.]
Killarney Channel
As we motored slowly south and out of Killarney, Larry turned around and snapped this picture. It is something that just happens to you when you are in the Killarney Channel; you have to take a picture. I have been to Killarney many times, and I think I have a picture for each visit that looks just like this. You've just passed through 200 miles of barren coastline and empty channels, and suddenly, instead of being surrounded by about a dozen scrub pine trees, you're enveloped by a picturesque village and million-dollar yachts. It really is quite a sight.
Photo Credit: Larry Goltz

[Photo: View of Killarney region from several miles offshore in Georgian Bay]
Georgian Bay
We ran east about five miles offshore, leaving Killarney and the North Channel behind us as we headed back. A dying easterly kicked up 1-2 foot waves for us to head into until we reached the Small Craft Route. Green Island is astern on the left.
Photo Credit: Larry Goltz

East and South on Georgian Bay

To make up the lost day of travel south, we'll have to skip a stop at Britt, and instead we are heading for Killbear. To cut down the mileage, we will also skip past Collins Inlet, which we saw quite a bit of yesterday (when the motor died), and then bypass the French River leg north of the Bustards. Instead, we will head out into the lake and take a due-east run to the Bustard Island Lights, then cut across the North East Passage route, going to Key Harbour. From there south we can resume the Small Craft Route.

The wind, which was forecasted to swing to the north, has not gotten the word, and it continues from the east, building head seas that we have to run into. We bounce along for about 25 miles, until we can turn briefly north, run inside to the shelter of the Bustard Islands, turn east in The Gun Barrel, and take the North East Passage section of the Small Craft Route. We omit a stop at Key Harbour, round Bigsby Island, and head south along the coast.

We can't skip everything interesting on this leg, so we take a half an hour to explore Henvey Inlet. This beautiful and deep passage leads inland several miles, surrounded on both shores by the Henvey Inlet Indian Reservation. Except for a modest home or two, we don't see much sign of the First Nation residents. We loosely raft up for a short chat, just drifting in the broad inlet and enjoying the gorgeous day.

[Photo:three boats approaching tight turn]
Shoal Narrows
After many days of travelling together the boats now naturally keep this spacing between them when coming to tight quarters. We are about to make a sharp left turn, guided by no less than five navigational aids, as we approach Shoal Narrows from the North. A cottage lies just out of frame to the right, its boat and canoe visible. It is near noon on a beautiful August day. This is small craft boating at its best! The shapely bow pulpit option with varnished teak platform on WHALE LURE frames this picture.
Photo Credit: Larry Goltz Taken at Mile 38.5 Chart 2203
[Read the Sidebar article on how I deduced where this photo was taken]

[Photo: Stern quarter view of Boston Whaler 20-Revenge on Small Craft Route]
While travelling the route, every few miles we would stop and reassemble while everyone changed to a new chart page. Our accordian-folded charts are laid out on the cabin top on the port side, along with the binocular.
Photo Credit: Larry Goltz

[Photo: Whalers approaching several floating aids to navigation; Small Craft Route, Georgian Bay]
We are headed toward the sea and approaching several buoys and daymarks. Which course should we take? Study the situation and deduce the proper side to leave the next buoy. The inset shows an unofficial aid: a bleach bottle, probably marking a rock. In areas where there are cottagers these are common. Note another bleach bottle just behind the first green buoy. Travelling the Small Craft Route means making several hundred decisions like this anew each day.
Photo Credit: Larry Goltz

Exiting from Henvey Inlet, we then pass through Rogers Gut, another narrow spot with its own very small-scale detail on the chart (Sheet 1 of Chart 2204). A few more miles under our keel and we pass Byng Inlet. Next we are back to the big water for that ten mile run offshore, fortunately again today in very calm water, the breeze having swung to the north and coming from our stern. The miles are just flying past us, so we have enough time to take a look at the small harbor and facilities at Bayfield Inlet. We give it just a glimpse, then we are back underway again.

We transit Hangdog Reef at high speed, make that U-turn around A74, and duck back into shore. Next we are approaching Pointe au Baril from seaward, a nice benchmark because south of here we are on the inside passage all the way home.

[Photo: Large home with very modern architecture on rocky coastal site.]
Shapes Found In Nature
The appearance of several rather recently built large homes on remote islets like this marked our re-entry into cottage country. Among our group opinions were split of the aesthetic of this modern home designed with truncated geometric solids. The view from its spherical picture window is decidedly more rustic than ours is now from the waterway .
Photo Credit: Larry Goltz

A few miles beyond Pointe au Baril we stop again for another lunch at the Ojibway Inn--you can't let a good meal like that go by. After a leisurely hour ashore, we get back in the boats and continue our marathon southward, enjoying a delightful run across Shawanga Inlet and through the Shebeshekong Channel.

We fly past Snug Harbour, duck through Canoe Channel again, and head up Parry Sound to Killbear Marina. Wow, that was a run!

Kilarney   = 0
Buoy RW    = 25 miles
Offshore Total =           25 Miles

Buoy RW    = 28 Mile Mark
Byng Inlet =  4 Mile Mark
2204 Chart total =         24 miles

Byng Inlet = 58 Mile Mark
Killbear   = 11 Mile Mark
2203 Chart total =         47 miles


TOTAL RUN =                96 miles!

With those diversions at Bayfield Inlet and Henvey Inlet we probably put well over 100 miles on the boat today, by far my longest leg of cruising in one afternoon. The best part is we have reached Killbear Marina and it is still mid-afternoon; there is time for some relaxation and a swim.

On our second visit to Killbear we get assigned to the docks we were hoping for, the ones that look out over the bay. We take the last three slips on the end of the pier, tie the boats up, and relax.

Out come the deck chairs and the LABATTs. The afternoon sun is still warm and it is hot enough to go for a swim. We get everyone in the water except Larry Goltz, senior. Son Larry takes a scrub brush to his boat's hull while Jim Gisbon, Chris, and I just enjoy swimming in the cool water off the dock.

There is young Canadian boy swimming off the pier, too. He eyes us cautiously then asks, "Are you Americans?"

"Yes, we are," I explain, "and we don't have any guns on us."

I don't know where in Ontario this pre-adolescent is from, but he seems to take meeting five Americans as quite an international event. He has twenty questions for us. Finally his mother chides him for his precocious behavior and hauls him out of the water.

We pass the afternoon in the usual activities: showers, cleaning the boat, cocktail hour, long discussions on the fine points of Boston Whalers, and exclamations of how much fun the cruise has been.

[Photo: Killbear Marina docks near Parry Sound.]
Overlooking St. Aubyn Bay from Killbear Marina
Although it is a long walk to the shore facilities, we like our mooring on the last docks in Killbear Marina. Parry Sound opens just beyond the point of land behind us.
Photo Credit: Larry Goltz

Dinner again takes us to the SNUGEL-IN, and there we enjoy another fine meal of fresh fish. This time we are not quite the last customers to leave, but it is past ten o'clock when we depart for home.

It is another run in the dark back to Killbear, but tonight there's a hitch. The DGPS Chart Plotter has somehow lost our track from the voyage over here. We won't get any help from it tonight.

We are forced, instead, to depend on the beautiful full moon and the very clear skies, augmented with a powerful hand held search light borrowed from my boat. For back-up we also have Jim Gibson and the plain old flashlight, and to tell the truth, the weaker light works as well as the high power one. Turning on the big beam creates so much back spill of light that it can affect your night vision. The little flashlight illuminates the buoys sufficiently to see them but does not create a penumbra of light around the boat.

Without any trouble, really, we get ourselves back to the Marina. It is another beautiful night, one of the best for star gazing, and we have no problem getting a good rest in the calm protection of the bay and the marina seawall.

The nine-day narrative continues in Day Eight.

Copyright © 2001 by James W. Hebert. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited!

This is a verified HTML 4.0 document served to you from continuousWave
Last modified:
Author: James W. Hebert
This article first appeared September, 2001.