Copyright © 2015
Big Sound Marina, Parry Sound, ON 6/28-30/2019
Wrights Marina, Britt, ON 6/30-7/1/2019
Sportsman Inn, Killarney, ON 7/2/2019
Meldrum Bay Marina, Manitoulin Island, ON 7/3/2019
Drummond Island Yacht Haven, Drummond Island, Michigan, USA 7/4/2019
We picked a beautiful day to start making our way up Georgian Bay. Wind was minimal and no waves. We exited the Trent Severn and got on the small craft channel. We’d been forewarned and read that it would be narrow and that it would be lined with rocks. Big rocks. It was. Between our chart plotter and keeping an eye on the channel markers we made our way up into gorgeous surroundings. Rock islands with homes to beautiful green hills with cottages. At times you felt as though you were following a trail of crumbs that were going from side to side, in and around islands and huge rocks just barely exposed out of the water.
If Georgian Bay were considered a lake in its own right, it would be the fourth largest lake located entirely within Canada (after Great Bear Lake, Great Slave Lake and Lake Winnipeg). With Georgian Bay, Lake Huron is considered to be the second largest of the Great Lakes - if Georgian Bay were excluded, Lake Huron would be the third largest (after Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, but still ahead of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario). Eastern Georgian Bay is part of the southern edge of the Canadian Shield, granite bedrock exposed by the glaciers at the end of the last ice age, about 11,000 years ago. The granite rock formations and windswept eastern white pine are characteristic of the islands and much of the shoreline of the bay.
There are tens of thousands of islands in Georgian Bay. Most of these islands are along the east side of the bay and are collectively known as the "Thirty Thousand Islands", including the larger Parry Island. Manitoulin Island, lying along the northern side of the bay, is the world's largest island in a freshwater lake. The Trent–Severn Waterway connects Georgian Bay to Lake Ontario, running from Port Severn in the southeastern corner of Georgian Bay through Lake Simcoe into Lake Ontario near Trenton
When we started the Loop we often asked other Loopers what part of the Loop they liked best and Canada was pretty much always the answer. I can see why.
Our plan for the first day of travel was to get to Henry’s Fish Restaurant and Marina. It was only about noon as we got closer to our destination. We deliberated and I called Big Sound Marina in Parry Sound and they added another day to our slip reservation and we continued another 15 miles. We had checked the weather and knew it was going to rain and thought we could skip Henry’s in leu of bad weather. We were glad we did.
When we arrived at Parry Sound, Jeff, whom we met at the Big Chute with Donna, greeted us on the dock. His son, Brian, who also slips a boat in the marina came over and we met him as well. Great guys and we enjoyed seeing Jeff again.
We felt fortunate to get into Big Sound Marina since it is a big holiday weekend and the Canadians are out in numbers on the water ready to celebrate Canada Day, July 1.
High lights on Georgian Bay~
What a great little town. Home of Bobby Orr and the Bobby Orr Hall of Fame, Tower Hill and Lookout Garden, watched countless float planes landing and taking off, Trestle Brewery – 30,000 Island IPA (delicious!), tried the local favorite: french fries with gravy (not poutine, neither of us could stomach that), met Blue Heron – gold loopers from 2012, really enjoyed the hiking here on both the Fitness and Rugged trails, hit the Farmers Market, met local boaters Len and Cheri
Wrights Marina, Britt, ON
Tucked back in the Byng Inlet is a little family run marina. It's in a rural, remote and quiet setting. We met Pauline the dockmaster. Great gal with a heavy scottish accent ready to make your stay at Wrights comfortable. She informed us to be aware of our surroundings....bears and rattlesnakes abound. Really.
We are here over Canada Day. Lots of red and white and flags everywhere! The Canadians are very proud folks, as they should be. We are looking forward to the boat parade and fireworks this evening :)
We met another Looper couple, Jim and Allie from Florida. We had initially met them at Big Sound Marina over the weekend. We had docktails with them on their boat and compared Looping notes. We all agreed that Canada is beautiful, but, Canadian boaters are totally oblivious to their wakes!
At the marina there were tons of cars parked everywhere. The marina looked like a used car lot. I asked Pauline the dockmaster and she told me that they were “Cottagers” cars. The marina did have a lot of small empty run about slips. Duh. The Cottagers have a runabout at the marina and they get to their cottages on rocks by boat. Its so isolated that there aren’t roads to all the hundreds of islands that their cottages are on.
Canada Day was pretty low key in Britt. They had a boat parade at 6pm. Eight boats. Lots of “happy sailors” wishing everyone Happy Canada Day, then fireworks at dark. We met a few of the local slip holders and chatted, grilled out and turned in early.
The Canada Boat parade in Britt ;)
Sportsmans Inn, Killarney, ON
We left this morning (July 2) around 8am. Beautiful morning. We are doing the outside route to Killarney. We got to Georgian Bay and were putting along when we came upon fog. We turned on our radar and a watchful eye. It cleared. Great......then it returned about 20 miles from Killarney. It’s these times when we are so thankful for electronics!
Killarney is really a cool place! We loved it. We slipped at the Sportsmans Inn. Great facility. We biked around the island, dropped the dinghy in and headed out to Covered Portage Bay for a few hours. Absolutely beautiful area. The Sportsman Inn has a sister property, The Mountain Lodge, which has restaurants, bars, pool, bikes, water toys, etc. The Canada House on the property is spectacular. We were disappointed that the Sportsmans Inn wasn't playing outdoor movies the night we stayed. The screen was directly across the channel from us. Brought back memories of years ago when the kids were little, we rented a big screen and did an outdoor movie night at the house. Fun time!
After our day of investigating the island, we cleaned up and bellied up to the Oyster Bar at the top of the dock. We hadn’t had oysters since New York. It was a treat. The proprietor, William, aka brother from another mother to Dave Weinhold, was a stitch to talk with. He also served homemade jambalaya, which was probably the best we’ve ever had. Killarney was a memorable experience and highly recommended.
Meldrum Bay – North Channel
We covered eighty some miles and arrived at Meldrum Bay, population 35 around 2pm. John the dockmaster was there to welcome us to his bay on Manitoulin Island. Meldrum Bay consists of a marina/campground, general store with a hot dog stand and ice cream, Meldrum Bay Inn and Restaurant, a church and 35 residents. A quiet, little place by the sea. We had a long finger pier all to ourselves. We enjoyed a fresh fish dinner outside on the porch at the Inn along with a scrumptious double chocolate dessert. Earlier in the day we saw the fishing boats come in and drop off their catch at the Inn and were looking forward to trying it for dinner. It didn’t disappoint.
Drummond Island, Michigan USA
Early on the 4th of July, we headed out Meldrum Bay to Drummond Island. We thought it would be cool to have spent July 1st, Canada Day in Canada and then the 4th of July in the US. We took off at 6am and the North Channel was BEAUTIFUL. During the course of our cruise I completed the rest of the requirements on our US Customs and Border Patrol app, CBP Roam, which called for buying decals for re-entry into the US. Luckily, US customs only wants the invoice number for those decals when you do it online. Our re-entry couldn't have been smoother. Just before docking, we initiated an arrival on my phone with the app, a few minutes later a US Customs agent did what is equivalent to a Facetime interview with us and cleared us within a minute and wished us a Happy 4th! So easy!
We fueled up and then headed into "town" to have a little breakfast and find out what was happening on Drummond Island for the 4th. We haven't been anywhere but Hooterville for the 4th, and have been so spoiled with all the festivites Summer Fest has so we were hoping Drummond would give us a little taste of home with a parade or something. Well, they had a parade. It was mostly ATV's, bikes and gators decorated for the 4th with crazy people behind the wheel! Pretty disappointing. Made us ( I mean, me) a little or a lot homesick ;) They did have fireworks and they were great. Drummond redeemed themselves! All in all a very quiet 4th for us on Drummond Island. Below are a few pics of the 4th of July on Drummond Island Michigan.
Canada has been spectacular!!! We loved the Trent Severn Waterway and the lock system and people. The scenery in Georgian Bay and the North Channel has been spectacular. Definitely a extraordinary place to boat and we will come back to this area again.
More later from Michigan~
Tom & Sue Slightam
Read along as we circumnavigate the eastern half of the United States and southern Canada on the Great Loop on our boat BELLA, a Cruiser 460 Express.