Saturday, July 30, 2011
When we returned to our boat in Killbear from Parry Sound on our drug buying expedition Tuesday night, we were happy to see Sid and Evelyn on Something Special in the harbor. We had met them only once, way back in Cape May, NJ. They had purchased the boat in Delaware a day or two before we met. They are Canadians and travelled with our friends on Algonquin from New Jersey to their home near Midland, took time to provision and get their stuff together to really begin the loop, and were “re-starting” the loop Tuesday. They picked an awful day to travel across Georgian Bay and looked a little battered, but were excited to get going.
Wednesday morning Something Special followed us up the Byng Inlet, to Britt. We had great weather and enjoyed the “deep water” ride, glad not to be dodging rocks for a while. Once there, we met Pam and Billy from Godspeed, and the six of us went to dinner at the Old Britt Inn.
Every Looper will tell you, “It’s about the people you meet along the way that makes this trip so great”. In Britt we met a great family of boaters. Their boat is named “Positive Attitude”. When we asked them the significance they had a heartwarming story. Their daughter (whom we had met earlier, a very personable, outgoing and beautiful young twenty-something) had lost an arm at the shoulder in a water skiing accident years earlier, having been run over by a boat. Yet, she still loved the water and boating. In fact, she had just been proposed to the weekend before, over the water. Her husband-to-be took her up in a float plane, proposed to her, and landed where her parents and all her friends had anchored their boats and rafted up together to help them celebrate their engagement. Her wish for her wedding is to be delivered to the ceremony in her parents’ new boat. Their boat was named “Positive Attitude” in her honor. I don’t think we will ever forget her and them.
When we awoke in the morning we found our old friend “water pot” sitting on our fly bridge helm. We hadn’t seen it since Cape May either, although we were sent photos by e-mail of it in Atlantic City and New York City. We suspect Something Special had a hand in this, but they deny it. So little gremlins must have delivered it. I’ll give Algonquin credit, the transfer was smooth…
Our little flower watering pot returns...turns out Godspeed had a hand in it!
Thursday morning we all set out for Killarney, which is at the Northwest end of Georgian Bay. The bay was a little rough but manageable. Once Around and Something Special ducked inside for the last third of the trip and cruised through Collins Inlet, another of those post card perfect Canadian waterways. We arrived at Killarney about the same time as Godspeed, who stayed outside and runs a little slower.
Collins Inlet leading to Killarney
The Admiral wanted you to see the "pink" granite
We had been told by many boaters to be sure to eat at the little fish restaurant, run (no kidding), out of a red school bus. They bring the fish in fresh daily. Either whitefish, perch or pickerel (walleye) are served, whichever is fresh that day. Carrie and I were not even hungry, so we shared an order of the best fish and chips on the planet, I swear.
The little red school bus is the kitchen, you eat outside, and buy fresh fish in the little garage behind the bus!
A cool little converted tug I know my buddy John will like passes by in Killarney...
Back on the dock we met some “gold” Loopers, Bob and Janet on Heaven Too. Gold Loopers are those who have already done the loop. Their home port is in Michigan, so they have been cruising the Great Lakes and Georgian Bay for many years and are a wealth of information about harbors, anchorages, etc. My first mate spent some time getting ideas on where to go. The biggest input they had was to, slow down! There is plenty of time to get to Chicago. The Looper "bible" says you need to get there by Labor Day. Bunk! They started from Northern Michigan on September 12 the year they did the loop. They made us promise to go slow through the North Channel and northern Michigan. They were so convincing I almost wanted to turn back and hit some spots we missed in Georgian Bay, but they said no, there’s plenty of great stuff in front of you. Just take your time. (Danny on Potest Fieri, if you are reading this, I know, I know, you were preaching that to me a month ago! I guess I just needed a refresher course!).
Carrie and I had a wonderful dinner at Sportsman Inn, and enjoyed the live piano/vocalist who entertained us in the dining room. The song she opened with was “Fly Me to the Moon”, which is the theme song of the movie “Once Around”. So, she had us from hello so to speak, and we joined her and a bunch of crazy Canadians in the lounge afterwards. We danced the night away…OK, till 10:30 or so…
We had planned to leave today (Friday), but got a late start on the day. Something Special departed around 10:00 AM, and we told them we would be a couple hours behind them. By the time we actually got ready to go (1:30 or so) a stiff and unpredicted wind had come up. We decided to sit it out on the dock for another day. Good choice. It increased to what I would guess would be about 40 mph by late afternoon. We all had a sick form of entertainment watching boats try to dock this afternoon and evening. Some of it was funny, some scary, but luckily, no major damage that we witnessed.
While Pam from Godspeed was doing laundry, Billy (a retired diesel mechanic) stopped by and saw me puzzling over a wash down water pump problem. He had been all over Killarney looking for some anchor chain to lengthen the one on Godspeed, but had had no luck in his search. I climbed down and disconnected what chain I had from my spare stern anchor and gave it to him to see if it would help. He then asked a few questions about my water pump problem, which was no emergency to me, but which my Admiral seemed kind of ginned up about. Next thing I knew, all three of us (Billy, me and the Admiral) were down in the engine room tearing hoses apart and generally working up a good sweat before dinner. About an hour into it we found some weird rubber grommet that had somehow gotten sucked into the sea water intake and stuck in the fitting entering the strainer. Wallah…we now have a good wash down pump. The Admiral is happy…for now.
The latest plan…in Jello, as always, is for us to follow Heaven Too into the Canadian wilderness of McGreger Bay tomorrow. I hope the weather cooperates, because these folks really know these waters and are a hoot to hang out with.
There will be no internet access from there (and little if any cell coverage). In fact, that may be the case for the next week or two in the North Channel. So, we may not be able to post again for some time. If so, the only way you’ll know our whereabouts will be to hit the “Find Us” link on this page. It works on a satellite so is not internet dependent.
Meanwhile, we miss you all, and remember…Life is Beautiful, just keep a Positive Attitude!