Days on cruise: 114
Distance today: 30.2 miles
Travel time: 3 hrs, 10 mins
Total trip odometer: 2,514 statute miles
We pulled out of our pretty Stairs & Maskinonge Islands anchorage at 8:30 and headed for the big, open water of Georgian Bay. The first stretch included the run to Point au Baril; it sounds much better than the English translation of Barrel Point, doesn’t it?
The next leg of the Small Boat Channel includes a section called Hang Dog Channel which has a number of very tight turns and is shallow, narrow, very rocky, and with no protection from the wind off the big bay. We’ve heard of a few boats our size who have traveled Hang Dog in previous years, but the water level in Lake Huron is down a bit this year, somewhat below chart datum even. We decided not to chance it, and headed for the “outside”, or into the Bay.
The 12-mile segment out in Georgian Bay was straightforward with 50-80 feet of water under us, and somewhat windy, waves about 2 feet high, and mostly sunny skies. Only because the wind was off the port beam, and the boat was rolling some, was it less than perfect, and not very interesting because there was nothing to look at except water.
After coming back into the Small Boat Chanel, we drove a few miles up Byng Inlet and tied up at Wright’s Marina. The inlet was the first place we’ve visited since leaving Port Severn a week ago that felt like some of the people actually lived there, rather then being summer “cottagers”.
We were getting low on water and needed to do laundry and get a few provisions, so it was time for a marina fix. This is our first night at a marina since Orillia 10 days ago, before we finished the Trent-Severn Waterway.
Photo above taken from “The Zones” blog, fellow Loopers.
We feel a bit like all Loopers are playing a game of Russian Roulette here in the northern waters where there’s lots of rock and no forgiving sand. We read the blog kept by Ross and Laura on “The Zone” (our Big Sister ship, a 52-foot Jefferson from New York City) and learned they hit a rock on the Trent-Severn two days ago and damaged a prop. Fortunately they had a spare on board. We found this news particularly disheartening because this is the FIFTH Looper boat we’ve heard of (just among boaters we’ve actually met) who hit a rock in that final half of the Trent-Severn or on entering the Georgian Bay.
We can’t help but wonder if and when it will be our turn. Fortunately, we also have a spare set of props on board, but we sure would like to sell them with the boat to whoever buys Next To Me next year instead of use them ourselves!
The rest of our day was filled with chores we won’t bother to write about, but we’re in a pretty place and the weather is warm, so there’s nothing to complain about.