Tobermory Ontario – Little Tub Harbor (Port #122) ; Aug 7 – 11

Aug 7 – Tue
Port Severn to Tobermory
110 miles + 1 Lock

So you thought the action was all over yesterday at The Big Chute right, not true, more action coming today !

We started the day at the final lock on the Trent Severn Waterway, lock #45.
We thought that it would be a lay up after all the other locks.

Prior to locking at 9am, we had to tie on blue line seawall.
The docking on the blue line seawall was eventful, with a stiff west wind blowing the boat sideways off of the wall.
We had to make 2 runs, and have quick line handlers.
I pointed the bow into the wind, perpendicular to the dock.
Mike from Gypsea got the bow line down, then we used port reverse to pull the aft end in.

Lock #45  was a very short lock, probably the shortest on The Trent.
We had only Gettin’ Looped & Gypsea crammed in the small lock.20180807_090923

After we were in the lock, and while being lowered, we saw a 45 Carver attempting to tie to the blue line seawall.
The Carver had the same issues, with the west wind blowing his stern far away from the dock.
While trying to get the bow line on a cleat, the wife leaned out a bit too far & she fell in the water – OMG !
Unlike my 1st mate Nellie, the poor woman did not have on her life vest (yes it is a rule while locking), and the lock staff went into action to help, but threw her a line to hang on to, not a floatable.
We did not see how she got out, but she did.
We felt very bad for the poor woman & the helpless husband maneuvering the boat in the wind.

After all the excitement to start the day, we traveled about 45 minutes to get into Georgian Bay about 10:15am.

The ride was going to be a long 110 mile cruise across Georgian Bay.
We hammered down at 20mph at 10:15am, and arrived in Tobermory at 4:00pm.
I luv this boat, and the ability to go fast when you need to.
If we had a Trawler, we would have arrived about 8:00pm.

Our 1st Georgian Bay ride was a mixed bag.
The 1st half of the ride was ok, with 1-2 foot waves, and comfort level of 7 out of 10.
The 2nd half of the ride was not terrible but not fun, with 3-4 foot waves, and comfort level of only a 5 rating.
The waves were not that high & on our bow, but were about 2-3 sec periods (not good, longer is better).

This is what our trip across Georgian Bay looks like on GPS Tracker – 110 miles20180808_121521

This is what our trip across Georgian Bay looked like in real life.
The waves don’t look so bad in the video, and the video does not really capture the best waves coming all the way over the flybridge, but the bouncing & splash is pretty cool. It will give you a little feel for what the ride was like.
Video =

The bonus was water depth, no more worrying about grounding – 529 feet !

We arrived at Little Tub Harbor about 4pm.
We were assigned the primo spot at Little Tub Harbor.
The front row seat in the marina, amidst all the tourist action.20180807_18133320180807_18130520180807_18052920180807_18055020180807_193939

We called Kenny & Carla to check in and let them know that we had arrived.
They will spend the next 4 days with us.

Then we called Tobermory native Curtis Lyons to schedule a meeting on the boat.
Curtis & Melissa Lyons are the cousins of Karen Walters, wife of Dave Walters.
Dave Walters has been my brother Kenny’s pal since high school in Royal Oak Michigan.
Dave is an avid reader of the blog, knew we were coming to Tobermory, and hooked us up with the local experts Curtis & Melissa Lyons.

We went to an early 6pm dinner at The Princess Hotel, and had a very early 9pm bedtime.20180807_19343020180807_193524

Kenny & Carla will arrive about 3pm tomorrow.
Curtis Lyons is supposed to show up about 2pm.


Aug 8 – Wed
We started the day with chores ; Changing the bed sheets for Kenny & Carla, Doing some banking paying the bills, prepared some birthday and wedding cards, checked the engine oil, washed the boat, and updated the blog.

Whew, I’m tired, and visitors arrive at 2pm.

About 2pm, Gary & Merely Popiel of Tobermory arrived.
We spoke with them for about 90 minutes before Curtis Lyons arrived at 3:30pm.
Then about 4:00pm, my brother Kenny & 1st mate Carla arrived.
So now comes the – who is who !

Many of you may remember that Kenny is my younger brother.
Carla is Kenny’s Admiral.20180809_164029

Kenny has a very good friend named Dave Walters.
Dave is married to Karen Walters, who has lots of relatives in Tobermory.
Gary & Merely Popiel are Karen’s uncle & aunt.
Curtis Lyons is married to Karen’s cousin Melissa.
Got it !

Here are some photos

Gary & Merely Popiel – we spoke with them for about 90 minutes before Curtis, Kenny & Carla arrived
Left to Right = Nellie, Curtis Lyons, Carla D’Arca, Ken Murphree

We had great conversation talking about The Loop, Tobermory, and The Popiel & Lyons family history in Tobermory.

Curtis & Melissa used to own the neighboring Big Tub Harbor Marina for about 15 years until selling to new owners just last year.

It really pays to have the local contacts when pulling into an unknown town.
Curtis provided us a location by location description of where to go on short dinghy trips, where to anchor overnight, and special sights to see in each location.

Curtis also help Kenny & Carla with a parking space right next to the boat.
Longterm parking in the harbor is either non-existent or obsessively expensive.
Curtis arranged with the Lyons family, to allow Carla’s car to be parked at their gift shop parking lot for 4-5 days, how nice !

The Lyons family still owns a couple of gift shop stores, two of which are right next to our boat – Bud’s & Verna’s Gift Shops. Susan & Dale Lyons are the current owners, but the stores are named Bud & Verna’s because those were the names of  Dale’s parents who created the gift stores.


Carla’s car parked in one of the few spots at Verna’s Gift Shop

By about 6pm –  Gary, Merely, and Curtis had departed for the night.
Nellie & I went to dinner with our new guests, brother Ken & Carla.
BTW – This is Kenny & Carla’s award winning 4th Looper visit.
They have now met us in – Chicago, Rogersville Alabama, Key West, & Tobermory !

Dinner was at a place recommended by Curtis called Coconut Joe’s.
It was kind of a Key West, Jimmy Buffet theme, in Tobermory.
Not sure why it is called Coconut Joe’s, we met the owner/operator Michael, not Joe.

After dinner, one of us went for Ice Cream (guess who ?) .
We came back to the boat & played Ashley’s new game of puzzle pieces called Tangoes.
Then Mike & Nellie watched some TV.
Kenny & Carla watched the stars, the beautiful underwater lit blue/green water, and gazed romantically into each others eyes (ok, maybe I exaggerated a little for artistic effect).20180809_101958

Lights out came about 10:30pm for Mike & Carla.
Kenny & Jonell stayed up slightly longer.

That’s all for day #2 in Tobermory.


Aug 9 – Thu
We began Thursday with a little breakfast at Craigie’s Restaurant.
Jonell & I have learned from all of our Looper guests, that folks do like to have breakfast to start their day.20180809_102008

After breakfast we went by the LCBO and replenished our stock of Vodka.
Then we came back to the boat, let the breakfast sink in, and then went over to meet and thank Susan Lyons for the parking spot for Carla’s car. Remember – Susan is the mother of Curtis Lyons, and owner of Verna’s & Bud’s gift shops.

About noon we headed out on a little 5 hour dinghy adventure.
The crew was eager with excitement, what adventure would today bring ?

We 1st went to the Big Tub Harbour in search of the famous shipwrech named Sweepstakes
Sweepstakes was a Canadian schooner built in Burlington, Ontario in 1867.
It was damaged off Cove Island then towed to Big Tub Harbour, where it sank in September 1885. This schooner is said to be one of the most popular wrecks in the park, where it is often visited by tour boat passengers, divers, and snorkelers. Sweepstakes is one of the several shipwrecks located in the Fathom Five National Marine Park.
Eureka, we found it !

After finding the SS-Sweepstakes, our next stop was to The Big Tub Lighthouse.
While riding to the Lighthouse, we passed the marina that Curtis & Melissa had owned up until last year, The Big Tub Harbour Marina.20180809_12453820180809_12442520180809_12441520180809_12441220180809_124408

Next Stop was the Big Tub Lighthouse.
We pulled the dinghy up to the rocky shore, and spent a little time looking at the Lighthouse and watching the dinghy get rocked by all the passing tour boat wakes. It was not the most relaxing place to stop with all the large wakes, so we only stayed about 30 minutes.20180809_12485320180809_12533020180809_125359

Our next stop was to find a hidden cove recommended to us by Curtis. The Cove was called Dunk’s Bay. It was supposed to be prestine, quiet, and not visited by the local tour boats.
It was about a 30-45 minute dinghy ride around the point of Bruce Penninsula.
Once we arrived, we set up camp on the rocky shore, and took in the beauty for a couple of hours. This was in fact, a wonderfully quiet, calm, serene cove !20180809_13590520180809_13591820180809_13592820180809_151121

We spent 2-3 hours at Dunk’s Bay, then boarded the dinghy for the ride back.
Upon the way back to the ss Gettin’ Looped we saw the car ferry being loaded up, pretty cool how the bow of the boat lifts up to allow entry of the vehicles. The ship starts pulling away from the dock before the bow is even lowered.20180809_154408

After return to the ss Gettin’ Looped, we chilled for a few hours, listened to some music, and one of us took a little siesta.

For dinner, we went to the rooftop restaurant called The Crowsnest Pub.
It looked like a place with a great view of the harbor when we were down on street level, but like many rooftop places we have been to, once we were on the rooftop all we could see from our table was the rooftop of the Foodland Grocery Store.

After dinner, we went across the bay to a place called The Sweet Shop.
We are not naming names, but somebody had to have a night-time milk shake.

The night ended with music on the aft deck, as we gazed off into the distant skyline and watched the sun go down.20180809_205137


Aug 10 – Fri
Friday morning, after our fun 1st full day with Kenny & Carla,  we slept in until about 8:30am. These young kids tire us ole folks out.

We went to Bfast about 9am at the same place as yesterday, Cragie’s Restaurant.
They had about the same stuff on day 2 as they did on day 1.

After Bfast, we went for a quick grocery shopping trip to stock up for an exciting nite out at anchor.
We purchased some Ribeye Steaks for dinner.

About 11am, we really started the day.
With the help of Dave & Karen Walter’s cousin Curtis Lyons, we had made a plan to go spend the afternoon & night at Cove Island, just north of Tobermory.
The goal was to see some really cool scenery, but without the crowd of tour boats associated with spots like the Grotto or Flower Pot Island.

Prior to taking off for Cove Island, we visited the fuel dock to get pumped out and purchase another $1400 in fuel. Our fast 110 mile run from Port Severn to Tobermory really chewed up the fuel. We needed to refuel for both Cove Island and our upcoming trip to Killarney on Sunday.

Our main destination on Cove Island was a small bay called Lorrone’s Cove.
It was indeed everything Curtis had advertised ; beautiful, quiet, well protected, and sandy bottom. When we arrived, there were a couple of small boats in our cove, but they left towards dusk and we had the cove to ourselves at night.20180810_14020020180810_14020520180810_14020920180810_150225

After gettin’ the anchor set & getting settled in at Lorrone’s Cove, we unloaded the dinghy and went exploring.

We ended up at a beautiful, very small island that we had seen on the way into Lorrone’s Cove, it was an island called Harbour Island, just west of the cove.
This place was the cats meow !
Take a look at these photos !
Maybe one of the most beautiful places that we have seen on The Loop so far.
The only negative was that 1st mate Nellie could not go, she had hurt her back handing me, a towel of all things. She was leaning over the boat handing me the towel, and went to her knees. A strange mix of bending & twisting caused the nerve pinch, we believe.
The dinghy rides are tough enough on her back under good conditions, so she played it safe and stayed back at the boat.

So here we go, come visit Harbour Island with me, Kenny, and Carla.
As usual, the photos don’t really show all the shades of blue & green we saw in the surrounding water.

Farewell Harbour Island !

After spending 2-3 hours on Harbour Island, we headed back to the boat to check on Nellie, do some swimming, and cook some Ribeyes that we had purchased at the local grocery before we left.

So the early evening turned into a little relaxing in the quiet cove, some pre-dinner drinks, and a little swim.
I decided to test my age 60 coordination with some high diving activity.
Nobody else would join me for the aerial acrobatics (where is Hinman when you need him to help me horse around & act young again).
Let’s go swimmin’


After swimming, I scrubbed the scum line on the boat, which was long overdue.

Then we went into oh-crap mode for a little while.
After all the fun swimming, Jonell noticed that the boat water pump light was staying on.
We had experienced this a few months ago, but it magically fixed itself – back then.
The issue was that after you turn on the sink or toilet asking for water, and then close the faucet, the pump is supposed to stop pumping.
But the pump was attempting to keep pumping against no-flow since the faucets were closed.
The problem is that when this happened, the wires get hot and the breaker trips off.
So we had to leave the breaker off, except for when we needed water at the sink or toilet.
A little hassle, but not the end of the world.

More important things, Dinner !
Chef Ken & soo-Chef Carla went into action.
Kenny made the steaks & Carla made the fixins’.
We had a delicious dinner, better than most we have had in the last few weeks.20180810_19141820180810_19133820180810_191452

The night ended with some well-fed people sitting on the aft deck for a while.
Love birds Kenny & Carla went up on the bow for a while to do some “star gazing”.

Mike went in the cabin and watched a little Joe Dirtee (aka Joe Dirt).
Cookies & Milk, and then bedtime about 11pm.
It was a very fun, very beautiful day.

Aug 11 – Sat (Carla’s Birthday)
We had fun yesterday, but did not have any big plans for Carla’s birthday today.
It was get-away day for Ken & Carla, back to Detroit for that work thing.
Actually, I think they have a farewell party for our nephew Brad tomorrow.

So Saturday was a quick day.

We attempted to shove off about 10am for an 11am planned arrival back at Little Tub Harbour.

When we attempted to pull the anchor up, the windlass would spin but not pull the anchor up – Oh, Crap !
The anchor line kind of came up & in, but the chain and anchor did not.

Kenny was doing 1st mate duties in leiu of Nellie being laid up, Jonell was providing consulting services only due to her sore back.

After Ken & Jonell messed around with the windlass for a while, Kenny used his good size and brut force to manually pull up the anchor. Once the anchor was on the deck, the windlass would pull the chain & anchor into the bow pulpit holster.

So we made it back to Little Tub about 11am.
We went to breakfast, then came back to the boat for the packing & farewells.

Carla & Kenny shoved off about 1pm, with the farewell Sad Faces !19406


After Kenny & Carla left, mechanic Mike went to work.

Issue #1 = Why is the Windlass not working (the thing that pulls in the anchor) ?
After very little research, I confirmed my thoughts that the windlass clutch just need some adjustment.
Wa-La !
It took longer to find the star shaped adjustment handle than it did to adjust the clutch and fix the issue.20180811_180045

The Magic Windlass Wrench, I saw this tool in the bedroom drawer over a year ago when I first bought the boat, never knew what it was for  – Until Today !


Issue #2 = Why is the water pump not shutting off & popping the breaker ?
As I mentioned earlier in the blog, this issue had happened about 2 months ago, but had magically fixed itself.
Luckily, when it happened 2 months ago, I order a replacement Pressure Switch for the water pump.
Wa-La !
Issue #2 fixed.
Time for celebration drinks !

Jabsco Water Pump Pressure Switch

The rest of the afternoon & early evening was spent writing this wonderful blog.
Hope you enjoyed it.

Next Stop
Killarney Ontario
The Mountain Lodge
52 Miles, No Locks or Bridges

Addendum – Extra Bonus Material from Tobermory

Aug 12 – Sun
As we were departing Tobermory, we had several options for the initial route.

We decided to take a quick spin around Flowerpot Island, to see if we could see from a distance the famed – Flower Pots (Rock Structures).
Flowerpot Island is an island in Georgian Bay, in the Canadian province of Ontario and is a part of Fathom Five National Marine Park. The island spans 2.1 kilometres from east to west, and 1.5 kilometres from north to south, and has a total area of 2 square kilometres. The name of the island comes from two rock pillars on its eastern shore, which look like flower pots. A third flowerpot once stood, but tumbled in 1903.

Once we got around the east end – WaLa, there they were.
Sorry Ken & Carla, we should have came here yesterday !20180812_08260820180812_08372620180812_08352620180812_08374920180812_083814

Ok – Next Stop for Real !
Killarney Ontario
The Mountain Lodge
52 Miles, No Locks or Bridges

6 thoughts on “Tobermory Ontario – Little Tub Harbor (Port #122) ; Aug 7 – 11

  1. Holy Cow… Mike… I watched your video…. and I felt a little woosy ….. just watching it for a minute….. :):):)

    You are certainly the seasoned boaters now !!!!


    1. OMG, a comment from our dear friends, The Wheelers !
      Great to hear from you Earl

      Yes, Gary mentioned that he spent his career in the medical field, but did not elaborate on his position.

      Again, a small Looper world.

      Thx Earl
      C U soon.


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