OMG – I think this may be the most beautiful anchorage that we have had on The Loop.
Good thing too, it will be our last anchorage on this great journey, and we are only 7 Ports away from arriving home at Miller Marina in St Clair Shores Michigan.
We will officially “cross our wake” later this week in Presque Isle Michigan.
Cross your wake means that you have completed the entire Loop, and have returned to one of the ports that you first began your Loop (more on this in upcoming posts).
Back to todays update.
We left Little Current about 8:30am, after a quick 100 gallon top off.
Our anchorage spot for the day/night was South Benjamin Island.
South Benjamin Island is only about 20 miles from Little Current, but we wanted the early start because we had heard about how crowded the top rated spot at Benjamin gets (1 of 5 spots), and we wanted to arrive between 10-11am.
This time of morning is when most boaters from the night before would leave, and it is earlier than most new Sunday boaters would arrive.
We had a wonderful ride !
It was so calm, so smooth, so quiet with boat traffic – excellent start to the day.
While underway, we heard on the VHF radio, a Sunday morning broadcast from The Georgian Bay Cruisers Network on channel 71.
Most of the discussions were about weather and local news happenings in Georgian Bay & The North Channel.
But there was one cool update about several boats at Heywood Island, and their interactions with the local BEARS !
Check out the video below.
It’s not really the video that is of interest, it’s the audio of the Cruisers Network guy talking about the Bear sightings.
VIDEO/AUDIO – Bears on the Boats ! = https://youtu.be/gmImBno2jT4
Moving On !
We arrived at South Benjamin Island about 10:30am.
South Benjamin is another one of the places recommended to me by Doug Edgar, local Georgian Bay expert, and the guy who took us on the tour of Beaver Island last August.
South Benjamin Island may be the most stunningly beautiful anchorage that we have had on The Loop.
Here are some pics from a 360 degree look around our boat.
After the arrival, anchorage, and mandatory “arrival drinks” – It was already gettin’ warm out and seemed like a good time for a swim in the wonderfully clean water.
While swimming I went over to one of the several mini-islands in the bay.
It was such a nice setting out on your own private mini-island, that I went back to get Nellie, some chairs, sandwiches, and drinks.
I got Nellie over to the island without even getting her toes wet.
The setting was wonderfully relaxing.
It was a beautiful day on our own private island.
We spent about 3 hours there, swimming, taking photos, watching hikers, watching boaters, and just chillin’ out.
It was relaxation, at its finest !
My routine of ; swimming, getting out & laying on the warm rocks, and then swimming again, over and over – was therapeutic.
Check out the Pics, it was stunningly gorgeous scenery.
About 3pm, we packed up most of the stuff except the chairs, we left them on “our” island and came back to the boat for a few hours of shade.
About 6pm we went out for a late afternoon dinghy ride around South Benjamin Island.
The water got a little choppy on the west side of the island, but the trip only took about 45 minutes.
There were some other nice locations, but we did confirm, via the dinghy ride, that we had the best anchorage on the island.
After the dinghy ride, we picked up the chairs from our mini-island retreat and headed back to the boat.
We ate dinner between 8-9pm on the aft deck, then retreated into the cabin about 9pm.
We watched another one of our favorites on DVD – The Green Mile with Tom Hanks.
That was about it from South Benjamin Island, maybe the prettiest anchorage for us on The Loop.
Meldrum Bay – the last stop in Ontario before check-in, back into the USA at Drummond Island.
Ugh, there is not going to be much of an update from Little Current.
We arrived Thursday afternoon, Aug 16th.
But after a fun night Thursday night, I was laid up all day Friday with intense stomach pain, and did not leave the boat, other than to use the marina rest room.
So here we go, it’s a short blog.
You can pass on this one if you are busy.
Aug 16 – Thu
After departing our beautiful anchorage at Baie Fine & The Pool, we arrived at Little Current about 1pm on Thursday.
We had an interesting ride under the Little Current Bridge, just before the marina.
The bridge was listed at 18 feet clearance, our boat is 15’2″
The bridge seemed lower than 18 feet.
I called the bridge tender to confirm the clearance, and he said that Active Captain was incorrect, and that the correct clearance was not 18 feet, but is closer to 16 feet.
Humm, do we try it or wait 25 minutes for the next opening ?
I told the bridge tender that I was going to try it, he said “OK, go-slow”.
While about 6 other boats waited for the bridge to open, Gettin’ Looped snuck under with less than a foot to spare, and was the 1st to arrive at the Town Docks. We were given congratulations over the VHF radio by Looper vessel The Journey, watching from behind.
After we arrived at the Town Docks, we washed the boat for a few hours, took some showers, and went into town for dinner at a ho-humm place with so-so food (not worthy of photos).
After dinner, we met 2 other new Looping couples – Dale & Merna from the vessel The Journey, and Larry & Carol from the vessel Sea Life.
The 6 of us went to watch some music at a place called The Anchor Inn Hotel.
We watched an entertainer named “Barry” play everything from Gordon Lightfoot, to Johnny Cash.
Aug 17 – Fri
I’m not sure if it was the Lasagna for dinner, the Bread Pudding for dessert, the 2 Yeti-Juices upon arrival, the 2 Beers at dinner, or the 2 Captain & Cokes during the music – But something did not go as planned on Friday morning.
I woke up about 3am with intense stomach pain, the pain continued throughout the entire day and into Friday night.
I spent the day laying in bed, laying on the sofa, or on/off the pot.
I will spare you the intimate details.
For dinner, I had a bowl of soup on the boat, Nellie had a sandwich.
We watched about 4 episodes of House of Cards.
That was it for Friday.
Maybe our biggest, wasted day on The Loop.
Aug 18 – Sat
I woke up feeling better, but not 100%
All Systems Not Yet functioning Normally ??
Our morning surprise was a cruise ship in port, which was not there the night before – the Victory I cruise ship.
I looked up their itinerary
A 10-day Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River cruise, including departure from Montreal, a day at sea sailing the St. Lawrence Seaway, 1,000 Islands, and Lake Ontario; Port Weller (Niagara Falls); Windsor, Ontario; scenic sailing on Lake Huron; Little Current, Manitoulin Island (Georgian Bay); Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan (Whitefish Bay and Lake Superior); Mackinac Island, Lake Michigan; and an arrival into Chicago.
Sounds nice – I’m so jealous (Ha) !
I am jealous of the Montreal & St Lawrence parts.
About 9am, I took a shower then headed off for a badly needed haircut.
It was walk in service, the Barber Shop is in the basement below The Anchor Inn Hotel.
I met Doug, at Doug’s Barber Shop.
Doug has been cutting hair for 51 years in this same shop.
He was a great ole fellow and easy to talk to.
The cut was good, but does not compare to that of Pat’s Barber Shop at 1632 E Lincoln Ave, Royal Oak, MI 48067 (248) 542-5353
To attempt to get the digestive train back on the tracks, we went to breakfast for some slippery eggs.
Digestive System still in limbo.
Later in the afternoon, we went grocery shopping to restock the boat, prior to our planned anchorage tomorrow night at the South Benjamin Islands.
After groceries, we had Ken the taxi driver take us to a place called McLean’s Mountain Lookout, supposedly the highest elevation on Manitoulin Island.
he views were the nicest we had seen since Grafton Illinois, when we went to the top of the Aeries Resort with Jake & Mollie Baldwin.
We could see the nearby Bedford, Amedroz, and Clapperton Islands off in the distance (places we will see by boat tomorrow).
After McLean’s Lookout, we came back to the harbor, and sat out on the seawall under the mandatory shade tree.
We were treated by watching the 6pm departure of the Victory I cruise ship, and it’s passage thru the very narrow swing bridge.
After watching the cruise ship depart, we went to dinner at a restaurant called North 46, within The Manitoulin Resort Hotel.
It was a fairly new hotel, with a beautiful interior lobby and the wonderful North 46 outdoor restaurant on the Little Current Canal.
That’s about it from The Town Docks at Little Current Ontario !
BTW – The digestive track is finally starting to feel normal, 30 hours later.
Anchorage at the South Benjamin Island, 20 miles west of Little current, and about 100 miles southeast of Drummond Island.
Shout Outs – to Tyler & Jenny Walker ! The wonderful young couple celebrated their wedding vows today – (08/18/18) ! Jenny is daughter of our cousins Sue & Ron Grobbel.
Hey blog followers,
We have been out of communication for a few days.
Wednesday August 15th, we had a wonderful anchorage at a place called The Pool.
It was in a very remote location only about 10 miles north of Killarney, as the crow flies, but about 26 miles by boat.
We departed the beautiful Killarney Mountain Lodge about 9am on Wednesday.
We needed a pump-out prior to our planned overnight anchorage at The Pool.
After leaving our slip at 9am, we had to wait for 2 boats to leave the fuel dock (should have checked the fuel dock before we shoved off).
We were finally pumped out and on our way by 10am.
We had a short 26 mile ride from Killarney to Baie Fine & The Pool, but a lot of it was slow, so we did not arrive and get anchored until about 2pm.
Baie Fine is located just northeast of Frazier Bay, and is a very long narrow BAY which leads to the famous anchorage spot called The Pool. The shoreline is very hilly, rocky, and tree-lined.
After the long ride thru Baie Fine, we finally arrived at the narrow, shallow entrance to The Pool. I was nervous about the tight entrance, but as Doug Edgar & Darcy had advised, it was really no big deal. We did see the water depth get as skinny as 6 ft, but for a very short distance. I was actually able to coast in neutral past the 6 ft section.
After entering The Pool, we went down the long strait-away to the far end.
We rounded the corner to the very southeast end, in search of the primo anchorage spot we had dreamed about – anticipating our beautiful remote anchorage all to ourselves.
Oops, about 10 other boats had the same dream today !
But we did get a primo spot in the far back corner of The Pool, right next to the biggest section of boulders.
We had read and been tutored that it is common to tie off to the shore Mediterranean style, this affords more boat density in the anchorage, rather than every boat swinging a 360 degree radius.
We set the bow anchor with our windlass which works perfectly again after a little adjustment.
Then we used the dinghy to tie off the stern to some trees growing out of the rocky boulders on shore.
Check out our beautiful anchorage spot.
After a few “welcome to The Pool” beers, we headed out in the dinghy to the famed Topaz Lake.
Topaz Lake is sometimes referred to as “the lake on the mountain” and it is at a higher elevation than Georgian Bay. The deep lake is named for its crystal clear Topaz colored water.
I’m pretty sure that prior to coming here, we had been advised that Topaz Lake was about a 20 minute hike from The Pool.
We left on the hike to Topaz Lake about 3pm.
While hiking in, we asked some folks coming out “how far, how much time to Topaz Lake”.
The guys coming out said “about 30-40 minutes, follow the blue markers until you see the yellow markers, then make a left at the yellow marker, you can’t miss it”.
We walked & walked & walked – at this point we have been walking for about an hour.
No yellow markers, only blue.
The trail started out easy, but soon it was up/down steep hills with a shit-load of rocks.
But wait, Over the next ridge, I think I see a clearing, we are almost there.
Over the ridge we went , EUREKA – there it was.
A lousy, scummy, lillypad laced lake that did not look like the visions we had dreamed of.
I felt like Ralphie on Christmas Story when he finally got the decoder ring, only to find out the code said “drink more ovaltine”.
There were old broken down trucks, rusty trailers, and old derilac boats.
We had one disgusting beer and started heading back.
At this point it was about 4pm, and we were already quite tired.
Along the walk back we passed 3 kids in a 4 wheeler and asked, “was the lake over this hill Topaz Lake? ”
They laughed and said, “no you need to go back to where the rocks stop at the top of the hill and follow the yellow marker to the right”.
So we trudged onward, another 30 minutes back from where we came, to find the yellow marker. Finally – there it is, the yellow marker.
Crap, we forgot to ask the kids how much more walking after the yellow marker !
We were both tired, but I dropped the small cooler & travel bag (swim suits, towels, binoculars, snorkel, etc) and told Nellie that I would go up the yellow path hill to see how much further it was to the lake. I said that I would go only 10-15 minutes and return (30 minutes round trip).
As I walked up the yellow trail hill, some folks were coming out, I asked “how much further to Topaz”
They said “5 minutes, it’s just over that hill, you’re almost there”.
So I went back and got Nellie.
The last 5 minutes were over a very rocky, boldery trail, but we finally made it.
Shan-Gra-La, there it was, joy to the world – Topaz Lake!
It was as many had described – very clear topaz colored water & surrounded by beautiful cliffs on a hilly tree-lined terrain.
Since we may never make it back here, even though I was quite tired, I decided to take the plunge and go swimming.
I’m glad that I did, it was wonderfully refreshing.
I used my snorkel and a small rock to engrave “Murph” on the big boulder, just below the water surface.
We headed back from Topaz Lake about 6:30pm, and arrived back at the boat about 7:15pm.
On the way back to the boat, we snapped some photos of the famed Evinrude Island Cottage. You may remember from the last post that the cottage was at the far end of The Pool. The cottage was built years ago by Ralph Evinrude, for his wife singer/actress Frances Langford.
The story goes that Ralph and Frances both enjoyed boating, had a 118’ yacht named Chanticleer, and during many summers brought Chanticleer to Baie Fine & The Pool.
I’m not sure how they got the 118ft yacht through the opening into The Pool, but I hear money fixes a lot of problems.
When we arrived back on the much smaller 43ft Gettin’ Looped, we ate grilled jambon & fromage sandwiches for dinner, enjoyed our beautiful anchorage, and pretended for a second that we were big shots like Ralph & Francis.
After the bugs came out, we retreated into the salon and watched one of Jonell’s favorite movies on DVD – The Shawshank Redemption.
Little Current Ontario, on the north side of Manitoulin Island.
Aug 12 – Sun
We started the day with a wonderful 52 mile ride from Tobermory to Killarney Ontario, over awesome smooth waters.
For those of you who did not see the last post, one of the places we wanted to see with Kenny & Carla was Flowerpot Island. We ran out of time, attempting to get them back to Tobermory by 11am, after anchoring the night before.
Shortly after leaving Tobermory on Sunday, Nellie & I made a pass by Flowerpot Island on the way to Killarney, and looked at the famous Tobermory “Flowerpot Rock Formations”.
We arrived at The Killarney Mountain Lodge about 1:30pm.
OMG – this place is beautiful !
It sits on the Killarney Channel, just north of George Island.
The place sits on large mounds of boulders, and across the channel is some beautiful Red Rock, which lights up at sunset.
The resort includes ; 2 restaurants, a carousel bar, a coffee shop, a pool, a sauna, free bikes, free canoes, horseshoes, bocci ball, a large brick fire pit, a seaplane launch pad & a bunch of the famous Canadian Red Adirondack Chairs.
Shortly after arrival, we met our friends from the vessel Gypsea (Mike & Patsy) from Carefree Arizona.
We shared some drinks, and gave updates of where we had been & what we had seen, since we last interacted with them in Orillia.
Later in the afternoon on the dock, I ran into fellow Loopers ; Mike (Gypsea), Mike (Endless Loop), and Mike (Mikie Like’s It).
Here is a shot of The 4 Mike’s on the dock at The Mountain Lodge.
After much jaw-boning on the dock or sittin’ in the Adirondack Chairs, we headed for a group dinner in the Mountain Lodge.
After dinner, on the way back to the boat, we saw a wonderfully vivid bright orange sunset. Once again, the camera does not show the true vivid orange color.
That’s all from Killarney for tonight.
We have 2 more days here in this paradise resort.
Aug 13 – Mon
Monday was one of those lazy, rest up days.
I spent Monday morning on some busy tasks ; reservations for Little Current later this week, getting Ashley an Airplane Ticket for Dan’s upcoming wedding, and doing some blogging.
Jonell did some laundry.
We both spent a good part of the day hanging around The Mountain Lodge Pool & just lazing around in the Red Chairs, watching the boats go up/down the Killarney Channel.
While sittin’ in the Red Chairs, we were treated to the arrival of a helicopter onto the Mountain Lodge grounds. I heard him coming before I saw him, started the video camera, and next thing I knew he landed right in front of where I was sitting.
Video Helicopter = https://youtu.be/X7rea7IViEI
Later in the afternoon, I had some pre-dinner drinks with Mike from Gypsea, he is a really nice wonderful guy that I could talk to forever. We sat out on the boulders under the shade tree and talked for a couple of hours.
For dinner, the Looper gang of The 4 Mike’s and their brides went to the Killarney Herbert Fisheries for the World Famous Fish & Chips (it says so on their sign).
Herbert Fisheries has their own boat that works 7 days a week. Each day, whatever they catch is all that is sold on that day. You order only ” a big plate of fish or a small plate of fish”, no other choices.
You order your food at the counter, wait at the outside window, and eat your food at the nearby outdoor picnic tables.
Today’s fish was Pickerel.
I’m not sure about World Famous, but it was pretty good.
I was hoping for Perch.
After dinner, the other 3 couples went to plan their route for Tuesday.
Nellie & I are staying an extra day at The Mountain Lodge, so we went & wandered down the road a piece to visit the other main resort in Killarney – The Sportsman’s Inn.
It was ok but not nearly as nice as the Mountain Lodge.
Note – both places are owned by the same people.
We had a drink on the balcony of the Sportsman’s Inn, and then headed back to Gettin’ Looped.
We got back to the boat just in time for another beautiful, bright orange sunset (does not show up in the photos).
Aug 14 – Tue
Remember the comment from Monday – It was one of those lazy, rest-up days ?
Well Tuesday followed suit.
All of our Looper pals departed today, so me & Nellie spent the morning at the coffee shop, and almost the entire afternoon sitting out on the end of the dock watching & talking to boaters as they passed.
After the coffee shop, I did call one of our Georgian Bay advisors – Doug Edgar.
We spoke about our next stop at Baie Fine & The Pool.
After talking with Doug Edgar, we spent most of the late morning & afternoon sitting on the dock of the bay (Otis Redding) watching boats go by and exchanging hellos with the boat operators, paddle-boarders, and kayakers.
I am not so good at this low-key just sittin’ stuff, but the setting on the Killarney canal was wonderful, and I adapted quickly.
The photos don’t show it, but there was a lot of traffic, we probably saw over 50 boats during the 11am-3pm time frame.
Across the canal we saw the cutest thing going on for over an hour.
There was a dog playing with his ball, all by himself.
The dog would – lay down, drop his ball at the top of the hill, watch it roll down to the bottom of the hill, and go fetch it out of the water.
He must have done this routine over 50 times while we watched.
Later in the afternoon, we had 2 boats say “hey, we just saw you a few days ago in Tobermory”.
Evidently, they remembered the “Gettin’ Looped” boat name.
We spoke with each of them for a few minutes while they idled near the dock.
The 2nd boat had a guy named Darcy as captain.
He asked about our future travel plans, we advised about Baie Fine & The Pool.
Darcy said ” hey, I’ll come back later and give you my experience of the area”
The afternoon turned into early evening, and about 3pm the sun was getting pretty hot, so Nellie & I retreated to the shade trees up on the boulder rocks for a few hours between 3-5pm.
We went to dinner at the Lodge Restaurant, and as we were leaving I ran into Darcy, who we had just met a few hours earlier at the dock.
Darcy gave me some more pointers about Baie Fine & The Pool using our IPAD, but then the really interesting discussion began.
Darcy has lived in the Killarney area for his entire life.
He spent a lot of his younger years being the caretaker for the island house owned by singer/actress Francis Langford & famed boat motor manufacturer Ralph Evinrude.
The island house is actually in a body of water called The Pool.
We will actually see this place tomorrow when we go to The Pool. The story goes that for many years Francis Langford & Ralph Evinrude used to cruise their 100′ yacht CHANTICLEER to Baie Fine & The Pool from Stuart, FL.
So it appears that the 43 foot SS Gettin’ Looped should be able to make it passed the narrow sections of Baie Fine & the entrance to The Pool.
Darcy told me of a story when he was about 15 years old, prepping the house for the arrival of Langford & Evinrude, and there was someone on the phone asking to speak with Francis. Darcy advised that she had not yet arrived & asked who was calling, the person on the phone said Bob Hope !
Darcy, his wife Heather, & family were a pleasure to speak with.
He is a really cool guy, but I did not get his last name.
That was pretty much it for our last day in Killarney.
One night anchorage in The Pool, about a 20 mile ride from Killarney.
But Wait – Bonus Blog Material !
Remember the Big Chute Railway Lock just outside of Orillia ?
While we were at the Mountain Lodge we got some grainy but cool photos of the aft end of Gettin’ Looped, hanging out over the edge of the The Big Chute Railcar.
Gypsea had taken the photos, and we just now got them.
OMG – If I would have seen this when we were locking thru, I may have been more nervous. Good thing Nellie was up on the bow, if she was on the aft deck we may have toppled over !
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.
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 miles
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 =https://youtu.be/G4EoNuJf1J0
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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 !
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’ = https://youtu.be/20Y6nzeIveo
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.
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 !
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.
It took longer to find the star shaped adjustment handle than it did to adjust the clutch and fix the issue.
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.
Issue #2 fixed.
Time for celebration drinks !
The rest of the afternoon & early evening was spent writing this wonderful blog.
Hope you enjoyed it.
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 !
Ok – Next Stop for Real !
The Mountain Lodge
52 Miles, No Locks or Bridges
Aug 6 – Mon Today was a special day that we have been waiting for during the entire loop, with a bit of both anxiety & excitement.
It was the day for The Big Chute Railway Lock !
We had also anticipated today to be a very hard day.
We only had 42 miles from Orillia to Port Severn Ontario, but the day would also entail going thru 3 locks, with anticipation of The Big Chute creating the most anxiety.
We also purposely planned to do The Big Chute on a weekday, avoiding the boat traffic & long waiting lines that we had heard about at The Big Chute during weekends. Many local Canadians transit this lock coming to/from Georgian Bay for weekend getaways.
The flaw in our planning strategy was not remembering that today, Monday Aug 6th, was a Holiday in Canada eh – It is called the “August Holiday”, “Civic Holiday”, “Provincial Day” or other local names, such as Terry Fox Day in Manitoba.
So we started the day expecting a very long travel day with 42 miles, 3 Locks, The Big Chute, and a Canadian Holiday.
We departed Orillia about 7:45am, attempting to get to the first Swing Bridge & Lock-#42 promptly by 9am.
All of the Bridges & Locks on the Trent Severn Waterway open at 9am every day.
We were traveling with the same new friends we met about a week ago – Gypsea(Mike/Patsy) from Arizona & Awelon-Y-Mor (Neil’s/Doris) from Toronto.
The planning worked almost perfect, we entered the curvy entrance to the Swing Bridge about 8:50am & arrived at the Swing Bridge at 9:02am, but were greeted by a train also wanting to cross the bridge at 9am.
We waited about 15 minutes for the train to pass, got thru the Swing Bridge about 9:20am and were on our way to the first lock of the day, Lock #42.
While we were waiting for the train to pass, we were joined by 2 other large vessels (unknown boats, non-Loopers).
After the Swing Bridge opened, all 5 boats proceeded to Lock #42.
It was quite interesting cramming 5 large boats, all over 40 feet + one over 50 feet, into one locking chamber.
But we did it, all 5 boats in.
The largest 50 footer had to go in the back of the lock, and tie up crossways from east to west wall of the lock (didn’t get photos of him, camera man dropping the ball here).
Safely thru the first lock (Lock-#42), all five boats started up the Trent to Lock #43. It was about a 1 hour ride, accompanied by some more really nice homes. We also entered the area known as The Canadian Shield, with lots of rocky shoreline.
Along the way to Lock #43, the 2 Canadian Motor Yachts decided that we were going too slow for them, and passed us in an open lake area. They were not your normal nice Canadians, they got way too close to us 3 Loopers as they were hammering down.
I called on the radio to my pals ahead of me and said “get ready to get rocked boys, we have some rude boaters next to us kicking up a huge wake”.
Next thing you know they deviated course, and were giving us a much larger spread between their wake & our boats.
I think they need a Power Squadron course in boating etiquette.
Lock #43 was a pretty uneventful lock. It was a large 40 foot drop and the lock operators had the drain on full blast, so it was a very quick ride down 40 feet. In the lock we had our 3 Looper boats & 1 little guy.
So after Lock #43, it was about another 1 hour ride to the main attraction of the day – Lock #44 – The Famed Big Chute Railway Lock.
Mike in the vessel Gypsea was leading the way into the lock staging area, Neils in the vessel Awelon-Y-Mor was second, and Gettin’ Looped was riding sweep.
As we approached the lock, Mike & Neils pulled off to the RHS to tie up to a seawall holding/viewing area.
The area was not that big, and there was not enough room for 3 – 40 foot boats, so I deviated to the LHS seawall where there was a long “Blue Wall” waiting line for the lock.
As we were getting ready to tie up to the Blue Wall, I heard the lock operator say over the loud speaker “ok vessel #1 you will be in the port side front, vessel #2 you will be in the starboard side front, vessel #3 the large Viking in the back, you will be in the center rear of the lock, all boats may now proceed in slowly one at a time”.
Holy smokes, it was Go-Time !
We hovered for about 5 minutes while boat #1 & #2 entered the railcar lock, then we proceeded in – OMG here we go !
The anticipation was excruciating.
Our hearts were palpitating.
We drove in the sling.
They told us when to stop.
They positioned the sling.
They started raising the sling & taking up the load, but not yet lifting.
They told us to shut off the engines.
They raised the boat in the slings.
I felt some type of device stabilize the hull.
Up & away we went !
The entire process took less than 10 minutes.
It may have been the easiest lock that we have been through, all we had to do was drive in !
Come for a Video Ride, or just look at the photos. (during the video you will hear me talking to Jonell over the headphones, ie – a one way conversation because she was down below).
Video # 2 is the best one
Video #1 = https://youtu.be/4P1vFhbK0bA
Video #2 = https://youtu.be/a5aMeC3z_aU
The railcar proceeded up & over the hill into the Port Severn side of the lock.
After the railcar was in deep enough water, we were told to fire up the engines, they checked our water flow, the slings were lowered, and we were told to proceed out of the lock.
It was over.
We did it !
On the exit side of the lock there was a large floating dock.
We pulled over, tied up, and waited for Gypsea & Awelon-Y-Mor to come thru the lock.
We took some video and still photos of their boats exiting the lock. Video =https://youtu.be/3QuAoACxVZo
So we are now done with the locks for the day, done with The Big Chute, and now we can relax right ?
Not so fast.
After you exit The Big Chute, you have one more little challenge – The Little Chute !
It is basically a tight corner, with jagged rocks & a high current exit from the Big Chute, complete with warning signs.
It also, was no big deal.
We arrived at the Starport Marina in Port Severn about 4pm.
It was an exciting blast of a day !
At the Starport Marina, we got fuel, got a pump out, pulled over to our slip, & cracked open the ceremonial “welcome to port arrival drinks” – Well deserved today.
Starport seems to be a nice marina.
We didn’t venture out, we stayed in and had celebration Hot Dogs for dinner.
We have another early day tomorrow, with one last lock & 110 miles from Port Severn to Tobermory Ontario, our first adventure into Georgian Bay.
It was the end of a wonderful 10 days on The Trent Severn Waterway.
> 240 miles
> 44 Locks
Aug 4 – Sat
On Saturday August 4th, we headed from the Sunset Cove in Bolsover to the Port of Orillia Ontario.
The trip was only 27 miles & 5 Locks, but we violated our rule of not travelling on Saturday or Sunday.
The Saturday travel turned out to be, as expected, very slow & very crowded with lots of boat traffic.
We spent most of the day slowly going thru the 5 Locks with 4 large Looper boats jammed into the relatively small lock.
There was also a lot of boats locking thru in the opposite direction, so at every lock we had 4 large boats moving northwest & 4-6 medium boats moving southeast.
Somewhere between Lock #37 & Lock #39, we came across this strange phone booth.
Towards the end of the day, we had the final 3 Locks for the day “back-back-back” within less than a 1 mile span. Locks #39,40, &41 leading to Lake Simcoe. They were again, all in a pretty narrow canal.
Once we were free of Lock #41 and hit Lake Simcoe, it was about 1 pm on a Saturday and we wanted to try to beat the Saturday afternoon crowd into the marina, so we opened up the throttles and did 20mph across Lake Simcoe, and arrived about 2pm.
We were lucky because Lake Simcoe has the reputation for getting whipped up pretty quickly. There are even warning signs at the end of the canal when entering into Lake Simcoe, to “Be aware of rapidly changing weather forecasts”.
On this day, Lake Simcoe was calm as a little kitten.
We arrived at the Port of Orillia about 2pm.
Our attempts to “beat the crowd” did not materialize as we had hoped.
By 3pm we were docked, hooked up, and having some George M. Tiddy’s with the local Canadian party boaters on the dock right next to our slip.
Later that night, we had drinks on the aft deck with new Looper Pals – Gypsea (Mike & Patsy Kelly) out of Carefree Arizona. They purchased their boat & will cross their wake in St Petersburgh Florida.
Later in the evening, we were joined by other Loopers Endless Loop (Mike & Jayne) and potential future Loopers Awelon-Y-Mor (Neils & Doris).
We had drinks on Gettin’ Looped & watched a seaplane land and enter the marina (pretty cool).
We ended the night with a group dinner at an Irish place called FIONN’s.
It was a very fun night with great people.
Aug 5 – Sunday
I started the day with a groggy head from the party the night before with the Loopers.
Took a shower, then began my special day. It was Birthday #60 for yours truly.
The day was an on-going treat of well wishes from a bunch of my co-workers, friends & family.
I am not a Facebook follower, but I love Facebook on this one day each year !
I received a bunch of Facebook birthday wishes that all brought back great memories & brought a smile to my face. Many wishes from co-workers that I have not seen in a long time, and many of whom follow the blog.
Dave Zalewski, Chris Vrabel, John Vanderen, Beth Tyler, Dave Mienko, Pete Varma, John Nelson, Bill Gondert, Jeff Foor, Lori Scheller, Sean Mahoney, Chris Stoker, Dawn Waack, Mark Houy, Dellet Silorey, Kathy Serre, Michelle Kline, Joe/Sue Emmet, Al Kaumeheiwa, Larry Taulbee, Brian Szalk, Linda Spragg, Rick Spragg, Dave Tucker, Tom Pawluk, Tim Packard, Bruce Hinman, Hank Stewart, Michele Altizer, Adam Silorey, Daryl Clasen, Jeremy Altizer, Debbie Brink, Doug Watson, Robbin Carson, Bill Rohr, Tim Blocker, Gary Lock.
I also had some direct text wishes – Dave Noffert, Ron Grobbel, Lori & Jerry Scheller, Michelle & Ron Kline, Sister Brenda (#2) & Joe – (5 texts), Pat & Jenny Haggerty, Sarah DeMars, Michelle Kline, Shannon Knight, Aunt Sharon, Eric Deloney, & Jake Baldwin.
I also received some personal Bday phone calls – Uncle Wayne & Aunt Betty, Sister Paula (#4) & Michael-singing, Ashley & Dave-singing, Dave & Ginger Hinman , Jerry & Deena Luck-singing, Dan & Megan-singing, Brother Ken (#3), Aunt Angie, and Dave & Carol Vrabel singing Happy BD with piano accompaniment.
Hopefully I did not forget anybody.
If I did , I am really sorry. I just wanted to recognize everyone above for taking a few minutes out of their day to give well wishes, it is quite humbling.
Here is how we spent my 60th Birthday !
We spent part of the late morning/early afternoon walking around the city of Orillia Ontario. It is a nice medium sized downtown. Their most famous attraction is the Mariposa Market Bakery.
My eyes were aglow with all the possibilities of culinary delight !
Nellie said no, you are 60 now and your metabolism will slow down, you can’t eat like you use to.
So I resisted temptation !
The city is also big-time into street art, featuring small Sailboats, decorated Chairs, and decorated Maple Leafs. Seems like they could have settled on just 1 theme ???
In the afternoon we celebrated with a very laid-back birthday, under the shade tree watchin’ people, kids playing, & boats coming in/out of the marina & boat launch.
Pretty darn nice way to spend the day.
My brother Kenny does a lot of fishing here at Lake Simcoe. It’s supposed to be the hot-bed of perch fishing. I asked the locals & the girls at the marina desk. They all agreed that Orillia is the hot-bed of perch fishing, but they all also agreed that they did not know anywhere in town where one could buy a birthday perch dinner.
So we ended up at a place called Studabakers.
It was so-so.
Nellie had ribs, I had an exciting chicken wrap.
After dinner we went to the Sunday night Big Bands at the Aqua Theatre on the lake. It was a nice way to end the night.
But wait, the BIRTHDAY was not over.
On the walk back home we saw an Ice Cream joint named Sweet Dreams.
They had MANY flavors.
I usually go for something with caramel or butterscotch.
Today I tried this one.
yuck, should have stuck with the caramel or butterscotch !
It was a great Birthday Day.
But let’s face it – for me & Nellie every day of the last year has felt like a Birthday or Christmas !
We are very thankful people.
That’s all from Orillia Ontario.
Port Severn Ontario & The famed Big Chute Railway Lock (you will hear all about this in the next post).