UPDATE #17 07/23/06 thru 07/31/06
#17 07/23/06 through
period 4/1 thru 7/22 has been covered in Updates 1 through 16.
are very interested in hearing from ya’all.
If you have missed out on any of the previous emails and would like us
to re-send them, please let us know.
let me know if these emails containing pictures are too large and we will send
you a version with text only.
ONTARIO to PORT RAWSON BAY (30,000 ISLANDS REGION OF GEORGIAN BAY)
Judy and I awoke with great anticipation for the beginning of the
“Flotilla”. The Flotilla is a
group of 25 boats that will depart Beacon Bay Marina this morning on an 8-day,
group excursion of the 30,000 islands region of the Georgian Bay.
At 9:30 am, AMARSE was underway toward the staging area at marker
“M12”. The VHF marine radio was tuned to channel 71 and the
frequency was busy confirming the positions of all the flotilla boats.
Our Canadian hosts, Bob and Karen Jantz, owners of Beacon Bay Marina
and fellow “Loopers”, were the organizers and leaders.
At precisely 10 am, the impressive parade of trawlers and yachts began
their adventurous trek across the Georgian Bay.
The weather was spectacular and the scenery awesome as we proceeded on
our westerly procession.
The topography of the region is comprised of groups of rocky islands of
various sizes. To be considered
an island, the outcropping must be at least one acre.
As you can imagine, there are many, many more smaller rock formations
that are either awash or barely surfacing.
Careful navigation and constant vigilance are required for the
successful passage of these waters.
Bob and Karen are very familiar with these waters and shared their
local knowledge with us in so many wonderful ways.
The buoyed passage into Port Rawson bay kept us in awe of the natural
beauty of this wonderful area.
AMARSE slipped of to the side of the bay and lowered her dinghy from
atop the sundeck.
The flotilla commenced the complex procedure of rafting up 24 boats.
The methodology was far different than anything that most of us had
ever experienced. Inside this
rock-lined bay, the water is quite deep all the way to shore. Bob and Karen maneuvered their vessel, “My Bonus”, into
the key position. They lowered
their bow anchor and backed down until their stern was almost at the
shoreline. A stern line was then
led ashore and fastened to a large boulder.
The next two vessels then approached on either side of “My Bonus”.
The boats tied to the sides of Bob and Karen’s boat.
The next two vessels would need to set bow anchors and back down along
side the already secured boats. These
boats would set out stern lines to be attached to the huge boulders or trees
on the shoreline. The process
continued with alternating vessels dropping bow anchors and attaching stern
lines. This fascinating procedure
took just over an hour to accomplish. Now
there were 24 yachts and nearly as many dinghies secured in a spider-web like
formation. It was quite
impressive to say the least.
The folks flitted around in their dinghies and the rest of the
afternoon was enjoyed sharing pleasantries and marveling at the scenery.
N45 10.789 W080 01.527
MONDAY PORT RAWSON
Yesterday’s parade of yachts was certainly an interesting variation
on everyday boating. Today would
be no less unique. We assembled
in a mini-flotilla consisting of 20 dinghies.
The weather was a little cool and light rain and drizzle punctuated the
forecast for the rest of the day. Bob
and Karen led us through the twists and turns, between the rocks, and around
the islands along Moon River.
Onward through Woods Bay and more of Moon River, the melodious humming
of the outboards seemed to echo through the wilderness.
This is very remote territory and has yet to be fully charted.
It takes local knowledge to find your way around here.
After more than a dozen miles, we eased our little fleet onto the rocky
Chilled and hungry, the boaters warmed to the quiet solitude and
enjoyed our picnic lunches on the rocky outcroppings.
Bob led us on foot back to Moon River Falls.
This delightful waterfall provided the perfect opportunity for rock
climbing, swimming, and even a place for the adventurous to jump from the
cliffs into the rapids water swirling below the falls.
Fortunately, the weather cooperated during our shore excursion, but
returned to a showery, drizzly afternoon for the return trip.
Several foresighted dinghy folks brought umbrellas and various forms of
protection from the rain. It was
quite a sight to see. One of the
gals lent Judy a silver “space blanket” to cover up with.
Numerous funny comments resulted including “Miss Reynolds Wrap”,
the “Baked Potato”, the “Madonna of Mylar”, and “Hi-Ho Silver”
just to mention a few.
This is really a wonderful group of fun loving people.
We are having an absolute ball.
After cocktails with Bruce and Jeanne Elder aboard “Inevitable
Too”, we enjoyed our dinner of fresh salad greens, grilled smoked sausage,
butter/herb mashed potatoes, and chunky applesauce.
This has become one of our favorite meals to be fully enjoyed on the
sundeck of AMARSE.
RAWSON BAY TO PARRY SOUND, ONTARIO
We had experienced some heavy showers and thunderstorms overnight but
the anchors held and the morning dawned pleasantly.
At about 10 am, we separated from the raft and loitered in the bay
while we hoisted our dinghy aloft to the sundeck top.
It took more than an hour to dismantle the rafted vessel formation.
At 11:20 am, we eased out of the peaceful Bay enroute to a famous
island restaurant for lunch.
At San Souci on Frying Pan Island, Henry’s restaurant exists with the
sole purpose of serving fresh fish dinners to a multitude of boaters.
They have docking facilities for around 50 boats and have systematized
the docking procedure with precise location.
Each vessel announces his arrival on the VHF radio giving the vessel
name, type, and length. A slip
assignment is given and several dockhands are awaiting to assist with lines
and mooring. It was a very
efficient and courteous operation.
Once inside, seating is family style with window views of the straits
below. Although they serve a
limited menu, the specialty of the house is Fish N’ Chips.
The fish is fresh water Pickerel, famous in these northern waters.
In the States, many folks call this species “Walleye”.
The diners were treated to heaping platters of fish and side dishes for
all to share.
Most everyone enjoyed the meal, however, the real joy came from the
experience itself and the wonderful camaraderie.
By 2:05 pm, we were again plying the crystal clear waters of Georgian
The routing took us along the eastern shore of Parry Island.
The passage is highlighted by a series of “Narrows”.
There is “7-mile Narrows”, “5-mile Narrows”, and “2-mile
Narrows”. Each location is only
large enough for slow passage of one larger vessel at a time.
For this reason, security calls are given to elicit the status of other
concerned vessels in the area. Of
course, it is quite unusual to have this kind of a parade moving through in
An additional hazard is the small boats operated by the
“cottagers”. These summer
residents flit from island to island with little knowledge or regard for the
nautical “rules of the road”. Larger
boats must continue to hold their course and speed to maintain
maneuverability, as well as, to reduce the risk of crunching the rocky bottom.
At the entrance to Parry Sound, larger vessels must wait for the swing
bridge that opens “On-the-Hour”. Once
through, the opened bridge, the Sound leads to the docking facilities.
The local Chamber of Commerce operates the fairly large, “Big Sound
Marina”. VHF radio provided the
communication to receive dock assignments and instructions.
Once again, the helpful, courteous dockhands eagerly took our lines as
we eased AMARSE into her berth.
Judy and I took a nice walk into the sleepy town.
We had the pleasure of examining the pride and joys of the areas
Antique Car Clubs and Hot Rod Clubs. It
was a fine display and even included a 1930 Nash sedan with wooden spoke
wheels and an original interior.
The time flew by so we opted for a sandwich dinner aboard AMARSE.
Nothing could have been better.
At 7:30 am, the marina folks hosted a Continental Breakfast for the
members of the flotilla. Once
again, we had the pleasure of the entire group just enjoying the company of
each other and marveling at the experiences we are having.
Today was a day to choose one’s own activities.
Judy and I strolled about the town in search of a special nautical
chart, of course, to no avail. We
selected a quaint-looking little waterfront restaurant for lunch.
Big mistake! We both had
the Pickerel sandwiches that were simply awful.
The strong, fishy taste must have come from other than fresh
ingredients. Oh, well….
Even though the weather was heavily overcast and intermittent showers
seemed eminent, we purchased tickets for an afternoon sightseeing cruise.
Perhaps you might think we’d get enough of boating on our own, well,
this area is the kind of place that continually shocks the senses. Each rock is different, each tree is special, and each tight
bend reveals another spectacular sight. It
was quite nice being able to sit back and enjoy some of the sights that we
would otherwise miss on our own cruise. The
rain forced everyone inside the sightseeing boat, but Judy and I enjoyed the
3-hour jaunt very much.
The evening started out with a group cocktail party out around the
marina. Everyone brought their
own favorite beverages and an assortment of snacks for all to enjoy.
Betty Bertram from “Betty B II” showed her home videos of several
of the previous days. It was fun.
Rose Stewart from “Wings” gave us some of her homemade veggie bean
soup for our dinner. It was “Yummy, yummy, for the Tummy”.
07/27/06 THURSDAY PARRY SOUND TO KILLBEAR PROVINCIAL PARK MARINA
Today’s itinerary was planned to cover a mere 12 miles.
The flotilla departed the marina about 12:15 pm.
The routing was plotted through Big Sound.
This area is highlighted with some of the deepest water in Georgian
Bay. Some depths reach over 350
feet. A particularly interesting
section is called “Hole-in-the-Wall”
This is a very narrow passage between two solid rock islands.
The sidewalls tower above the boats and gives the impression of being
much narrower than its 80-foot wide span.
With the precision of a ballet dance troupe, we synchronized our vessel
dockings under the expert coaching from the marina staff.
Judy has attained “celebrity status”.
Seems that word has leaked out about her hairstyling talents.
Several of the gals schmoozed Judy into a session of
“shear-perfection”. The shade
trees of the marina provided the perfect “beauty salon”.
Rose and Betty were delighted with their new coiffures.
Our flotilla group had reserved the entire restaurant for a special
The dinner was delightful. I
had Pan-fried Pickerel and Judy savored the Chicken Alfredo.
Blueberry pie with vanilla ice cream seemed to be the perfect dessert.
It was a pleasant evening and offered the opportunity to extend
everyone’s appreciation to our magnificent hosts, Bob and Karen Jantz.
John Olson, from “La Garza Verde”, read a fabulous poem that he
wrote especially for the occasion. John
Winter, from “Miss Liberty”, presented a thank you card that was signed by
all the loopers in the flotilla. A
good time was had by all.
MARINA TO BYNG INLET, BRITT,
In as much as there are quite a few larger boats in the flotilla, the
group route was through mostly open water.
The charts provide a more challenging and more scenic route designed
for smaller vessels. This small
craft route twists and weaves through shallow, hazard-ridden outcroppings of
solid rock. The channel is adequately marked but provides little
tolerance for any margin of error through the narrow passages. Numerous warnings are published to advise boaters in larger
boats to avoid these hazardous areas. AMARSE
is in a class of boats that just fits the outside warning limits for length
and draft. The weather was
excellent and Judy and I decided to seek the adventure and accept the
additional risks. We considered
them to be “calculated risks” and were convinced that the odds of success
outweighed the opportunities for an unpleasant outcome.
Four other boats also accepted the challenge.
They, of course, were much smaller than AMARSE, in fact, only a bit
more than half her size. “Little
T” and “WyLaWay”, a pair of 24 foot Roseboroughs,
“Happy Clamz”, a 32 foot Nordic Tug, and “Free ‘n’ Easy”, a
26 foot Windy separated from the other 20 vessels to cruise “Hang Dog
Channel”. My friends, I tell
you, this was the finest day of scenic boating that I have ever experienced.
I only wish we had a lot more time to absorb the magnificent wonders of
nature that these secluded passages revealed.
Although we were acutely aware that any navigation slip-up would have
resulted in severe damage to our vessel, the experience was one that neither
of us would have wanted to miss. Judy
worked the charts and kept track of our exact position at all time. She provided the heads-up warnings of especially hazardous
areas and significant turns and markers that were coming up.
All I can say is “what a thrill”!
By the time we all reached Wright’s Marina at Byng Inlet, both groups
had rejoined into the entire flotilla group.
Norm and Barb Hewton, from “Beta Omega”, had asked us to join them
at one of their favorite restaurants. As
Canadians, they have visited this area several times and were eager to have
dinner at “The Little Britt Inn”. These
friends are so wonderful that we agreed.
The dinner was quite good, however, the chance to be with these folks
was even better.
07/29/06 SATURDAY BYNG INLET, BRITT, ON TO THE BAD RIVER ANCHORAGE
It was 9:30 am as the flotilla began to exit the marina docks.
The departure was slightly complicated by several boats that required
“pump-out” services. This
interrupted the smooth and orderly flow that we had become accustomed to.
An intrepid group of four boats had opted to take a more picturesque
and challenging route. These were the same group as yesterday minus one of the
Roseboroughs, “WyLaWay”. Larry
had decided that the complexity of yesterday’s route had caused him too much
stress and that he would rather take the more relaxing route today.
We pressed on ahead at a cautious pace ahead of the main flotilla
group. The scenic beauty seemed
to increase even more as we motivated westward.
At times, the narrow passages made us feel as though we were
“threading a needle”. With
names like “Cunningham’s Channel”, “Rogers Gut”, and “Dorus
Run”, the flotilla vessels dodged the hazards and met the challenge.
The little group of four split off to meet the ultimate adventure
through “Obstacle Channel”. This extremely scenic, yet complicated, route proved to be
extremely rewarding. There is one
particular passage called “Parting Channel” that is especially tricky.
It requires that the boat be navigated through a series of successive
90-degree turns back and forth to avoid rock ledges a mere 40 feet apart.
The smaller boats had a much easier time with these due to their
smaller turning radius. AMARSE
would have to position the marker buoy close along side at a very slow speed
and then alternate the port and starboard propellers in opposing directions to
effect a rotational effect that would clear the bow and stern portions of the
boat. Add a little current and a little wind to the equation and
you can definitely get a bit of an adrenaline rush going. These miles of challenging twist and turns gives one a
tremendous sense of accomplishment, as well as, the wondrous experience of
passing among some of nature’s most rugged and beautiful areas.
Once again, the mini group merged with the main flotilla group to turn
up into the Bad River. The
rock-strewn channel leads into a marvelous, small bay.
Bob and Karen formed the fulcrum of the 24-boat raft.
Although the procedure was similar to the previous rafting, this
exercise utilized bow and stern anchors in an alternating fashion.
It resulted in a formation of beauty stretching across a portion of
this lovely little bay.
The land surrounding the bay consists of pink granite cliffs that rise
sharply from the water. Some boats even tie up alongside these steep walls of rock
and then fix their mooring lines to trees or boulders.
We surely have never seen anything like this in Texas or the East
Coast. It is so interesting to
see the many variations in technique that boaters utilized to cope with the
myriad of challenges.
The dinghies were flitting about like bumble bees.
One of the great things about this location is the many miles of dinghy
“trails”. At the corner of
the bay, a little waterfall called “Devil’s Door” lead
into a maze of rocky walls that funnel white water rapids and swift
streams into a playground of watery fun.
With the proper technique and a strong enough outboard, the rapids can
be “crunched” and the little dinghies can speed up through even more
beautiful and challenging rapids. Bob
enjoyed showing some of us how to properly approach and conquer the rapids.
He warned that it would be most likely that we would “ding-up” the
outboard propeller. He was quick
to add that the reward would far exceed the expense of a replacement prop.
He was right on both counts. We
caught on quickly to the proper methodology and soon we were laughing and
yelping like a couple of kids. Yes,
we did manage to take as many as five prop strikes during the numerous
attempts. Oh well, the prop can
be replaced but the experience can never be equaled.
POSITION: N45 56.088 W080 58.423.
Three aluminum fishing boats arrived sometime after 8 am to take a
dozen folks out on a pre-arranged fishing excursion.
The guides sped off with the eager fishermen while the rest of us
relaxed and mingled with our rafted neighbors.
Al and Marilyn Smith, from “Siris”, had heard the fine reports of
Judy’s hairstyling talents. Judy, of course, opened up her salon of “shear beauty” in
this lovely place of “sheer beauty”.
We took a lot more dinghy excursions up through the rapids and around
As we came out between some rocky outcroppings, we saw one of the large
boats that had exited the bay earlier this morning.
At first, we thought that they had chosen to anchor outside the bay in
the river. Upon a closer look, we
cringed to see that this lovely 53-foot motor yacht, “Braveheart”, had
mistakenly tried to pass on the wrong side of the channel.
This had the disastrous effect of running them hard aground on the
submerged rock bottom.
We inquired if there was anything that we could do to help, however,
they had already had a diver examine the damage and arranged for a tugboat to
assist in hauling them off the rocks. The
diver had happily reported that the hull damage was minimum and that they had
damaged their propellers and would need to have repairs at the nearest service
facility. Several hours later, a
strong tug arrived and spent a couple of hours extracting them from their
rocky hold. Everyone is hopeful
that no more damage was incurred during the freeing.
Tomorrow, they will try to continue on to Midland, Ontario for a
haul-out and heavy repairs.
After our lunch of homemade clam chowder, some of the gals got together
to do some rock art. They
exercised their artistic urges into small figurines using various shaped,
small stones. Judy made a rock
dog that was quite original.
My nap was refreshing and gave me additional energy to challenge the
rapids again and again.
Judy took a couple of videos of several passages.
We were worried about getting the camera wet so we only filmed the
drier attempts. They came out fantastic and give a sense of the fun we had.
How about this for a dinner in this remote wilderness?
Cocktails, of course, prepared the palette for a crisp, iceberg lettuce
salad, Filet Mignon grilled to perfection, and accompanied by potatoes mashed
with butter and herbs. We wish
you’all could have been here to enjoy it with us.
MONDAY BAD RIVER
ANCHORAGE TO KILLARNEY, ONTARIO
We all awoke to a dense fog that obscured the whole bay.
Our morning departure would be delayed as we waited patiently for the
weather to improve. Larry Martin,
from “WyLaWay”, serenaded us, with his accordion, amidst the fog.
One of the bigger yachts has the luxury of on-board satellite TV, as
well as, the capability to overlay XM satellite weather and radar returns on
their GPS. “Ocean Flyer” gave
us periodic updates of an approaching storm.
As the rains subsided, the fog began to lift.
Soon thereafter, the rafted formation began to dismantle.
AMARSE had the good fortune to be on an end and was first off the pack.
We led the group as successive boats parted from the formation.
With the recent memory of the misfortunes of “Braveheart’s” hard
grounding yesterday, we exercised additional caution to navigate safely
through the channel out the Bad River.
As we came out to the greater expanse of the Georgian Bay, several of
the faster, more powerful boats felt the urge to “blow out the carbon”.
Meanwhile, the raft took about an hour to full separate and exit the
little bay anchorage area.
AMARSE cruised along at a comfortable pace passing “Isabel Rocks”.
We urged our friends to join us in a moment of respectful, silent
thought in remembrance of my mother, Isabel A. Reed.
As some of you know, she was born a Canadian.
Collins Inlet provides a magnificent passage through high-walled cliffs
that line the side of the river-like waterway.
All who passed reveled at the beauty.
This was yet another wonderful example of the variety of topography and
landscape types typifying this Province of Ontario.
At Sportsman’s Inn Marina in Killarney, we were directed and assisted
to Dock #15.
We hurried along to catch the water-taxi to the opposite shore.
Our goal was Herbert’s Fisheries.
We had been told that this was the best Fish n’ Chips in the area. We ordered from the Red and White school bus where they claim
that the fish is so fresh that you have to wait for it to be cleaned.
I didn’t exactly see that, but,
the fish was quite tasty and the real French fries were awesome.
The entire group assembled to congratulate Bernie and Brigitte
Kleinselberk, from “Free Bird” on their completion of the loop cruise.
They started right here about a year ago and, now, have attained the
elite status evidenced by the “Bacca-Looper-iate” degree bestowed upon
them by AGLCA. We certainly add
our “congratz” and best wishes for lots more happy cruising.
Judy and I offer our most sincere “Thanxxx” to Bob and Karen Jantz,
from “My Bonus”. They generously guided us through their “backyard”.
They extended a huge effort to make all the reservations, provide all
the planning, share their local knowledge, and brighten everyone’s lives
with their marvelous smiles. Bob
and Karen, you will remain close in our hearts forever as we fondly relive
these magic experiences, over and over, in our memories.
Thanks, Thanks, and Thanxxxx!
As this was the official end of the “flotilla” cruise, we said our
goodbyes to those folks heading off in different directions.
For most, it was the culmination of a couple of weeks together at the
Rendezvous and on the flotilla. The
opportunity to share more was offered to those not adhering to a rigid
schedule. An additional side trip
was planned for about a dozen boats and AMARSE would join in.
(There will be more on this side trip in future updates.)
Tonight, however, we bade our departing friends a “Bon Voyage” and
assured them that they have found a lasting place in our hearts and memories.
ATTENTION: SPECIAL NOTE:
As you can see, we are still in Canada.
My Verizon AirCard that operates my computer internet will not operate
in Canada. We will be sending
this out when we can find a WiFi hotspot.
These locations are few and far between.
Our internet capability will be extremely limited for close to two
months. This may be the last
update for a while. If and when I can, I will post what is available.
Judy’s phone will be out of service in Canada.
Fred’s phone will be available throughout the trip in Canada.
I have North American Service and hopefully it will be OK. We can be reached at 210-296-4933.
Please call us if you like, ‘Eh.
is pronounced "AM-ARE-SAY". Our website is: www.amarse.net
it out while we will attempt to keep you informed via email
We would like to hear more about what is happening in your lives.
Let us know as we very interested in what’s going on with our friends
and family. Please DO email us with your thoughts and comments and
ideas too. Thanks
Reed and Judy Law
Fred H. Reed
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