2006 Adventure UPDATES


UPDATE #19 08/08/06 thru 08/15/06

Howdy Everybody,

 UPDATE #19   08/08/06 through 08/15/06.

 The period 4/1 thru 8/07 has been covered in Updates 1 through 18. 

We 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.

Please let me know if these emails containing pictures are too large and we will send you a version with text only. 




    It was a beautiful, sunny morning here at the lovely Mary Ann Cove. From here, we swan, bathed, washed our hair everyday off the back of the boat.  We had explored, picnicked, relaxed, and visited with friends.  Although we thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this place, it was time to be moving along to seek new spots and adventures.  We put the dinghy up atop the sundeck in ready for travel.  Tom, from “Change of Pace”, helped us free our stern line from the tree at shore.  The windlass tugged away at the anchor line and chain until we were, once again, underway.  It was about 9 am as we gently eased out of the cove and motored down Baie Fine into Frazier Bay.  About 11 am, we pulled up to Killarney Mountain Lodge to refuel our dinghy gas tank, fill the water tank, and add a bag of ice cubes to our cooler.  Our next stop was the waterfront General Store.  We tied to their dock as we picked up some bread and other miscellaneous supplies.  Within 45 minutes, we were eastbound into the Georgian Bay.  Killarney is the dividing point between the North Channel region to the west and the Georgian Bay to the east.  Having missed some of the favored locations of our trip through, we wanted to return to check them out.

    As we cleared the lighthouse point at Red Rocks, the crystal, blue water route passed alongside beautiful red rock formations framed by the white quartz of the La Cloche Mountains.  (La Cloche is French for “the clock”)



     Our course took us across the bay, and into the spectacular Collins Inlet.  Collins Inlet provides the passageway for the Small Craft Route.  Channel-like in nature, it features tree studded, rock lined walls from 50 to 75 feet high and widths as narrow as 150 feet.




  Beaverstone Bay awaits at the eastern exit and leads back out into the Georgian Bay.  About 5:30 pm, we had arrived at our destination in the Bustard Islands.  We had threaded our way into the unmarked anchorage harbor using our charts and guidebook instructions.



  We chose our spot and dropped the anchor.  With about 150 feet of chain and rode off the bow and about the same in nylon rode tying the stern to a tree, we finally felt secure after the hour-long effort.




  We enjoyed cruising by dinghy through the northern Bustards.

     Dinner consisted of a wonderful, crisp salad, grilled chicken breast, and Au Gratin Potatoes. 




     The breeze was still out of the southwest in the anchorage.  We climbed into the dinghy for more exploration through the myriad of rock outcroppings that punctuate the Bustards.  Some are narrow, some are shallow, and all are gorgeous.



  The more open areas of water were wind blown and made for wet, cool splashes.  When we could, we chose to weave in and out of the rock-congested sections.  A fairly interesting sight in this area is the little rock statues called “Inusuk”.  They take the form of a little man and are likened to those used for navigation markers by the Indians, or “First Nations People” as they are now called.



      We retrieved the stern line, raised the anchor, and got underway towing the dinghy.



  It was already noon and we wanted to see the French River.  We proceeded up the Main Outlet of the French River leading to McDougal Bay.  It was very windy and not as great as it looked in the books.  We thought a jaunt back into Obstacle Channel would be fun so we twisted our way through the narrow channels to the Eastern Outlet of the French River just north of Obstacle Island.



  This anchorage was also more vulnerable to the strong south-west winds than we had expected.  As we returned to the Georgian Bay, we were headed into the wind and rougher waters.  The dinghy in tow was taking a bit of a beating.  We tried various combinations of length to the towline, but neither shorter nor longer seemed to help much.  Returning to the Bustard Islands Harbor anchorage, we found that our spot had been taken and that several more sailboats had taken up residence.  We moved over to a, seemingly, more protected spot behind Green Island.  We had seen another yacht there the previous night.  After setting the bow anchor and chain, we attached a 200 foot nylon rode to a tree off the port bow.  We added a stern line of about 150 feet that we tied to a large boulder.



  After listening to the weather forecast, the thought of a changing wind concerned us.  We opted to shift the 200’ rode to the starboard side and tied it to a large boulder.  This web should keep us away from the surrounding rocks and shoals if the wind change materialized.  In the breezy, cool conditions of the evening, Judy prepared “Frito Pie”, consisting of chili seasoned beef topped with cheddar cheese and ripe olives piled on top of Frito Corn Chips.  Delicious.    I was feeling very achy today and was glad to stretch out for a good nights rest.






     The morning dawned to a very cool 62 degrees and rainy with the wind piping out of the northeast just as forecast.  We were very pleased that we had changed the position of the bow-shore line.  Both that line and the stern line would stretch tight in the gusty winds.  Although we had hoped to move on this morning, these winds would make our departure from anchor much too hazardous.  At least we had a seemingly strong mooring web and remaining right here would be more than acceptable, albeit, other than ideal. 

     With the northerly winds forecasted to strengthen, we ran the dinghy out to check the lines and added a safety loop around another boulder to backup the starboard bow line.  With these type conditions, we were cautiously aware of any chaffing on the lines.  The safety loop should provide that extra measure of safety should the primary fail or slip free.




     Satisfied of our own security, we visited the surrounding bays in the dinghy.  We chatted with “Breakaway”, a 49 foot Cruiser from Irvine, California.  They had loaded their boat onto an ocean freighter in Ensenada, Mexico (just south of San Diego).  Their boat traveled as cargo to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida where they began their “Loop” trip.  An interesting story that illustrates the variety of ways people commence their dream voyage.  They also told us about being stranded by the floods in the Erie Canal and needing to be evacuated from their boat between Erie Locks 8 and 9.  Although AMARSE had experienced some lock closures due to flooding, I’m sure glad that our timing was better and that we avoided those more severe events that occurred a few weeks later.

      I had been feeling a little ill all day and was running a mild fever.  I spent a lot of the day resting while Judy caught up on her reading.  Perhaps not the most exciting way to spend a birthday, however, she seemed to enjoy her “electronic” birthday card and the gift of “ a day on a private yacht in the sparkling, crystal waters amidst this island paradise.”

LOCATION: N45 53.816 W080 54.108




     The thermometer read 53 degrees F and the wind had settled down to East North East at about 10 knots at 7:45 am as we started out of the anchorage.  The wind direction provided the challenge to getting away from our spot.  We, first, dropped the stern line directly into the water and I motored the stern to starboard and eased forward, snugged up the starboard bow shore line, commenced the raising of the anchor chain.  We, then, dropped the bow line down into the water and finished raising the chain and anchor, thus, freeing us to back out of the slot and into the small bay nearby.  We reset the anchor and chain in the turn between Pearl, Green, and Tie Islands.  Using the dinghy, we went ashore to retrieve those lines we had intentionally dropped.  We untied the ropes from the huge boulders that had held us securely and we dragged the soaking wet lines into the dinghy.  Back at AMARSE, we unloaded the dinghy and hoisted it to its mounting cradle on top of the sundeck.  As the windlass hauled up the anchor and chain, Judy had to use the full power of the washdown pump to eliminate the large clumps of mud from the ground tackle.  It had taken us 1 hour and 10 minutes to complete the whole operation thus allowing us to cruise out of these beautiful Bustard Islands.

      Back in the Georgian Bay, we crossed paths with our friends aboard “Siris”.  Al and Marilyn Smith were heading back to their home in Eastern Ontario.  We sure enjoyed being with these wonderful folks and hope that we will have the pleasure of their company again sometime.

      The bay provided us with a pleasant, smooth ride despite the 15 to 18 knot ENE wind.  Beaverstone Bay lead us back into Collins Inlet.  The views were even more spectacular than the previous trips.  The sunlight and clarity of the air allows the natural beauty to take on more vivid colors and hues that accentuate the formations while highlighting the flora and fauna.  As one person said, this place is “eye heaven”.






       While in the inlet, we listened on the VHF Marine Radio to “Breakaway”, that 49 foot cruiser, talking about the their miserable night on the rocks in the Bustards Islands.  Apparently, some time after we left them, the wind made the switch of direction and they dragged anchors putting them aground on the rocks in the bay adjacent to where we were.  Although they were able to free themselves using their dinghy, they had summoned the help of the Coast Guard and a rescue tow.  By the time the help arrived, they had successfully rescued themselves.  They suspect a small amount of hull damage and perhaps some small amount of propeller damage.  When we had seen them, it appeared that they had found a nice, peaceful location, however, they had not adequately prepared themselves for that brisk wind switch in direction and velocity.  Fortunately, our luck and preparation held, and we avoided any mishap.

      Well, I lost another “hat” today.  This makes three gone so far.  Perhaps some lucky fish will look good in them.

      At 2 pm, we had been traveling for 5 hours and were passing through Killarney, Ontario.  We bypassed a stop here and continued into Killarney Bay toward “Covered Portage”.  This is the same place that we had visited before.  It is so fantastic that I craved another opportunity to savor the incredible scenery



.  At 2:45pm, we set anchor in the company of a half dozen boats swinging on single anchors.



     I was still feeling a little on the ill side.  A long nap seemed to help quite a bit.  Our dinner of fresh, green salad, bacon-wrapped Filet Mignon, and herb, mashed potatoes turned out to be an excellent, belated birthday dinner for Judy.  It was back to bed early as my body temperature was bouncing on 100.  Outside, it was clear, winds light and variable, and the afternoon thermometer peaked around 76 degrees.  So, tell me, where does one find more ideal conditions than this?  I, certainly, don’t have a clue.

POSITION:  N45 59.984 W081 32.324



     At 7am, a partial, thin overcast and calm winds held the temperature at 53 degrees.





  At 9am, we tuned our VHF radio to channel 71 to listen to Roy host this daily version of the “Little Current Cruiser’s Net”.  Every day in July and August, Roy brings the cruisers together via radio to provide this wonderful service.  He relays the latest weather and forecast from “Environment Canada”, reports the latest current events from the Toronto newspaper, offers a lesson from “today in history”, and will inform cruisers about local cruising locations and history of the area.  The program continues with “Check-In’s” by the folks in their boats giving boat name and location.  I find it fascinating to hear the huge variety of different spots that people have found and the unique names that folks have chosen for their vessels.  Within 30 or 40 minutes, the host signs off for another day.

     Immediately after the “Cruiser’s Net”, we raised a very muddy anchor that took over 20 minutes to clean up.  We snapped some pictures of the rock face that resembles that of an Indian. (First Nation People). 




Our route through Killarney bay gave us an excellent view of the Killarney Ridge of the South La Cloche Mountains.  Continuing through Lansdowne Channel past Badgeley Point to Frazier Bay, thence, passed the mouth of Baie Fine and around the point into McGregor Bay.  This is a wonderful area that is now more accessible with the publication of the new chart #2206.  Previously, the area remained uncharted and made safe navigation difficult for all but the local folks.  The remoteness and reported beauty sparked our spirit of adventure and we sought to see for ourselves.  The charts are somewhat difficult to read and interpret.  All depths are marked in “Meters”, instead of feet.  There are almost no navigation aids and chart scales will keep you very alert watching for those rocky hazards lurking just below the surface and eager to catch you as soon as you become complacent.  With Judy following closely on the chart, we eased our way deep into the bay wandering amidst the little islands and rock outcroppings.  It was a “feast for the senses”.




  We found a spot to anchor near the navigation limit of the bay.  We enjoyed a nice lunch in the warm, sunny afternoon.  This anchorage was less than perfect as we would swing back and forth on our single anchor.  Swinging often has the effect of loosening or releasing the anchor hold.  This might result in dragging.  With the memory of “Breakaway’s” problems still fresh in our minds, we chose to seek a more protected spot.  A small cove along the shoreline of East Sampson Island yielded the ideal location.  We dropped the bow anchor and backed down in hopes of attaching a stern line to the shore.  By the time we could get the dinghy organized, the wind would swing us around.  Fortunately, the folks next to us in the anchorage offered to help take the line ashore while I maneuvered the boat under power into the desired position.  This worked great and we certainly expressed our appreciation to the houseboat, “Mick’s Rose”.



    We rode around in the dinghy and visited with Ted and Susan Kelley, anchored about a half mile away, in their trawler “Moose” from Connecticut.  Further exploration gave us the opportunity to meet a nice couple and their two young daughters.  They were camping and canoeing the area and wanted to know if we knew the weather forecast.  They were in Canada from Scotland on holidays and had not seen anyone else in several days.  These folks are adventurers.

     We enjoyed a wonderful, peaceful night in this secluded spot.

POSITION:  N46 03.965  W081 34.274




     It was a nearly perfect morning in the calm of our anchorage.




  We lounged around and enjoyed the daily broadcast of the “Cruiser’s Net”.  About 10:10 am, we began the anchors aweigh drill.  The procedure went like this: (1) Drop stern line into water, (2) Winch in about 75 feet of anchor rode to chain, (3) dinghy back to shore to retrieve the stern line from the tree, (4) haul up and clean the muddy chain and anchor.  Thirty minutes later we were gliding among the rocks on our way west.  We opted for the southern pass out and around the shoals in McGregor Bay.  We had taken the northern route yesterday on our way inbound.

     We could see “Moose” out in the distance ahead.  We hailed them and learned that they were heading for Manitowaning.  In as much as we had no particular destination in mind, we asked if we might join them there.  In agreement, we crossed Frazier Bay into Manitowaning Bay.  The  winds had freshened to 15 to 18 knots, which boosted the seas to about 2 feet.

     Several hours later, we arrived at the tiny harbor at Manitowaning.  The wind was honking about 20 to 25 knots now and the only available spot was a small, finger pier.  We maneuvered the boat, backing slowly into the confined area, using a combination of current, wind, differential power, and sheer luck.  Fortunately, several dockhands were ready to assist in the tie-up of AMARSE.

     This quaint little village harbors the retired S.S. Norisle, the last steam powered ferry to have served this area.  A restored warehouse and a mill building also grace the tiny harbor.  Unfortunately, the ship is now closed to visitors due to electrical problems.




     Together with Ted and Susan, we walked into the little village and picked up some groceries.  A visit to the tourist bureau revealed that there would be a country music concert this evening at the Burns Theatre at the waterfront.  Of course, Judy and I were anxious to get tickets to attend.  Ted and Susan declined.  After dinner aboard “AMARSE” and cocktails aboard “Moose”, it was theatre time.  The stage was small and the seats were retired school chairs made of hard, curved wood seats on metal frames.  I’m sure many of you remember just how uncomfortable those seats were.  The band consisted of six local area musicians, five guys and a gal.  We soon found ourselves tapping, clapping, and singing along with the familiar tunes.  They played for over four hours with only one short break.  Judy and I enjoyed the evening very much.





     The morning was cool, damp, and quite windy.  We took advantage of the marina laundry facility.  It was just one washer and one dryer, but, they were new and worked great.  I found the free internet computer at the Visitor Center and put it to use paying bills and doing banking.

     “Moose” decided to head out because the cell phone service here was nonexistent.  They were waiting for an important call.  Their reports of an easy passage prompted us to head north too.  The winds were increasing steadily and were right out of the west.  We cruised along the shoreline to ease the waves yet still they increased.  As we turned the corner westbound at Ten-Mile Point, the seas were smacking us right in the face.  The winds were hitting as much as 40 knots as reported by the anemometer on “Moose”.  The wind driven wave splashes would hit the upper windshield and send chilling water onto the seat cushions and us.  Fortunately, we only had to endure the discomfort for less than an hour until we turned up the pass between Strawberry and Manitoulin Islands.

      Moose found an anchorage behind Long Point.  We opted to continue to the town of Little Current and the town docks.  When the swing bridge opened on the hour, the way this town got its name was evident.  When the wind is strong, there is a 4 knot current that builds in the channel and creates significant turbulence in the vicinity of the bridge pilings.  Perhaps they should rename it “Big Current” today.  AMARSE eased into assigned slot at the main wall of the town dock.  It was convenient to town and had the advantage of a brick building to block some of the wind. 

      Judy had been denied her “birthday dinner” a few days ago because of our remote location.  The Anchor Inn provided the perfect opportunity to remedy this situation.  Judy selected the Breast of Chicken Brushetta and I ordered the Grilled Manitoulin Whitefish.  Both were excellent choices.  I must mention that Rickards Honey Brown and Pale Ales are very delicious.  An ice cream and butter tart dessert topped off the evening dinner.  Later, in the bar, we caught up on email and internet using their complimentary WiFi hookup.

       Tonight, we mourn the tragic passing of our dear and cherished friend, Bonnie Simonick.  We offer our most sincere condolences to John and the family.  She will always remain precious in our hearts.




     Another very windy day was foretold by the Environment Canada weather report.  After  enjoying the “Little Current Cruisers Net” broadcast this morning, We hurried over to the Anchor Inn in hopes of meeting the host Roy.  I have thoroughly enjoyed each of his programs and I looked forward with great anticipation toward meeting him.  Fortunately, we were able to join him in the studio room.  He greeted us cheerfully and we had a wonderful time chatting about the wonderful cruising opportunities here and elsewhere.  It was a distinct pleasure to meet this accomplished gentleman and to experience, firsthand, his casual, elegant style.  Thanks, Roy!

     We did some grocery shopping and picked up some items at the local hardware store.  Lunch beckoned us from the Anchor Inn where Judy enjoyed a steak sandwich while I had Haddock N’ Chips.

      I spent part of the afternoon catching up on chores.  In particular, I modified and replaced the part of the hoisting bridle for the dinghy crane.  The nylon cord showed signs of chafe so I replaced it with shackles and chain.  I will be more comfortable raising and lowering the dinghy now.

       Ted and Susan had taken dockage in a slip at the town marina.  Again, they hosted the evening cocktail hour aboard “Moose”.  While still full from our big lunch, we enjoyed the perfect combination of toasted Tuna sandwiches and SunChips.  The wind velocity eased a bit providing a more comfortable night with less rolling and bouncing at the docks.



  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.



"AMARSE".  is pronounced "AM-ARE-SAY".  Our website is:   www.amarse.net   .

Check 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

Lot of Love,

Fred Reed and Judy Law