Sunday, December 27, 2009

Winter Report #1

Hey kids, here's your first winter report of the off season as well as the final on water report for 2009. So, it's kinda a 2-for-1 deal. And you thought all the deals were only at the Boxing Day sales!

A.G. & I took a drive up to the cottage today (Sunday) to have a look see. This was the first time I've been back to the boat since winterizing and was a good excuse to take another day off from the home renovations. Oh my, that's three whole days in a row that I haven't done anything around the house - and I'm OK with that :-)

Without causing too much depression, I hope, here's a look at the scene around the marina today. Just before we get to that, you'll be happy to learn that everything appeared as it was supposed to with nothing looking out of place or missing. So far, so good.

For those of you are interested, I spent some time this morning going over my new charts and highlighting the day beacons, cardinal buoys and other important nav aids. If you are still following along, you will also be interested to know that I discovered three new symbols that I was unaware of. The really cool thing about this newest learning experience is that Santa also brought me something called Chart 1 which lists all the symbols, descriptions, abbreviations, etc. that are found on all Canadian charts. This publication is available online (at the above link) for free in download form. The actual hard copy booklet is only $6.00 and allot easier to find things in than the individual pages you would have to print off. I know, that's what I did this past summer. Something to look for if you go to the boat show, perhaps?

And following along with the charts theme, I'm really starting to lean towards a journey even farther north this coming summer. From what I've seen on our DVD and studying the new charts (# 2203) really closely, it looks like it would be some scenic and challenging travels up that way. Many twists and turns - as well as a fairly long stretch of open Bay routing with lots of buoys to locate would make for some exciting driving, learning and confidence boosting memories.

I think I'm going to get the unlimited towing package for my BoatUS membership this year :-)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Red, Right, North

Ho-Ho-Ho - here's hoping that Santa was good to everyone this year! I was once again fortunate enough to make it off of the 'Naughty' list and onto the 'Nice' one for '09. Phew, it was a close call, so I'll be sure to keep my naughty activities to a minimum in the coming season. . . . Well, most of them ;-)

I was very happy to find that Santa was able to get me one thing I was most looking forward to - Chart #2203 (nice to see the hints I've been dropping here getting through). Just so you know, Canadian Hydrographic Service chart #2203 takes one from Parry Sound (the body of water) to as far north as Byng Inlet.

Oh, how exciting, you say? Well, it is. Now I can do some serious planning for further and farther adventures on Georgian Bay this summer! I spotted an interesting looking spot on the Cruising Georgian Bay DVD called the Shawanaga River that I'm gonna locate on the chart. From what I saw, there is a lovely little cascading waterfall that one (or more) can anchor in front of. Nice.

Thanks for the recent Logbook entries with your Christmas wishes! Nice to hear from you :-)

Oh, I also wanted to let you know that I've disabled the ability for comments to be added to the postings. Seems that pretty much nobody ever looks at them and the important stuff added there ends up getting missed :-( So, henceforth I encourage you to share your comments, thoughts and words of encouragement on the Logbook for one and all to see!! If that doesn't work for you, feel free to send me an email . . .


Onward and upward on the ever continuing coverage of the 2009 Georgian Bay trip - this time it's north towards Echo Bay.

Moving on from all the excitement that was Chimney Bay, we begin our trip northward from Honey Harbour. As you can see by the following photo & video, there is always LOTS of boat traffic in this area. I've heard it said that this is the busiest boating area in all of Canada. Go there once & you will no doubt agree;

In this video, you'll see two Sea Rays in front of us. Water Wings is the one in front of the one in front of us (read it slowly and it does make sense). Ya, another Sea Ray that looks like ours. . . That's why you can hear me comment on the fact that passing boaters probably thought that the three of us similar Sea Rays were traveling together. Nope, it's just that them darn Sundancers are a dime a dozen.
On the last part of the video you can hear some boaters talking on the radio about how far they were from Honey Harbour. Seems that one of that group ran out of gas just after this, as we saw him being towed past us. Oh ya, one must also be aware of their fuel situation up in those waters as, unlike our local boating, fuel, food, pump out stations (D'oh!) and even docks in this area are far afield from each other. Prudent planning and a confident familiarity of the charts in this area are an absolute prerequisite before heading out as there are few options for any of the above and the point of no return comes up on you quickly. That's why it's an ADVENTURE;

Another shot of all the yahoos coming & going through here. One more reason that you have to pay close attention and maintain a firm grip on the wheel when driving on The Bay;

Talking about a firm grip, you never know what kind of 'ass' you'll see up there! Yep, this was our view from Honey Harbour all the way up to Henry's. Tell us, Marie - what was your view like from up on the front of the boat?
And there's that song from the Carpenters playing in my head again! Bummer;

Hey, even the markers look different;

Rocks and trees;
And beautiful scenery. This is what makes all that planning and chart studying worth it!

Entering into 'Monument Channel'. This is one of the Alternate Routes, which takes one off the Main Small Craft Route. You don't have to go this way, but it makes for a more scenic journey and these side trips usually offer protection from the main Bay when the wind is kicking up. Again, you need to really keep your eye on the charts to be able to pick out the markers you want to follow as some direct you along one route and others take you off the main track. Even more markers lead you into or off of the main part of Georgian Bay. Whichever you choose, there's only one way to go - the correct side of the markers :-)

Here's some video taken roughly halfway through Monument Channel, just before the hard to port turn back onto the Main Small Craft Route. And yes, it WAS a beautiful day;

A nice shot of the rocks off to the side of the channel. Many times these rocks aren't necessarily marked, just off to the side of the imaginary line running between the sets of lateral buoys;
Here comes SunAria, rounding the bend. Despite the high winds that were forecast for that day, it turned out to be a beautiful one. A perfect day for your very first trip up to Sans Souci, eh Sanja?

A great picture of us looking out onto the open and unprotected waters of the big Bay. It can be a little disconcerting the first rime you make this trip - especially on your own and in rougher conditions, as it was for us the year before. I guess that's why the cross was placed on that tiny island - to provide a measure solace for the faithful amongst the adventuresome of this area;

I took this one just before (south of) O'Donnell Point. Pretty rocks;
One of the big markers;

Here's Water Wings approaching an area called Starvation Bay. A cool long shot with the classic wind swept pines on the rocky shore;

The passage at Starvation Bay is quite narrow, with low water markers in place. Of course, you would figure that even the most bone headed boaters would be mindful enough to slow down. Not only for the sake of other passing boaters, but their own safety. Or not;

At least buddy slowed down once he passed us. Did someone yell at the guy, perhaps?

Three hours after departing from Honey Harbour we head east, leaving the Main Small Craft Route to make our approach into Echo Bay.
Notice that Analus is going into here keeping to the RIGHT of Echo Island. I bet there's one captain looking at this right now & thinking to herself 'I'll never forget that spot' and probably wishing she could;

Here she is now . . .

OH! I can't wait to see some videos from here;

Video, you say? Here we go;

Water Wings coming into the park - 1/4 of a tank less than when we left;

Echo Bay is one of the 'Designated Overnighting Bays' of the Massasauga Provincial Park, meaning the park has made provisions for boaters who choose to spend a night or three on the hook. These include such things as mooring pins that have placed onshore to tie to as well as the odd dock that can be used to tie up your dingy for a walk onshore.

And so, the excitement builds as we look forward to the next installment - our time at Echo Bay. Stay tuned for such highlights as the big dingy ride into the lily pad patch, the arrival of the Maple Leaf crew and the infamous dinner trip to Henry's - and back.

See you back here real soon . . .

Friday, December 18, 2009

Chimney Sweep

Cold enough for ya? It was so cold this week - how cold was it? - that the part of Cooks Bay we can see from the Boogaboo house froze completely over on Thursday. That's a first for this season.

I'll take that as a positive sign. Now that it's frozen, we can look forward to it's melting :-) PLUS, at 12:47 pm this Monday afternoon, the sun will be aligned over the Tropic of Capricorn and, if you listen really carefully, you will hear it begin it's northward journey of warmth and extended daylight! That means the days start to get longer again and it's only three months til the first day of Spring!!

I told you it would go quickly . . .

So, that means we gotta get on with the show. I know by checking my visitor logs for this site that there's a few of you out there that are here a number of times throughout the week checking for new postings. Tell me, is it because you are excited to see what new stuff you might find, or are you anxious about what I might actually post here??? Don't worry, you can trust me to spare you any embarrassment that I might have in my digital collection. The really juicy stuff is held back for the Year End Video. And the really, really juicy stuff I save for my personal collection ;-)

Oh man - there goes two more FFFvIX cancellations :-(

I tell you what, when you get here & don't see anything new, leave me a message on the Logbook. Maybe not every time, but every once in awhile. Just like YOU check in for updates, I check the Logbook two or three (or four or five) times a day to see what new messages might be there. . .


Now, let's continue on with the Chimney Bay Adventure > > >

It's the next to last day of our anchorage in this spot when we find the Water Wings crew pulling in. And they brought some more nice weather, too;

Analus gives the Commoboar a wave. Glad to have you here, buddy. HOO-HA, IT'S SUMMER HOLIDAYS!!

Later that day, Anchor Girl & I took a dinky ride to shore to do some exploring on Beausoleil Island. I'll tell how well that went after we look at this shot of our boats at anchor in the bay of The Bay. The boat on the left (starboard) side of Water Wings was some new friends - Steve & Brenda - that signor Von A. had met the night before at lock 45. It took allot of coaxing (all 12 of them), but he was able to talk them into joining us out on Georgian Bay;

So, the big hike into the wilderness took A.G. & I all the way up to a small, inland body of water called Fairy Lake on Beausoleil Island. Not that small, really - probably roughly the same size as Chimney Bay. It was quite pretty;

The amusing part of the story is that when we initially hit the trail to Fairy Lake, poor Anchor Girl experienced a bit of a panic attack. Ya, seems she was overcome by the anxiety of being confronted by a Massasauga Rattler. So, the long & short of the whole trip was that it was very short.

For the most part, users of the Beausoleil Island National Park services are supposed to pay by the honour system. There's a fee for camping, one for staying on the docks and another for using the hiking trails. Being the honourable person that I am, I dutifully went to shore, picked up the form, took it back to the boat and put the appropriate $ in the supplied envelope. Truth be told, I used the toonies we had on the boat and actually overpaid the required $11.60 by a whole 40 cents. Big spender, eh?

So, we got onto shore, deposited the cash & form into the box they have up there for this sort of thing, and got on our way. Anchor Girl made us turn around no more than 3 minutes into our hike for fear of the snakes. . . After a bit of coaxing (there goes that power of persuasion again) I was able to get us back on track to Fairy Lake. But all in all, the whole escapade only lasted about 15 minutes. . .

Here's some video from the return trip of our big hike;

A.G. took this shot of our anchorage on the dinky ride back from the hike. All three boats firmly secured on one anchor. Nice spot, eh?

Here's a 'backside shot' of the boats. I think we saw another 'backside' here, too - but we'll have to wait for the Year End Video to see it all. Why do I hear music from The Carpenters?

Here's one from later that evening. Sanja has now joined us & I had just set SunAria's anchor. Ya, like that was gonna be a big help :-)
I think this has got to be one of the nicest 'Boats On The Water' shots of the year. All of us at anchor with the late evening sun reflecting off the hulls in a spectacular setting. Even caught the rising moon in the sky! Wow!!

Now, this photo is of particular interest. See those big boats in the background? They are the very same that we very nearly drifted into the next morning!

Video from here. All the coughing you can hear at the beginning was as a result of us all laughing at the sight of those famous Georgian Bay false teeth that we were wearing. I think we may see a bit more on that in the Y.E.V. (Year End Video). As well, there's some comments about the giant Bosnian Burger that Sanja had just prepared. The thing was bigger than a plate!

A beautiful evening twilight sky. No worries about anchors or high winds on this night. Only another great view;

Some video that I took just before we headed out; Analus was straightening up his dinky, Anchor Girl was having her morning swim shower and I was looking around at all the boats anchored so close by. Now, it may not appear that the boats were all that close, but when you consider that in less than an hour from the time this was filmed, we would be pulling out of there - four boats abreast - picking our way past not only all those boats, but all the anchor lines that were sticking out all over the place, it certainly felt close! Oh ya, the wind was blowing pretty good at that time too.

Here we are, four boats tied together, heading down into Beausoleil Bay. For those of you who haven't heard the whole story, here we go. As you saw from the previous pictures, we were happily anchored and enjoying the day. There was some discussion earlier as to whether we should pull out and head north or just wait another few days there. The weather reports had been calling for some strong winds that day, as well as the next few to follow, so we had planned on staying there a little longer to see how things would pan out with the option of maybe leaving later in the day. With that in mind, I had just ran the gas out of the outboard on the dinky and returned to Boogaboo when A.G. said she thought we were all drifting. Initially, it didn't appear so, but as soon as it became clear to me, A.G. & Analus that we were drifting fast - and picking up steam!! Ya, the three big boats behind us were getting really close, really fast! My immediate concern (fear) was getting tangled in their anchor rodes.

So, I threw the dinky line to Anchor Girl, jumped on Boogaboo, started the engines and put her into gear! At the same time I was doing that, A.G. quickly tied off the dinky, ran to the front of the boat and pulled up the anchor faster than you have ever seen anyone do it before. Meanwhile, Analus had started Water Wings and ran to the front of SunAria to pull her anchor - all the while we are all yelling at Sanja to start her engines and help drive us out of there.

The problem I quickly discovered when I tried driving us all forward (remember that we are still four boats tied together) was that since Boogaboo was on the port most side of the flotilla, the result of my efforts was that we were moving as much to the right as forward. While we were all running, pulling and yelling back and forth, Sanja was slowly starting her blowers, and generally taking her time to prepare for a leisuly departure. Despite all of our excited yelling, poor Sanja was blisfully unaware of the predicament we were in and had no idea of what was actually happening until we got to Honey Harbour. . .

Here's the Commodore in his usual pose - barking out orders like he knows what the hell he is talking about;

Finally out of harms way, we all untied from each other;
Safe and sound in Honey Harbour at Paragon Marina. Nothing like a good ice cream cone to calm the nerves;

Steve waves goodbye as we head off from the gas dock. As this was their first trip up this way, he & Brenda were more concerned about making it back to their home port on Lake Scuggog in time, so they bid us farewell at this point;

Water Wings leads us out of Paragon Marina and onward and northward. Remember folks, like Analus says 'it's red right north' from here;
Coming up next, the journey continues as we head north for three fun filled days and nights on and around beautiful Echo Bay. . .

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Clock Is Ticking

I wasn't able to get to an update this weekend, as I was again a busy little boy working on getting the abode all gussied before the fast approaching Christmas time holidays. Ya, the whole one day I'll actually have 'off'.

I got no choice but to get to this work now, considering my Friday to Sunday routine is filled with much more important activities from sometime in March to the end of October. You know, all the fun stuff we look forward to. And by fun, I mean from late Friday afternoon to just after dinner on Sunday, from sometime in March to the end of October - and whatever HIGHLY anticipated trouble we can get into therein ;-)

So, check back during the week for the next full update. Who knows when I'll get really inspired to get at the next one. Actually, inspiration I have lots of - trust me on that - but time is the thing. Really busy with 'Work' work these days and having to burn the midnight oil trying to get things set up for next year. Plus, I still got the Year End Video to tackle and up to now it's been a little tough to get the inspiration going on that. But, fear not as tonight I started playing and got some serious chuckles happening. Before I knew it, I got a whole segment done!

But before you get too excited about it, I feel it is incumbent upon myself to once again apologize for any potential staining of the memory of Karen Carpenter. And, for any potential offense that the said segment may impart to my viewers. Let's just say that if you were there when it was ALL happening, I'm sure your eyes have healed by now. And, if you happen to be co-habituating with the subject of the segment, it's nothing you (and I) haven't seen before. Or half of Georgian Bay and any of the assembled boats at Chief Island.

You have been warned. . . . I had to start somewhere!!!

So, until we talk again, I leave you with a sample of the upcoming 2nd half of our Chimney Bay adventure;

Ain't that a pretty sight? Of course it is! The anchors seem to be holding well and we aren't even close to those boats in the background . . . . YET!!


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

No Snow At Echo

Woke up to our first snow storm of the year today. It wasn't pleasant. The wind was howling & blowing the snow sideways. And it was cold. The only redeeming thing about it was that it will be over some time. Some time soon, I am looking forward to.

Until that time comes, here's another one to help push the unpleasantness aside and get back into that more positive frame of mind;

In my mind, it was just as nice up there on Echo Bay today as it was when this memory was captured - and having fun in the sun . . .

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Down The Chimney (Bay)

Had another busy weekend (and week) working late, so I'm gonna have to break this segment into two parts for you.

Yes, it's finally here - the next installment of the big Georgian Bay voyage. Please take your seats as I take you back in time - all the way back to July of 2009 as we revisit our memorable anchorage at Chimney Bay on lovely Georgian Bay.

Could it be coincidence that we are going down the Chimney at the same time that that big guy in the red suit is heading down the chimneys of the houses of the little boys and girls of boating land? Hmmmm. . . . And you thought all of this has just been random, nonsensical ramblings on my part ;-)

So, when we last visited the Georgian Bay adventure, us Boogaboo crew were enjoying the latter part of our 'honeymoon' portion of the summer holidays at Honey Harbour (top photo). Here we are just heading out from Nautilus Marina to continue northward and eventually meet up with our friends;

First, a quick stop for a pump out - one of many on this trip, planed & otherwise. Look closely and you'll see 'It's All Good' on the dock. As chance had it we met Dan & Patty there. They had been anchored out at Bone Island but had to come back to Honey Harbour for a new battery;

Our next anticipated stopover was an anchorage called Good Harbour. To get there, we had to go off the Small Craft Route and navigate between the mainland (right) and Tomahawk Island (left);

This is another one of those unmarked 'Paths of Adventure', with no aids to navigation to mark the way. It is so cool to travel like this, with nothing but your charts and wits to keep you off the rocks! This little side trip was inspired by a portion on the Cruising Georgian Bay DVD. Speaking if which, we were watching some of that DVD on Sunday morning and that led to my remarking as to how many islands are unnamed, which in turn led to another bit of inspiration - having an island officially named :-) Anchor Girl reminded me that someone wanted to do that last summer when we were all up this way. So I fired off an email to the government people to see how one goes about such an endeavor. I think I was thought to be kidding about it, too . . . I'll let you know what I find out.

Back to the adventure at hand. Another narrow passage to drive the boat through. I love it!

Shallow water and unmarked rocks on both sides. Cool!

Some video of this passage;

Now, you gotta click on this picture to see the closeup of these rocks, with all the little holes;

Turns out that our trip up to Good Harbour resulted in nothing more than a pleasant trip (there and back). We ended up not staying there - the small bay that is Good Harbour was pretty full, so we headed back down to check out a spot from last summer - McCabe Rock on Beausoleil Bay.

To get there, we passed through Big Dog Channel;

If you don't believe me, here is a highly entertaining video to back my story up;

Alas, the anchorage at McCabe Rock was pretty full, so we moved a little farther northward to to very top of Beausoleil Bay to the portion called Chimney Bay - the part you keep coming back here to see! Right?

This lovely shot was our backyard view for the next three days and nights. And yes, those three boats sitting there all innocent like are the very same three that we very nearly got to get close and personal with immediately before departing this bay;

Here's two minutes and eighteen seconds of what it was like to gently sway back and forth in the light breeze of the evening. Kinda makes you all comfy and longing for the water again, don't it? Only 7 months 'till we're back there again;

A morning shot of the north view looked like, facing completely opposite of the preceding photo. Yes, we sway that much when at anchor with no stern line out. Three days, solid as a rock to the bottom. Nice to have a good anchor;

Look at that breakfast! All lovingly prepared on the BBQ, too!

Yes, I have that much confidence in the anchor that we left Boogaboo all on it's lonesome when we took off for a two hour dinky ride into Honey Harbour for something or other. I think it was ice cream;

But first, we motored down to Wanakita to find Sanja & Arijana relaxing at the beach;

Back aboard Boogaboo and playing with the chartplotter (night settings). 102.6 statute miles from home.Way cool!

An evening view looking southward and down the length of beautiful Beausoleil Bay;

The same view when the moon was overhead in the gathering night sky;

And as this evening's night sky has fully enveloped me, I leave you until next time when we finish off this part of the Georgian Bay adventure. More pictures, more videos, more stories. Good night . . .