The Georgian Bay is pretty big. If it was its own lake—instead of appended to Lake Huron like a huge goiter—it would be, well, a pretty big lake. Maybe even another Great Lake. Rather than cross in the middle and deal with wind, waves, and potentially a swarm of biting flies, most small craft travel the “small craft channel.” Duh. Misty Pearl is on the large size for winding through the islands that dot the archipelago, but we try to avoid big water whenever possible. Of course, we also try to avoid the shallow water, which requires boating a very fine line.
Dana and Karen have spent countless hours pouring over paper charts in order to map out a good route. So far, their game has been spot on. As a very small example, today there were some tricky bits weaving the dotted line through the islands/rocks around Franklin Island. No worries for Misty Pearl or Second Wave though.
The funny thing about most of these tiny islands is that someone has dragged out sufficient materials to build a house on them. In many cases, we can’t figure out why. Up here, these actually aren’t called houses, or even cabins. They’re cottages. The people who occupy them are cottagers. “Cottagers” sounds rather quaint. At the same time, cottagers are the folks blasting about on jet skis and fast boats and sailboats and other things in our way. Sometimes we don’t like them at all. Given the biblical parable about the wise man who built his house upon the rock, however, at least they have that going for them. Which is nice.
Yesterday, Dana spotted a Canada Warbler. Warbler is a fun word to say. She also was very happy when she saw a Common Tern today. As we approached Byng Inlet, however, there was a swarm of them. It was like they thought Misty Pearl was Tippi Hedren. Terns apparently aren’t so rare at all. (There’s a joke in here about the Birds singing Tern, Tern, Tern, but we lack the energy to finesse it.)
Now the bad stuff.
To this point, we’ve tried to ignore the ugliness that is the Parry 33 wildfire. Unfortunately, we now must confront it head on. News photos show flames down to the shoreline. We were 3 miles off shore and 10 miles south of Britt when we started to see smoke along the coast. Hence the Deep Purple song reference.
A large stretch of the small craft channel north of Britt is closed to boat traffic. This specifically includes a stretch that folks claim was the best of the best. Bears at the water’s edge, fewer cottages, and soaring granite cliffs. It’s hard to justify feeling sorry for ourselves when we are just passing through, but still.
51.2 nm and a bit over 7 hours after leaving Parry Sound, we rolled up to Wright’s Marina in Britt. Again with the absurdly tight docking, although this time we went in first. (We’re not sure whether it’s worse to sweat the fear of hitting another boat or the fear of another boat hitting ours.) Fortunately, Brent is a pro.
There’s exactly one gas station/restaurant/motel in the Britt metropolitan area (pop. about 25), so that’s where we went with Second Wave, Sea Jamm, Exhale, and Gypsy. Surprisingly good food, and the surly waitress turned her demeanor around nicely.
Now we just have to find the safe way out of the slip in the morning. We’ll probably let Brent back out first.