Rain in Honey Harbour (which is Canadian for “Honey Harbor”) today means knocking out a catch-up post. And watching the British Open. Wooo! That’s right, we’ve masterfully reached the perfect location to stage for the first Trent-Severn lock on Sunday and for scooping up Brad and Kate on Monday. Wooo! Wooo!
Chattanooga’s own Roger Alan Wade wisely noted that “[i]f you’re gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough.” We’re definitely not tough, and it seems like only last post we were mocking sailors for foolishly venturing out in fog. In fact, this dude being towed across our path may or may not have lost his way.
But those sailors didn’t need to get to Britt. We did. So last Sunday we took off from Killarney. In the fog.
We did make the judicious decision to go straight across open water rather than attempt the Collins inlet, however, which means we missed miles of scenic beauty that would’ve been obscured by fog anyway and missed hitting a rock that would’ve derailed the entire summer plan. Fortunately the sun was out as we approached the Byng Inlet lighthouse, which allowed us to avoid running over a quite handsome loon who wandered a bit far from shore.
We rather assumed Byng Inlet was named for Marie Moreton, aka Lady Byng of Vimy, who in turn was named after the trophy given each year to the most gentlemanly NHL player. Or maybe the trophy was named for her. Either way we were incorrect. But the scenery is awesome.
In actuality, Byng Inlet was named for British Admiral John Byng, who in 1757 was executed by firing squad for cowardice. Probably refused to go out in fog or something. It’s unclear what relationship Ol’ Chickenshit had with these parts, but the locals don’t seem to care.
The area once was home to both lumber mills and natives. With respect to the former, the mills are closed and the ghost town of Byng Inlet now is abandoned. With respect to the latter, the local Magnetawan First Nation has exactly 99 members.*
The “town” across the inlet from the lumber mill ruins is Britt. Britt is famous as the place we first met Rick and Mary and Maddie Sue and Exhale. Which now is Tumbleweed. We distinctly recall trudging with Second Wave, Exhale, Sea Jamm, and Gypsy up to the only nearby restaurant. Which now is closed. According to the crusty guy in the store below what used to be that restaurant, there’s a reason it hasn’t opened since the Covid pandemic: “Kids these days don’t want to work, because their Boomer parents just give them everything.” Regardless of the reason, we ate our meals on the boat.**
Then off to Parry Sound, winding through the island cottages. Their fresh water source is readily apparent, but we have questions about sewage and electricity, which inexplicably is called “hydro” up here even though only 59.3% of the country’s production actually involves water-driven turbines. They’re damn scenic, however, and presumably relatively crime-free.
Parry Sound’s favorite son is Bobby Orr, one of hockey’s all-time greats. In his illustrious sixteen-year professional career Orr won a bunch of awards, but none of them were the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy so he’s kind of worthless from the perspective of relevance to this post.
Cool little town, dominated by the CPR trestle bridge.
The bridge was completed in 1908, and at 517 meters supposedly is one of the longest railroad bridges in Canada. All we personally can confirm is that the Trestle Brewing Company has most excellent pretzels and salads but slow service. Also, we’ll be skipping the Poutine Feast. Not fans.
Ever since moving aboard Misty Pearl in 2018, we’ve been keeping an eye out for boats with Pearl in the name. Pearl Mist is the biggest one yet. We stressed about the narrow approach to Parry Sound and yet somehow she was able to shoehorn in. But as we’ve admitted multiple times, we’re weenies.
Once again, Dana timed the bridge perfectly on our departure. Which is a good thing, because this sucker only opens once every two hours.
The exit from Parry Sound took us by Isabella Island, which gave its name to the Isabella Island Great Loop Dinghy Association. As far as we know, Mini Pearl remains the only vessel to earn the celebratory but non-existent burgee.
The south path to Honey Harbour is much sketchier than what we and Pearl Mist faced coming from the north. It’s particularly sketchy when sailboaters ignore their radio and charge straight into the narrowest spot. The dude at the wheel grinned like a clueless idiot when we passed about five feet apart. Probably American. Dana ignored him. Doug glared.
Yup, we’ve started seeing boats again. And yup, sailboaters—even nice polite sailboaters like these who scooched over at the first opportunity to let us pass—do nothing but gum up the works.
More awesome islands and cottages.
Of course, there’s always that one cottage that ruins the neighborhood.
Canadian beaches never stop surprising us.
Then past Honey Harbour and into South Bay, tucked away at the back of a passage so scenic and interesting that we forgot to take a single picture.
Most of the time when we show up someplace on a Monday, the restaurants are closed on Mondays. If we arrive on a Tuesday, however, the restaurants are closed on Tuesday. On Wednesday, we pulled in to South Bay Cove, ready to enjoy the highly-rated Maple Canadian Pub. Closed on Wednesdays. WTF? So we scootered through the annoying woodland flies four miles to Honey Harbour and the next closest place to eat.
Because we had no other option, after a very slow but delicious dinner we scootered back and started season two of The Bear. Tomorrow off to Midland.
Except wait! Hot news! Moments before pressing the “publish” button, we changed our minds. Tomorrow now looks to be a horrible day to travel, even though Midland is only ten miles away. The nice folks at South Bay said we could stay until Saturday, so as to not die on Friday. So that was the new plan.
The new plan, however, became the old new plan when we decided to just go today and stay in Midland for three days. All of the weather apps said the bad stuff today wouldn’t hit until 5. There’s sort of almost blue sky. Quick, toss off the lines and let’s get out of here quickly. Back through Honey Harbour, this time with a photo to prove it.
Out through the narrow channel as fast as possible at 9 km/h.
As we reached the only open stretch of water, Dana look at the weather predictions. No rain for the next five hours. Light wind. No worries. Literally two minutes later we saw a fast approaching cloud that looked remarkably like it was dumping water. Dana looked at the weather predictions. Hmmm.
Given the exchange rate, 100 km/h is only 62 mph American, but still. And “Hail up to toonie size” is hilarious yet terrifying at the same time. In any language, “Risk of a tornado” isn’t a good thing. Fortunately the rain that hit us wasn’t too bad, the hail was smaller than toonie size, and there wasn’t a tornado.
Even more fortunately, it all was gone by the time we rounded the corner and put Bay Port Yachting Centre (which is Canadian for “Bay Port Yachting Center”) in our sights.
Two things of note along the waterfront as we approached the marina. First, there’s Pearl Mist again.
Per the company website, she’s “exquisitely appointed” and “offers the excitement and romance of the sea in an intimate and personalized setting.” Really? Romance of the “sea?” Clearly Pearl Mist and Ocean Navigator use the same shameless marketing fraudster.
Second, there’s the largest mural we’ve seen, and we’ve seen a bunch of them.***
Hopefully we’ll find more to report on Midland, since we’re here until Sunday.
*Apparently the whole “manifest destiny” gambit was too clever for Canada. Instead of rounding up the indigenous peoples and herding them into godless hellholes like Oklahoma and North Dakota, Canada and her natives reached relatively civilized agreements, thereby depriving generations of Canadian boys the formative experience of politically incorrect “Cowboys and Indians” cosplay.
**In fairness to the supposedly lazy kids of Britt, there is in fact one place along the lane with food. But we weren’t in the mood for “creative sundaes,” and “Rock Bottom” by definition sounds like it couldn’t get any worse.
***Based on the mural it seems quite possible that Canadian boys grew up playing “Preachers and Indians,” which would explain a lot.