Day 90, July 26, 2012 (Killarney, ON): Last we left off we were chilling out in Byng Inlet waiting for the wind to die down. Here is a parade of Grand Banks trawlers coming in to shelter and rendezvous out of the bay. Paddlers on the serene inlet are oblivious to what is going on outside in the open water.
The lily pads at our slip at St. Amant’s in Britt are pretty. Sucked into intakes they wreck havoc with raw water pumps. We learned that the hard way as I recounted in a previous post.
The wind finally abated the night before last and we left Britt on the Byng Inlet with the sparrows yesterday morning replete with local knowledge. We were warned about low water in the small craft channel through Collins Inlet. The water in lake Huron is more than four feet below pool and the east end of Collins inlet was too chancy. I know that some loopers have gone through in similar sized boats but the downside of dinging four props on rocks sucks.
Leaving Byng Inlet we left the dragon’s teeth behind not knowing the challenge ahead. As we enter Cunninghams Channel we get a picture of what lies ahead. The image captures the width, not enough for two boats to pass. Here we learn the value of Securité calls on the VHF: Securité Securité Securité, Sequel northbound in Cunninghams Channel..
On the water, best laid plans are—well, just plans. We thought we would anchor out in the Bustard Islands about half way from Britt to Killarney and the day starting out was pristine. Our forecast was for southeast winds building to 15 and chance of evening thunderstorms. This was okay for The Gun Barrel Channel in the middle of the Bustards since the anchorages are protected almost 360o, open only slightly to the north. Coming out of the nasty, rocky Cunninghams Channel, we arrived at The Gun Barrel around 11:00 and the wind had already risen, not southeasterly as predicted, but southwesterly and the clouds on the horizon looked worse. Here, we are looking at the western side of the Bustards, the lights keeping shipping away from the formidable reef that protects the anchorage. We thought of Bad River on the mainland side, but that is open to the southwest. Our remaining option was to dash the remaining 25 miles to Killarney across open water to beat the imminent inclement weather. We arrived in the Killarney Channel just as the first deluge hit. The dash across Georgian Bay was bumpy, not so much from the short period three-foot wave height but mostly from the rollers coming from almost 180o astern as we sped northwest. All of this seems to result from the vast variations in the bay’s depth. Whatever, the only way to get across was to push the power to 80 percent and watch for the biggies that could broach us.
The rain came in windy squalls until midday today but that didn’t hold us back. We walked a marked trail to the top of Mount East overlooking Red Rock Point Lighthouse guarding the north side of the entrance to Killarney Channel—about a moderately difficult two-mile scramble over rocks and through thickets where the mosquitoes took charge. Below Edie swats mossies as we summit Mount East to overlook the Killarney Channel. We accepted a ride back to town courtesy of a family visiting from Sudbury, an hour and a half car ride away.
Lunch at Herbert’s followed—a local institution for fresh caught whitefish and chips. The setting was more casual than Henry’s on Frying Pan Island but the fish compared favorably. Moreover, Herbert’s sells fresh fish and vacuum-sealed smoked fish.