Saturday, June 16, 2018

Sun, Storms, Gale Force Winds and Fishing

We departed Bone Island on Tuesday June 12th and headed northward on the “Small Craft Channel” of Georgian Bay. Other than one work boat and one cottage boat, we had the route to ourselves, which made for a very relaxing run under brilliant sunshine with a cloudless sky and next to no wind. We went about 25 nautical miles in about 3 1/2 hours, ending up in Echo Bay, a little north of Frying Pan Island in the Sans Souci area, made famous by Henry’s Fish n Chips. The route is spectacular, with endless granite rock islands and shoals with lovely wind swept Jack Pines and eye popping summer homes.

After anchoring in Echo Bay, we had to deal with the usual cockpit full of bugs who joined us along our route. This usually means spraying them to a watery grave with our hose and wash down pump. This is never completely successful and there are usually many bugs still hanging around hours later. However today, something unusual happened. We were swarmed by an enormous number of dragon flies who eat smaller insects for their diet. They had a field day eating the left over bugs handing around Tug’n. It was an unexpected treat. We spent a very relaxing afternoon and evening enjoying Echo Bay all to ourselves.

 Four pics of beautiful Echo Bay

Wednesday June 13th was initially grey and drizzly with some sun forecast, but more ominously, gale force winds (35 knots gusting to 50) were predicted for this coming evening and overnight. We decided to head for Rose Island (13 nautical miles) to tie up at my cousin Jane and her husband Larry’s cottage. They have a lovely cottage with two large docks in an extremely well protected cove.They generously encourage us to tie up there, whether they are home or not and it made for a very relaxing stay while Georgian Bay endured these high winds and over 2 meter waves. We stayed two days at Rose Island waiting out the high winds, one serious thunderstorm and several very heavy downpours. Bright yellow pollen had been overing Tug’n daily and the rain did a better job of cleaning up Tug’n than we’d been able to do. Thursday brought much more sunshine, but temperatures were cool as the west wind came across 55 to 60 degree F water from Georgian Bay. 

A hike on Rose Island

Wooden boat wreck in cove on Rose Island

On Friday June 15th, we departed early, initially for Killbear Marina to top up our dinghy fuel tank and buy a few supplies before heading up Georgian Bay to the Bad River. The 52 nautical mile trip was under clear skies and mostly dead calm water, making for a very relaxing ride. Fran had the slow cooker going for much of the day, making up a batch of chilli while we were underway, filling our cabin with wonderful smells.

The Bad River, in the extreme north east corner of Georgian Bay is part of the French River delta. It would be hard to find a better example of how glaciers carved the rocky shores of Georgian Bay. It’s beauty is stunning and it also happens to be famous for pickerel (Walleye) fishing. Unfortunately, we forgot to buy worms while at Killbear Marina, so we’ll have to make do with our lures. There were no other cruisers here when we arrived, but three tin boats, each with two fishermen came into the area shortly after we’d anchored. After a happy hour refreshment we launched our dinghy and went out for an hour of fishing. We only got one strike, but the sun shone and it was very relaxing to be out here fishing once again.

Beautiful Bad River

After an extremely peaceful night at anchor, following breakfast, we headed out for more fishing on Saturday morning. We had a couple of strikes, one small bass and finally, one enormous Northern Pike. It took us a good 10 minutes to tire him out and then when we tried to net this monster, we could not even get half of him into our net. Finally, we got the hook out with the help of a gaff hook to hold him steady. We are pretty sure this is the largest Northern Pike we’ve ever hooked. After that excitement, we retired to Tug’n for a mid morning coffee along with a piece of Fran’s apple cinnamon coffee cake, warmed up with a good serving of whipped cream on top. Mmmmmmm.

I'm reminded every time we are in the Bad River area that my maternal grandfather spent a season logging the French River area in the early 1900's. We had a newspaper clipping with a photo of him sitting around a campfire with some First Nations loggers with a caption telling the reader they were eating porcupine. Maybe they hadn't heard how good the pickerel fishing was here??

Stay tuned for more fish tales!

Update: Three hours later - check this out
25 1/2" and 6 pounds. Ye haw. We are back in the game

Tuesday, June 12, 2018


After a busy spring, we finally got Tug’n loaded up, launched on June 4th and all equipment checked out by June 10th. We officially left the dock on Monday June 11th for our summer 2018 cruising. 

This summer’s plans are mostly unplanned. We’ll be on Georgian Bay between our home port in Penetanguishene and the Bad River (North East corner of Georgian Bay) until mid July. Then we return home for the wedding of our niece. After that, we’ll head up to the North Channel, between Manitoulin Island and the north shore of Lake Huron and cruise that area until early September.

Every spring, preparing the boat involves some usual chores, such as connecting batteries, checking / changing engine impellers, new fuel filters (I do the oil change and oil filter change in the fall), fill the water tank and start up the plumbing systems, as well as turning on and checking every piece of equipment (generator, heater/AC units, propane stove/cooktop, fridge, freezer, electronics etc. One also has to re-learn how to use the electronics and the older one gets, the more re-learning is involved. 

Launch produced some anxiety, as last fall, I’d removed our rudder & rudder seal, propeller, shaft, shaft seal and shaft coupler. The shaft, coupler and propeller were all checked for trueness and a new shaft seal and rudder seal were installed when it was all re-assembled. My anxiety came from overthinking the possibility water leaks from the rudder seal or shaft seal, but to my great relief, all was fine.

Some of these tasks take a few moments and others turn into a project. Our generator impeller change turned into a project as numerous vanes from the old impeller had broken off an each one had to be retrieved from the heat exchanger, otherwise the water flow would be impeded, possibly resulting in overheating. Upon firing up our electronics, several functions were not working and after several hours of trying to resolve the issues I called the Furuno technical help number for assistance. After about an hour on the phone with the technician, we discovered a cable from my chart plotter to the NMEA2000 backbone was loose causing selected data to not be present for other instruments to “see”. Alas, it was an embarrassing moment. 

Monday involved a short cruise out to a local favourite anchorage at the north end of Bone Island, called Hockey Stick. The first night anchoring out allows us to ensure the anchoring systems all operate properly and that the house bank of batteries handles the load of all our 12 volt systems satisfactorily. Thankfully, we were blessed with wonderful weather, calm water and all systems worked perfectly. There were very few boats about and we enjoyed a lovely afternoon and overnight in Hockey Stick. 

Blog postings won’t be very plentiful this summer. For the next 10 days or so we plan on making our way north to the Bad River and with a fair amount of luck, we may catch some pickerel (Walleye) that this area is/was famous for.

Best wishes to all. Fair winds and calm seas.

Stephen & Fran