Killarney – the gateway to the North Channel and famous for its fish and chips. We anchored to the west of the channel out of the southerly wind and dinghied into the small boating community. Sitting in the sunshine we shared an adult portion of deep-fried battered lake fish and thin cut chips. Herbert’s fishery doesn’t claim to have the ‘best’ fish’n’chips in the world, just ‘World Famous Fish’n’Chips’. I’d go along with that as the chips weren’t what I’d call the best in the world (sorry!). Regardless, with bellies filled with an unhealthy dose of potatoes, fish, salt, batter and grease we settled into a peaceful night as the wind died overnight.
The favoured anchorage to Killarney is Covered Portage Cove, about 2nm west of Killarney. It’s a little far from the town for our dinghy, but we did sail into it for a look before we left the area. Stunning. Sailing with a southeasterly we travelled southwest, turned north crossing Frazer Bay before heading east for nine miles along Baie Fine. In some sections we held our breath as our keel came within one metre of the hard granite below. Good news as the water level throughout the lakes is reportedly 27 inches above datum making access to some of these out-of-the-way places possible for us. At the end of this narrow channel is a secluded anchorage known to locals as The Pool. That’s where we dropped anchor for the night.
As storm clouds threatened, the ambient temperature of 19degC was cooler than the water temperature, which was around 22degC. A swim from the boat to nearby granite slabs we laid in the sun out of the wind, then a splash and swim back aboard to dry and put on warm clothes.
Since passing under the Erie Canal’s overhanging trees, our boat has been covered by spider webs and small spiders, but today in our dinghy was a humongous spider, even by Aussie standards! It was black and about the size of my palm and made me shiver just looking at it! It would disappear every time Wayne tried to catch it. Finally though Wayne managed to get him out of the dinghy…
Near The Pool is a short forest walk to Topaz Lake within the Killarney Provincial Park. The walk to the lake took around 15 minutes and although the lake water is supposedly warm enough to swim in, the weather wasn’t warm enough for me. I took some photos instead hoping to catch a snap of a bear. Making the most of our limited time in this region we returned back to Blue Heeler and raised the anchor. After ten minutes removing large clumps of weed and mud we motored west against a 15kn sou’wester on our way to Little Current. Beyond a swing bridge which opens on the hour, is Little Current, a small town where boaters can stop for provisions, laundry, fuel and ice creams. We anchored west of town at Picnic Island while the weather forecast was for 20kn westerly winds.
Seems that summer is stuttering to a close. Wind from the northwest 15-20knots, grey skies and rain, while the weather forecast warned of ‘water spouts’ on the lakes! Inside our snug saloon the thermometer dipped to 12degC prompting the wearing of thermal tops and Dubarry sea boots.
At 9am on VHF-71, Little Current local ‘Roy’ gives weather updates and national news information for the boating community during July and August. The CBC radio signal is also strong up here so we can keep up to date on international news. Although news of declining Asian Markets and falling exchange rate is not the sort of news we like to hear.
Leaving Picnic Island to seek better shelter from forecast 20+knot northwest winds and water spouts we headed 5nm along the Waubuno Channel turned east and tucked behind Neptune Island in Bell Cove. While the wind blew around 15 knots and visibility was down to less than half a mile, we stayed on anchor, read books and kept warm.
Next day as the wind eased we motored 13nm to the Benjamin group of islands. The Benjamin’s are an impressive outcrop of pink granite with a number of small bays to anchor out of the weather. The day we were there conditions were northwest winds up to 15knots and the skies remained grey, but less threatening.
The cracks in the pink granite attract moss, plants and pools of rain – nature’s own manicured garden. A walk up a nearby hill offers wondrous views of the bay and granite islands.
A couple of yachts were anchored near us and we met local couple Kevin and Lise from their 45′ Jeanneau ‘Heimat’. They courteously invited us aboard their boat for a sundowner and a taste of German beer. Canadian’s have certainly rolled out the welcome mat for us and made us feel most welcome in their country. Thank you to all the kind people we met along the way.
By the end of this week we’d returned to the U.S. checking in with Customs at Drummond Island Yacht Haven Marina (and returning to the world of internet). The customs guy was super friendly and had us processed in no time at all. Now we are on our way to Lake Michigan as summer winds down in the Great Lakes.