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  1. #1
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    Default A Phoenix III in Georgian Bay

    This past summer I found myself with even more free time than usual, and none of my usual fellow travelers (i.e. my brother) available for any sailing trips. And worse, I didn't even have a boat of my own to use (although my mostly-completed Alaska (http://www.dhkurylko-yachtdesign.com/designs.htm) will launch this spring! No, really--it will!) But my brother was nice enough to let me load up his Phoenix III (designed by Ross Lillistone, http://www.baysidewoodenboats.com.au/) and haul it up to Canada by myself for well over a month.

    I spent the first ten days sailing Lake Nipigon (A Phoenix III on Lake Nipigon), and then drove down to my usual North Channel launching point, the municipal marina at Spanish, stopping off to admire the northern and western shores of Lake Superior, planning and plotting many return trips:



    Then it was on to the North Channel again. But my plan this time was to launch at Spanish, then keep on sailing eastward and southward, well into Georgian Bay, where I'd never sailed before. Here's a look at the general area for those not familiar with the Great Lakes:



    After a few days mucking about finishing up some writing projects and catching up on emails at the Spanish public library (the weather was cold and rainy anyway, with no incentive to set out), I finally launched late in the afternoon on a pleasant day. (Weather had been so cold and rainy in the North Channel that business was down about 30%, the marina staff told me). Again, Canadian marinas are hassle-free. Nice showers, coin-op laundry, free parking, and no one to hassle you if you were dumb enough (or broke enough) to spend a few days sleeping in your car.

    From Spanish, you don't have to go far to find nice cruising grounds and sheltered anchorages. This was all familiar to me from quite a few trips, but still enjoyable. First, you have to cut through the narrow passage at Little Detroit, almost the only gateway into the eastern North Channel:



    From Little Detroit, I sailed on into the evening, a casual beam-to-broad reach day, and ended up anchoring in a small (and very shallow) rocky cove that probably sees very little traffic except for kayakers:



    I'd only come about 7 or 8 miles, but with all summer to sail, there's no hurry. Here's a look at the day's journey:



    More to come.
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 09-03-2017 at 08:40 PM.
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    Default Re: A Phoenix III in Georgian Bay

    Spending time sailing beautiful waters or working on your new boat.... a dilemma faced by many of us. We'll forgive you this lapse as long as we see the Alaska launched by Memorial Day! Any new pictures for us to see? Don says that sheathing the outside in glass is optional, but I don't believe I've seen anyone not do it. Will you?
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

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    Default Re: A Phoenix III in Georgian Bay

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Jones View Post
    Spending time sailing beautiful waters or working on your new boat.... a dilemma faced by many of us. We'll forgive you this lapse as long as we see the Alaska launched by Memorial Day! Any new pictures for us to see? Don says that sheathing the outside in glass is optional, but I don't believe I've seen anyone not do it. Will you?
    Memorial Day, hmm... I suppose I can meet that deadline, maybe. No new pictures of the Alaska build, as I lost my boat shop a couple years ago (the friend I was renting from sold her house, and MY shop!), so I've been keeping it in my parents' garage a couple hours drive away. I bought the glass, so I suppose I'll go ahead and glass the outside.

    Tom
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    Default Re: A Phoenix III in Georgian Bay

    The next morning I came ashore to explore the rocky islands a bit:



    I had perfected my sleeping aboard routine on Lake Nipigon earlier in the summer, so I hadn't even bothered to step ashore the night before--just put out an anchor and set up an improvised boat tent. "Tent" may be too ostentatious a name for it, as it's just a 5' x 8' backpacking tarp slung on a line from the mast to the rudder head, but despite a less than perfect seal around the edges, it kept me dry through some pretty heavy rains this summer (it helps that in the Phoenix III you sleep on a platform, and not in the bilge).

    The cove I'd anchored in was--no surprise in the North Channel--filled with rocks, as you can see from this close-up:



    Rowing out to the main channel to set sail, I crossed paths (for the first of many times on this trip) with a friendly little mink, who came over to admire the boat as we set out:



    Then it was on to the rocks off the tip of Fox Island, where there's a little small boat slip I try to visit every time I'm around here:



    There was yet another mink swimming around in the rock garden off Fox Island, so I followed him for a while, dodging boulders and slipping through narrow passages. When he got tired of our game and snuck away, it was off to the Benjamin Islands, where I rowed in through another set of rocky shoals on the west side of North Benjamin Island to find a perfectly sheltered lagoon all to myself:



    Too much temptation for someone as lazy as I am, so I decided to stay put for the night. I spent the day circumnavigating North Benjamin Island on foot, enjoying lots of fresh blueberries and a nice long swim, before coming back to camp for the night.
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 09-04-2017 at 09:32 AM.
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    Default Re: A Phoenix III in Georgian Bay

    Later that night I had a few visitors. First, a beautiful schooner (or ketch?) I would have liked a closer look at:



    Then, at sunset, some geese:



    Two days, and less than twelve miles. Not exactly setting any speed records:



    Which suits me just fine. I can't sail past the Benjamins without spending some time there. All the big boats gather in the east-side anchorage between North Benjamin and South Benjamin islands, leaving me all by myself on the west side.
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 09-04-2017 at 09:40 AM.
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    Default Re: A Phoenix III in Georgian Bay

    It's so nice to see a sail and oar camp/cruising trip from somewhere other then the PNW. You could actually swim in warm water and see some sun!

    The rig on that sailing vessel could evoke heated debate here! Foremast shorter than main, so possibly a schooner. But, foremast is square rigged and main is fore and aft rigged. So, perhaps a bark of some kind?
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

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    Default Re: A Phoenix III in Georgian Bay

    Sailed a long-ish way on day 3, much of it in light winds. But by afternoon things were getting zippy out, and I was looking for an anchorage. Passed a few possible stopping points, but the wind had swung around to the north and I didn't find anything as sheltered as I wanted, so I kept at it. Finally got up near the entrance to Bay of Islands and found a secret, shallow-draft only hideout tucked behind some islands:



    I'd probably made about 20-22 miles--far enough. I snuck into a very shallow passage between islands and anchored right in the teeth of the wind, where there were no waves that could touch me:



    But that was a little too windy to stay there long, so I rowed through a "I'm not quite sure this route goes" kind of passage and out the other end:



    That little fishing boat anchor, by the way, was the replacement I came up with (at exorbitant cost) at a tackle shop along the north shore of Lake Superior when I realized I'd left my brother's anchor back in his garage. I never had a problem with it--but then, I never anchored in anything deeper than waist-deep water, either.

    Here's a close-up of the winding passage--little sneaky back routes like this one are the best part of sail & oar travel:



    Anchored in a little cove on the other side, went ashore to explore, took a long swim, and slept aboard again:



    Here's a quick shot of the "tent" interior--again, very improvised, but it kept me dry (mostly) through some very heavy rains up on Lake Nipigon earlier this summer:

    Last edited by WI-Tom; 09-04-2017 at 10:03 AM.
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    Default Re: A Phoenix III in Georgian Bay

    Those of you who know the North Channel might have noticed that my anchorage up near Bay of Islands is a bit off the standard route. In theory, there's only two ways to get from the North Channel into Georgian Bay:

    1) Sail all the way around the south end of Manitoulin Island (which no one ever does, as all of the neatest cruising grounds are north of Manitoulin, and besides, going south around would add maybe 250 miles to the trip--Manitoulin is a big ​island)

    2) Go under the swing bridge at the town of Little Current, which is located on the channel between Manitoulin Island and mainland Ontario.

    Here's a look at the map:

    Last edited by WI-Tom; 09-04-2017 at 03:09 PM.
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    Default Re: A Phoenix III in Georgian Bay

    Well, you're probably right. Whatever it was, it looked like a neat boat. Square sails are cool. Anyways...

    That night I was visited in camp by yet another mink, who came up and sat by my feet while I ate supper. I would have turned on my handheld VHF to catch a weather report--I was hoping to do a lot of miles the next day, and get close to (or into) Georgian Bay--but here's how my radio usage went this summer:

    I wasn't sure if there would be any reception up in Lake Nipigon, but nevertheless, I played it cautious and stocked up on brand-new AA batteries for my radio. I even went so far as to actually get the radio out at the Nipigon boat ramp, intending to put the batteries in. But my radio takes AAA batteries. Oh, well. Back to the "open the tent and take a look" school of weather forecasting for that leg of the trip.

    But Georgian Bay is a bit less sheltered than the North Channel, so I stopped by the hardware store in Spanish and bought a pack of 4 AAA batteries for my Georgian Bay cruise. A weather report can provide a little margin of safety, or at least a placebo effect. Just before going to bed I dug the batteries out for a weather check. But my radio takes five AAA batteries...

    Set out anyway, on a gray-sky day. Cruised up the west side of North Benjamin early-ish in the morning:



    Had a nice southwesterly--kind of the prevailing wind in good weather around here--and steeled myself for a grueling ordeal at the tiller to make some miles:



    Right about here I started to realize that not having my brother along had its advantages--no pesky crew member perched on the footrest... er, front thwart--on those long reaches, for one thing. The trim might not have been perfect (but then, when you're sailing alone, there's no one to mention that anyway) but I spent many many hours on this trip sitting on a thick firm boat cushion on the keelson right in front of the stern seat, with another cushion behind me for a back rest, and the tiller over one shoulder.

    And can I say that, however much I liked the Phoenix III after sailing it with my brother a bunch, I like it even more as a solo cruising boat. Really, it's fantastic.
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 09-04-2017 at 09:53 AM.
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    Default Re: A Phoenix III in Georgian Bay

    Looking forward to the rest of the yarn Tom. I can hardly wait to see if you made it back in one piece.
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

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    Default Re: A Phoenix III in Georgian Bay

    Quote Originally Posted by AJZimm View Post
    Looking forward to the rest of the yarn Tom. I can hardly wait to see if you made it back in one piece.
    I'm hoping I made it...
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    Default Re: A Phoenix III in Georgian Bay

    V good so far. More please. And kindly explain your planning for provisions and drinking water.
    Gerard>
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    Default Re: A Phoenix III in Georgian Bay

    I hope you make it too, Tom. I want to hear more. I'd like to check out those waters for sure!

    The thing that continually jolts me about your Lake trips, Tom, is that you never have any tides or any currents as a factor. That is so completely 180 different from my own usual trips where those two things are often the most important factors of all, far more constraining than wind strength or direction. I find it fascinating. You just go ahead and anchor in knee-deep water, and it stays knee-deep all night. You tuck up into a slot in the rocks, and the waterlevel just stays where you put it. You time your sailing according to your own schedule. Bizarre! I totally got to come check that out for myself some year. I bet it will take me several days to wrap my mind around it. Maybe a couple weeks, if I plan it right.

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    Default Re: A Phoenix III in Georgian Bay

    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    The thing that continually jolts me about your Lake trips, Tom, is that you never have any tides or any currents as a factor.
    Yes, and I'm not going to complain about that. But see below--there was actually a brief moment where currents (or potential currents, anyway) were a bit of a factor in my route choice.

    And kindly explain your planning for provisions and drinking water.
    Well, "planning" might be a bit of a stretch. Water is easy--even more than tides and currents, I think that might be the biggest difference for long cruises on salt water. In these parts I've been known to just dip a bottle over the side to fill it. I usually run it through a backpacking filter, but there's no need to carry much as it's always available.

    Provisions other than water: I bring lots of books, and a little food--all stuff that can be easily prepared with a Jetboil stove (which is handy for boiling but no good at all for cooking). But this year I actually tried to bring better food (couscous, quinoa, lentils, rice, black beans), and would boil it up in the morning, leave it in a wide-mouth Thermos all day, and eat one cooked supper a day. Other than that: sweet potatoes sliced thin and eaten raw, granola bars, etc (there may have been a package of golden Oreos in there somewhere, and the essentials like Newtons). I really don't tend to eat much on these trips--kind of a habit from climbing and backpacking when food is too heavy for a lazy man to bring. After 30 days of cruising this summer, I actually brought a lot of food home.
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    Default Re: A Phoenix III in Georgian Bay

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    I really don't tend to eat much on these trips--kind of a habit from climbing and backpacking when food is too heavy for a lazy man to bring. After 30 days of cruising this summer, I actually brought a lot of food home.
    You know, that is another very big difference too. I mean yes, we sometimes have a trip in the late summer where it's too hot to eat much, nor do you miss it, but in the colder waters and especially further north, I find myself eat, eat, eating a bit at a time all day, just to keep warm on those foggy, rainforest days. It's just like ski-camping, actually, where calories = at least another jacket's worth of warmth. We do bring back food too, though, hopefully because we caught so much fresh food that we didn't have to eat the preserved stuff we brought, but also because the chance of running out of food seems like a genuine hypothermia risk.

    <sigh> And you can actually go for a swim right next to your boat too? Such marvels I must surely witness for myself some day.

    Of course, I suppose it's also entirely possible that you're just not as food-motivated as some of us. One of my dogs is like that. He's not as willing to abase himself for a biscuit, whereas the other one can be positively shameless and servile at the merest hint that a treat might perhaps be in the cards.

    I'm kinda more like dog #2 myself, I suppose I have to admit. I like trying to come up with the most gratuitous and unlikely feats of gourmet extravagance possible under primitive cooking conditions as part of the whole game. And of course, there's no greater spice than spending all day long in a little open boat earning your dinner.

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    Default Re: A Phoenix III in Georgian Bay

    That brig could be "The Playfair". Info here http://www.torontobrigantine.org/abo...he-brigantines Gerry

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    Default Re: A Phoenix III in Georgian Bay

    Quote Originally Posted by soundshippy View Post
    That brig could be "The Playfair". Info here www.torontobrigantine.org/about-us/the-brigantines Gerry
    Thanks for the link--that looks about right, I think.
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    Default Re: A Phoenix III in Georgian Bay

    So--day 4. I had elected to avoid the swing bridge at Little Current, because the east-west passage there generally has either an east or west-running current that's far faster than I can row or even sail--6 or 7 knots, I'd heard. Fine if it was running east, but I wouldn't know that until I got there. So I kept on going along the southern edge of Bay of Islands instead, knowing I'd be able to sneak under a couple of bridges and get into Georgian Bay that way. And so it was:



    This led to a dog-leg passage involving a lot of tacking in light winds, past some cliffy shores:



    Then just when I got back out to the wide open North Channel where I would have favorable winds, the winds died entirely.
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 09-04-2017 at 03:17 PM.
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    Default Re: A Phoenix III in Georgian Bay

    Here's a look at my route on day 4:



    It was early evening by the time I reached the upper (eastern) end of Baie Fine. I sailed into the narrow channel in very light airs, ghosting along standing up, passing a few boats anchored there, and found a spot just offshore of some kind of official crown land campsite, complete with open-air toilet.



    Had another long swim and slept aboard again:

    Last edited by WI-Tom; 09-04-2017 at 08:52 PM.
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    Default Re: A Phoenix III in Georgian Bay

    Got up early (sleeping aboard sure makes it easier to get an early start) and rowed up the narrow passage at the end of Baie Fine as the sun rose:



    Nothing beats an early morning row in flat water. And I wanted to check out another "must see"--the Pool. This is the end of the end of Baie Fine, a tiny cove way back at the head of the inlet. It's perhaps the most famous place in all the North Channel, an allegedly spectacular side trip. And you know what?

    Sure, it was cool. I'm glad I took the time to go twelve or thirteen miles up Baie Fine to see it all. But honestly, in a little sail and oar boat, I find sneaky little spots that are better than this widely publicized "spectacular" one all the time. Only the Pool was filled with anchored boats and canoeists sleeping ashore, and a cottage or two. And by the time I headed back (still early morning), it was filled with men firing up their outboard-powered inflatable dinghies to motor the dog (or dogs) ashore (taking the dogs ashore to pee is apparently the man's job in a cruising couple).

    After thinking about it for a while, I decided that Baie Fine was about the only spot that allowed big powerboats and keelboats to feel like they're doing what I do in my little sail and oar boat all the time--sneaking through somewhere where your boat just fits. I can understand why Baie Fine and the Pool are a big deal for those kinds of boats. But really, I enjoy the little out of the way corners I find on my own even more.

    Still early morning when I got back to camp. Packed up and spend a loooong time tacking out of Baie Fine:



    Winds were very light at first, but I was too stubborn to row (though it would have been much faster). But by the time I got to the mouth of Baie Fine ten miles later, it was on the verge of being too windy. I short-tacked out through the narrow mouth, dodging a few powerboats who clearly didn't understand where I needed to be in the channel, or why--and then I was back out in the wide open water. Big wind from the southwest, big waves.

    Still, it looked like I could reach a nice little bay on the next peninsula, a 4-mile close reach. So I sheeted in and set out--a bit scary, but I knew I wouldn't have to tack, just hold my heading until I could sail into shelter:



    I anchored in a nice sandy bay, went for a long swim (again) as a big sloop came and anchored farther out, then quickly set up the tent as a fierce but short-lived thunderstorm came through. Then, suppertime--and a look at the chart to figure out where to go from here. Almost to Georgian Bay!

    Last edited by WI-Tom; 09-04-2017 at 09:00 PM.
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    Default Re: A Phoenix III in Georgian Bay

    Here's a quick overview of my route from the first five days:



    (The last camp should read "Day 5 Camp")

    Covered about 45 miles (EDIT: nope, probably about 65 miles) through the eastern half of the North Channel, just about (but not quite) to Georgian Bay.
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 09-04-2017 at 09:02 PM.
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    Default Re: A Phoenix III in Georgian Bay

    James,

    you've just got to come out here and try freshwater, non-tidal sailing for yourself. The warm(ish) water is nice, too; I think I swam for an hour or so just about every evening. As for the gourmet approach, I'm just too damn lazy. Probably a slow metabolism, too. Even backpacking in the Rockies or Sierra Nevada I tend to eat about 1,000 calories a day mostly, and with sailing there's nowhere near as much exertion. My partners have thus all learned not to rely on me for food. It was really interesting to see the great lengths people will go to for fancy-ish food on my 2012 Grand Canyon river trip, where we had to unload, set up, and take down a huge camp kitchen every day for 16 people--and do that many dishes, too. I guess I'd rather be hungry and lazy than eat well and work hard.

    That said, I'm not at all averse to the occasional "gourmet" experience while cruising, as the later parts of the narrative will show.
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    Default Re: A Phoenix III in Georgian Bay

    Rowed down to the end of the channel and raised the sail again (wind, finally) near the lighthouse, then sailed a few miles up the coast in the early evening, looking for a sheltered spot to anchor or camp. Found it at Tarvat Bay:



    Judging by the name, I thought, there must have been some Innuit influence in the place names around here. Then I found the real reason it's called Tarvat Bay--a big vat of tar that used to be used to coat the cotton fishing nets up until the fisheries crashed in the 1960s:



    Explored around, and found a little water snake who would stretch up vertically for air every few minutes:



    I ate a gazillion handfuls of fresh blueberries (one of the major culinary benefits of Ontario sailing--if you can avoid the bears!) and then anchored out to enjoy a "gourmet" experience, courtesy of my stop in town at Killarney:



    Good stuff! Spent a miserable night being devoured by mosquitos. Finally got up in the middle of the night to row way out into the lake, but they followed me. Worst night (mosquito-wise) of the entire summer. Uggh.
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 09-04-2017 at 09:19 PM.
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    Default Re: A Phoenix III in Georgian Bay

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post

    Explored around, and found a little water snake who would stretch up vertically for air every few minutes:




    Good stuff! Spent a miserable night being devoured by mosquitos. Finally got up in the middle of the night to row way out into the lake, but they followed me. Worst night (mosquito-wise) of the entire summer. Uggh.
    TWO! 2! Dos! reasons I just crossed this area off my Bucket list! (The mozzies I knew about, though)

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    Default Re: A Phoenix III in Georgian Bay

    Quote Originally Posted by Dryfeet View Post
    TWO! 2! Dos! reasons I just crossed this area off my Bucket list! (The mozzies I knew about, though)
    Actually, the mosquitoes were only bad that one night--no bug screen on the boat tent, and too hot to be comfortable all covered up. But they don't come out until dark.

    But I guess if you're going to let a few little snakes scare you off, then there will just be more islands for me!
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    Default Re: A Phoenix III in Georgian Bay

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Actually, the mosquitoes were only bad that one night--no bug screen on the boat tent, and too hot to be comfortable all covered up. But they don't come out until dark.

    But I guess if you're going to let a few little snakes scare you off, then there will just be more islands for me!
    I'm much happier with the b'ars and the otters and 'coons.....

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    Default Re: A Phoenix III in Georgian Bay

    So, day 5. I got up early (easy to do when sleeping aboard) and started rowing around the tip of the peninsula in a flat calm. Cut through a narrow slot between the peninsula and an island just offshore (I think this little sneaky back way is called "Hole in the Wall" but I'm not really sure why I think that--I do know that Hole in the Wall is a narrow rocky sneaky passage somewhere around here):



    Then, still early morning, I started rowing up the Lansdowne Channel to Killarney, where a "shortcut" through town would put me in the wide open Georgian Bay. Hoisted the sail in very light winds and spent a half hour tacking nowhere (but impressing several big glass sloops who motored by in the opposite direction, thinking I was actually sailing). Then I gave up and resigned myself to rowing. Raised the sail a few more times, thinking I'd surely make progress this time, before I finally gave up entirely on the edge of Killarney Bay and rowed into town:



    The town straddles the main channel into Georgian Bay, with marinas, restaurants, a general store, and even a boat-in movie theater with a screen up on the hillside above the docks. I made a brief stop for a few groceries and other supplies (e.g. an ice cream cone) and to call home, then kept rowing through town, past this neat junk-rigged steel-hulled schooner:



    When I saw the name (the same as my own), I rowed up to a white-bearded gent sitting on the dock nearby, explaining that it didn't seem fair to name his boat after me unless he at least took me out on it.

    "I can't," he said. "It's my brother's boat."

    "Don't let that stop you," I told him. "This is my brother's boat!" But it didn't work. Oh, well. Back to the oars.
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 09-04-2017 at 09:09 PM.
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  28. #28
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    Default Re: A Phoenix III in Georgian Bay

    I suppose a self-portrait is in order to prove I was actually there:



    So there you go, James--gourmet action! Day 6 was about 15 miles of progress--most of which was actually rowing and not sailing at all--I'd guess 10-11 miles by oar.

    Got up early and started rowing in flat calm, with no destination in mind other than to sail off the edge of my charts and then back to the car in Spanish:



    The seventh day of my trip, and I was just barely getting into Georgian Bay at last. With no wind at all, I took the direct route, cutting straight toward the Fox Islands. Came ashore on West Fox Island, which was one of my favorite stops on the whole trip:



    Spent a long time exploring here, eating blueberries and raspberries and hanging out with a couple of kayakers. The Fox Islands are neat--high granite domes and tall white pines:



    Definitely a high point of the trip, about 7 miles east of Kilarney.
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 09-05-2017 at 01:54 PM.
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  29. #29
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    Default Re: A Phoenix III in Georgian Bay

    This is a pretty common sight throughout Georgian Bay--a thin layer of soil over granite slabs, big white pines, and lots of wind:



    One of the kayakers was happy to take a few photos of me rowing around in the still-windless day:



    A neat place, Georgian Bay. And other than those two kayakers, and two others paddling later on, I didn't see another boat (except at anchor--big boats seem to spend LOTS of time at anchor) for the rest of the trip until I got back through Killarney on my way home.
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 09-05-2017 at 02:02 PM.
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  30. #30
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    Default Re: A Phoenix III in Georgian Bay

    So here's a review of my first week--7 days sailing, 115 miles or so, and since entering Georgian Bay, 4 kayakers (two camped, two paddling), 1 powerboat briefly anchored in Tarvat Bay while the grandparents picked blueberries and two pre-teen granddaughters sulked aboard refusing to help, and three minks:



    Georgian Bay, it was starting to seem, was like a bigger, wilder version of the North Channel. Fewer people, more rocks, and an unending supply of uninhabited islands.
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 09-05-2017 at 02:26 PM.
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    Default Re: A Phoenix III in Georgian Bay

    West Fox Island was great, and there was plenty of room had I wanted to camp there, but it was still early in the day. I set out again--still under oars, with no wind at all. and, just as I was rowing past the eastern edge of the Foxes, a breeze came up.



    It kept steadily building all day as I sailed along the rocky shores, trying to stay outside the extensive shoals that seem to protect most of the Georgian Bay coast. Finally, as the wind got to a point where I started not wanting to be out anymore, I rounded a corner and sailed up into a horseshoe-shaped bay called "Horseshoe Bay" on my chart.

    I sailed in here carefully--rocks everywhere--but I was approaching a windward shore so the worst was over. Found a secluded little bay all to myself and, after a fairly long search, even found a bit of rocky slab just big enough to pitch a tent on to avoid the mosquitoes I was expecting:



    It was still only mid-afternoon, but it was getting to be full-reefing conditions out there, and with the extensive granite shoals all along the coast, I was doubtful that I'd be able to sneak in anywhere I wanted to if it got really wavy. So I camped, went for another long swim, and wandered around my island for the rest of the evening. Here's the basic route on Day 7, covering about 22 miles or so:

    Last edited by WI-Tom; 09-05-2017 at 02:12 PM.
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  32. #32
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    Default Re: A Phoenix III in Georgian Bay

    Day 8. A quick glance at my chart showed the possibility for a "short cut" through the French River Delta. ("Short cut" is in quotation marks because, like all good short cuts, it was actually longer than the standard route, with more chances of getting delightfully lost). But it looked possible to head up one of the western delta channels, then turn east along the north side of some of the delta's islands, and cut back south out through the Fort Channel. Theoretically, I'd cover about 8 or 9 miles to emerge 3 or 4 miles farther east--my kind of sailing!



    It was a good plan. And like most of the best-laid plans of mice and men...
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 09-05-2017 at 02:34 PM.
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    Default Re: A Phoenix III in Georgian Bay

    But eventually I rowed my way into a channel deep enough that, when a gentle southeast breeze started up, I decided to risk dropping the rudder and running up the delta channels. This was a fantastic side trip, sailing along on a beam reach to a broad reach, each narrow channel aligned SW-NE, perfect for the southerly-ish wind:



    It was turning out to be exactly the kind of "shortcut" I had been hoping for:

    Last edited by WI-Tom; 09-05-2017 at 02:40 PM.
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  34. #34
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    Default Re: A Phoenix III in Georgian Bay

    Eventually, each channel would lead into a dead-end backwater encrusted with lily pads, and I'd have to find a way over a rocky ridge and into the next channel. This was the kind of gunkholing you could only do in a kayak or sail-and-oar boat:



    But finally, in the late afternoon, I sailed myself into a dead end from which there was no escape--a quiet lagoon (complete with an island in the center) completely surrounded by cliffs. The entrance channel was so narrow, the ends of the boom almost scraped the rock as I sailed in:



    So, knowing it would be a looong row into the wind to get back to the mouth of the delta, I tossed an anchor overboard, cooked up a supper of red beans and rice, and settled down to relax for a while. I'd have to row out eventually, I knew--a completely sheltered anchorage like this would be swarming with mosquitoes the instant the sun dropped below the horizon.
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 09-05-2017 at 02:45 PM.
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  35. #35
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    Default Re: A Phoenix III in Georgian Bay

    It didn't quite work out that way:

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