Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Crawfish Breakfast, Beavers on the Grid and a 3 Hour Swim

Woke up this morning by a bright moon shining through the open hatch above the berth. It was about 0400 and soon the sky started to get light. I grabbed the camera and opened the salon door and started the coffee. It took only a few minutes until I heard the Loon call, this time with a funny, laughing cackle different from the evening mournful call. There were two adult Loons and one half grown chick making their way along the shore of the island directly in front of where we were anchored. The two adults were diving and looking for food and bringing it to the young Loon to eat. I snapped several pictures at maximum zoom and caught an image of what they were eating and feeding the youngster. Apparently one of the things on a Loon's diet is crawfish. The picture clearly shows a crawfish in the beak of the adult and he/she is offering it to the youth.

The coffee was soon rendered from the drip funnel and found its way into my cup and down the hatch. The First Mate soon arose from the Captain's Quarters and sat with both hands wrapped around her coffee cup watching the Loon family forage along the bank beside Viridian. Across the narrow lake a flock of geese cruised southward no doubt looking for food too.

A bright, sunny day rolled up and we got ready to scrub the scum line from around Viridian's hull at the water line. This would require getting into the water and physically scrubbing the junk by hand. A life jacket was modified to create a floating chair to hold the washer in an upright sitting position while holding onto dock lines that strung from stem to stern along the outside of the hull. A scuba mask and snorkel was used to get under the hull and to places far below the waterline. This job took about 3-4 hours to complete. The port side was done first since that was where the sun was shining. After lunch the starboard side was done once the sun moved to that side. The water was cool and it took a while to get warmed back up by sitting in a deck chair directly in the sun. However, it was refreshing to spend that time in such clear, clean water and the wash job made Viridian look like a new boat. This is not a one man job the way we did it. Without someone handing me the things needed to clean the hull and helping with all the positioning gymnastics required to pull this job off it would be very difficult at best if not dangerous.

By the time we finished it was about 1400 so we pulled up the hook and headed for the 15 mile cruise to Sportsman's Inn and Marina in Killarney Ontario. Our cruising buddies left about mid morning so we had the whole lake to ourselves for the day. It was hard to leave such a beautiful place but the cruise down the fjord after leaving Mill Lake was just spectacular. The deep, narrow channel was contained by granite walls on both sides, beautiful forest and interesting formations around every bend. We saw only a couple of boats along the fjord and when it opened up into the Georgian Bay we were still alone as we cruised 4 miles at 6 kts over the smooth, deep viridian water that lead to the canal across the bend that took us to our marina.

At about 1630 we met up with the crew of Miss Norma, Gypsy Spirit and Dash Away, who had been docked since lunch, and walked over to Herbert's Fish & Chips restaurant. Good times with good friends as we make our way past the 46th north latitude on the ragged edge of the northern frontier.

That's the news and here's some views:

We are here

Today's passage from Mill Lake anchorage to Sportsman's Inn and Marina in Killarney Ontario

Local Loon Family Feeding

Crawfish for breakfast

Early Morning Photos on Mill Lake, Ontario

Time for a hull cleaning

Heading for Killarney

Beaver goes digital in the 21 century

George and Josephine

Monday, July 30, 2018

Heading for Open Waters and Wilderness Anchorage

30 July

Mill Lake Anchorage

The wind finally died down to a level that made it safe to go out on the open waters of the Georgian Bay in northern Lake Huron. A 0600 departure followed launching the dinghy to row over to the bank and untie the two stern lines that were attached to Viridian and Dash Away. The lines were stowed in their proper place, Jazzy the dinghy was hoisted into her place and the bikes were lashed to the stern rail tightly to keep them from moving in rolling seas.

Viridian followed Dash Away out of Alexander Passage and into the channel that lead to Hang Dog canal, a channel marked with red and green buoys that skirted the northeastern shore of Georgian Bay. The water was a little rough starting out but eventually smoothed out as we made our way northwest past our bailout stop at Wrights Marina where a half dozen Loopers had been waiting for several days watching for a weather window to open. Our two boat flotilla was soon increased to four boats as Gypsy Spirit and Compass Rose fell in behind coming from Wright's marina.

The 51 mile passage took us through 37 miles of open water that looked like an ocean. We were 5 miles off the northern shore and there was nothing but horizon and viridian waters to the south. The Lake was about 120 feet deep where we were cruising and was perfectly clear. The wake looked turquoise and white behind the boat as the sun hi-lighted it.

We turned to starboard and entered the Collins Inlet, a fantastic channel that goes through granite mountains, that rise above the water on both sides, thick with pines and native evergreens above sheer rock cliffs that dive deep into the water like a wall.

Our anchorage was in Mill Lake, a narrow finger of islands and rock cliffs that is about 2.5 miles long running south from Collins Inlet and channel. Viridian settled on the lee side of a small island that blocked the south wind that had kicked up again. The rest of the group dropped their hooks in a larger bay behind two islands that offered some protections from wind.

The grill was fired up as soon as the anchor dug in and burgers were cooked with some grilled pineapple slices. The hammock was hung in the fly bridge where the cool breeze coming from the island in front of us felt like air conditioning. I can't describe how absolutely wonderful the air and water feels in this part of the country. Coming from Alabama, we have never been this comfortable outside in the month of July in our lives. Another bonus is that it doesn't get good and dark until about 10 PM, so we have lots of light to explore the area in the dinghy.

After nap upstairs in the fly bridge, we launched the dinghy and putted across the lake to the rock cliffs and mirror pools where we saw lily pads and reeds in the shallow areas. A beaver lodge marked the address of the local beaver family and it looked like a bunker because the beaver used mud to pack with the sticks making a very secure dwelling. Saplings could be seen cut off 10 feet in the air by beavers working in the winter when the snow pack is covering the area. As the sun sank lower in west it highlighted the pink granite cliff walls that reflected in the still water ahead of our dinghy. We were anchored out of sight of the rest of the Looper boats so we swung by the bay where they were and visited by hanging onto their boats. The sky was slowly turning dark but a thunderhead to the north still caught the full intensity of the setting sun and offered us a soft glow as we made our way back to Viridian leaving a V shaped wake that eventually spread to both sides of Mill Lake then disappeared with the day as the Loons call made if official.

That's the news and here's the views:

We are here

Dash Away making the turn

Viridian anchored in Mill Lake, Ontario

Going Exploring