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

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