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Thursday, August 21, 2014

DREAM BOAT FOR FISHING AND FUN

So if you were looking for a high quality built boat for fishing, fun and a bit of cruising what would it be? First of all lets qualify the requirements a bit.

It has to sleep at least two, have offshore range of 400 miles, full galley facilities, all the bells and whistles for fishing, under $800k new, outboards for speed and to save interior space, generator, air and heat, be highly capable in rough weather and fast to around 50 mph or more. Boats that come to mind for me are the Intrepid 390 Sport, See Vee 430, Boston Whaler 345 Conquest, Grady-White Express 370, Edgewater 335 Express, Contender 40 Express, Pursuit Sport Coupe 365. All are excellent boats and will get you out in back through sheer hell, safely and as comfortably as possible. All these boats can take more than you or mother nature can give them. These boats could bring you back begging to kiss dry land. The Edgewater and Whaler are unsinkable. All these boats are a great boat for a cruising couple or weekend getaway boat and they will fish hard core. The semi custom See Vee is any fisherman's dream and to own one is to die and go to heaven. The Contender’s and Intrepid’s seem to own the sport fishing market on Caribbean islands. I’ve no doubt left some out so I apologize for that.

So what do these boats have in common? They are selling like hot cakes. Their production is expanding and not contracting like many boat builders. Why – because they are quality built boats that will do the job and take an absolute s**t kicking and bring you back safely to the dock. They have all the comforts of home and they hold their value much better than most boats. It seems there are lots of folks that appreciate quality and will pay for it. Something a lot of manufactures could learn about as short cuts on production quality seem to be more the norm than the exception these days.

Posted by at 3:28 PM
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MARINAS ARE RUNNING THREE WEEKS AHEAD

We’ve been talking to few marina owners and service staff and word on the street is boaters are behaving much as they would later in the season. So were just about to enter the last week of August and in terms of repairs and fuelling it’s feeling more like the middle of September. Folks seem to think it’s a product of weather (coldest summer since 1976) and fuel prices. Way more boats staying on the docks this summer and less people visiting the boat. Looking out on the Bay not a single boat on the horizon except one lonely guy fishing.

I stayed on the boat the other night because I was travelling through the area anyways, and I was shocked that on a beautiful sunny Tuesday with lite winds, there was not one other single boat owner staying over that night ... on a pier that has more than 200 boats on both sides (50’ footers on one side and 40’ footers on the other). Even during the afternoon there was only 3 vehicles on the pier. The solitude is lovely but I got to tell you it’s kind of eerie, because what’s going through your head is, where are all the people? Is there something I don’t know about – like a comet streaking towards earth? It was the same situation on other docks - very few people there, and I pretty much had the marina all to myself once evening rolled in.

I drove to another marina in Pentanguishene and same thing, almost no one at the marina. Problem with the weather is there hasn’t been any long stretches of hot dry air. You get one good day surrounded on either side by two bad days. That is likely what happened in this case because the Monday it rained, Tuesday was beautiful and Wednesday it rained. Fuel is expensive so many boaters are not going out anyhow ... and a one day visit in good weather is not worth the time when they can’t get a window of three or four good days. I’m thinking it’s not a good year to be in the marina business.

Looks like finally a there’s a decent window the last week of August so we’re going out and I’m guessing we’ll be all alone most nights at anchorages between Midland and Parry Sound.

Posted by at 2:33 PM
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Friday, August 15, 2014

SHOULD HAVE KNOWN

When Environment Canada announced this spring we would be having a warmer than normal dry summer, I guess by now we should have known to expect the opposite. The weather lately has been terrible for boat businesses ... and not much fun for those wanting to boat or planning to cruise. The leaves have been changing colour since early August. The majority of mornings we wake up to single digit temperatures and steam coming out of the the water as bodies of water are already loosing their heat.

It really doesn’t seem fair does it, considering the winter we just went through? Many boats, due to weather and high fuel prices, have not been out of the marina this season. Typical Midland dock talk would be “normally by this time of year, we would have headed north once our twice at least as far as Parry Sound ... but this year we don’t even know if we’ll get a cruise up to Parry Sound. Come on Mother Nature, get with the program and bring us some hot dry air! I’m hoping Environment Canada announces a long cold winter soon, so I can relax knowing it will be a short mild winter coming.

Posted by at 9:07 AM
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Thursday, August 07, 2014

WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND – AGAIN

So with all the panic about water levels the last few years, it seems like things are pretty much on track again. The water levels are 15 inches or more higher now than they were last year at this time. Water levels are currently 18 inches above chart datum in Georgian Bay and Lake Superior continues to spill water into Huron/Georgian Bay well above chart datum. Most feeder lakes and tributaries are above average and the trend is, water levels will rise further next year. Recorded mean levels in metres for the month of June were 176.38 and the ten year average is 176.18. We’ve seen higher water levels and we’ve seen lower ... and now we are about smack in the middle.

I for one never supported the drastic human intervention down on the St. Clair River that some were condoning (including at least one environmental organization) and I’m glad that was rejected by the “powers at be” in the US. It seems to me every time humans find a solution to natures so called problems, they engineer a half baked solution and make things worse. We humans look at problems and solutions in far too narrow of a time horizon. As living entities on the earth, we lack experience. If we were applying to mother nature for an earth custodian job, we wouldn’t make the short list for an interview. Remember the Georgian Bay floods of 85 –87? What goes around comes around.

Posted by at 8:14 AM
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Friday, August 01, 2014

TEN FUN THINGS TO DO ON GB

1/ Fathom Five National Marine Park ... more than 20 shipwrecks in this marine park. Tobermory (519) 596 2233

2/ Georgian Bay Airways ... you have to see Georgian bay from the air at least once – fly to Henry’s for Pickerel lunch. Parry Sound 1 800 786 1704

3/ Bridal Veil Falls ... hike to a beautiful cascading water fall. Kagawong (705) 368 3021


4/ Topaz Lake ... boat down Baie Fine fiord to the Pool anchorage, and hike up the mountain to Topaz Lake for a swim in crystal clear topaz coloured water. From Killarney (705) 287 2242

5/ Flower Pot Island ... glass bottom boat tour and see shipwrecks and sea stacks. Tobermory 1 800 268 3838

6/ Cup and Saucer Trail ... hike to spectacular bluff. Rockville (705) 368 0321

7/ Wingfield Basin ... boat in and check out the restored lighthouse and view from bluffs. Near Tobermory

8/ Ojibway Club ... visit this historic former resort and now private club by boat. Near Pointe Au Baril (705) 366 5085

9/ SS Keewatin ... tour this spectacular 1907 Titanic era steamship. Port McNicoll 1 855 533 9284

10/ Sportsman’s Inn ... sit on their docks and watch the circus of cruising boats go by – watch a “boat in” movie from your boat and tune the sound in on your VHF. Killarney (705) 287 9990

Bonus: Hope Island (see beach pic) ... go midweek late in the season and you can run down the beautiful sand beach buck naked and scream your head off and no one will care ... not that I’d do that but I’m sure someone will! Near Christian Island on your chart

Bonus x 2: Beacon Bay Marina track down Captain Ron (see Ron pic) at the marina ... bring some refreshments (Tequila works) and settle in for a night of yarn spinning, crazy stories and soon to be famous sayings like “it may be legal but it’s not right”

Posted by at 8:06 AM
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