HARPER GOVERNMENT FREEZES RECREATIONAL LOCKAGE FEES FOR THREE YEARS
Parks Canada to work with stakeholders to identify long term sustainability solutions for the historic canals
OTTAWA, May 14, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Peter Kent, Canada's Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, today announced that recreational lockage fees along Canada's historic canals will remain frozen for the next three years at 2008 levels.
"Since the beginning of our consultation process on canal fees, we have been committed to listening and acting in the best interests of the residents who live, work and visit our canals," said Minister Kent. "We recognize the importance of canals to Canada's heritage, the tourism industry and the thousands of people who use them each year. That is why following consultations with Government Members of Caucus who live along the canals, I am pleased to announce that Parks Canada will freeze lockage fees for three years."
"During this time, Parks Canada and I will work with local Members of Parliament, community leaders and the tourism industry to develop and implement an improved operating model to ensure the long term financial sustainability of the canals operations. These long term solutions will need to address all aspects of the canals operations."
As part of the long-term financial sustainability of the canals operations, Parks Canada is already considering new visitor opportunities that will benefit a broad range of canals users, and create new sources of revenue, all while maintaining support for our tourism operators and industry.
SOURCE: Parks Canada
For further information:
Office of the Minister of the Environment 819-997-1441
Media Relations Parks Canada 819-953-8371 www.twitter.com/parkscanada
LITTLE McCOY ISLAND NATURE SANCTUARY
Little McCoy Island now has permanent protection thanks to the Georgian Bay Land Trust. The 35 acre island lies between West Carling and Pointe au Baril.
The island is part of the Mink and McCoy 12 kilometer strand of islands. The Mink and McCoy island group collectively consist of more than 70 islands.
Little McCoy is a transit point for birds migrating north and south along the Georgian Bay shore. It's also home to many reptile species including two endangered species, the Eastern Foxsnake and Blandings Turtle.The island includes coastal wetlands with interior bog, exposed rock and sheltered pockets of vegetation. It is an ideal home for some species at risk including the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake. Little McCoy is a popular remote hiking destination for those looking to experience Georgian Bay in it's natural state.
The acquisition and protection of the island was made possible through the McCoy family, generous Pointe au Baril community donations, the Georgian Bay Land Trust and the Nature Conservancy of Canada ... all partnering together. Many Georgian Bay islands support unique and fragile ecosystems' that with great difficulty developed over thousands of years. Because they are relatively small, lack the diversity of mainland forest tracts and are subject to extreme harsh weather conditions, many of these islands are deserving of protection as they are unique and beautiful environments unlike any other in the world. Recent changes in tax treatment between Canadian and US land trust donations have enabled some owners to donate and preserve forever, some very special Georgian Bay properties that have been in family ownership for many generations.
GEORGIAN BAY YACHT SALES NEW TO THE BAY
Georgian Bay Yacht Sales attends Toronto International Boat Show
Georgian Bay Yacht Sales was launched in August of 2012. The company also includes Toronto Yacht Sales and Kingston Yacht sales that were previously established. Their first business Toronto Yacht sales opened five years ago in downtown Toronto in the Outer Harbour Marina. They chose Georgian Bay for their new location to ensure they are servicing all the large boating centres in Ontario. "It made sense to locate our services on Georgian Bay to ensure we are reaching as many Ontario boaters as possible. Now with all three locations active, we can be sure to connect clients and marketing efforts across the province" states partner Andrian Philpot.
Georgian Bay Yacht Sales are brokers for both power and sailboats. With so many boaters making the transition either way, they wanted to be sure to cover both category markets. Their focus is local representation with national exposure. Georgian Bay Yacht Sales and their companion companies focus heavily on internet marketing and the resulting high placement of their sites for web search results. They are seeing sales up in both sail and power categories and in general their client base is on the rise as their sales have increased exponentially.
Georgian Bay Yacht Sales suggests that anyone buying or selling a used boat should be using a Broker to ensure the buyer or seller is legally protected, boat properly title searched, proper evaluation of price target, scheduling surveys and sea trials, and in some cases cross border arrangements. Last but not least is their in depth marketing knowledge of boats. Should anything unexpected happen ... the brokers job is to get the problem solved to the satisfaction of all parties. Georgian Bay Yacht Sales has already helped clients purchase or sell hundreds of boats here in Canada.
Looking ahead, Georgian Bay Yacht Sales priorities are to ensure that boaters in the Georgian Bay region recognize their brand name and come to the understanding that Georgian Bay Yacht Sales can offer national market catchment for buying or selling boats through their resources via three different companion companies. Their website is www.GeorgianBayYachtSales.com and telephone # is (613) 985 3600
BGB HOT SAUCE ... WE'RE KIDDING RIGHT?
Nope we're not kidding. When we came back from Geiger Key with a bottle of their house brand hot sauce, we got thinking ... why shouldn't we have our own brand of Hot Sauce? We deserve at least that, considering how hard we work don't we? After all we go through enough hot sauce that we should own shares in a hot sauce company somewhere. We were going to brand our own Tequila, just like Carlos Santana ... but that is a much more expensive proposition for down the road. So HOT SAUCE it is ... and we wouldn't have our name on anything but the best. Pretty hot stuff too, at an 8 out of 10 heat ranking as judged by a panel of experts ... but oh so flavourful with a touch of lime, and not so insanely hot that it burns the skin off your mouth.
Introducing Boating Georgian Bay's Habanero Lime Mayday Emergency hot sauce. Yeah I know what your thinking ... these guys have too much time on their hands AND what does this have to do with boating on Georgian Bay. Answer is we don't have that much time on our hands, we are always busy and we all BBQ on the boat and need a good hot sauce for everything we cook. Nice to be in a Georgian Bay anchorage cooking steaks or shrimp on the barbie and pull out a hot sauce with the Boating Georgian Bay label don't you think? Not convinced ... just take our word for it - this sauce is “supremo” if your a hot sauce lover.
Where can you get it? Well you can't really get it directly at this time. It's kind of like our business card on a bottle. Some people hand out business cards, and some hand out hot sauce right? We will pass it around comp at boat rendezvous and boat events we attend, give it to our friends on the dock, pass some around at anchorages in return for a beer, give it to our valued site advertising sponsors when we run into them, maybe leave some at our favourite restaurants, sell it for $5 a bottle at the boat shows to Joe Public when we have a booth set up and generally distribute it unashamedly (is that a word?) to draw attention to the Boating Georgian Bay brand.
If you are a real hot sauce fiend and can't wait to run across some by accident, drop us a line and we can tell you how to get some. We might even try and find a place in Midland that will stock it so we have a fixed location where you can pick some up. Stay tuned on that one.
ONTARIO MNR ANNOUNCECS FIVE-YEAR COMMERCIAL FISHING AGREEMENT
The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources announced a five-year commercial fishing agreement with Saugeen Ojibway Nation which permits native commercial fishermen to set their nets in west/south- west Georgian Bay year round.
"Under the previous agreement, SON had agreed not to fish in the inner waters of Owen Sound and Colpoys Bay year-round and the outer bays during peak times for recreational angling and boating,” said MNR spokesperson Jessica Spindler... “Under the new agreement Saugeen Ojibway Nation will have greater access to these waters and will fish year round,” added Spindler. This change is effective April 26, 2013 and will continue to the agreement's end on Feb. 25, 2018.
New agreement copies are available by calling the MNR Upper Great Lakes Management Unit at 519-371-0420.
HERITAGE CANADA LIGHTHOUSE CAMPAIGN
Last year over 500 Lighthouses were declared surplus by the Canadian Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans. 348 were eventually stayed from execution by nomination for heritage designation. Now they need money from private support groups to repair and maintain them if they are to be saved. The Federal government does not seem to appreciate the value of these historic structures as part of Canada's maritime history. Lighthouses are beautiful unique structures ... and they have more stories to tell that most historic buildings. The sheer isolation of these structures makes them unique and wherever I have visited remote island lighthouses I always felt like I was on sacred grounds with a foreboding haunted feeling. There were good times living the life of a lighthouse keeper ... but Georgian Bay lighthouse keepers saw plenty of foundering ships and had their own trials and tribulations in manning the lighthouses in treacherous conditions getting pounded by weather and preserving their sanity in some very lonely remote situations (see earlier What's New article Alone In the Night - Book Review).
Heritage Canada Foundation is trying to raise enough funds to save some of these lighthouses from being torn down. As a starting point they have snail mailed a request to all those that participated in the save the lighthouses petition. Donations are 100% TAX DEDUCTIBLE. All money collected will go towards preserving Canadian Lighthouses. Visit their web site for details www.heritagecanada.org
LAKE HURON & GEORGIAN BAY OFF ALL TIME LOWS
The US Army Corps of Engineers have indicated that lake levels are up ever so slightly from the all time mean low February average recorded in 1926. Levels are up a little over 1/2 foot and things may improve further with an expected average spring run off. Lack of early winter season snow translates to frost in the ground ... and that means as snow melts down, more might find it's way to the lakes rather than most seeping into the ground to the water table. Even with the current water levels getting better than the record lows, folks could be shocked by the levels if we get another hot dry summer as predicted by Environment Canada. There will be lots of dredging going on this season to keep small craft routes open, however much of Georgian Bay is rock which will limit options for marine navigation in some areas.
BRUNSWICK WILL STOP MANUFACTURING AT MERRITT ISLAND
Brunswick Corporation has announced it will consolidate boat production for cost savings to it's Palm Coast Florida facility. The Sykes Creek facility near Merritt Island that produces Sea Ray and Meridian yachts from 51 – 61 feet will cease production at that plant. The purpose of the change was to lower production costs and production times. Brunswick claims they will still have capacity to produce 2.5 times current world demand should they need to ramp up. Some of the 205 Sykes Creek plant workers may be able to relocate to the Palm Coast facility. This follows the recent news that Brunswick would sell off it Hatteras and Cabo brand yacht business and ending it's Bayliner cruisers business with the factory closing in Knoxville Tennessee.
LONELY ISLAND ... desolate and uninhabited with a checkered past
Lonely Island was well named. The island is 30 km south east of Manitoulin Island in the northwestern quadrant of Georgian Bay. It's busiest time from a human perspective was prior to 1862 when it was a summer camp for aboriginal fishing. It hasn't seen that much activity since.
In 1870 as steamers began to ply the Bay it was established as a light station. In 1907 a wood octagonal 54' lighthouse with a red lantern was built on the north side of the island somewhat in the island interior, on top of the highest point of land on the island. A path and walkway was build from the keepers house and ancillary buildings from the north cobble beach up the hill to the lighthouse. The island was (and still is) heavily covered in Cedar.
BOATUS WEBINARS FOR MARINAS
Here is an event that might be of interest to some Marina Operators:
Hurricane Sandy was the single-largest recreational boating industry loss ever recorded, with over $650 million in damage to boats alone. Not included in that figure are the hundreds of millions of dollars in damages to marinas, boat yards and yacht clubs. Boats that didn't stay put in Sandy's exceptional storm surge caused damage to other boats, marina infrastructure, and private and public property. The Association of Marina Industries (AMI) and the Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) are teaming up to offer a series of three online webinars on March 5, 12 and 26, 2013 at 2:00 EST for marine facility operators and others interested in learning about how to secure boats to avoid damage in future storms.
The first in the series, "Sandy Overview: What We've Learned," (March 5), will look at what made Hurricane Sandy so destructive and the types of damage it caused to boats and to marinas, and share some survival stories. It will also try to answer the question: Was hauling boats, as BoatUS has long advocated, the right answer this time?
The March 12 webinar, "Securing Boats on Land," will focus on the challenges of securing boats inside storage structures as well as outside on the hard, and discuss some potential solutions and best practices.
The March 26 webinar, "Securing Boats in the Water," will look at the challenges presented by moorings and by various dock structures such as fixed or floating docks, and also look at solutions and best practices.
Much of the information included in the webinars comes from the industry-leading BoatUS Catastrophe (CAT) Team, which has over three decades of storm salvage and claims experience, and faced its biggest challenge ever with Hurricane Sandy. The team, which hit the ground running just one day after the storm made landfall, was the largest ever assembled in the Association's history and worked in seven states recovering hundreds of boats.
As a thank you for participating in the Cooperating Group Program, BoatU.S. will be covering the cost for you to attend the webinar series. In order to attend the webinars, please fill out the attached registration form. You must submit the attached registration form to attend but you do not have to include payment.
I hope you'll be able to attend.
703-461-2878 ext. 3227 firstname.lastname@example.org
MIAMI BOAT SHOW BIG SUCCESS
We have attended the Miami Boat Show for the last three years. Aside form Miami being our favourite boat shows – it would be a lie not to admit that part of the attraction is the restaurants, art deco hotels and ambience of the South Beach area. The Convention Centre is an easy walk from the South Beach main drag. The Miami show is also a great show for boat lovers, especially the Convention Centre venue which has all the gear and boats mostly under 45'. The in water sail and power boat show locations are ok too, but not the high point of the show. The shuttles and water taxis are great for getting you around to the different venue locations. Also there are direct connections to the Collins Ave in water Brokerage Show. In fact the Collins location has most of the biggest yachts – both new and used. Bertram, Viking, Hatteras etc. were all displayed at the Collins Ave location. Collins is much more like the Lauderdale Show venue. Miami has a bigger Convention Centre boat and gear display in comparison to Lauderdale but Lauderdale has more 100' + super yachts.
Anyways we always find Miami is a great place to buy boat gear. Lots of new and innovative stuff every year. If you're into fishing it also has a huge amount of fishing gear on the second floor of the Convention Centre and you will find GOOD deals there. I would say on average more than 25% savings on anything boat gear related over retail stores.
Now here's the good news. The place was packed in comparison to the previous two years. The Friday of the show got 2 inches of rain. At the Convention Centre inside and outside tents it was packed. Couldn't find a seat for lunch. On Saturday we visited all four show venue locations and they were very busy too ... even though it was an unusually cold day. If this kind of thing keeps up, I think we have a boat market again. We talked to a number of Brokers and all were feeling the love and selling some boats – even some of the mega yachts had sold signs on them. We visited our friends Bill & Karen at the Strictly Sail venue where their newly purchased boat a Hylas 54 was just delivered from overseas in time for the show. The sail portion of the show was probably the quietest, but busy in comparison to last year.
On our June Boating Georgian Bay TV video we will do a full rundown of the Miami show ... so for those that haven't been you can get a real feel for the show. It is one show you don't want to miss.
GEORGIAN BAY WATER LEVELS GETTING SCARY!
Well the everyday scientists say do nothing – the problem is cyclical and controlled mostly by Mother Nature. The $17 million dollar International Joint Commission US/Canada group comprised of engineers and scientists also says do nothing, and eventually things will normalize. Sierra Club says dredging of St. Clair River and shore walling wetlands caused the problem. They endorse implanting hollow sills in the St Clair River to slow things down. Some in the Army Corps of Engineers condone putting in concrete speed bumps on the bottom of the St Clair River. The Lake Carriers Association believes also that the problem is a man made one, resulting from dredging of the St Clair River back the late 1960's. However that was over 50 years ago and during that time Georgian Bay and Lake Huron saw flooding water levels during a number seasons. Others blame it on global warming.
No doubt like most accidents there is more than one cause. We know historically water levels have been higher and lower than the range we analyze. In the shorter term, since humans have been paying attention to Great Lakes water levels, it is clear that Georgian Bay water levels are at an all time low – down some 29 inches over their long term average and down 17 inches since January 2012. No doubt the past two hot dry summers combined with mild low snow winters are the major culprit. Will that situation correct itself? Probably, if history repeats itself ... but no one really knows for sure if this is a trend or abnormality.
Meanwhile the low water levels are creating economic hardship, restrictions to shipping, docks left high and dry and marinas lining up to get dredging permits. It is anticipated that a very high percentage of boat slips will be unusable next spring - some say up to 40%. Some navigable channels are down to the point that it is not safe for boats to cruise through. Chart updates are a must.
Around Georgian Bay local Majors have formed a coalition to approach both Provincial and Federal levels of Government to do something to help businesses and the tourist industry to cope with the hardship coming down the pipe due to low water levels - the main objective, money for dredging.
There is no definitive solution for this situation and no one person or organization is to blame. Maybe it's a man made problem, and maybe it's just mother nature ... but most likely it's a bit of both.
So far winter snow looks light. Lots of people are not fond of shovelling snow, but fact is we need it - and lots of it. At the risk of a rotten summer we also need some rainy weather on occasion during the hot high evaporation months. It would also help if government subsidizes and fast tracks dredging applications for the marinas and some critical navigation channels. The dredging needs to be happening this winter and spring if it's going to save the boating season for some of the marinas. Cross your fingers and hope for a wet spring.
YACHT SALES LOOKING GOOD!
There have been several optimistic false starts in the past two years regarding boat sales on a recovery path. We are right in the middle of boat show season and things are looking up. Toronto International Boat Show sales and attendance were up about 20%. Some of the weekend show days were downright jam packed.
Power boat sales in the US have increased 10% in 2012. The biggest increase since 2005. While the market is very price driven, big yachts are selling too. Most brokerages are reporting sales up in the 12% - 15% range. Most brokerages report they had a strong start to 2012 and then things fell off through the summer of 2012 and it was only in the later part of 2012 that things started to gel again. Yacht charter companies are reporting sales are up as well. Most of this is not surprising given that real estate and jobs are improving in the US and bond yields have fallen in Europe will GDP is up in China. All strong signals if things continue to track positively. Not bad considering that brokerage market prices fell an average of 30% between 2011 and 2012.
The market is changing dramatically as well, with yacht owners getting younger. There is a widening gap in the middle class and high net population is growing. Their are 82,000 people worldwide with assets averaging over $100 Million dollars. The other side of the coin though, is many lower class consumers are sliding backwards. While the jury is still out ... right now the positives seem to be outweighing the negatives when it comes to boat sales.
BOAT SALES IN CANADA ARE UP
NMMA (National Marine Manufacturers Association) held it's annual meeting at the Toronto International Boat Show and a number of interesting things were talked about. On of the key findings is that in 2012 sales of recreational boat sales rose by 13% ... a good part due to increased sales of pontoon boats and jet boats. Exports by Canadian boat manufacturers also went up dramatically 50% to $479 million as last recorded in 2011. Looks like for the small boat market we may be well on the way to recovery. In 2012 one in five Canadian households owned at least one boat and the survey discovered that the average boater is 31 – 49 years of age making income $44k – $99k per year ... very middle class orientated.
Other speakers touched on things like demographic shift as the population grows older, importance of bringing children into the boating community at an early age and immigrants coming into an urban setting and how the industry leverages that.
GE Capital (CDF) gave an excellent presentation that indicated that marine wholesale volume in Canada is up 17% with Saskatchewan and Manitoba leading the way. Aged inventory at dealers is low and stable. The general outlook poled among marine operators is guarded but positive.
In any event the marine industry in Canada has improved greatly since 2009 when year over year volume plunged 44%.
NMMA represents the marine industry as a voice to government, consumer outreach (Discover Boating), producer of boat shows, industry certification, international marketing and market research. Their web site is www.nmma.ca
TRENT CANAL FEES GOING UP!
Click HERE to see what the Peterborough Examiner has recently reported.
The Latest News
A Reply to Our Letter:
Thank you for your email. Parks Canada has been pleased to receive further input from Canadians regarding the fee proposals related to the national canal lockage and mooring fees.
In listening to Canadians and the information and suggestions provided while taking into consideration operational requirements and costs, Parks Canada has made modifications and added products to both the lockage and mooring aspects of the fee proposal. These include a one day pass for lockage and the addition of a seasonal mooring pass.
Parks Canada invests over $42 million in canal operations every year. With this important investment Parks Canada remains committed to protecting and presenting the canals for the enjoyment of all visitors and for the tourism benefits of the communities along the canal corridors.
Parks Canada is certain you will agree that operators of pleasure craft enjoy some of Canada's most magnificent waterways and historic locks through the places we manage on behalf of all Canadians. The experiences offered through these waterways continue to provide an exceptional value for the fees paid. The following are the proposed products and costs for a 25 ft boat (the average length of craft going through the locks).
Proposed products and costs for a 25 ft boat (average length vessel moving through locks)
Average Weekly Cost
(over the 20 week operational season)
So here is the latest rates that Parks Canada is flying up the flag pole. So some positive changes – they are back to offering Seasonal and Six Day Passes. They have droped Level 3 lock and combined into Level 2. Rate wise things have come down some. By example at Level 2 single pass through for a 40' boat has gone from $48 down to $36. Moving in the right direction but still not cheap. A fair increase might bring the Level 2 single pass through for a 40' boat in at the $24 – $26 range.
Keep the pressure up boaters ... apparently Parks Canada is listening.
One-way passage through a Level 1 lock
Single lock chamber
Shorter transit time
(approx. 15 minutes)
One-way passage through a Level 2 lock
Single or multi-lock chamber
Medium to high elevation
Longer transit time
(15 to 45 minutes or more)
Six Day pass
Paper pass providing unlimited lock passages for the duration of 6 individual days
(not necessary to be consecutive days).
Self-adhesive pass adhered to vessel providing unlimited lock passages on all Parks Canada canals and waterways for the entire season.
Federal canal use rates are proposed to increase dramatically to pass more of the “true costs” onto boaters and less to the taxpayers. Ok so when can we expect our taxes to go down? ... when hell freezes over that's when.
Unfortunately the model negates the logic that tourism dollars will be lost from boats that cruise and have alternative lower cost routes to enjoy. For example in any given season there are some 600 cruisers doing the Americas Great Loop and they have the option of cutting out the Trent portion of the route to Georgian Bay entirely and doing the Erie Barge Canal route staying south of Canada. These “loopers” spend a great deal of money along their Trent Canal journey on their way to Georgian Bay. They are but a fraction of the cruising boats that use the system (and spend tourist dollars) every season. The tourism dollars lost will dwarf the additional revue these lock fees will bring. It's really going to hurt those towns along the Trent that depend of the tourist dollars that come from recreational boating. It is rumoured that one marina has just gone up for sale anticipating less traffic under the new tariffs. Already we have heard from several delivery Captains that will avoid the Trent due to the new operating hours and if transit costs go up 300 - 400 percent you can bet that will further encourage all of them to stay away.
The "pay per use" fee structure will not include day, 6 day or seasonal passes. Every lock will require tickets. If the lock is multi chamber or higher elevation or longer transit time - it requires more tickets. For example a Level 3 lock that has multiple lock chambers, large elevation change and/or transit time of 45 minutes or longer will require four tickets in comparison to a Level 1 lock with single chamber and less than 15 minutes transit time will take two tickets. Starting to sound like the Panama Canal isn't it?
If you buy your tickets in advance you can save 10% and if you buy 80 tickets at a time for one boat you can save 25%. The new lock fees will take affect in 2014 while mooring fees along lock walls will see a major increase this coming 2013 season.
So here is what the math looks like: If you have a 40' boat. Each ticket is 30 cents per foot. So .30 X 40 ft. is $12 per ticket. For a Level 3 lock you will need 4 tickets ... therefore the single lock transit will cost $48. Now you have to multiply that cost per ticket X tickets per lock X all the locks per Level # of tickets .... that is for all the locks you plan to transit on your journey. Yup, if you plan on going form Trenton to Georgian Bay it's going to be expensive. And commercial rates get a 100% surcharge plus admin expenses. It is likely that many commercial operators (houseboat rentals, canal boats, barges) will exit the Trent venue or go out of business.
Does this make any sense at all when the boating industry is already on it's knees and hasn't fully recovered since the recession ended. The Canadian government doesn't seem to understand the billions the boating industry filters into the economy. It doesn't understand that economically we all still are stuck in an economic funk. It's always easier to raise fees or raise taxes and empty the pockets of taxpayers than it is to reduce wasteful government spending or trim back on government bureaucrats! I'll bet that the study costs and wage costs of the bureaucrats that dreamed this kind of thing up cost the taxpayers more money than the actual revenue increase in lock and mooring fees will generate. To be sure they will achieve a few things – less boating tourists, less tourist revenue for the communities and services along the Trent and points north in Georgian Bay that need the business ... and another kick in the gut to the marine industry at large.
Now as far as the work of the lock masters at the locks go ... they are doing an excellent job. In our experience they keep the lock grounds groomed, garbage free, washrooms spic and span and they are very helpful to the boaters. They work hard and they are efficient. These folks do not need cutbacks ... they are minimally staffed as it is. It's the bureaucrats in Ottawa that don't realize that the Federal Canals are historic treasures and vital to local tourism that need to be cut back. The Trent Canal System doesn't run a a big budget relatively speaking. The net savings on cutting back hours and raising fees is negligible compared to the tourism dollars that will be lost. I get the feeling Parks Canada doesn't think Federal Canals are worthy of the Canadian Parks portfolio. They have already let go of the construction staff and the remaining maintenance staff are a skeleton crew.
Barry Devolin MP is the representative for Haliburton - Kawarthas - Brock and he recently addressed the National Marine Manufacturers Association at their annual meeting at the Toronto Boat Show. He very briefly touched on the lock hours changing but without specifics. He completely forgot to mention that proposed fees are going to drive boaters from Federal Canals. He left without taking questions and before the meeting adjourned so there was no chance for the few in the crowd who knew that this nonsense was going on, to have him answer why he would sit on that committee and let something like this happen, when it is totally detrimental to the economics of the region. Typical of many politicians. we saw sugar coating and the real issues were avoided to keep it under the radar of those this would matter to.
Peter Kent, Minister of the Environment responsible for Parks Canada who operate the waterways: email@example.com
Alan Latourelle, CEO Parks Canada Information@pc.gc.ca - Send email to attention of Alan Latourelle and they will forward to him.
The proposed ticket system and the resulting 400% fee increase in lock fees to transit the Trent Canal System will create a huge negative economic impact on the communities along the canal system as well as destination targets in Georgian Bay. The cost of administrating such a system would likely exceed any prospect of added revenue potential.
Simply put, boaters for the most part will not pay these fees. A 40’ boat one way through a Tier 3 lock would be $48. They have alternatives. Americas Great Loop Cruising Association members for the most part are saying they are not coming – they will take the Erie Barge Canal and head up Huron to the North Channel and continue south through lake Michigan. They will forgo the Trent and the entire east side of Georgian Bay from Midland to Killarney. The canal operation overhead will remain however.
The economic tourism offset on reduced travel on the Trent System will be far more damaging than the approx. $16 M net it costs to operate the Trent. Our estimates are that some $700 M in economic spinoff benefits will be lost. Extreme transit fee increases of this nature are not a solution and not in the best interests of taxpayers either when all facets of the impact are considered. Real estate values on the Trent will also fall. Already one marina is being sold in anticipation of less traffic and decreased sales.
More reasonable increases of 50% could likely be absorbed. A portion of those dollars should be reinvested in increased promotion of the Federal canal systems which are a very unique national treasure. Increased awareness of the canal systems can be a major additional draw for tourists. Take by example how Europe promotes their canal systems. They are a huge tourist draw and canal boat cruising is a well established industry that spreads great wealth deep into the economy.
Please rethink your strategy and consider that rash drastic decisions in business or in ones personal life, rarely turn out well. Yes the fees need to go up, but do it intelligently and stage increases in over time and you won’t kill the goose that lays the golden egg.
Regards - Boating Georgian Bay
Here is what some commercial operators have said about the proposed changes.
Fenelon Falls Boat Cruises offers waterway cruises on the 65-foot Kawartha Spirit, for more than 25 years. "It’s going to put me out of business and it’s going to put 11 people out of jobs" , "I know it's proposed, but the proposal is making me look at operating the boat elsewhere. I would have to relocate my vessel to where I would not have to use the locks if this comes in. Otherwise I'm totally out of business. In all honesty, it's bad. It is really bad."
Ontario Waterway Cruises Inc., which offers five-day cruises on the 120-foot Kawartha Voyageur, starting and ending in Peterborough. "There is always that straw that breaks the camel's back, and I would say our passengers would not support that extra increase in their fares. You've got to pass on all this stuff, and if we were to look at the cost per passenger to cover those canal fees, well, passengers have choices." He said the proposed fees would mean the end of his 32-year-old business. Under the new structure, the owner estimates their cost for locking and mooring, now $5,200, would skyrocket to more than $111,000.
Here are comments regarding the fee hikes already showing up on forums:
There will be only ONE daily 10 am lock-thru of a "flight" upstream and downstream for each set of locks outlined on the schedule -- during the "shoulder season" ONLY (on-demand during the peak season).
Be at Lock 1 at 10 am, you'll get through locks 1-6 that day (a whopping 7.3 miles), and you'll wait until 10 am the next day to work through locks 7-12 (15.9 miles). Moreover, if you show up at lock 1 at 11 am, you'll need to wait there until the next day. This only applies to the sets of locks outlined in the new schedule.
It's important to note that almost all loopers, and most of the summer "cottagers" do not use the canal much during the "shoulder season" so only the shortened hours would affect most of us (was 8:30 am-7pm daily, now 9 am-5 pm M-Th, 9 am-6 F-Su).
I have created an excel spreadsheet to calculate the approximate rate increase impact for anyone planning on traversing the Trent-Severn or Rideau Canals based on the current and proposed rates. This is for one-way only. If you want to play with this for your boat length and estimated daily and overnight stays on the lock walls, just put those figures in the yellow highlighted cells. This calculator only estimates the cost to move through each canal. It does not include, fuel, food, electricity should you choose, or any other costs you may incur.
My wife and I have spent many of our summer vacations on both canals. We used to trailer our 23' Sea Ray there for 2-3 weeks at a time. I grew up in northern NY and my parents, sister and I boated on the Rideau in the late 50's. Over the years I have spent many weeks on the canals. It is my favorite area to boat. We just purchased a "new to us" 3880 Bayliner and were planning on moving it so we could spend 2 summers on the St. Lawrence, Ottawa Rivers, Rideau and Trent-Severn starting in 2014. I think now, my times in Ontario and that area will just be memories of the weeks spent there in the past.
Canada, you are killing your "Golden Goose"!
Call your MP today and complain that it is ludicrous to raise the cost of using the Trent by 300% - 400% in one season.
FED FUNDING FOR SIMCOE & S.E. GEORGIAN BAY CLEAN UP
Canada's Environment Ministers office announced a five year $29 million fund aiming to restore ecological health on Lake Simcoe and south-eastern Georgian Bay. The objective is improving water quality for residents and the wildlife. The fund will support community based projects that set priorities for reducing phosphorous inputs from urban and rural sources, restoring fish and aquatic wildlife stocks & habitats and correcting near shore toxic and nuisance algae growth. This 2013 – 2018 fund builds on the 2007 - 2012 $30 million Lake Simcoe Clean-Up Fund.
Around Lake Simcoe much of the problem is caused by agricultural run off and antiquated septic systems. On Georgian Bay some of the problem exists due to storm drain run off from bordering towns, as well as septic run off from systems filtering on solid bedrock and to some extent concentrations resulting from lower water levels.
Preservation of peripheral wetlands and swamps is key to preserving and the natural water filtering process. On Lake Simcoe many new irrigated commercial market garden operations have been implemented in the last few years bordering the lake. Phosphates from fertilizer and pesticide run off can be a by product of these types of operations. Shoreline development is also a major factor. Grey water from boats is thought to be a small factor in the equation, but all boaters should be careful to use no phosphate cleaners and soaps when boat cleaning or for showering or dishwashing. Boating Georgian Bay does sell a very effective environmentally friendly certified multi purpose phosphate and solvent free boat cleaner called Seriously Great Boat Cleaner.
BRUNSWICK CORPORATIONS EXITS HATTERAS & CABO YACHTS
Brunswick Corporation announced January 3rd, 2013 that it would be selling it's premium Hatteras and Cabo yacht businesses. Brunswick will focus on it's Sea Ray and Meridian brands only.
Their goal is to break even in 2013 ... even if the large diesel yacht market does not get back on it's feet this year. Hatteras & Cabo have been Brunswick's luxury high end brands. They bought Hatteras in 2001 and Cabo in 2006. Both brands are built in New Bern, North Carolina.
Brunswick will be selling both plants in operating condition staffed and running. Hatteras had previously downsized from 1400 to 300 employees. The Hatteras brand builds yachts to 100 feet and Cabo builds yachts to 52 feet. Both brands are considered by boaters to be top of market US built state of the art production motor yachts and sport fishing yachts.
The brands both have an excellent reputation and strong brand followings, so it is expected that buyers will be found expediently. The mid range yacht market has been slow to recover post recession and it is likely that entitlement tax code changes in the USA may adversely affect sales further over the next few years even as the economy shows signs of recovery.
TRENT SYSTEM 2013 LOCK TIMES CONFIRMED
Hours of operation for the Trent Canal System are confirmed as follows:
May 17 to June 20: Monday - Thursday 10 am - 4 pm & Friday to Sunday and Victoria Day 9 am - 5 pm June 21 to Sept 2: Monday - Thursday 9 am - 5 pm & Friday to Sunday and Canada Day, August Civic , Labour Day 9 am - 6 pm Sept 3 to Oct 14: Monday to Thursday 10 am - 4 pm & Friday - Sunday and Thanksgiving 9 am - 5 pm
Scheduled Lockage as follows:
May 17 to June 20 and Sept 3 to Oct 14
Trent (south) locks 1-18
Upstream flights starting from:
Lock 1 with travel to lock 6 - 10:00 am
Lock 7 with travel to lock 13 - 10:00 am
Lock 14 with travel to lock 18 - 10:00 am
Downstream flights starting from:
Lock 18 with travel to lock 14 - 10:00 am
Lock 13 with travel to lock 7 - 10:00 am
Lock 6 with travel to lock 1 - 10:00 am
Kawartha locks 22-26
Upstream flight starting from:
Lock 22 with travel to lock 26 - 10:00 am
Downstream flight stating from:
Lock 26 with travel to lock 22 - 10:00 am
North locks 37-41
Upstream flight from lock 37 to 41 - 10:00 am
Downstream flight from lock 41 to 37 - 10:00 am
Upstream and downstream - 10:00 am
At most locks, boaters must arrive at or before the last lockage time.
At locks 11/12, 16/17, 20, and 21, boaters must arrive at least 15 minutes before the last lockage time.
At swing bridges, the last bridge swing will be 20 minutes after the last lockage time.
Note: station opening and closing times, as well as first and last lockage, are not guaranteed and may be affected by water management duties, maintenance activities or other types of navigation interruptions.
HMS BOUNTY HURRICANE SANDY SINKING
The 180' HMS Bounty replica was built in Canada in 1960 for use in the movie Mutiny on the Bounty and later Pirates of the Caribbean. It left New London, Connecticut bound for her winter home in St Petersburg, Florida. She foundered on the edges or Hurricane Sandy 90 miles off of Cape Hatteras North Carolina in 1300' of water.The heroic efforts of the US Coast Guard managed to pluck 14 crew members from the boiling ocean. Captain Robin Walbridge (63 years old) was never found. A second crew member Claudine Christian (42 years old) was recovered deceased. She was a descendent of Fletcher Christian, the sailing master of the original Bounty.
The Bounty replica was used for non profit tourism touring and most of her crew were volunteer. She was thought to be in excellent condition but she was overwhelmed by 24 hours of storm and her pumps could not keep up with the constant onslaught of massive waves. The videos tell the story. The US Coast Guard time recorded video is a must see. Maneuvering a helicopter in a hurricane and sending rescue swimmers into the ocean is heroic work to say the least.
BOATING GEORGIAN BAY PLANS VIDEO SERIES
Boating Georgian Bay will be doing a monthly series of four videos beginning in June 2013. The four 20 minute Boating Georgian Bay TV videos will be featured on the site and syndicated widely as web tube videos, including YouTube distribution. The June video will be taped in May. The last video for September will be filmed in August.
The segments for each video are as follows:
How to select the right insurance coverage for your boat with Robertson Insurance
Boat Yoga with instructor Gail Holness
Miami Boat Show with Allied Marine – Bertram & Ferritti
Importance of Marine Surveys with Barry Goodyear – Rakon
Preparing your boat for trade or sale
Americas Great Loop Cruising Association
Chartering a Sailboat with Bill Everitt – Cosmos
Party on the Docks Midland
Parkbridge Rendezvous with Ken MacDonald Parkbridge Marinas
Caribbean North – Beckwith, Hope & Christian Islands
SS Keewatin History Tour with Eric Conroy, Ships Master
Fall Cruising in Georgian Bay
Fishing Pointe Au Baril with Pleasant Cove Resort
Buying a brokerage boat with North South Nautical Group
Cruising the North Channel with Pam & Ken Blodgett – Canadian Yacht Charters
TRENT SEVERN WILL OPEN FULL SEASON 2013
Environment Minister Peter Kent who is responsible for Parks Canada has announced that the Trent Sever Waterway and the Rideau Canal will be open the full season in 2013 from Victoria Day to Thanksgiving. There will be a one hour reduction to 7 hours per day during the spring and fall shoulder seasons and a 2 hour reduction in summer to 9 hours per day. Adjustments to lockage and mooring fees are being made as they have been unchanged for decades (that means they are going up in cost).
Nothing has been committed to beyond 2013 and it is thought that further study will determine the outcome beyond 2013.
VICTORIA BC APPROVES MEGA YACHT MARINA
Transport Canada has approved a very controversial mega yacht marina for the busy Inner Harbour in the city. Many environmental and resident groups organized and tried to stop the marina. Initially even the city opposed it.The approval included requirements such as Safety Management Plan, kayak lanes skirting the marina and specialized lighting. The original plan called for 46 slips but it was downsized to 29 slips to appease those in opposition. The marina will offer permanent docking for yachts up to 140'. The two symmetrical buildings that will ground the marina are designed to look like a yacht setting out to sea.. The marina will include a coffee house, restaurant, lounge, marine chandlery and yacht services. It is thought that the marina slips will be in high demand from luxury waterfront condo owners that have nowhere to permanently dock large yachts.
MIAMI BOAT SHOW FEB 14 - 18, 2013
It's too frigin cold here in lake country Ontario! So we're off to the Miami Boat Show in February. The Miami Boat Show is one of the greatest boat shows in the world. The weather is almost guaranteed to be hot as Miami sits below the threshold of the cold fronts pushing down from Canada. In addition to the hundreds of boats & yachts for viewing, they run the Discover Boating Resource Centre where you can take clinics on topics ranging from navigation to docking. It's also a great place to see the the latest in yacht gadgets and gizmos. The other nice thing about Miami is the great restaurants and local flare - like the South Beach area where you can see the Miami art deco revival architecture. We'll give a full report with video and pics when we get back.
TOP 100 BOAT DEALERS
Canada is holding it’s own when it comes to new boat sales. Each year Boating Industry magazine sends out applications to more than 3,000 boat dealers with a series of 75 qualitative and quantitate questions. After evaluation 3 Canadian dealers ranked in the top 10:
#4 M&P Mercury Sales Ltd. - BC #8 Buckeye Marine - ON #9 Pride Marine Group - ON
Also ranked in the Top 100 are:
Georges Marine & Sports - ON
Rayburns Marine World - BC
Paris Marine - ON
Town & Country Marine - ON
Payne Marine - ON
Port Sandfield Marine - ON
Hurst Marine - ON
Dockside Marine Centre - BC
Performance Marine - SK
Marine Fortin - QC
Skyline Marina - ON
DIAMOND LIL DOES THE BAHAMAS - BOOK REVIEW
The second book in The Captains Log series written by Melanie Wood. The book recounts Mel and Captain John Wood who cruise to the Bahamas in 2006 aboard their 38' Bayliner MY, Diamond Lil. They like it so much they do it a second time the following winter of 2006/2007 after a return trip to Canada. That is a lot of boat miles friends ... and they are still on that boat somewhere to my best knowledge. (Roatan I think where Mel wrote this second book). You will learn a lot by reading this book. Primarily you will learn about being resourceful but for anyone contemplating long term cruising, the book will give you an unvarnished version which no guidebook can deliver.
Their first trip goes as far as the Eleuthera Islands and the second winter as far south as the Exumas Islands. If you have ever cruised the Bahamas in a small boat you will recognize the many anchorages and towns along the way that is sure to bring back fond memories. If you are contemplating your first cruise to the Bahamas, this is a must read because the book deals with the daily routines of cruising ... both good and bad. It has a very personal flavor that is entertaining, uplifting and sometimes you will share their frustrations when things don’t go as planned. I read it all the way through in a day and only put it down once to eat lunch. If you love boats and traveling by boat my guess is you’ll read it cover to cover in a day as well.
Melanie and John Wood are from Keswick ... Lake Simcoe boaters. Diamond Lil the Bayliner 38 is registered Midland Ontario. They sold everything and live aboard full time. Many of us dream of doing that, but few take the plunge long term. The part that got me was when they were leaving the Bahamas after the first season, and wondering if they would ever return by boat. Not really wanting to leave and not wanting the journey to end for fear that there would never be the opportunity to repeat the experience again. Been there, done that. For most there isn't a second chance - you get back to work and life's responsibilities take over. Canada is a long way by small boat from the Bahamans. To repeat the experience a second time, back to back, takes courage and a leap of faith.
Long distance cruising is a funny thing. Some people plan to go out forever and return inside the year ... and some people go for a winter and stay forever. In any event it is a deeply rewarding experience and this book will make you feel like you were there during the journey.
BOMBARDIER TO SHUT DOWN BOAT PLANT
Bombardier Recreation Products Inc. of Valcourt Quebec will be shutting down it's sport boat plant in Illinois and will be exiting the sport boat business eliminating 350 jobs according to CEO Jose Boisjoli. Bombardier has been in the sport boat business for the past 18 years. It inherited the plant in 1995 in it's acquisition of Celebrity Boats. The sport boat business is only 3% of company sales. In 2011 the company was hopeful that annual sales would recover the lost ground during the recession back again to $2.8 billion but this was not to be. BRP revenues dropped 40% after the Lehman Brothers collapse. Word is that the sport boat group did make a profit and had relatively low inventories of available boats - problem was the sport boat business just didn’t have the critical mass for them and they wanted greater growth potential. They were unable to find a buyer for the sport boat division so decided to shut it down rather than gear up for 2013 models. Last May BRP moved it's Sea Doo assembly from Valcourt Quebec to Mexico. BRP will also stop making it's own accessories and clothes and contract out distribution of spare parts. BRP will continue to manufacture SeaDoo and will focus on the growing Spyder 3 wheel motorcycle market.
PELICAN SPOTTED AT KILLARNEY
Cameron Hopp spotted this American White Pelican at Pine Channel in Killarney Bay on September 2nd. Apparently they are venturing further north on occasion. This pelican will be in for a rude surprise if he doesn't start to head south soon. Spring and summer ramps up slowly in these parts, but winter can come on with a vengeance by November and he's along ways from home. The Farmers Almanac is predicting early heavy snow in November this year - yuck.
TRENT SEVERN & RIDEAU MERGE STAFF
A single administrative unit of management has been established to run both canal systems. Thirty-seven positions included that of the TSW Superintendent Dawn Bronson are being eliminated (surplus) in the reorganization. Basically the two management teams are turned into one at Parks Canada. Twenty percent of the canals workforce has been laid off since March 2012 and more layoffs are expected. As part of this years Federal budget $3.5 million was cut from the budget. In all it is expected that some 140 jobs could be affected.
It is likely that next boating season there will be modifications to trim out slow times during the boating season. The TSW currently requires $300 million in capital upgrades although it looks “gold plated” in comparison to USA’s Erie Barge Canal by example. The canal TSW & Rideau systems are both big tourist draws to the respective regions.
It has been suggested that an agency separate from Parks Canada be set up to run the system to be more "business minded" than "parks focused". This would shift the emphasis to economic development. Many businesses in town centers along the TSW are concerned about loosing business if limited hours are implemented. It almost goes without saying that the rate structure for boaters using the system will change over time.
Upstream from the TSW, waterfront home and cottage owners on feeder lakes are very upset. With a drought summer many of the feeder lakes in the Haliburton & Kawartha regions are at all time lows. Folks on these lakes have their dock and boats stranded on dry land in many cases. Some have removed their boats and some have moved them out to deeper waters and moored them. It is frustrating for those land owners when they see lockmasters locking through single small recreational fishing boats with just a few people and dumping an entire lock full of water in the process. Procedurally there needs to be a balance and the TSW has to become sensitive to wasting water or perhaps managing the resource with more efficiently. Everyone understands that the feeder lakes were historically dammed for the benefit of the TSW navigation along with some power generation contracts but nobody wants to see waste when the lakes upstream are running low on water very early in the season.On the other side of the equation they don’t want to be flooded with spring water storage either. It all points to efficiency of lock use ... making sure locks are reasonably full of boats before locking through and scheduling hours of operation daily and seasonally so that dead times are eliminated.
The TSW is the major corridor for boats cruising from the USA and other far off destinations on their way up to Georgian Bay and eventually on their way through the Great Lakes or to Chicago on the route down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico. It is a required route to move recreation marine tourist traffic from A to B and the only other option is the commercial shipping orientated Lake Erie, Welland Canal System and Lake St Clair route which realistically bypasses Georgian Bay for recreational boaters. Georgian Bay and the North Channel are recognized as one of the top cruising destinations in the world.
Horace Dodge of Dodge car fame loved boats and was very mechanically inclined. He started off in 1904 with a 40' yacht and shortly after started Dodge Marine Division which would power his own boats as well. In 1913 he took a big step up to a 180' yacht and in 1917 ordered a 243' yacht. Talk about hooked on boats!
In 1920 he had a 258' yacht commissioned to be named Delphine, after his only daughter. www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxO4wIEF7Fk The yacht was built by Great Lakes Engineering near Detroit and had a 15' draft. It was launched in 1921 sadly after both Dodge brothers had died. It spent most of it's time cruising the Great Lakes. The yacht could travel at 15 knots powered by quadruple expansion steam engines designed by Horace Dodge. During World War 2 it was called into service as a Navy Flag Ship. Over time the yacht became derelict but in 1998 a wealthy Belgian women did a $60 million dollar restoration which brought Delphine back to original condition which included re-commissioning of the steam engines.
Today the yacht is berthed in the Port of Monaco for charter and she will cruise in style with 28 guests and 24 crew. It has been for sale for $70 million and more recently was marked down to $53 million for quick sale! www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzKYtX75zDs
CANADIANS CRUISING TO THE USA
There is a lot of confusion regarding cruising permits and reporting while boating from Canada to the US. And don't count on that confusion being cleared up any time soon because it has been screwed up for 30 years pretty much in the same fashion it is now. Err on the side of caution as CBP (Customs & Border Protection) officials and USA immigration officials can be very stern and overreact if you don't node your head in acceptance and humble yourself ... even though you may be given conflicting information that you know is incorrect don't challenge it. CBP seems to have some long standing issues with communicating standard procedures when it comes to Cruising Permits.
So 30 years ago we were told we didn't need to report in daily at one point of our journey (had to find a pay phone in those days) which was the official inconvenient protocol and then along the way we were chastised and threatened with fines at one of our stops in New York State on the way home from Florida.
The Cruising License is issued for the vessel and not the boat occupants. Persons on board are subject to USA immigration laws.The Cruising License is issued for one year. You are required to report to CBP every 72 hours if you move the boat OR every 25 miles OR every time you leave one CBP zone office and move to another. Reporting numbers are usually going through to the nearest CBP airport office location. These numbers are not readily published and hard to find so you might want to do some digging before you head off on your journey. You would think there could be a info sheet with this kind of stuff issued with each cruising permit.
Note that CBP officers are on different pages when it comes to enforcing the rules so when you are told no need to report until you get from A to B we suggest you ignore that and just report in every time you move the boat from one location to another. It's a pain ... but better to be safe than sorry. If you leave your vessel unattended while you travel outside of the USA the vessel documentation is supposed to be turned over to the nearest CBP office ... so they can contact you for any reason or to charge sales tax in the event that the boat gets sold at some point. That usually means renting car and a drive to the airport. CBP web site is www.cbp.org but don't count on getting the info you need off the web site.
If you are one of our US friends reading this, I encourage you to tell your House Representative member to lighten up on Canadians boats cruising to the USA and that they are choking off cross border economic activity. If our US friends wanting to cruise in Canada had to go through the uncertainty and bureaucracy Canadians have to go through to cruise in the USA I doubt many would come up to Canada.
In any event Canadians cruising to the USA should be prepared with all forms of documentation and do your own research and follow the rules and document your call in's to CBP offices regardless of what you might hear from other cruisers.
TALL SHIPS COMING TO GEORGIAN BAY 2013
As part of the War of 1812 - 200 year anniversary celebrations Tall Ships America has entered commitments to have the tall ships visit Georgian Bay. Participating communities so far include Penetanguishene (Discovery Harbour), Midland, Collingwood, Wasaga Beach and Owen Sound. The tall ships attract thousands of visitors. The tall ships visit was made possible by a $880,000 Ontario Ministry of Tourism contribution. Each community must also contribute and communities along Georgian Bay have committed $155.000 in total. Penetanguishene just signed on Sept 2012 and their cost was $29,000.
Tall Ships America is a not for profit youth education organization offering learning programs aboard tall ships that teach youth leadership skills and traditional sailing methods and responsibilities. The side benefit is that these ships along with tail ships from other countries occasionally do Challenge tours to various regions worldwide. The tall ships will be visiting Owen Sound, Collingwood & Wasaga August 16 – 19, 2013 and Pentanguishene & Midland August 23 - 26, 2013.
TUG FEST 2012
Midland hosted the 2012 Tug Fest. Tugs came from all around Georgian Bay and further afield to show their stuff. Some of these tugs are still active work boats and some are retired to recreational pleasures. Everyone likes to see the tug boats and they always draw a good crowd.
GEORGIAN BAY'S CARIBBEAN NORTH
Hope, Beckwith and Christian islands are referred to by some as Georgian Bay's Caribbean islands. On sunny hot days it's easy to see why. The hard pack sand beaches, blue sand bottom waters, wade out from shore 50 yards without going over your head, some boulder outcroppings and low profile silhouette with dense green mixed vegetation bare more than just a striking resemblance to many Bahamas Islands. If you were blind folded and flown from the Abacos to Beckwith you would be hard pressed to realize you had left the Caribbean until you notice the absence of salt air and that some of that green vegetation is pine trees, not palm trees.
The three islands are owned by the Beausoleil First Nation Chippewa people and 700 year round residents make their home on Christian Island. The islands have many interesting species including the forked three-awned grass which is a species of grass at risk that is common on the islands. Unfortunately not all visiting boats respect the splendor of the islands and some leave garbage behind when they leave ... which the residents must pick up and boat back to Christian for disposal. If you visit these beautiful islands PACK YOUR GARBAGE OUT please.
The water is crystal clear and it is also discouraging to see empty beer cans lying on the bottom here and there. Many require a diver in 15' of water to go around and pick them up. Hard to understand why anyone would do this, but if you have ever spent a few nights anchored at Beckwith east beach on a long weekend you start to realize there are some troubled boaters who for some reason think it's normal to get so drunk they can't reason and spend half the night screaming at each other and dropping things overboard with music blaring ... while others try and sleep. The world has inconsiderate people and these islands get their fair share ... unfortunately.
Because inexperienced boaters can easily find their way there, just a short cruise from Pentanguishene or Midland area, you will also see strange things like someone dropping a bow/stern anchor set up right out among large cruisers swinging free at anchor. Rather that following the lead of the boats already out in the harbour swinging free, they drop a stern anchor as if they were one of the boats lining the shore in the shallow waters. A very dangerous situation if the winds come up at night. Not much you can do as if you go over and tell one, another dozen will show up over the course of the afternoon. Most experienced cruisers just pick up anchor and move further out from shore before nightfall.
Choose your anchorage based on wind direction. Of the four beach anchorages among the islands there is protection from at a least one, in most wind conditions. Be wary of wind shifts that may come up in the night though, as none protect from ALL directions. Visit these islands midweek or off season and it will truly be a Caribbean like getaway anchorage that you can really enjoy.
MORE FUN THAN A BARREL OF MONKEYS!
These two light amphibious planes landed in Hockey Stick anchorage Bone Island and drove right up a small beach head and had a lunch break. They really land at a step angle and in a short distance. The fuselage of the planes are the landing gear in the water. They also have flip up wheels for land landings. Note the mini pontoons under the wings to keep the wing from dipping in the water. Looks like the small single engine prop planes are air cooled. They did a bunch of loops around the boats in the anchorage to warm the engines up and took off again and circled the anchorage. The second time we have seen them in Hockey Stick in a couple of years ... I guessing the beach head is a perfect stopover point. They sure do look like FUN.
FALL IS PRIME GEORGIAN BAY CRUISING SEASON
Well the summers gone ... but the best cruising of the season is about to begin. There are plenty of warm days left between now and Thanksgiving, providing you can pick and choose your departure dates. While the weather becomes a little less reliable the crowds are gone from the anchorages. Mid week even some of the most popular anchorages might have only a boat or two at anchor. For the most part the bugs are gone and the leaves are starting to turn. The water is still swimmable and for the young at heart you can even go for a skinny dip without shocking or offending the neighbors. It is a quiet peaceful time of the year and whether your cruising alone looking for solitude or you head out with a few other boats it is a completely different experience than summer cruising. Right away you'll notice the absence of the many local boats that come in and out of popular anchorages with the teens looking to party. Fall cruisers tend to be quiet at night and you can sit out in the cockpit in breathtaking silence and soak up the star filled skies.
There's a good chance that if your more than an hours cruise from the larger yachting centres that you will be the only boat at the anchorage. It is kind of a funny feeling ... a mixture of guilt (that you're out enjoying your boat while most of the population is back working) and a strange sense that maybe the world stopped because you can sit at anchor for days and never see another human. When another boat does join you at an anchorage, you automatically share something in common and you feel obliged to dingy over at some point and pay your neighborly respects. It's also the time of year that your likely to see more of nature like deer or moose along the shores or perhaps a bear filling up on ripe acorns putting on weight in preparation for hibernation. In the swampy areas at the base of most anchorages you'll find turtles and water snakes crowded onto logs taking in the last warm days of the season. So remember the end of summer doesn't mean the end of your cruising season. The best is yet to come.
PORT CREDIT BOAT SHOW 2012
The Port Harbour Credit Marina in Mississauga is once again hosting the Port Credit Boat Show www.portcreditboatshow.ca. The year will be the shows 22nd year in operation as one of Canada's largest new and used boat sales events.
The event will be running from August 24th through 26th, and will feature a variety of both power and sail boats. Many of the major boating brands, such as; Jeaneau, Four Winns, Centurion, and Sea Ray among others, will be showing off both new and used boats.
The sale features boats both in the water and on land. The boats being displayed on land, or on "the hard", will have sales reps there to talk to you about the boats and go over any questions that you may have, and also general boating information, including the best type of equipment and services for your style of boating.
There will once again be many exhibitors showcasing boating products and services to help make your time on the water more enjoyable with everything from insurance brokers and yacht brokers to canvas sales and repairs and boating lessons. This is Ontario's biggest in water boat show, and highlights the best of the Ontario boating industry. The venue will also have a refreshment tent, which will be serving beverages from the Great Lakes Brewery, and will feature music from local musicians Bill Springate and Virgil Scott.
COBBLE BEACH NEW WATER ACCESS
Grey Bruce has shorelines reminiscent of the East coast, and breathtaking horizons over Georgian Bay. It is one of the most remarkable areas in Ontario.
Nestled in Grey Bruce just north of Owen Sound is the Cobble Beach Golf Resort. This premiere resort is home to luxury accommodations, top rated golf and a resort community lifestyle. People come not only for the resort accommodations and fine dining, but also to play at their award winning golf course, which offers gorgeous views overlooking the water. There are US Open-style tennis courts available for guests to play on, and the Sweetwater Restaurant, with award-winning onsite dining. The Cobble Beach Inn & Spa also provides guests a place to relax and rejuvenate. All of this makes Cobble Beach one of the most prestigious resorts in the province.
Cobble Beach has almost two kilometers of shoreline on Georgian Bay, but before now it has never been water accessible.
The new 260' day dock accommodates those who want to visit by boat or seaplane. Many people yacht on Georgian Bay, and look for their vacation stops based on water access. Boaters on Georgian Bay are always on the lookout for new destinations to visit and these docks can accommodate yachts to 120' long, and the dock depths range from 5.5' to 11.5'. These are day docks only, and boaters wishing to stay overnight can stay at Owen Sound and get transportation to the resort.
PARKBRIDGE MARINAS 2012 POWERBOAT RENDEZVOUS
Some 50+ boats took part in the Parkbridge Marinas Rendezvous and by all accounts it was great time. The event kicked off on Friday July 13th with a wine and cheese party hosted at Bayport Marina and sponsored by Crates Landing Orillia. Crates Landing took the trouble to truck in a new Pursuit 315 for party guests to board and check out. Without a doubt Pursuit builds a very high quality boat but I digress. So at the wine & cheese function you get to meet your fellow cruisers and you go over the plan for the week ahead. The nibbles were great but we headed for a late night dinner at MC Sushi in Midland.
On the Saturday morning boats from all the Parkbridge Marinas joined the fleet from either the mouth of the Midland or Penetanguishene harbours. It worked amazingly well and eventually all the participants fell into a line that stretched for many miles down the small craft route. Our first day on the water had a destination of Killbear near Parry Sound. Some stayed at the Killbear Marina and had dinner there ... and others like us, anchored at the beautiful Killbear Park to enjoy the beach. The weather was hot and everyone enjoyed the sand beach and frequent dips in the water.
Sunday we had a long trip to the Bustard Islands. Once we left Pointe Au Baril inlet the trip was offshore out of sight of land and over time all of the boats trickled in to a small protected harbour in the Bustards and were marshaled by the incredible volunteer Tony into huge rafts stern tied to the shore. Only with boats all rafted could everyone fit in this small harbour. We stayed over a day in the Bustards and took the opportunity to have some fun and do some exploring. A dingy tour went out to the beautifully scenic Bustard Island light houses and two of the older light houses were open so you could climb to the top. Hard to imagine the remoteness of those lighthouses when they were manned at one point. The larger centre lighthouse is still a unmanned working lighthouse.
We departed the Bustards for Killarney on Tuesday July 17th and had a shorter offshore trip to arrive at the beautiful marine town of Killarney which essentially is the gateway to the North Channel. No fuel in the Bustard Islands so at least one of the smaller boats ran out of fuel and was expertly brought into Killarney strapped to the side of fearless leader Ken McDonalds Bertram 45. Other boats did some fuel sharing along the way and were able to make port.
For a little town, Killarney is a happening place and has great east coast flavor to it. We were all docked at the facility owned by the Sportsman Inn right across the water from the Inn. Docking 50 boats is somewhat of a logistical challenge and volunteer Tony and the Sportsman staff were up to the task. Many fueled across at the main docks before their dock assignment and it took a while to get to the gas dock so we had to circle in the channel for about 45 minutes before there was space to gas up. In Killarney there are many boats coming and going from far flung regions of Georgian Bay and I'd say more than 50% of visiting boats were from the USA. Fishing boats, charter boats and work boats are in abundance in the Killarney cut too and it really makes for interesting viewing. I never tired of sitting on the boat bridge and watching the boats come and go. Many boats are just making their way through the harbour cut on their way to Little Current to start their North Channel cruising explorations. A pontoon shuttle runs constantly between our docks and the main dock at the Sportsman Inn. The family that runs the Sportsman has a lot on the go and work very hard at accommodating their boat guests. Even the children have a great work ethic and the young son is an expert at piloting the shuttle boat. The Sportsman Inn itself has undergone major renovations and it really is a beautiful facility with fine dining, pub, marine chandlery, dockside bar, spa and beautiful rooms. We will do a separate article on the Sportsman Inn new Spa.
There are also several other marinas to dock at and get services in Killarney ... the most noteworthy is Killarney Mountain Lodge which has a sprawling historic property with marine facilities. Killarney Mountain Lodge caters to boaters but also land based tourism visitors - many who come for package tours for outdoor adventure in the LaCloche Mountains and Killarney Provincial Park. The lodges octagon lounge bar is a must see and the ambiance will take you back to the sixties. For a small town, Killarney is fortunate to have two large accommodation facilities and several other smaller accommodators including bed & breakfasts. It is a short season though - after Thanksgiving in this town only the locals remain and the town slips into a period of sleepy hibernation over the winter months.
In Killarney everyone has to have one meal at Herbert Fisheries where you can pick up fresh fish or cooked fish from their school bus famous for it's fresh fish dinners. Every morning the commercial fishing boat goes out at 5 am to fish and bring back the days catch. We had dinner on their dockside picnic tables one night and picked up one of their cool Fisheries T shirts.
We liked Killarney so much we stayed over an extra day. Skyline Marina's Jay Sproule hosted a wonderful reception at the Sportsman Inn new dining room and after feasting on delicious hors d oeuvres we had dinner there and my steak with peppercorn demi glaze was delicious. One thing for sure you won't starve in Killarney there are plenty of good places to dine.
On our second day in Kilarney we went by dingy to Covered Portage anchorage and hiked up the LaCloche Mountains for an hour to get beautiful views of the bay looking towards Killarney. There are many trails so be forewarned you should leave some kind of marking system as you navigate your way through the mountains. Killarney museum was one of our other stops and the town is worth a tour (we will do a separate article on the Town Of Killarney).
On Friday the 21st we reluctantly said goodbye and left Killarney offshore and headed down through the Pointe Au Baril inlet all the way down to the Port Rawson anchorage. Port Rawson anchorage is a large anchorage and there were several rafts with boats also swinging free in the centre of the anchorage. We explored by dingy and relaxed. Some dingied over to the Moon River falls. We had great time relaxing at the anchorage and were wishing we didn’t have to go back to the rat race so soon.
On Sunday the 22nd we pulled anchor and headed for our home port at Wye Heritage in Midland. Thanks to Parkbridge Marinas Ken McDonald and his volunteers for making this annual event a great success!
Heading up small craft channel
Enjoying the sun
Raft at Killbear Park
Sunset at Killbear Park
Leaving Pointe Au Baril
Bustard Islands anchorage
Master chef BBQ Bustards
Rafting in Bustards
Bustard dingy water fight
Bustard lighthouse tour
View from lighthouse
Fun in bustards
Sportsmans Inn Killarney
Herbert Fisheries Killarney
Killarney Mountain Lodge lounge
Sportsmans Inn boat in theatre
Sailboat passing Killarney harbour
Covered Bay Portage anchorage
View from LaCloche Mountains
The closest we ever got to rain
Port Rawson sailboats
Relaxing Port Rawson
Port Rawson raft
Scenery along the way
PARADISE FOUND - Killarney Mountain Lodge Excursions
You've seen lots of beautiful places in the world right? Well feast your eyes on Killarney as a destination vacation you'll not soon forget. Whether you arrive by car, float plane or boat, there are few places in the world as beautiful as the Killarney wilderness surrounding Killarney harbour. Killarney Mountain Lodge prides itself in offering exceptional packages both on the water and on land in the mountainous wilderness regions of Killarney.
Killarney Mountain Lodge was originally built in 1950's as a private facility with boat and float plane access only. In 1962 the first road came to Killarney and new owners Maury and Annabelle East opened the lodge to the public. Fast forward to 2010 and Maury along with his well trained staff are still busy docking, accommodating and touring people who come from all over the world to visit Killarney.
Now lets say you're yacht cruising Georgian Bay and the North Channel and you plan to stop at Killarney to overnight on your way north or south. That would be a mistake - because one night is just not enough. In Killarney you need to stop and smell the roses and that means you're taking some Lodge excursions both on the water and into the mountains. You have to do this because you only live once and this is as good as it gets for remote beauty. The Lodge offers day trips, outpost retreat camp and shorter guided hiking excursions. There are many different excursion options and you should check out the Guided Trips section of their web site www.killarney.com. The way to do this properly is bring the boat in for a week and book a number of excursions and get a real backcountry Georgian Bay wilderness experience. This just isn't any area to hike around the forest ... this is "drop dead beautiful ... I think I died and went to heaven" top ten bucket list kind of stuff.
New this year at Killarney Mountain Lodge is an afternoon motor cruise through the "inside passage" to Collins Inlet and the Fox Islands. Known only to the locals this intricate route snakes through a maze of channels, coves, islets and rocks awash in waters so clear that both yachtsman and landlubbers alike will be astonished. This is a photographers' dream and serious cruisers will enjoy it too, because you wouldn't want to navigate your own boat on this route.
If you want something solid under foot there are plenty of mountain wilderness guided excursions with breath taking views and there are once in a lifetime experiences like elegant dining on a pristine island in the Philip Edward archipelago bordered by windswept pines with an island view surrounded by crystal blue turquoise water. Enough said ... a picture says a thousand words so take a look at some of these pictures supplied by Killarney Mountain Lodge and one of Canada's leading outdoor photographers' - Rob Stimpson.
Killarney is a beautiful 1654 square km municipality located in the North-Eastern corner of Georgian Bay (south of Manitoulin Island) that includes the Town of Killarney and the ghost towns of French River and Key Harbour. The Killarney town was first settled in 1820 to be established as a fur trading post by a French Canadian named Etienne Augustin de Lamorandiere. It was originally named Shebahonaning in Ojibwe meaning "canoe passage".
For its first century as a town, Killarney relied mainly on water transportation along Georgian Bay and the North Channel for access. The tradition of boating has continued in the area, as it is one of the most popular boater destinations in Ontario. In 1951 electricity came to town. It was in 1962 that Highway 637 was built from Hwy 69 out to Killarney. This has opened the town up to much more travel and tourism from visitors, and has lead the tourism industry to be the main economic driver for the town. Killarney is also home to the Killarney Provincial Park, which brings many tourists to the area. It is a very popular destination for nature walks and wilderness observation in the 3.5 billion year old LaCloche Mountains. The LaCloche range is at the highest altitude in Ontario and it is believed that they once stood higher than the Rocky Mountains. The Killarney town has a gorgeous setting on a harbour cut from Georgian Bay and provides tourists and locals alike with a unique destination, making it one of the most popular vacation spots on Georgian Bay. Killarney municipality has a population of 505 residents in 400 dwellings.
Killarney is a boaters town and as the gateway to the North Channels prime cruising grounds, the town gets visits from boats from all over the world. More than 50% of the boats are from USA destinations. It is a logical stop for yachts heading north to refuel and pump out as part of their journey to and from the North Channel. The town also has commercial marine services including Herbert Fisheries small fleet. It is a busy port and a fascinating place to dock and watch the steady flow of boat traffic coming through the harbour.
The town has a traditional maritime flavour and is a joy to explore for an afternoon or more. Many of the buildings have historical perspective and stories to tell. During the summer months the town booms and in the off season it settles back to a very quiet pace. Killarney is home to two major seasonal accommodation properties - Sportsmans Inn and Killarney Mountain Lodge. Both offer marine services and docking. The Sportsman Inn was recently renovated and improved including a lovely Georgian Dining room and spa and is a beautiful well run property. The Killarney Mountain Lodge will take you back to the traditional lodge settings of the 60's and has a large comfortable dining room and a very unique octagon lounge bar. The lodge offers many packages by water and land including remote hiking tours to the LaCloche Mountains, island picnics and both sail and power boat trips to Georgian Bay destinations. There are also other smaller accommodation properties in town including bed and breakfasts.
We always joke about Killarney time as most stores do not open until 11 am. There are no box stores or franchises in Killarney. But you will find some great shops in town including an Pitfields old general store, Herbert Fisheries & school bus that serves up fresh Georgian Bay fish caught daily, Paul Simon Fine Art Photography www.paulsimonphotography.com who does very beautiful framed photos on canvas of Georgian Bay scenes including the town of Killarney. You will see some of Paul's work at various town locations. There is a great bakery in town that has butter tarts to die for and a store that specializes in Manitoulin Island food products www.hawberryfarms.com including the famous Hawberry jams and hot sauces. They have ice cream cones btw that I can say from experience are really nice on hot summer days. Need charts or marine parts? - try Gateway Marine & Storage. Everything is easy to get to on the main street including the beautiful stone Catholic church. Just across the channel beside the Sportsmans Inns cross channel docks on George Island is a Lourdes grotto shrine. This shrine was inspired by 1858 visions of the Virgin Mary experienced by Bernadette Soubiroux of Lourdes France and in 1947 a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes was transported to the site. There is also a nice little museum in town that boasts much local history - open every day but Wednesday in peak season.
If you are a boater and you haven't sailed into Killarney yet ... it should be on your bucket list of to do's. We had a fabulous time and will be back again for sure.
The Pines Inn
Bakery & Gateway Marine
Pitfield General Store
Killarney Mtn. Lodge bar
Killarney Mtn. Lodge chandlery
Famous Hawberry jelly
Sportsmans Inn spa
CANADA DAY 2012
The weather was perfect for the Canada Day long weekend. As usual boaters were celebrating at anchor in their favorite harbour somewhere on Georgian Bay. From our anchorage we had an excellent view of the many rafted boats and the comings and goings in the anchorage. Sunday night some good hearted boaters tendered over to an exposed point and put on a spectacular fireworks display. This of course triggered an eruption of horn salutes.
Someone got bit by a large snapping turtle dangling their digits and a couple of guys netted it and moved it safely out of the harbour to a more remote location. The interesting thing about snapping turtles is they generally will avoid humans in the water unless you are wiggling fingers, toes or other precious body appendages that dangle. Skinny dippers be forewarned ... don't tempt a big old snapping turtle.
In the mean time one group of boaters had the patio lantern lights and Canadian flags strung along the beach and their theme was 50's & 60's rock ... I think. Sunny and Lori dropped by on their Sea Doo to say hello with Sunny sporting a red Canada cowboy hat and the beautiful Lori showing off her very nice Canadian maple leaf tattoo all in celebration of Canada's special day. Sunny and Lori hail from Brandy Island Marina and Sunny is known by many as the Mayor of Honey Harbour. Personally I think Lori should run for the position of Admiral of Honey Harbour and I could be her campaign manager. Anyways ... folks had a great time and were very respectful of each other and by midnight things were all quiet on the home front after an exciting day in the harbour. Below is a sampling of pictures (Sunny is the one with the red hat and Lori is the good looking one in the white bikini).
CPS BOATING COURSES
CPS, or Canadian Power and Sail Squadron, programs are designed to help leisure boaters (both power and sail) to improve their boating skills and boating safety knowledge. You can learn navigational skills as well as how to handle boats of different sizes. The CPS programs are made available to anyone who wishes to participate, the classes are available in class rooms or online for those who cannot make the trip in.
One of the most important skills to have while piloting a boat is navigation. It can be easy to get lost on the water if you are far enough out to not see shore, so it is imperative to know how to properly use your charts or plotter to navigate the waters. The CPS program for navigation takes place over 8-10 weeks, with classes happening on only one night per week.
When you are out on the water there is often very low cell signal, and your only lifeline to the mainland is your VHF marine radio. To properly use your VHF radio, you must have a Restricted Operator’s Certificate (Maritime), otherwise you can be fined. CPS has a program designed to prepare boaters for the ROC(M) exam. This course goes over the basics for marine radio, like operating techniques, frequency choices, VHF radios, phonetic alphabet, procedural words and phrases among other skills. The prep course is one day only, lasting 8 hours.
When out boating, weather plays a key part in any trip. A trip can easily be ruined by bad weather; even worse, bad weather may leave you stranded or out on control of your boat. Having knowledge of the weather and how to properly read meteorologist's forecasts is an important boating proficiency to have. CPS offers a program to help boaters prepare boat trips around weather events and how to properly navigate if ever caught in an unpleasant storm. The Fundamentals of Weather course takes place over 8 weeks, and is only one night per week.
Piloting a boat can be a difficult task. Momentum can keep a boat moving forward in the water with very little directional control making docking difficult. Knowing how to properly pilot through waves and navigate narrow rock channels also takes some skill, and can be quite hazardous. To help prepare a boat owner's seamanship, the CPS offers a course over 10-12 weeks, one night per week.
Taking an extended cruise is one of the main goals of most skippers. Leaving for weeks at a time to live on your boat and travel around the waters. Although this is a fantastic experience, it can also be a dangerous one. There is a lot of planning required for trips such as these, as well as required skills. What if the engine breaks down out at sea? What if the weather takes a sudden turn for the worse? The CPS Extended Cruising course teaches you how to prepare for these situations, to make sure that you can handle any situation, and most importantly enjoy your cruise without worry. The course is 9-10 weeks long, with classes one night per week.
Navigating GPS and digital charts is an important step in driving a boat. Knowing how to properly use these instruments is crucial when out on the water. Chart programs can now be found on many different smart devices, such as tablets, laptops and smartphones. Because of this, boaters need to be capable in the use of charts, so that they may have the ability to use them on all different platforms. The CPS offers a program for GPS and chart reading, teaching how to view charts in many different forms. The course runs for 6-8 weeks, and runs only one night per week.
The CPS programs are designed to help boaters and prepare them for any and all scenarios when they are out on the water. From basic boating techniques to more advanced and specific training, these courses could prove to be very useful to all boaters. For more information, please visit their website at www.cpsboat.ca
LIFEJACKET SURVEY SAYS ...
Our survey to date shows 60% of respondents do not wear their lifejacket on their boat all the time. 40% sometimes wear their lifejacket on the boat ... and no one never wears their lifejacket on a boat. 80% said that their boat size is a factor in whether they wear a lifejacket on board or not. This is about what we expected, as many of our viewers are on bigger cruising boats and frankly unless you are moving around exposed decks in rough weather, there are not many that want to wear a lifejacket sitting up on the bridge or socializing in the cockpit. Yes most of us are guilty as charged. Interesting that not one person who participated in the survey has ever had someone accidently fall off their boat.
Once again Midland had a full house for the Party on Docks June 15th event. The event is sponsored by the Minden Rotary Club in support of special community causes. Most of the workers at the event are volunteers.
This was our first time at the event and when we showed up at opening time it looked pretty dead. We went out for some appetizers at the Riv Bistro and returned around 9 pm. Northern Harbour, the Jimmy Buffet clone band that anchors the event every year was playing and the place was jammed and rocking. What a difference an hour makes. It was a sea of people - probably a couple of thousand on the docks anyways. Very well run and well staffed. Loved the band and the vibe. Everyone had a good time dancing the night away. Food was good and bar was was packed. You have to like crowds to be there though ... as people moving around and dancing are sloshing drinks all over the place.
Getting a cab back to the marina from the Central Taxi company just up the street was a bad experience. The dispatcher took names in order for the crowd to take their turn, but many drunk young people just pushed through and jumped into cabs as they arrived - and the dispatcher wouldn't do anything about it. After a half hour of chaos he just said there is no list anymore and it turned into a free for all ... nasty situation. I observed a inebriated young teen trying to take over a cab from a couple with a baby that had waited their turn and were already in the back seat of the cab while she was trying to force her way by Dad into the front seat. Gutless cab drivers in the mean time are saying nothing and they don't respect the list either and just let the aggressors pile on in. I was embarrassed as a Canadian to see this boorish behavior and I hope that there were no out of country tourists in the crowd that experienced this. MIDLAND CENTRAL TAXI totally DROPPED THE BALL and it was pure luck that no one was injured. Town of Midland should be pulling their cab license in my opinion. Next year Midland police could serve the community well by sending a few cops up the road to the cab stand to keep law and order when the event ends. Otherwise a great event and we will be back.
GEORGIAN BAY WRECKS AND LIGHTHOUSES
Georgian Bay is well known for its unparalleled beauty on top of the water… but what about under the water? There are a vast number of amazing shipwrecks to be explored underneath the clear waters of Georgian Bay. These wrecks present unique and spectacular diving adventures for beginner to expert divers. There are many dive shops around Georgian Bay to facilitate beginner dive trips to help people learn the ropes, and to guide more advanced divers and show them new wrecks to explore. These wrecks in Georgian Bay are one of the many features that make it such a desirable cruising destination. Another beautiful feature that people come to see in Georgian Bay is the light houses. The lighthouses have served as shoreline navigation reference points for many years, and now attract visitors from all over North America. Visitors come to see the fantastic scenery of the lighthouses, whether it is a local out for a boat ride, or Loopers making their way through the Great Loop, it is impossible to not marvel at the sheer splendour of the lighthouses on islands and along the shoreline.
Georgian Bay Wrecks is a company that makes maps highlighting wrecks and lighthouses in the Georgian Bay area. They have separate maps for different areas of Georgian Bay, and offer not only the location of wrecks and lighthouses, but also information giving a background and historical relevance of the destinations. For more information and to see where you can purchase these maps, please visit their webpage at: www.georgianbaywrecks.ca.
FEDS TURN OVER MIDLAND DOCK LANDS TO TOWN
It's official - in short ceremony at the Midland Harbour docks on June 9th 2012 Mayor Gordon McKay announced that the Canadian Federal Government has turned over the responsibility of Midland Harbour to the Town of Midland. It doesn't change anything in the short run but it does give the Town of Midland autonomy over it's future use of the Harbour area.The ceremony was also attended by Garfield Dunlop MPP for Simcoe North. The announcement was tied into the "shakedown" cruise of the arrival of the replica British HMS Badger which sailed from Penetanguishene to Midland to draw attention to the upcoming War of 1812 Georgian Bay Bicentennial celebrations. The Badger and reenacting shore troops exchanged cannon fire before the vessel landed at the docks accompanied by bagpipers. Huronia Museum opens it's War of 1812 exhibit on June 22nd at 7 pm.
MIDLAND OPENS NEW CULTURAL CENTRE
Downtown Midland has a new building on the corner of Kin & Elizabeth streets. The new Cultural Centre officially opened the morning of June 9th/2012 with a program of music, speeches, tours and art exhibits. Well known Architect Howard Rideout did a beautiful job on the building and it really is a showpiece featuring theatre, gift shop, multiple galleries, restaurant and generous public gathering space. The building was made possible by a 7 million dollar donation from local industry entrepreneur Reinhart Weber (Weber Foundation).
What does this have to do with Boating on Georgian Bay? The centre is walking distance from the town marina and it's a great place to spend a few hours viewing the works of local artists including various depictions of Georgian Bay. They have a full agenda planned for concerts and theatre. Huronia Players will call it home, as will Quest Art School & Gallery. Food services will be provided by Chef Ivars Rasa and will focus on local food and Ontario wines.
FUEL PRICE SURVEY SAYS
Boating Georgian Bay conducted a survey on the affects of fuel prices on boating and here are the results.
Apparently sailors are not concerned at all by fuel prices as not one single sailor responded – all power boaters!
Will rising fuel prices mean less cruising on your boat?
Not sure 15.4%
How many days do you cruise away from your home marina in a boating season?
0 –7 days 7.7%
7-14 days 15.4%
14 – 21 days 15.4%
Over 30 days 53.8%
Live Aboard 7.7%
Do you choose your marina stops based on fuel price?
Would you sell your boat if fuel gets too expensive?
Yes if any higher than current price 7.0%
Yes if more than 25% higher 8.0%
Yes if more than 50% higher 7.5%
Yes if it doubled in price 23.1%
No fuel cost is not a big concern 52.4%
DORAL MARINE INTERNATIONAL FILES NOTICE UNDER BANKRUPTCY ACT
Doral Marine International of Grand-Mere Quebec has filed a notice of intention to it's creditors April 24th/2012 via trustee Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton in Montreal. The company is not yet bankrupt, but seeks offers for the purchase of the assets or investment during a 30 day window. Doral Marine International may have up to six months to make an offer to it's creditors which if accepted could allow the company to survive.
Doral's Grand-Mere plant has been shut down for the past month. According to Jean Gagnon a Partner at the trustee firm "There are boats on the line but no work is being done right now. There were some open orders but we haven't spoken to the clients yet". Doral Marine International owes creditors more than $5.4 million dollars.
The company also filed for bankruptcy protection in the fall of 2009 and it was subsequently purchased by Montreal area businessman Denis Poliseno in June 2010. Poliseno bought Doral Boats from Erwin Zecha in 2010, who at that time also owned Wye Heritage Marina near Midland. Wye Heritage Marina was recently bought by Parkbridge Marinas who successfully run many marinas and recreational properties across Canada. Poliseno Marine was also Doral Boats largest Canadian dealer when Poliseno bought the boat manufacturer under notice from Zecha in 2010. Doral Marine International produces boats from 23' to 51' in length and and at one time had a plant in Midland Ontario prior to moving the entire production process to Quebec. It is thought that about 60 staff may be affected while the boat manufacturer is shut down.
2012 PARKBRIDGE MARINAS RENDEZVOUS
The Parkbridge Marina group including Bay Moorings Marina, Bay Port marina, Beacon Bay Marina, Bridge Port Marina and the recently acquired Wye Heritage Marina will all be participating in one of the biggest yacht rendezvous on Georgian Bay. Parkbridge offers both power and sail events and have a limit of 50 boats for each. Last season, Parkbridge even had cold craft beer and hot pizza flown in by float plane to an island anchorage for an evening meal. How will they top that this year? See how Parkbridge plans to run their large scale rendevous in the video attached.
PARKS CANADA STAFF GET LAYOFF NOTICES
1689 Parks Canada staff have been notified of job cuts as part of an overall plan to cut 19,000 government jobs to save 5.2 billion dollars. 600 of the Parks Canada jobs will be eliminated entirely and there will be no one doing those specific jobs any longer. Some of the job cuts include staff on the 386 kilometer Trent Canal System. Even engineering staff that control water levels from feeder lake sources are affected.
Hours on the Trent Canal System are under study and will change but the Trent system will still reopen May 20th/2012. Hours of operation on the Trent have only been cut back by one hour daily in 25 years ... although boat traffic has dropped by 1/3 during that period. Businesses along the Trent are concerned by the impact this may have, although it is not certain what the shortened hours will mean. It has been suggested that in 2012 the Trent system may close down one month earlier than normal. In 2013 it has been suggested it would run an 8 week shorter season overall. Normally the locks stay open until a few days after the Canadian Thanksgiving. In general the concept is to shift canal hours to those "periods of the highest requirements". Fees boaters pay to use the Trent Canal locks have been frozen for the last four years. House boat operators and cruise companies are estimating that their businesses could decline 60% with the hours and closing dates trimmed back.
At this time it is not known how Parks Canada staff might be affected in Georgian Bay but it is safe to assume there will be cutbacks there as well – however nothing likely that could affect cruisers who anchor or dock at Park Islands with the assumption that onshore garbage pickup services would continue at landings.
WAR OF 1812 AFFECT ON GEORGIAN BAY
Many readers may be aware of some of the War of 1812 Bi Centennial events and celebrations ramping up for the summer season. Certainly there is an entirely different perspective from a historical point of view from American sources vs. Canadian/British sources. Most Canadians believe the war was won by the British because the US objective of annexing was Canada not achieved and their efforts thwarted. Many US historians believe it was a draw with no losses or gains. Some say it was never the US intent to annex Canada and that other objectives, related to control of aboriginal interests were met. Many US academics do accept that Canada at the very least emerged stronger from the event to the point that it provided the footing for what would become the Canadian nation. Some would go so far as to say that yes Canada did clearly win the war. It seems in general the the US consensus evolved right after the war that the Canadians would join the US at some point on their own accord and it was no longer possible to take Canada by force of arms.
One thing is clear, that the War of 1812 shaped the area and was a major influence on how history unfolded and the area developed. In fact if the outcome were different and the British, aboriginals & settlers had not secured what would become Canada from the US advances ... or simply if the War of 1812 had never happened, the Georgian Bay area would have evolved in a very different manner both geographically and economically. This video puts some perspective on the 200 year bicentennial and it talks about some of the projects that are going on in remembrance of this window in time that defined the history of Canada. CLICK HERE to view the video.
WATER LEVEL REPORT ADVISES - TAKE NO ACTION
A Canadian/USA advisory group reporting on Great Lakes water levels with particular concern for Lake Huron & Georgian Bay levels has recommended no action be taken by use of major engineering projects to manage water flow. Dams and other structures have been under consideration on the St Clair River. The $14.6 million dollar study suggest costs (up to $130 million) and potential environmental damage from such ventures would make such projects to manage water flow prohibitive. The five year study involved 200 engineers and scientists from both sides of the border. In the end the recommendation was to leave mother nature alone to do her thing, and allow water levels to rise and fall, as they do with natural fluctuations.These recommendations were submitted to the International Joint Commission which advises both USA and Canadian governments on Great Lakes issues.
The study group considered the implications of raising the water levels in Lake Huron/Georgian Bay by means of structures in the St Clair River to offset past natural and human related erosion changes, and although technically feasible, with positive wetland affects in Georgian Bay, the offset would be adverse to the spawning habitat of the Lake Sturgeon, which is an endangered species. It would also have a negative impact on the Lake St Clair fisheries. Furthermore man made measures would most likely increase extreme high water situations at unpredictable fashion that could cause widespread flooding during peak water years. Here is a link to some useful research on Great Lakes water levels http://greatlakeswetlands.ca/learn/wetland-inventories/
SKYLINE MARINA ANNOUNCES MERIDIAN YACHTS ADDITION
Skyline Marina has announced that they will be adding Meridian Yachts to their lineup along with their existing Sea Ray and Hatteras. Meridian is manufactured by Brunswick Group and is a leader in the sedan bridge segment of the boat market. The Meridian lineup consists of 341, 391, 441 and 541 sedan bridge models. Meridians are known for their spaciousness and European styling. All models have available joystick pod docking. The 341, 391, 441 come standard with patented "Total Command" joystick technology and the 441 and 541 can be optioned with Zeus Pod Drive systems.
Skyline has already sold their first Meridian and has new 2013 models inbound to the showroom. Skyline will provide an open house on April 14th & 15th at their Orillia facility to view their new product line. Call for more info (705) 327 2002
UNITED STATES NEW SMALL VESSEL REPORTING SYSTEM
US customs and border patrol have just recently launched a new reporting system for vessels entering US jurisdiction. This new system is being called Small Vessel Reporting System, and is being used to make the process of entering the USA via boat a much more efficient process. The new system is free to sign up for, though registration does require a face to face interview. This interview may be avoided if you are already a member of some existing CBP programs, such as; Local Boater Option Program, Trusted Traveler Program (Nexus), or a Canadian Border Boat Landing Permit. What this means is that before going on a boating trip where you will either enter or re-enter the United States, you will be able to register a “float plan” online, and instead of having to have a face to face interview with a CBP official, they will only have to have an interview over the phone, and you will then be clear to enter the States. Currently the system is being implemented across the US/Canada border and as well along southern borders and ports. The program will be in effect nationwide within months.
2012 MIAMI BOAT SHOW REPORT
Well first I must say that we arrived in Miami on a record weather day with the temperatures rising to the 90's F and boy did that feel good coming down from Ontario. Doing the southern boat shows in the winter is a treat and once again we stayed at the W Resort Hotel in South Beach Miami right on the ocean and about a 10 minute walk to the main show convention centre. We spent most of a day in and about the convention centre and there was lots of interesting new products and boats for the most part under 40' at the centre and outside the Convention building. Traffic was moderate but certainly lighter than last year at the Convention Centre. It was easy to get onto boats with no wait times.
We took the air conditioned shuttle bus to the MiaMarina in water power boat portion of the show (at the Marriot Hotel on the inter-coastal waterway) and I must say for a Saturday afternoon the crowds were very light - almost shockingly light ... as if something had scared them away. We talked to a few vendors there and they too conveyed that the show was lightly attended in comparison to the past few years. We don't have the Miami show official final numbers but it's fair to say attendance was down. We expected (based on our experience at other shows and previous broker feedback) that attendance would have been up. At the docks themselves, boats were kind of sparse with lots of empty dock space. Easy to get onto any boat though, so that was nice - but I was perplexed and concerned for the marine industry, given the light attendance.
We didn't spend too much time at MiaMarina because frankly there wasn't that much to see and it kind lacked the buzz and excitement we expected - so off we went by air conditioned shuttle to the Miami Yacht & Brokerage Show which is an in water show on Collins Avenue on the island. This show features the bigger yachts and larger yachts being brokered. This show was busy and the docks were crowded. Both gawkers and folks who seemed seriously interested in yachts for sale were cruising the docks. And there was some great deals there on pristine late model low hour used yachts that made me wish I had the cash on hand to jump in. I came to the conclusion that 1/ people are shopping best value larger used yachts that have money ... and 2/ folks want to look at the excess and excitement of luxury yachts and can't be bothered to look at the 30' - 50' boats that they can't afford to buy in any event, during this economic climate.
I talked to a new boat sales rep who also brokers used boats and he was telling me that boat buyers have been divided and the middle class has been somewhat lost. The smaller new runabouts are selling because the bottom line is the investment is relatively small. The large yachts are selling moderately because there are people who are wealthy and have more than a million (or many millions) of disposable income to purchase a new or used yacht. The market that dropped out is in the 30' to 45' range which is traditionally upper middle class territory. They can't give boats away in this range - which might run $300k to a million. That market range has dried up for the most part. Those folks either got whacked economically with real estate and stock market devaluations and feel down financially to lower middle or lower class economics or the lucky few were able to rise above from upper middle to upper class if the doubled up on the markets when they were at the bottom and were if they were not too heavily invested in real estate. Obviously the US got whacked the hardest and Europe will be feeling something very similar soon. That's another observation pointed out to me by several vendors - few Europeans at the show. More South Americans than Europeans. So I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing that may be why the MiaMarina in water portion was so light on traffic. The Annapolis Show last fall was busier I'm guessing because it had a more northern attendance and folks in the north east didn't get hurt as badly as the folks down in sun and sand territory.
I can't fault the organizers as the show was well marketed and well run – just less participation by some manufacturers and the crowds were light. Blame the economy I guess. Anyways, here's some pics and a video clip of the shows.
This just in - according to the released information from the show organizer they are reporting "a stronger show overall than the past several years with the number of exhibitors and boats on display both up 9 percent over 2011". They go on to say that attendance based on concession sales and number of people using the show transportation at the free to the public event was up more than 7 percent.
That's an interesting spin - what about paid ticket sales for the paid parts of the show? Anyways what we saw is what we saw ... and the last Saturday of the show was very lightly attended in comparison to our previous years experience. We love the Miami show because it's right by South Beach and the lack of crowds makes for easy viewing but for this particular show I think it would be a stretch to suggest it is a harbinger of good times ahead for the yachting industry.
PERMANENT BARRIERS TO THWART ASIAN CARP
Whenever there is an invasive species entering a balanced ecosystem, there is inevitably disaster for the current species. This is the situation that is being faced in the Great Lakes ecosystem at the Mississippi river entrance. There is currently an initiative to create a barrier into the Great Lakes from the Mississippi river in an attempt to keep out the invasive population of Asian Carp. These Asian Carp present a great threat to the ecosystem within the Great Lakes and could create a permanent shift in the population of various species already existing in the ecosystem. The invasive species would find a place within the Great Lakes food chain, and be very disruptive. The ecological disruption would not just stop at the Great Lakes either, but continue through to the adjoined St. Lawrence River. It is because of this severe ecological threat that steps are being taken to ensure a long-term solution to the problem of the invasive species and the protection of the current species.
A report has come out from the Great Lakes Commissions and the Great lakes and St Lawrence Cities Initiative that outlines the strategy of creating a permanent physical barrier between the Mississippi River basin and the Great Lakes. This barrier is seen as the most efficient long term solution, having the greatest overall effect of keeping the invasive species out, while maintaining a small ecological footprint.
The barrier will still allow access for shipment carriers and small craft boats, using different systems such as lifts to move the smaller boats from one side to the other. The bigger craft will be unloaded at the barrier and reloaded to another craft on the opposite side of the barrier, where the cargo will continue its journey. The action plan does not take effect immediately, but will be taking place over the next few decades. There are plans to have a barrier with limited transport for 2022, with the barrier being fully operational by 2029.
SAVE OUR LIGHTHOUSES!
There is a fascinating rich history that embodies the generations that have fallen in love with local lighthouses. Georgian Bay has more than a few historic lighthouses that are threatened. The history of the lighthouse keepers is just as riveting as the lighthouses themselves (read book review Alone In The Night below). In fact if you start searching around the stories that revolve around the operation of many lighthouses is so strange and under the most extreme conditions that almost every lighthouse on an island in Georgian Bay could be it's own blockbuster movie – murder, mayhem, politics, shipwrecks, history, lives saved, lives lost, mystery, deception and the ravages of mother nature all rolled together. Some of the stories are to weird to be true – but most are true!
Georgian Bay has a number of historic lighthouses that are threatened and so does the rest of Canada. They are among the most important historical structures that we have, and they are essential to understanding the culture and realities of the harsh living conditions and remoteness that settled many communities around the lakes, bays and oceans of Canada. We have to do something to preserve these monuments of a different time.
2012 TORONTO BOAT SHOW SALES & ATTENDANCE UP
Well that's a wrap for the 54th annual 2012 Toronto International Boat Show. The official final attendance for this show was 76,253 - up 5% from 2011. Over 550 exhibitors were represented at the show. The show featured the worlds largest indoor lake and had hourly programing like wakeboard show's, powerboat handling and free boat rides. The show also offered over 140 seminars that attendees could take advantage of. We attended the Americas Great Loop presentation and it was very interesting and well received.
Most vendors report that in booth sales were up from last year and the general consensus is that consumers were positive and confident this year. Several exhibitors had commented that this was the best show in 25 years. "There's been considerable pent-up demand for our products as people determined how to deal with the economy over the last couple of years, and I think we're seeing new sales now as a result" says Rai Mannu Eastern Ontario District Sales Manager for Yamaha Canada. We talked to the crew at Skyline – Sea Ray's largest Canadian Dealer, and they were so busy on the weekends that it was hard to separate the tire kickers from the qualified potential purchasers. During the weekdays things were calmer, and serious boat shoppers could spend quality time with sales agents.
Recreational boating in Canada is a 26 billion dollar business and half of that money generated into the economy comes from Ontario. It is estimated that $80 million gets generated as a result of the Toronto International Boat Show. In any event, it's nice to see that the boat business seems to be back on track and moving in the right direction. Mark your calendar for next years show January 12th - 20th, 2013.
MEET THE SAMWAYS
The Samway family are AGLCA member "Loopers" based out of Miami Florida. The Samway family cruised the Bahamas down as far as Exuma Islands and then returned to Florida to begin their adventure around the loop aboard their 48' Kaddy-Krogen North Sea Trawler. What makes the years journey in 2011 somewhat unique is the learning experiences along the way for the kids – 13 year old Keenan and 11 year old Daria. Dad - Michael and Mother - Jennifer gave the kids a lifetime of experiences on the water ... and some very interesting on land adventures along the way as well. Jennifer contrived and served many vegetarian recipes during the cruise that look good enough to convert almost anyone away from meat. Keenan focused on photography and has an excellent gallery on the website. Daria pursued her interest in making beautiful jewelry and the family has written one of the most detailed blogs with pics pertaining to the Great Loop Adventure that I have ever laid eyes on. Their Blog web site is at www.samwayadventure.com ... and an excellent blog it is for anyone already on the loop or contemplating the adventure. The kids were home schooled along the way but of course no classroom could provide the knowledge that these kids would absorb along the way. They spent a good part of August 2011 in Georgian Bay and the North Channel and like most they really enjoyed the rugged beauty of the area.
One of my regrets is that we did not not undertake a similar adventure with our own kids before they went off to university and grew up to be adults. There are many life lessons that may help to form a child's character while cruising - certainly attributes like a sense of curiosity, self dependence, seeing variations in lifestyle & geography, helping other people, sharing experiences with others, increased awareness of mother nature and perhaps even a dose of bravery all come to mind. For any family contemplating long term cruising with their children the Samway Blog is a must read. In fact the quality of Blog's writing is so eloquent and comfortable to read that once you start into the blog, it's hard to stop. If your not convinced that taking a year or two out of your busy lives and traveling by boat with children is a good idea, then read this blog and you will be converted. Congrats to the Samway family in completing the loop and thanks for sharing your experiences with other Loopers and on the water adventurers.
AT THE OJIBWAY - BOOK REVIEW
At The Ojibway – "100 Summers on Georgian Bay" is a magnificent account of the 42 acre island based Ojibway Resort near Pointe Au Baril that opened it's doors June 1906. The resort was the vision of Hamilton Davis a railway agent from Rochester, New York. Davis at 38 years of age, purchased the island in 1903 for $5. The theme of the resort had it's inspiration from the popular Henry Longfellow book "The Songs of Hiawatha" and there was a true native cultural interest in the USA, coupled with the need to get away from the busy industrialized cities in the north east and southern Ontario.
Rustic holidays came fully into fashion and Davis seized the opportunity by investing his own capital along with that of other investors he rounded up. It was a huge success and upper middle class folks came by train and then steamer to the island where they would spend the summer fishing, socializing and relaxing in the beauty of Georgian Bay.
Famous Canadian artist Lawren Harris was a guest in the 30's. As the summer ended in 1939 Canada joined in with Britain to fight World War 2. Rationing coupons were required by the Objibway to purchase food staples and gas at Pointe Au Baril. In 1942, at 78 years of age Davis retired and his wife's nephew took over management of the resort hotel. In 1943, to preserve the hotel, shares were sold to local island families who raised the money to purchase the hotel and hired various managers over the years to run it. By 1951 it was clear the hotel was a money loser for the investors and they hired a young girl of 21 with a hotel degree from Cornell to operate the property who cleaned the property up. The steamer boat service to the resort ended in 1952 and steamer travel throughout the Great Lakes was winding down at that time. The resort experienced somewhat of a renaissance for a few years, but by the end of the 1950's demographics had shifted so much so that the resort hotel was not viable on it's current path.
Ojibway had remained largely unchanged since it's last major expansion in 1913. In 1959 the resort was incorporated and the shift began from a public resort to a recreation property owned and operated by families who owned islands in the area anxiuos to preserve the hotel as the recreational hub of the islands community. In 1966 the Ojibway stopped taking hotel guests and made the full transition to a recreation centre for Pointe Au Baril's summer community. In 2001 the Ojibway became a registered charity under the Ojibway Historical Preservation Society and $2.6 M was raised and invested in the hotels restoration and preservation. Unlike many historic resort hotels, the buildings are largely preserved as they were and never suffered fires that plagued many of the other resorts of the era. The Ojibway Club achieved full restoration and preservation by 2006 and today remains the hub for area cottagers to gather, socialize and hold events. There are four original resort cottages on the island that can be rented during the summer which include access to the Ojibway Club activities (email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Publisher Nancy Lang and Author David Macfarlane have done a wonderful job collecting old photos and piecing together the history of Ojibway. For anyone who has an interest in Georgian Bay, this book is a must read. It is a testament as to how like minded people can come together in the interest of preserving both buildings and the many emotions and historical happenings that are attached to the Ojibway Island resort property.
WYE HERITAGE MARINA BOUGHT BY PARKBRIDGE
Wye Heritage Marina (formerly Doral Marine Resort) in Midland on Georgian Bay is being purchased by Parkbridge Lifestyle Communities Inc. Parkbridge currently owns a number of other marinas based on Georgian Bay in Midland and Penetanguishene - namely Bayport Yachting Center, Bay Moorings and Beacon Bay.
Wye Heritage is the largest freshwater marina in Canada boasting approx. 1000 slips and hosting both large yachts and small boats ranging from 12 to 70 feet. Parkbridge is familiar with the Wye Heritage operation with staff moves both ways that go back many years. Nearby Parkbridge owned Bayport Yachting Center is of similar size and scope to the Wye Heritage marina property. Parkbridge has invested heavily in it's own marinas and it is anticipated that growth potential could be accelerated with further capitalization of the Wye Heritage property.
Parkbridge, a publically traded company, was purchased through Acquire Co. by British Columbia Investment Management Corporation in 2010 for about $489M. Parkbridge is the owner operator of land lease communities across Canada including marinas, residential communities, cottage & RV resorts.
US LANDOWNERS IN CANADA NOW ABLE TO DONATE CONSERVATION PROPERTY
If you are a boater on Georgian Bay, then you know what a great privilege it is to drop anchor in a secluded cove surrounded by an unspoiled wilderness landscape of windswept pines and sculpted granite landscape. When you see these beautiful undeveloped vacant islands and mainland coves you have to recognize that it's vacant for a reason and being permanently or temporarily protected in some manner:
Private deeded land that has been left undeveloped - there is increasingly less of this every year and in all likelihood it will be developed at some point
First Nations reserve land - which may or may not be developed at some point in time
Federal or Provincial Park lands - which will probably never be developed but may host additional visitor infrastructure over time
Crown Land - will hopefully get converted to Park land over time ... but with no guarantees
Land Trust property that has been donated by deeded land owners to be preserved as conservation land into perpetuity
The Georgian Bay Land Trust www.gblt.org currently manages 28 properties comprising of some 1200 acres. It acquires property mainly by donation but in some instances it will raise money to buy select properties. They are currently working on 76 properties for preservation. For many landowners and the families involved with the property have a multi generational attachment to the land. As families grow and disperse over time it is common that the land owners at some point want to ensure preservation of the property because of their love and attachment to the land and the memories that go with it. That Georgian Bay island or main land acreage may often be the one place on earth over all others that they are grounded to as a family and the place they feel closest to in terms of emotional attachment. They want to see the property live on for many generations just the way they remember it and they want to benefit the flora, fauna and wildlife that were part of their experience with the property.Of course the land donations can also trigger favorable tax treatment and have some financial advantages for the landowner in most cases.
Historically many of the landowners in the Georgian Bay archipelago are US owners. It's just one of those things, that US citizens have been coming to Georgian bay for vacations since the early 1900's and many fall in love with the area and made the move to invest in property. Many of them would come to rustic lodges for the summer season by steamer - after you do that for several seasons you want to own a piece of the Georgian Bay beauty and lifestyle. And chances are friends come to visit and they want the same. Orville Wright was one of those people, however eventually the property left the family. There are many families that couldn't bear the thought of their Georgian Bay property falling into other hands that may over develop the property or have it end up in some future use where the natural surroundings would be disrupted. We think of Georgian Bay as being rugged granite, but everything that takes hold on that granite in unbelievably harsh conditions has to struggle for decades to persevere and survive. It is a very fragile environment in many ways and worth protecting, because there is no where else in the world with the stark beauty and rich history of the Georgian Bay 30,000 Islands.
Recently Canada & the USA facilitated the ability for US landowners to donate their land for conservation. It took eleven years to hammer through the red tape. In the past the tax impediments facing US citizens owning Canadian land prevented them from donated it. Canadian conservation agencies like the Georgian Bay Land Trust found foreign ownership to be an obstacle to preserving the land, other than buying the property outright. This is because if a US citizen donated the land to a US charity they paid the accrued Canadian capital gains tax and if they donated it to a Canadian conservation agency they received no US tax deduction.
A US non profit organization was formed called the American Friends of Canadian Land Trusts (AF) www.nsnt.ca/af hosted by leading conservation professionals from both USA and Canada with the mandate to remove tax obstacles for donated land. Americans can now donate Canadian land by conservation easement over that land and donations are US income tax deductible and are also exempt from Canadian capital gains taxes. The American Friends organizations also gets donations from Canadian and US interests that allows them to operate, craft donation agreements through Canadian partners (like Georgian Bay Land Trust) and promote American donation of conservation properties.The land donations are made through the AF to appease the IRS regulations on tax deductions from foreign property. The transaction fee draws about $3500 in legal/admin costs to the US donor or Canadian partner (whoever assumes the cost). It happens in steps 1/ qualification 2/ proposed land conservation agreement and then three project phases 1/ Inquiry & Feasibly Assessment 2/ Due Diligence 3/ Closing . All are involved legal processes that are guided by AF and the Canadian conservation partner. The lands must also be free from risk of mineral development and the partner taking the donation must be determined by the IRS to be a publically supported charity under the Canada – US income tax treaty recognizing that qualified Canadian Charities are equivalent to US organizations in some instances.
So here's why you might donate land or cash to the Foundation or Trust:
you are preserving land and wildlife in it's natural state in a fragile environment
cash donations are tax deductible as a donation
land donations are also tax deductible and attract no capital gains for qualified situations US or Canadian
cash donations allow the trust and foundations to function securing more conservation lands
you cannot depend on government to pick up and secure available unique private lands in the public interest if they become available (although it does happen on occasion when Park lands ajoin)
if you are a boater consider that you are preserving wild places you can anchor at and enjoy unspoiled views
most would get some satisfaction in knowing that that their children or their grand children and great grand children will still have unspoiled places to see when they cruise the Bay
If your donating to other worthy causes ... and Georgian Bay is one of your favorite places, consider donating to the Georgian Bay Land Trust. Every bit helps. Boating Georgian Bay will be adding GB Land Trust to the organizations it donates to this year.
MARINA FIRE PORT LAMBTON
A marina fire in a large storage facility near Sarnia claimed 75 boats including antique and collectable boats. There were also some antique cars stored in the building. The fire broke out around 7 am December 20th and by 10 am the building was fully engulfed by flames. Millions of dollars in damage is reported.
CLICK HERE to view a video of the fire. It is reported that the smoke was toxic from the burning fiberglass and fuel and area residents were warned to stay away from the drifting smoke. To our knowledge no one was injured but it will be a sad Christmas for many boat owners.
2012 GEORGIAN BAY TUGFEST
Boating Georgian Bay is pleased to announce it's Gold level sponsorship of the Georgian Bay Tug Fest.
Georgian Bay TugFest is a maritime tugboat festival that is held once a year in different coastal towns on Georgian Bay. The event assembles various workboats throughout the Great Lakes to join and compete in a parade to generate support for local charities. The festival provides locals and tourists with a large variety of fun filled activities including the tug boat parade, a tug run, pancake breakfasts, a parade of lights as well as a TugFest dinner event. This annual event attracts thousands of visitors to the Georgian Bay area and has proven to be unmatched by any other event in its ability to produce such large numbers of historic and remarkably unique boats. The most recent TugFest in Parry Sound, Ontario was a huge success with over 23 vessels partaking in the event.
ALONE IN THE NIGHT - BOOK REVIEW
Alone In The Night by Lynx Images Inc. documents the history of all the Georgian Bay & Manitoulin lighthouses, past and present. There are fabulous well researched accounts of sinking ships, lighthouse keepers peril, survival and the transition from manned lighthouses to the automatic beacons of today. The isolation and danger of manning a lighthouse becomes apparent in this book. Some keepers went crazy, some hermit and some just loved the isolation and harsh conditions.
Imagine being a Keeper on Lonely Island (referred to as "one big graveyard from one end to the other") – a rock 50 miles from land with direct exposure to Georgian Bay and Lake Huron running in lighthouse service from 1870 to 1986. This was the island that some of the Asia ship sinking victims washed ashore on. It was an Indian burial ground as well and more than one keeper, assistant or family member died there. Populated by hundreds of rattlesnakes, buffeted by storms and documented as a location where mermaids congregate in gale force weather, one would have to question the saneness of Keepers who had to find there way back to the mainland at the end of shipping season in December by small sailboat before they were trapped by ice over the winter months. And this is just one lighthouse story.
Each lighthouse historically and architecturally is well documented along with the mysteries, murder and mayhem that ensued on some lighthouse manned islands. A fascinating read for anyone interested in Georgian Bay or for those that think they have it tough in their own jobs and want to see what the grass (or rock) looks like on the other side. The book can be ordered through your library or purchased at Huronia Museum in Midland.
WIND, WATER, ROCK & SKY – BOOK REVIEW
This is the story of Cognashene area of Georgian Bay. It is a hardcover bound and beautifully illustrated coffee table style book. If you cruise or cottage in the Midland/Penetanguishene area of Georgian Bay you’re going to relate heavily to the documented history, stories, legends and reflections of the area. All historical experiences, lumber industry, tourist visits and human history are tied to specific places you will know well, like Longuissa, Brown Bay, Franceville, Minnicognashene, Arthur Island and many more islands and anchorages.
It is a delight to understand the fascinating history of these areas we take for granted as pristine settings with the odd cottage here and there. In reality there were many cycles affected by economy, wars, trends and resource availability that altered the landscape and inhabitants of the area. You'll learn about the historic ships that plied the area shipping cargo and eventually homesteaders, tourists and cottagers. You'll recognize some of the historic attributes that still remain today like Blarney Castle. Most of all you’ll come to understand some of the ebbs and tides that happened over time and that impacted the area with the only constant being the water and the granite which is steadfastly uninfluenced by man.
The books carefully crafted Forward written by the Hon. William Davis is a wonderful summary and testament to the beauty of the area and the colorful characters who made it their home. My only misgivings in reading the book was a better understanding of how poorly the aboriginals that made the area their home were treated by government in the process of managing land on their behalf and herding them from island to island while taking their ancestral homes away from them in the process with very little reward or adequate compensation.
This is a special book and you'll want to read it at least twice. The Parry Sound Library has a copy or you can search it by ISBN 0-9681895-0-4 There are also some local marine chandleries that have it in Honey Harbour.
JOHN GUIDER GREAT LOOP PHOTOS
Douglas Pohl, Captain of Grey Goose and one of the regular posters on Americas Great Loop Cruising Association forum passed this along.
Photographer John Guider has spent two months a year, for the last three years, following the Great Loop in a small boat he built back in 2009. Guider photographs capture images of the the people, scenery and wildlife he meets along the way. The Rymer Gallery in Nashville Tennessee has many of this images on display in an exhibition titled "View From a Small Boat."
The Show runs through to November 26th.
BIRDS OF GEORGIAN BAY POSTER
Georgian Bay Land Trust has a new full size poster available, highlighting some of the different bird species that call Georgian Bay their home. The new Birds Of Georgian Bay poster complements the existing series of Trees of Georgian Bay & Rocks of Georgian Bay. Any or all of these posters would look great on your wall. They come rolled for $20 or plaqued for $50. These posters make great gifts for those that love Georgian Bay and the revenues go towards preserving unspoiled lands, flora and fauna around the Georgian Bay region. For more information visit their web site at www.gblt.org or give them a call at (416) 440 1519 ext #3 to order.
CRATE'S LAKE COUNTRY BOATS NAMED EXCLUSIVE PURSUIT BOAT DEALER
Crate's Lake Country Boats in Orillia has been named the exclusive dealer for Pursuit boats in Ontario. Pursuit manufactures boats from 20' to 37' and although they are known for rugged offshore fishing boats they also have a line of luxury cruising and sport utility boats. According to Pursuit Regional Sales Manager, Ron Burkdoll they made the decision to team up with Crates Lake Country based on their facilities, service and customer satisfaction history. Crates Lake Country Boats currently has some in stock Pursuit inventory with more 2012 models on their way. More information can be found on www.crateslakecountryboats.com website.
2012 TORONTO INTERNATIONAL BOAT SHOW
Mark your calendar for one of the largest consumer shows in North America. The Toronto International Boat Show runs January 14th through January 22nd, 2012 at the Direct Energy Centre Exhibition Place. This is the granddaddy of shows for the average boater. It doesn't have the mega yachts of Lauderdale or Miami and it isn't even on the water but it has a huge selection of boats and accessories from dinghies up to sixty foot sail and power yachts.
It's a great respite from the harsh winters here in Ontario and it comes at a perfect time to lift your spirits and dream of warm sunny days in an anchorage with all that great boat gear. The show also features an outstanding lineup of free seminar speakers so you can learn from other cruisers experiences or some of the more basic necessities like boat maintenance. Everybody that's in a boat related business is at this show and you really need a few days to cover the show and take it all in. The other great thing about this show is there is always some new innovative boat gear to check out and if you're in the mood to buy, there is no better place to get discount priced gear than this show. Last year I saved about $500 on the new GPS EPIRB and I bought all new lines, new flares, waterproof handheld VHF just to name a few items. I had to buy one of those carts on wheels just to wheel my purchases around for two days of heavy duty shopping. Looking for a new boat? .... most of the brokers are there too.
THE CAPTAINS LOG - BOOK REVIEW
The Captains Log - Diamond Lil Does The Loop is a fairly new book written by Melanie Wood who along with her husband Captain John has done the Great Loop cruise and more aboard their well loved 38' Bayliner Motor Yacht registered in Midland ON. The book provides a very interesting heartfelt unsterilized account of the good times and bad experiences (mostly good) as they leave their home in Keswick to head south and eventually back up north and around the loop via the Trent, Georgian Bay, Michigan, Mississippi River and back to Florida to cross their wake. What makes the book especially interesting is the characters they meet along the way and the emotions of cruising and being away from family for extended periods of time. Reading the book it's easy to imagine yourself in the same situations and fall into their daily adventures and routines.
This book is a must read for those contemplating doing the Great Loop or for that matter anyone who is considering long term cruising as a way of life.
The adventure takes place between September 2005 through Dec 2006 but Mel & John are still out there cruising and the book was just written in 2010/2011 from Roatan - Honduras Bay Islands.
Mel has collected quite a journal of information for this book and if you want to follow their exploits and adventures on the web including their more current cruising destinations like Cuba, Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras & Caribbean, visit her online log at www.mytripjournal.com/melandjohn.
The book hits close to home and brings back memories of our own trip from Simcoe to the Bahamas and back. It sobered me up from dreaming of a cruising retirement ... as long distance cruising is not for the faint of heart and you must be resourceful and resilient in all aspects to make it work. It also takes a great relationship to keep it together on a boat for the period of time that these folks have been cruising. I picked up my copy at a local library but the self published book can be bought online at Amazon.com . We also understand there may be a new book coming in the future that provides details of their other cruising destinations.
NATURALLY OCCURRING BOTULISM KILLS BIRDS
Up to 2,000 waterfowl and some fish have washed ashore primarily in the Wasaga Beach area of Georgian Bay but as far north as Parry Sound. The cause of death has been confirmed to be Type E Botulism. Botulism can occur naturally as part of a cycle and happens from time to time in the fall. There was an outbreak on Lake Erie years ago where 25,000 birds will killed.
Botulism can take hold in lake bottom sediment when a nutrient rich source (like a dead animal) combined with total lack of oxygen and specific water temperature range combine to spawn the harmless spores. When mollusks like mussels filter the sediment they can pick up Botulism and the fish that eat mollusks can spread it through the food chain to birds. Outbreaks are short lived and end once the conditions change that allow Botulism to reproduce spores.
Ontario Ministry Of Natural Resources has indicated that it is safe to eat fresh caught fish as long as they are cooked well. However, until the outbreak ends, pet owners should keep their dogs away from dead birds and fish as they could get sick from eating raw affected game. Dead birds are being removed from shore and homeowners who find a dead bird or fish should bury it or dispose of them in the garbage wrapped in a plastic bag.
RUS BOAT NORTHWEST PASSAGE ORION EXPEDITION
Talk about adventure on the high seas! A home made boat named RUS is circling the globe via the North West Passage. The 25 foot boat made of duct tape and bamboo has four determined Russian sailors onboard.
It left St Petersburg Russia and sailed through the Baltic Sea and across the north Atlantic. It is now crossing from Nunavut to the North West Territories.They are relying on a backup engine for now, but need to repair the main engine to cross the Bering Strait to return to Russia. The journey is to end at Anadyr Russia in November.
LIKE BOATING & FLYING? TRY THIS
So you're a boater and a flyer. Combine the two passions! Click HERE to check it out
ANNAPOLIS POWER BOAT SHOW
While the Annapolis Power Boat Show is much smaller than both the Lauderdale or the Miami boat shows it is certainly a very worthwhile show to attend. In addition to being located in the historic town of Annapolis that is dripping with nautical tradition it is the only large boat show that you can walk out if the show and be right in the heart of the downtown boutique shopping district which is teaming with fine restaurants, many featuring fresh crab, oysters and shrimp. While the show has more dealers representing manufacturers than the actual manufacturers' - and typically not all of anyone manufactured boat line is represented ... it makes up for selection and size with the energy of having all those Chesapeake Bay cruisers in attendance while they wait out hurricane season before heading south to warmer climes.
Make no mistake, this is a busy show and even during the rainy downpours, unusually high tides that flooded some areas and high winds on opening day the show was comfortably crowded and the bars and local eateries near the show were packed. From what I observed attendees were having a blast and unlike many boat shows the vast majority were clearly serious boaters and not just locals looking for a trade show to wander.
It took a full day to wander the show and inspect boats. There was no logical layout
to the show and his contributes to covering the same area multiple times and having some fun doing it. It is also an easy show to get onto boats and the yachts that required appointments were few and far between and for the most part even registration was not required come aboard most boats. The other really nice thing about this show was there was a sense that things were looking up and the bad years of poor sales were behind us and optimism and interest were high. Last but not least, because this show is heavily attended by cruisers on-route, there was a very good selection of serious expedition boats to check out which I really enjoyed like Grand Banks, Marlow, Fleming, Selene, Outer Reef etc. We'll be back again. You should book it for next year - sail or power show or both back to back as they are also great excuses to visit and experience the Chesapeake Bay.
Once Ontario cruisers sadly have put their boat away for the season, there is a place not too far away where the boating season lives on well into November. In October and November cruising yachts from around the world congregate to wait out hurricane season in the Chesapeake before heading south. The Chesapeake Bay area, while home to big cities like Baltimore is also known to be one of the better cruising areas of the world and has many sheltered anchorages and interesting small towns are all around the Bay. One could easily spend a month in the Chesapeake and never visit the same anchorage more than once. We haven't cruised the Bay for many years, so we wanted to go back as tourists to reacquaint ourselves with the area. It is only a two hour flight from Toronto to Baltimore and you can rent a car in Baltimore and get to the best places on the Bay in an hour.
We timed our trip to take in the Annapolis Boat Show. Annapolis hosts a sailboat show followed by a powerboat show - back to back. The shows are well worth attending, but just being in Annapolis is a treat you won't forget. Fabulous nautical history and architecture await and the shopping in the historic downtown is fabulous. Great restaurants are everywhere and you can have your fill of oysters, clams, shrimp and crab for very little cost if you hit the happy hour dining spots (and it's almost always happy hour there). The Naval Academy is in Annapolis so you will see many Navy recruits and officers around town dressed in uniform, spit and polish. Annapolis is a great nautical town and easy to get hooked on.
Across the Bay are some quant tourist/fishing based towns where crabbers and oystermen still ply their trade. It is unusual in this day and age to be able to step back into time and see towns that are comprised almost entirely of historic homes and businesses. St Michaels is one such town that you'll want to visit that has a Maritime Museum and a downtown lined with historic unique shops - most with a nautical flavor. We stayed at anchor in St Michaels harbour with some friends on their beautiful sailboat for a few days and tendered into town to wander around doing some shopping and wine tasting along the way.To see the Museum and the history of the Chesapeake and to take in the town of St Michaels you need at least a day. It helps if you read Michener's Chesapeake novel before you go to give you some perspective on the history and get you in the mood.
Just down the road from St Michaels and a short ferry ride across the creek is Oxford. Oxford is one of those places where time stands still. It hasn't changed much since we last visited by boat thirty years ago. Also, fishing orientated Oxford also features some famous custom boat yards (including Hinckley and Cutts & Case) and the historic residential architecture of the town is spectacular with very little commercial development. Not a lot to do there "if" you are looking for shopping ... but if you want the laid back Chesapeake feel, you'll experience it here. We stopped by the Robert Morris Inn where Michener wrote much of the Chesapeake novel and we enjoyed spicy mussels and excellent crab cakes for lunch. We also dropped into a few of the boat yards where craftsman were restoring or repairing classic boats. It's a quiet town ... but that's just the way folks like it there and you'll love it if you take the time to wander around a bit and soak up the ambiance. To put it into perspective Yachting Magazine readers voted Oxford "Best Town in the World".
Next time your feeling depressed about the boating season ending in Ontario, jump on a plane for a extended weekend visit at the Chesapeake and you’ll come back rejuvenated and wanting to go back again and again.
THE LEGACY OF KITTYHAWK
It was 1903 when Wilbur and Orville Wright conducted the first manned heavier than air power flight at Kitty Hawk North Carolina. Airplane aviation was born and the world would never be the same again.The Wrights had rock star status and were celebrated around the world. Wilbur died in 1912. In 1915 Orville depressed by his brothers death and unhappy with the constant challenges to the Wright's mechanical airplane patents needed salvation and a place to escape work pressures. That place became Lambert Island on Georgian Bay which Orville, his estate after death and Trustee owned between 1916 and 1953.
Most boats that have cruised up to the Bone Island area (originally named Boine Island) to anchor at Browns Bay, Hockey Stick or Longuissa Bay have passed right by Lambert Island ... perhaps not knowing they had crossed the path of history involving Orville Wright.
Professor William Worthner from Orville's hometown of Dayton Ohio vacationed at the Franceville Inn on Georgian Bay and suggested to Orville's sister Katharine that it could be a place for Orville to visit and recuperate from his stressful life. Arrangements were made by Worthner for Orville to vacation at a Wawbec island cottage/camp in 1916 and Orville so much liked the experience that he bought nearby Lambert Island that fall. By 1918 he had moved onto the island with furniture into the existing small buildings and it became his summer through fall vacation destination for many years.
Gidley Boats of Penetanguishene started in the late 1890's and was was known for building sturdy bay boats up to 110'. Wright purchased a 20’ Gidley runabout and by 1921 he had refitted the engine with his own Wright manufactured engine that he adapted for boat use. In 1928 Orville had received a compass from Amelia Earhart which he mounted on the boat. He also spent some time dingy sailing too ... as an a honorary member of the Minnicog Yacht Club. Wright relished boating in the area and visiting neighbors and his local forays included the islands surrounding Lambert - as well as places like Hope, Beckwith, Pine and Giants Tomb islands.
It was thought that Wright introduced Gidley to Ford (Henry Ford). Gidley Boats started installing Ford engines in some boats and by 1922 a 24' custom Gidley runabout was delivered to Henry Ford. Gidley also built boats for Ford that were marketed under the Ford brand. As an interesting footnote Gidley (then Grew) would later build the Fairmile torpedo boats at Honey Harbour for the navy.
In 1931 Orville decided to buy a new Gidley 26' Two 66 model with hardtop. A recently built 32.6' Gidley Day Cruiser that was to be used for water taxi service came back to the Gidley boat works due to the economic recession. Orville bought this larger boat and it was fitted just as the Two 66 model would have been and he paid $3075 about the same price as he would have paid for the new Gidley 26.
A new boat house was completed in 1932 for the Gidley Cruiser by George France (Franceville Inn). It was friend of Orville, AY Jackson (Group of Seven fame) who came up with Kitty Hawk as a name. Orville's trusted housekeeper Carrie was drafted to convince Orville to adopt the name for the boat.The Gidley workmen who installed the stainless steel letters mistakenly put the boat letters on as one word - KITTYHAWK - and the name stood.
Orville was a gentlemen and always wore a white high collar shirt, cuff links and tie regardless of his daily activities on and around the island. Orville in his Akroyd dingy was a natural sailor as he would understand the principles of wind sheer from his aeronautical exploits. It seems he trusted his neighbors at the Bay and enjoyed visits and he grew to love the area as his oasis from things that troubled him.
In 1940 Orville had an 8 cylinder 110 HP gas engine bought and installed in Kittyhawk via Wilfred France. Labor then was $1.00 per hour. The boat was also re-varnished by the Gidley Boat Company.
At the advent of World War 2 the government in Washington brought Orville back to the USA by military escort concerned that spies could kidnap important scientists during the war. Orville died January 30th 1948 leaving his Canadian assets including Kittyhawk to the children of his brother Lorin. Lorin's daughter Ivonette and husband Harold Miller along with Bus and Sue Wright were the two family heirs that wanted to vacation at Lambert Island. In 1950's the Millers started having Wilfred France pilot Kittyhawk in the waters that were somewhat unfamiliar to them.
Kittyhawk was sold to Wilfred France by the Wright heirs in May 1953 for $1,100. for use as a water taxi and workboat.The Miller's and Wright's also decided to sell Lambert Island in March of 1953.
Over time, Kittyhawk fell into disrepair from wear and tear as well as storm damage. Wilfred France at 70 years of age was unable to facilitate the major repairs. Wilfred died in 1970 and two years later his daughter Katherine purchased Kittyhawk from the estate and gave it to her husband Guy Johnstone as a Christmas present. Kittyhawk was towed to Langley's Marina in Honey Harbour while being pumped continuously to keep her afloat and in 1973 she was sitting on Johnstone property in Midland. Guy and Katherine dreamed of restoring Kittyhawk and understood the historic importance of the venture. Guy and Kathy ran into Bruce Wilson from Greavette Boat Works of Gravenhurst at the 1973 Toronto Boat Show and plans were made for restoration.
By 1975 Kittyhawk had been lovingly restored. An elaborate community celebration was planned by the Johnstone's who had since made contact with the Millers (Wright heirs). Ivonette Wright Miller broke the traditional bottle of Champagne on the bow as Kittyhawk was lowered into the water. More celebrations and visiting ensued including trips with the Millers and Johnstone's to Lambert Island and Franceville. What a special time that must have been with the Kittyhawk reclaiming her place on the water basking in the limelight with such historic importance and all the emotional memories that came flooding back to the time when Orville Wright would have sat at the helm captaining the boat.
To this day Guy and Kathy Johnstone are the owners, custodian and maintainers of this rare piece of Georgian Bay history called Kittyhawk. There were so many times when Kittyhawk could have been abandoned or lost that it is almost by divine intervention that she found her way into the future and has a home in the area that she was first launched. It is hard to imagine another boat with such an interesting pedigree.
Orville loved Georgian Bay as a refuge from the hustle and bustle of business and city life. I'm sure many of our boating readers can relate to that too! Kittyhawk has won many antique boat show awards. But really when you think about it, what act at a show could follow Kittyhawk that was the pride and joy of the man that invented flight?
Guy has done a wonderful job documenting Orville Wright's days on Georgian Bay and the relevance of Kittyhawk and it is an emotional journey to read his book "Kitty Hawk to KITTYHAWK" and to understand the intricate and true nature of a remarkable man Orville Wright who along with his brother Wilbur invented powered human
flight. Please visit Guy's web site at www.kittyhawk-boat.ca for further information.
MURDOCH YACHT FOR CHARTER
Rosehearty is a 183' ketch owned by Rupert Murdoch and you can charter it in the Mediterranean or Caribbean for just over $200,000. a week. Murdoch has had some issues to deal with lately, so perhaps he doesn't have as much time to spend on the yacht while taking care of business.The yacht is listed for charter by www.charterworld.com and has room for 10 guests in 5 luxurious suites. The yacht was built in 2006 by Perini Navi at a cost of over $40 million. Interior design was by French designer Christian Liagre and yes ... there is a gym so you can work out in the morning.
Boating Georgian Bay has just introduced it's own brand of "Seriously Great" eco rated all purpose boat cleaner. The cleaner will be available wholesale by the case and retail by the bottle from this web site Click HERE to view the press release.
Boating Georgian Bay will donate 10% of all profits from the sale of this eco rated boat cleaner to:
ANNAPOLIS BOAT SHOWS
The Chesapeake in the fall is one beautiful area! Next to Georgian Bay it is arguably one of the best cruising locations in the world. If your looking for marine history the Chesapeake has plenty of it. Annapolis Maryland is a historic town most famous for the US Naval Academy officers centre established in 1845. The Academy is the main source for college trained Navy & Marine officers in the USA. Annapolis itself has a very nautical feel to the town and there is much history to be seen. It is also a good place to scout out used marine equipment. Visiting the Chesapeake in the fall allows you to take in the beauty and history of the area and at the same time visit two back to back in water boat shows that are one of a kind. Over 100,000 boat enthusiasts visit these two shows so plan ahead and book your accommodation early. www.usboat.com
United States Sailboat Show October 7th to 11th
The oldest and largest in water sailboat show in the world established 41 years ago. The show features everything from dinghies to mega yachts and lots of seminars, gear and accessories are there to browse.
United States Powerboat Show October 14th - 17th
America's oldest powerboat show (39 years) featuring motor yachts, trawlers, cruisers, electronics, cruising workshops, antique boats etc. While not as big as the Lauderdale Show it has more selection of smaller yachts under 50 feet that may be of interest to the average boater.
MISS SCARLETT GRANDE DAME OF THE 20's
This story perhaps should be on a What's Old page rather than What's New because it's all about a unique piece of Georgian Bay history. Miss Scarlett is a unique custom 1929 57' Gidley Motor Yacht that was originally built by Gidley Boats in Penetanguishene Ontario. The Gidley Boat company was established late 1890’s and by 1903 Gidley was building government survey boats for use in the St Lawrence River. Orville Wright bought his first Gidley launch in for his island summer home on Georgian Bay in 1918 and later purchased the 32' Gidley "Kittyhawk" in 1931. Wright refitted his first Gidley boat with a more reliable Wright factory built engine. In 1922 Gidley began using Ford engines through the connection of Orville Wright and Ford had boats made by Gidley at one point under their brand. Gidley built launches and runabouts in the 20' - 40' range and also larger cruisers up to the 110' range.
The Miss Scarlett yacht, originally known as Mona IV, underwent a multi million dollar full restoration that began in 1993 and was completed by 2000 by the last owner Lynne Hindmarsh (of Scarlett Investments Inc. – name clue). The restoration included significant interior and exterior work including re-planking and the task was accomplished by many skilled tradespersons who recreated plans and had to deal with remanufacturing parts and accessing exotic materials like hand selected Honduras Mahogany, keel Oak, Teak and custom fabricated steel & brass parts. While maintaining the historical integrity of the yacht, for safety and comfort reasons some modernizing took place including the transition from a traditional carvel planked water absorbing hull to the planking being coupled with cold molded West Epoxy using vacuum bagging rather than fasteners to pressure apply the epoxy. Electrical, electronics and mechanical systems were modernized as well.
Recently the yacht was purchased by Rob Reddick of Alexandria Bay, New York (via Brenda Flower at Westwind Yacht Sales www.westwindyachtscanada.com) where she plies the waters of the 1000 Islands at her new home. Rob has continued to make improvements on Miss Scarlett while maintaining the original character and craftsmanship of this one of a kind hand made yacht. Miss Scarlett is powered by a rebuilt 220 horsepower single 671 Detroit Diesel and being a keeled boat ... we are told she handles very predictably like a dream. It's battery banks and at anchor electrical is handled by a 10 kilowatt Vetus generator. She carries 300 gallons of water and 170 gallons of fuel. Miss Scarlett is built to ABYC standards compatible with US Coast Guard requirements and the charter trade. She is winter stored in a heated pole barn constructed for her by the new owner.
Miss Scarlett has a special place in Georgian Bay history and she is more than a show piece. Her current owner plans to bring her back to Georgian Bay for a visit and she recently completed a 600+ mile cruise to Quebec. For more on Miss Scarlett visit her website at www.missscarlett1929.com
2011 WYE HERITAGE & QUEENS COVE RENDEZVOUS
This year a larger group of 18 power boaters got together for the 2011 Rendezvous and as usual the event started out with a Saturday evening wine & cheese and a chance for participants to mingle and discuss the game plan before the Sunday morning departure. Sunday nights anchorage was Beckwith Island but due to windy weather and choppy seas, many of the group moved over to nearby Hope Island for some shelter. Everyone enjoyed the clear blue water and sand beach at Hope and an onshore beach party started under hot sunny skies that stretched into starlight skies by a bonfire. Many tales and lies were swapped on the beach It was a rolling beam sea across to Parry Sound from Hope. The first night in Parry Sound, Wye Heritage sponsored a catered outdoor buffet dinner which was delicious. Rather than heading further north from Parry Sound in very windy weather, most of the group elected to stay put in Big Sound Marina for a second night and we got together for dinner at Kudos Kuisine which did a great job with our table of 18.
Most boats got fueled up and pumped out in Parry Sound and we planned to head south down the inland route towards Port Rawson in the Moon River area. It was an interesting exercise getting some of the boats off the dock in the heavy wind. Recovery Room's last words off the dock were "I'm loosing it boys" but catastrophe was averted and no damage was done. We raced for the 10 am Parry Sound bridge opening and just got there in time where we waited on the other side for those boats that could slip under the bridge. A gusty morning again, but the scenery to Port Rawson is second to none. Once in the Port Rawson basin the wind settled down and we spent a few nights there, with an excursion to the Moon River Falls and a shore campfire at night accompanied by Gordon Lightfoot tunes to set the mood ... and it went very late into the night for some. All manner of politics and world affairs were resolved at this campfire so it was a very worthwhile exercise at a fraction of the price of the G20 Summit. Most folks headed back to home base on the Saturday wrapping up a week of fun.
Many thanks to Jim, Sheila & Tara of Wye Heritage Marina who organized this shindig. I suspect the event will grow even larger next year.
PENETANGUISHENE BUILDS NEW TOWN DOCKS
Penetang's Harbour West Marina has new T Docks that officially opened June 18th/11. To build the new docks as part of the turnover from Federal to Town jurisdiction forty four tractor trailer loads of old decking, supports and pilings had to be demolished and trucked away. The new T docks were floated across the bay to their permanent home. The 1.4 million dollar newly refurbished marina upgrade boasts 23 new slips totaling as follows:
10 designated shopping visitors
13 spots on the cement pier
The docks have updated hydro pedestals (some 50 amp), dock lighting and a pavilion. The T docks can accommodate boats to 45 feet and the cement pier can accommodate bigger boats.
BOATERS CELEBRATE CANADA DAY AT ANCHORAGE
Anchorages within an hour of Midland & Penetanguishene were busy for the Canada Day long weekend ... but not over crowded. There was still room for a few more boats at most of the sheltered harbours even though the weather forecast delivered on excellent weather for the whole weekend. Based on the advance forecast we expected boats would be turned away at many locations. Beckwith Island area seemed to be the busiest. Beausoleil anchorages were busy as usual. We also visited Browns Bay which had lite traffic, Longuissa Bay which was busy with rows of boats (but not packed) and we anchored in Hockey Stick Bay which was near capacity but still had space for six or so boats. In the smaller anchorages like Hockey Stick many of the boats were bow stern anchored to allow for more boats. A number of large groups were rafted.
Hockey Stick had a creative group of boaters that set up their own private beach front tiki bar and several participants were wearing grass skirts. Canadian flags were everywhere and I'm sure the one US cruiser at anchorage must have got a good impression of patriotic Canadians ... that I might add, were very well behaved and respectful of other boaters. Folks had a good time - but it didn't get out of control and turn into a loud all night celebration. It was a family friendly atmosphere of celebration. Dingy & kayak touring was a popular activity. One relaxed cruiser was observed kayak tethered to an anchor buoy, reading a novel for an hour or more. A few from the Tiki bar toured the basin on PWC's to show off their costumes and a couple of small amphibian float planes landed in the bay for a visit before taking off later in the day. The temperature was hot and the water was perfect for cooling off. Lots of kids in the anchorage spent more time in the water than out. It was a great relaxing weekend enjoyed by all.
If you are a fan of Georgian Bay history including shipwrecks and boating memorabilia then Huronia Museum is a must see. There are ship and private yacht artifacts in addition to hundreds of historic pictures and models of various commercial and private boats that plied the waters of Georgian Bay. It is a formidable collection and a great place to spend a rainy day poking around the history of Georgian Bay. I addition to the historic aspects of shipping and ship building there is great deal history associated with the military, commerce and the Huron Ouendat Village recreated on the property. Visitors can take a self guided tour of the first nations village.
It is amazing to touch a ships wheel or anchor chain of some of the great ships that were wrecked during their tenure on Georgian Bay. Lots of detail in letters, logs and postcards – almost sensory overload for boat history aficionados. It reminds recreational boaters that Midland and other Georgian Bay Ports were power houses of economic activity in their time and were central Ontario’s most important hubs for the transportation of grain and lumber. Compared to the sleepy tourist orientated town of today, Midland port was bustling and booming with heavy industry centered around the commercial movement of goods and materials by rail and ship.
The Huronia Museum is open 7 days per week 9 am to 5 pm May 1st to October 31st. It is located right in Midland near Little Lake on 549 Little Lake Park Road
(705) 526 2844. Entrance is $8.60 per adult and wealth worth the visit.
Not far from Georgian Bay, America's Great Loopers will be travelling through Balsam Lake on the Trent Canal System. Balsam Lake is the highest body of water in Canada from which a boat can circumnavigate the world at 256.3 metres above sea level. The site has been named Canada's Fresh Water Summit. There are two locations in the world that are higher in elevation – one on the Mississippi River and one on the Danube River in Germany. Coboconk the town nearest Balsam Lake celebrates on June 19th beginning 11 am the Summit by offering a boat parade, live entertainment and pig roast at the town wharf. The boat parade called "Boats Through the Ages" includes a flotilla of historical regional and national unique watercraft including Trent Severn Waterways 45' Celebration tug boat. The event ties in with the 100th anniversary celebration of the Trent Canal System.
BOATING GEORGIAN BAY BILLBOARD ADVERTISING
Boating Georgian Bay has secured a highway sign billboard location on Hwy #93 between Midland and Penetanguishene. Our objective is to remind the thousands of boaters that use that corridor that Boating Georgian Bay is a great resource for cruising, weather and marina services information. We are also in the process of investigating an FM licenced mini radio station transmitter to broadcast the #93 corridor between Midland & Penetangiushene and downtown Penetang that will broadcast an one hour loop of Boaters News that will be advertised at the sign location and through other media sources. The sign is confirmed while the Boating News radio will be announced if everything comes together.
TEQUILA AND THE PERFECT MARGARITA
First time I drank tequila was in college at a party and I nearly died. I swore I would never touch the stuff again if I was blessed with a full recovery. The second period I was reintroduced to Tequila was in my 40's where it was used as a substitute for Demerol & Codeine (which I didn't like) during a time when I had my leg and ankle plated on both sides after snapping them both slipping down a rock face. I know Tequila is 40% - 55% alcohol by volume and I have no explanation as to why Tequila kills pain in a very mellow and comfortable way that rum, scotch, whisky or drugs cannot do. I just know it works.
Over the years I began collecting Tequila on various trips to Mexico. The very drink I swore off is now my drink of choice in moderation once the boat is tied to the dock or the anchor is set. It is the only alcoholic spirit I will drink other than good red wines. You can buy Tequila in Mexico from $5 per bottle to $4000 per bottle. Boutique Tequilas are something to be respected and you will not find them at your LCBO. In Mexico you can tour the Tequila region and buy from the growers just as you might tour wine regions in Napa or Niagara to buy fine wines. There are also Tequila retailers in most towns that sell a variety of quality Tequilas – oddly enough none of the brands you would recognize as sold in Canada.
Tequila was first distilled in the 1500's in the state of Jalisco Mexico. Guadalajara is the capital of Jalisco and the city of Tequila established in 1656 is where the Weber Blue Agave plant grows best. Blue Agave is not cactus it is a member of the lily family. It takes more than 8 years for Weber Blue Agave to reach maturity. Sadly several years back much was uprooted to make way for corn that was in high demand for ethanol production and more immediate to grow. During production the leaves (pincas) are cut off the Agave leaving the pina heart which looks like a 300 lb. pineapple. It is chopped up and cooked before the alcohol distillation from the fermented juice takes place.
There are two basic types of Tequila 100% Blue Agave Tequila and Mixto. Mixto can be distilled from as little as 60% Blue Agave. Real Tequila comes from the Tequila region of Mexico and know where else. Nothing wrong with Mixto Tequila but lets stick to 100% Blue Agave Tequila for the purposes of purity and medicinal value. Mezcal - the stuff with the worm in the bottle is not Tequila (although there are some excellent Mezcals). Mezcal is fermented from the Manguey plant which is a form of agave but not Blue Agave. Mezcals can be aged for up to 12 years and are often 55% alcohol by volume and has more of a smoky taste.
The 100% Blue Agave grades of Tequila are Blanco (un-aged and untreated with additives), Reposado (rested in oak for 2 to 12 months) and Anejo (stored in oak for more than a year). Tequila becomes smoother and oaky as it is aged and takes on a golden colour ... and good boutique Tequilas are often aged a long time.
A Margarita cocktail is NOT the fluorescent green beverage that looks like a slushy most commonly mixed and sold as a Margarita in North America. Although there are many variations of Margarita, the perfect Margarita requires Curacao liqueur ... which the proper stuff only comes from the Senior Distillery on Curacao Island and it is distilled from the Laraha citrus fruit which was developed from the fermented peel during the 19th century when the imported Valencia orange plants morphed into the inedible sour Laraha plants due to soil and climatic conditions. You will not find Curacao in Canada ... you will find a sugar laced orange & blue liqueur going by the same name that is a close to Curacao as a Pontiac is to an Aston Martin. When you go on holidays go to Curacao and bring back as much as you can – orange (coloured with bark) or clear it's all the same stuff that has that unique bitter sweet orange taste. So if you can't wait for vacation use Cointreau which is distilled from orange peel. I suggest you stay away from Triple Sec or Grand Marnier if you are looking for authentic taste. The authentic colour of a Margarita made with real orange Curacao is a light muddy brown - or clear with a yellow tinge if made with clear Curacao. I can't tell you how many bartenders say they can make a good original Margarita that don’t have clue. It can be frustrating and in my experience you pretty much have to be in Mexico or San Diego, California and even then there are no guarantees. Best Margarita I've ever had was in a hotel bar in a town called Loreto on the Baja Mexican coast. It was a masterpiece ... the holy grail ... and we were the only ones there on their second floor patio.
So take approx. 2 oz. of good Tequila and add a good drizzle or oz.of Cointreau (or ideally Curacao) with 1.5 oz. of fresh squeezed lime juice in a rock glass over ice (not crushed ice God forbid). You may wish to salt on the side on the back of your clean hand or coarse salt the rim of the glass. If you find it too bitter it is not heresy to add an ounce or two of lime bar mix to sweeten it a little. There you have it – a limit of two per customer please ... and I promise you you’ll never go back to one of those green snow cones in a glass.
CANADIAN BOATER EXAMS ADOPT STRICTER STANDARDS
Transport Canada has moved to standardized testing and Canadian Boaters as of April 15th face stricter exam standards. The new approach is learning focused and sets a higher standard for boaters to obtain their Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC card). The hope is to reduce preventable boating related accidents. 100 people died in boating accidents in Canada last year and 6,000 suffered injuries. Standardized questions have increased from 36 to 50 questions. Boaters who take their exam online will also be required to complete an online study guide. Failure for boaters to present a PCOC card while operating a boat can result in a $250 fine. Boaters with existing PCOC cards will not be affected by this change. It is estimated that up to half of the boaters in Canada still do not have their PCOC card.
CYA & SKIPPERS’ PLAN JOIN FORCES
Beginning on May 1, 2011, The Canadian Yachting Association and Robertson & Robertson's Skippers Plan join forces to offer CYA members a number of exclusive unique feature benefits including a one-stop source for home, auto and commercial insurance.
"Our alliance with Skippers Plan creates an unprecedented opportunity to provide our members with a full spectrum of insurance services, not just on their boats but also on the rest of their insurance needs," notes the CYA's Executive Director Paddy Boyd.
"As an active sailor, club member and CYA supporter, I am very excited about this exclusive partnership with Canada's national sailing authority," adds Drew Robertson, President of Robertson & Robertson.
Now that the CYA has made R&R's Skippers Plan its exclusive provider for Insurance services... CYA members will now have access to a wide range of advantages including:
Upgraded marine insurance
Preferred rates on personal, home and auto insurance
Robertson & Robertson Yacht Insurance Ltd., owned and operated by The CG&B Group Inc. - servicing the boating community for over 60 years.
CRUISING TO KILLARNEY?
When your docking at Killarney Mountain Lodge this season newcomers Gord & Ginny Kerr will be your dock masters. Like Tom & Liz Morkin before them Gord & Ginny are world cruisers. Tom & Liz will be taking over the skipper duties aboard the lodges 46' charter sloop “Stormy Night”. Both couples will return to cruising at the end of the Georgian Bay boating season. If you have questions about cruising in far off regions of the world both these couples would be happy to talk with you. It is really interesting to know that there are still some people who are so incredibly adventurous left on our planet that they cruise the waters of the world for most of their adult life. What a fantastic way to experience life and the many different cultures of the world - I'm jealous!
Fans of crooner Andy Lowe will be happy to know he's back for the 12th season performing Tuesday to Sunday 9pm to midnight during July & August. Andy brings new concepts to his music every time he returns to his loyal following.
When visiting Killarney, the lodge is a stop not be missed. They offer the most incredible variety of outdoor adventure packages - both on the water and in the mountains. Every cruiser should take an extra day and take a guided trek up into the mountains. The photos that you get will be as spectacular as any you will find in your cruising destinations. It’s also a great place to recharge and use the pool and have a nice dinner in the dining room.
GEORGIAN BAY WATER LEVELS EXPECTED TO STAY LOW
Southern Georgian Bay is showing very low water levels now that the ice has vacated April 11th. There has been a fair amount of south winds that have pushed about 1.5 feet of water out of the southern regions of the Bay towards the north. When things settle back down and equalize the spring levels will still be about be down about a foot below last year. Last winter wasn't a very heavy snow winter but neither was the frost to deep, so a lot of the melt went right into the ground and never made it to the Bay as runoff. Georgian Bay won’t see peak water levels usually until the beginning to middle of June and spring rains could be factor that would help to gain back some of the loss. If the water levels stay down a foot or more and if we have a very hot dry summer it could make some of the waters and especially uncharted anchorages tricky to navigate.
The Trent system looks in not to bad of shape with the feeder lakes about normal to slightly below normal. Lake Simcoe looks about normal and the good news is there is not a lot of flooding in the area this spring. Entering Georgian Bay through Port Severn from the Trent deeper draft boaters should use caution and stay in the centre of the channel whenever possible. For more information on Georgian Bay water levels check out our Weather page and take the NOAA link for water level charts and also our Bay Bio page has some water level theory on it.
BEAUSOLEIL CABIN RENTALS
Georgian Bay Islands National Park now offers rustic cabin rentals on Beausoleil Island. These are brand new cabins that have beds, table, chairs, lights and cooking gear (no running water in cabin).
The Cedar Springs cabins are two bedroom and can accommodate a maximum 5 people. They are close the water with shared washrooms nearby. These cabins are $160 per night.
The Christian Beach cabins are 1.8 km from Cedar Springs and more remote. These cabins are for 2 people and are $140 night.
Boat transportation and baggage handling by Park staff is included from Honey Harbour. They also supply some firewood and drinking water, BBQ, picnic table, fire pit and small fridge and utensils are at the cabins.The cabins are not heated and no smoking is allowed. There is a total of 8 cabins (4 at each location) and advance booking is required - 1 877 737 3783. Now there is a place for the extra guests that can't be accommodated on your boat.
COSMOS YACHT CHARTERS Offer Luxury Crewed Sailing Adventures On Georgian Bay and the North Channel.
COSMOS Yacht Charters was started in 2006 and operates out of the prestigious Bay Port Yachting Centre in Midland, Ontario. The yacht charter company offers a variety of cruise packages ranging from Sunset Cruises with gourmet dinner, wine and dessert to Week-Long (or longer) cruises to remote anchorages with interesting Ports of Call along the way.
Itineraries are custom designed for guests and the yachts are fully crewed with an experienced Captain and Chef who will insure your vacation on the water is trouble free, yet adventurous ... and will include some gourmet dining to go along with your Georgian Bay sailing experience.
Captain Bill Everitt has twenty five years of boating experience on Georgian Bay and the North Channel and offers ‘All-Inclusive’ charters in the winter months in the Bahamas and the Caribbean.
Midland was chosen as the COSMOS home base because it is only a 70 minute drive from Toronto and Bay Port Marina is a full service high end marina that is close to the heart of Midland. Midland is a historic Port town with lots of interesting architecture and it offers its own attractions, including fine dining and theatre which allow cruising guests to extend their vacation by a day, or so, on shore. You don't need to know navigation or be an experienced sailor as your Captain will expertly transit you to the best anchorages and Ports of Call on the Bay.
You also have the option of getting involved as a member of the crew and gain some "hands on" experience. It's your choice - you can lounge and enjoy the beautiful scenery and be pampered or you can work off some of the fine dining by grinding a winch or taking a turn at the helm.
For their 'All Inclusive' cruises, they welcome your input for your itinerary and menu plan so they can exceed your expectations!
For those guests who prefer to do their own provisioning and cooking, their 'Skipper Plan' is ideal and they welcome your input for itinerary planning.
COSMOS pride themselves on flexibility and personalized adventure cruises – the hallmark of their success!
PLAN TO VISIT TOPAZ LAKE
Many of you may have visited Topaz Lake. Most boaters on Georgian Bay may have heard about it at some point. Here is some background on this jewel of a lake located on the La Cloche mountain in Killarney Park. If you haven't been to Topaz Lake it is a must see and the journey down Baie Fine fjord is also spectacular.
Bay Fine is as close to a Scandinavian fjord as you will find anywhere in North America. Just north of the town of Killarney you would travel down about 8 miles with quartzite cliffs along both sides of the fjord. At the base of the fjord you come through a narrow section and then into the Pool. Many yachts anchor in the Pool but it is weedy when the water levels are low. Giant turtles and bait fish can be seen swimming in the Pool. Some elect to anchor in the little bays off the fjord where there is less weeds and better anchoring. However the surrounding quartz mountains around the Pool make for a beautiful scenic anchorage.
The Evinrude family (the original owners of Evinrude Marine now owned by Bombardier) owns a cottage there and the family yacht during the summers would be located there. During the winters it could be seen in the Caribbean with it's full compliment of Evinrude outboard motors lined up on davits across the deck. It goes without saying – do not trespass on this private property.
So once you've set your anchor in the weedy bottom of the Pool it is common to tie off to the shore Mediterranean style. This affords more boat density in the anchorage which can get busy during the summer weekends.
You can access Topaz Lake by trail which has yellow blazes to follow. Topaz Lake is officially in Killarney Park. The trail from the Pool runs uphill about a mile to the lake. Topaz Lake is sometimes referred to the “lake on the mountain” and it is at a higher elevation than Georgian Bay. The deep lake is named for it's crystal clear Topaz coloured water. Prolific blueberries and the occasional bear can be seen around the lake. Topaz Lake can also be accessed via a trail which is part of the Killarney Park La Cloche Mountains Silhouette Trail, a rugged 100 km loop in the Park. There is also a Park campsite on the south shore of Topaz Lake.
Famous Canadian Group of Seven Painter Arthur Lismer painted this Lake in 1938 and the painting is titled "Bright Land". AY Jackson also painted in the area. These days your more likely to see cliff divers plunging into the clear aquamarine water. Topaz Lake is also listed as one of the top skinny dipping locations in North America. For most it would be a good idea to bring a bathing suit and some water. Pack out what you bring in. It’s postcard scenic beauty demands respect and visitors equate the experience of the Lake as Zen like on an emotional level ... and fortunately it is not commonly used as a party location - because it is so remote it is not crowded. People take pictures of the lake and cliffs and go about their business of swimming in the aqua water which is completely devoid of weeds and is as clear as the Caribbean on a still day.
HISTORIC POINTE AU BARIL LIGHTHOUSE
Ever wonder about that breathtaking beautiful lighthouse that you pass going up the inland waterway at Pointe Au Baril north of Parry Sound. Early settlers placed a barrel on the rock point and set a kerosene lantern on top of the barrel as a beacon to mariners entering the inlet. Later they turned the barrel on it's side and put the lantern inside creating a range maker that could only be seen when facing the opening of the barrel. In 1889 the 35 foot high front range lighthouse was built with a heavy stone base. A one story lighthouse keepers dwelling was built beside it with connecting walkway. The lighthouse is square but the front range lantern room is six sided with a 43 foot focal plane displaying a red range light.
Still owned by the Canadian Coast Guard the white buildings with red roofs have the last lighthouse keeper and her husband offering tours during the summer months and they have a bakery and gift shop on site. Btw by now you probably realize Pointe Au Baril was named after the original light on the barrel and a replica barrel still stands today in front of the lighthouse on the rock point. Hence point with barrel - one of only a few towns named after their lighthouse. Current and historic postcard picture shown with story.
SPORTSMANS INN OPENS NEW SPA IN KILLARNEY
Sportsman Inn has opened a new spa across the channel from the main inn called Sportsmans Inn Island Spa. The full service spa offers facials, manicures, pedicures, waxing and massage therapy. Packages are available at the new facility. The spa has a great view of the Killarney harbour and the reflective glass allows clients to look out from the second floor while outsiders can’t see in.
We visited the spa to have a look and it is very nicely done with light wood stone and glass. Rachelle McConnell the owner of the Sportsman Inn did all the design work and decorating herself and she did a very nice job. When we were there they were just bringing in new equipment to their 4th treatment room.
Boating Georgian Bay interviewed Faith Lupia on of the many ladies on the Parkbridge Rendezvous (from yacht Scionara) that took advantage of the spa service and she had a 60 minute Lavender aromatherapy massage ($90) by Sandra Bailie a Swedish massage practitioner with 12 years experience. Faith said it was one of the best massages she has ever had and she loved the Zen feeling with the light and airy feel to the treatment rooms.
So when you get into port after a long day slogging it up to Killarney you know where to go to relax now.
US ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY LAUNCHES CLEAN BOATING INITIATIVE
The EPA is about to begin stakeholder hearings that will be the first stage leading to new clean boating regulations in the USA. The purpose of the initiative is to look at broad categories of boat discharges and determine management practices that would improve discharge into the waterways and oceans. The study and resulting requirements of which some or all recommendations could be mandatory and will address gray water, bilge water, antifouling paints, zincs, cleaning products, fishing waste and invasive species.
In Canada it's worth keeping an eye on this. As the saying goes "what goes around comes around". In Canada we already have some very strict laws governing invasive species and bilge water. Fishing waste is more of a commercial ocean fisheries issue that is unlikely to impact recreational boaters. Gray water, antifouling, zincs and cleaning products will be areas that no doubt will impact recreational boaters. Hopefully the EPA will come up with reasonable and practical practices and solutions that the industry can address and adjust to and not something off the wall like a complete ban on zincs and antifouling paints.
PARK MOORING BUOYS? - SURVEY SAYS...
It seems the majority of boaters would appreciate and even pay for the ease of grabbing a mooring buoy rather than anchor with ground tackle in the many anchorages around the Georgian Bay Park islands. So it looks like the federal government was on to something when they implemented mooring fields in some of their marine park anchorages on coastal BC.
Only 12.5% of respondents said we don't need park mooring buoys
62.5% would use them if they were $10 or less per night
25% would still use them if they were $20 or less per night
No one suggested it should be free!
Most felt if mooring buoys were implemented it should be first come first serve
Only a small percentage felt that mooring buoys should be by reservation
About 25% thought a combination of first come first serve and reservations would work
Frankly I'm kind of surprised by the results. I thought it would be fairly evenly split but the majority clearly favour some system of mooring buoys in Georgian Bay Park anchorages. When you think about it - it might be nice to pull into Frying Pan Bay, pick up a buoy and go for a swim in clear water undisturbed by anchors being set and unset all day long. I have noticed that in all the smaller harbours the water never really clears completely during the summer season as the considerable boat traffic coming and going from anchor is enough to cause at least some impairment of clarity in the water (NOTE: the underwater pic is summer mid afternoon in Frying Pan Bay). If mooring fields were to happen the preferred price point for maximum adoption as shown in the survey would be $10 per night. FOR FURTHER PROS & CONS OF MOORING FIELDS READ THE EDITORIAL ON THE "MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE" PAGE.
BOAT PRODUCTS MAY CLEAN BUT MANY ARE NOT GREEN!
Clean is not necessarily green. A few years back a thesis's study was done by a couple of doctorate students on marinas effect on Georgian Bay water from an environmental perspective. Surprisingly the samplings and testing over time for many factors brought the authors to the conclusion that the marinas in the sample size studied were not creating an appreciable affect on the environment. That is good news however Lake Huron and Georgian Bay are large bodies of water and it's easy to forget that declining water quality is something that happens very gradually and insidiously. We are blessed with one of the greatest water resources in the world and we should do everything we can to ensure that we sustain it as such for ourselves and future generations. Now that doesn't mean you sell the boat, car and move to a log cabin without electricity. It does mean that you do what you can that is reasonable and that you avoid contributing to a potential problem when other choices that do the job and don't cramp your lifestyle are available.
We all know about the obvious things like recycling and holding tank laws that insure sewage is not going into the water. But what about grey water and external water used for washing the boat by example? The biggest potential contributor to water problem issues from a boaters perspective is cleaning products. What goes down the sink, shower drain or washed off the surface of your boat is especially important when that gray water is not going through any kind of treatment process. Yes it may be a drop in the bucket but it all counts over time.
My assumption, which I think is valid, is that all boaters love the water or they wouldn't spend so much time on and around it. My second assumption is that given a choice with all things being equal (price and effectiveness) boaters would choose products that are friendly to the water. After all, most boaters swim in that water when they cruise, may eat fish from the water and their pets may drink that water. The notion of clean pure water is one that everyone who loves the water probably embraces. Over the years there has been a plethora of the so called green products that have come into the market and many do not work very well ... and many also may say green on the label but not be certified eco friendly at all. Like many, I am always skeptical of how effective a green product is in comparison to non green competitors. If you have to use twice as much green product to make it work, it may not be that green anymore.
Lately there has been some very effective eco friendly cleaning products that have come into the market. Some are competitive in price. Best way to determine if they work is to use them after checking with other boaters as to their own experiences. I recently came across an eco certified product that was not marketed to the marine market per say that worked better at cleaning fiberglass stains than any other product I have ever tried. I contacted the manufacturer to see if they had considered white labeling the product for the marine industry. Turns out they were not interested and wanted to focus on building the brand strictly as household cleaner. It lead me on a quest though in the US and Canada to find a formula that worked very well and that could be certified eco friendly without costing an arm and a leg to produce. There were several other important qualities in addition to EcoLogo or Enviro Global certification in that the cleaner could not be a solvent based formula that would readily strip existing wax from the boat, it couldn’t be so abrasive that it would scratch the finish and last, but not least, it should be multi purpose ... because most boaters are tired of a dozen cleaners for every job including the inside jobs like galley and head cleaning.
So we found a product formula that meets all the criteria and the formula will be fully eco certified. It will be announced and on the market soon under the Boating Georgian Bay brand name as Seriously Great! - All Purpose Boat Cleaner. It will also be offered at a price that is very competitive with all the none eco rated products ... and in this case, profit is secondary to providing a good product that works without impacting the environment. We are trying to do our part and we hope this product will be the green choice for those that boat or live on the water that are looking for products friendly to the environment and THAT WORK BETTER than solvent and phosphate based products. So stay tuned.
Here are the main things to keep in mind when it comes to pure lake water management:
Phosphorus levels - High phosphorus levels reduce fish populations and promote algae growth and low oxygen levels. Buy phosphate free cleaning products.
Oxygen levels - Lack of oxygen in the water due to high nutrient levels that promote excessive algae and weed growth can choke the water of life.
Metals & Chemicals - These are introduced by man made products including pharmaceuticals that go down the drain and they build up over time in the flesh of lake creatures in the feeding chain. By the time the fish at the top of the feeding chain are full grown the metals and chemicals are concentrated in the species.
What Can You Do:
Buy less toxic alternatives in your personal care products - ideally ones that are certified by the Natural Products Association.
Always choose biodegradable shampoos and phosphate free cleaning products.
Choose truly green cleaning products that have the third party certified EcoLogo or Enviro Global stamp on them.
Phosphorous is the most common harmful pollutant to the lake that creates excessive plant growth in the lake and lowers oxygen levels that are required to keep other aquatic species alive and it throws the overall acidity balance of the water makeup out of whack as the vegetation decomposes. So if it is not phosphate free don't buy it - there are lots of good alternatives.
DON'T PROCRASTINATE - GO CRUISING
This passed on from Loopers Jim & Nancy Tracey from Florida cruising their Albin 36. In the Sea of Cortez there is a beautiful anchorage on the Baja Peninsula called San Juanico. A cruiser shrine on the shore offered this hand painted wooden sign:
Now is the time you own
And no man knows the hour
Just when the clock of life will stop
At late or early hour
The futures just a dream of hope
The past a distant link
Go cruising now my brother
It's later than you think
Food for thought and sober consideration.
EXPANDED NOAA WEATHER SERVICE BENEFITS GEORGIAN BAY
The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Association (NOAA) is lengthening it's forecasting abilities from 36 hours out to 60 hours. NOAA is under the umbrella of the US National Weather Service and their forecasting maps - including weather radar ... show Georgian Bay. With the National Weather Service and National Ocean Service working together on one massive computer system, boaters will be able to access more weather information and for almost the double the forecast period. Now you will be able to look ahead accurately over a whole weekend. We have found NOAA's weather radar to be an especially valuable forecasting tool. Go to our WEATHER page to view NOAA weather radar over the Lake Huron/Georgian Bay Region. If you use all the resources on our weather page in concert, you can come to very reliable conclusions even with changing fronts etc. Be your local marinas weather expert by studying the BGB WEATHER page - once in the morning and once in the evening and we guarantee you will sleep better at night. BTW the Rogers Rocket Stick will work anywhere from Midland to Britt ... even in most of the most remote anchorages (Bone Island, Henrys, Moon River area, Port Rawson, Parry Sound, Porte Au Barrel, Britt anchorages by example), We take our laptop on every cruise and go online for weather and catch up on email.
SOUTHERN GEORGIAN BAY BICENTENNIAL
The War of 1812 was a military conflict between the USA and the British Empire. In 1812 the USA declared war on Britain and their were many skirmishes in North America but for the most part the British adopted a defensive strategy repelling the US invasions in Upper Canada. In 1814 after the British defeat of Napoleon, Britain got aggressive with the US and even captured and burned Washington DC. There were also battles fought in south western Ontario and at one point the USA held territory in Ontario. A great book that provides the naval history side of the war is "Fighting Sail On Lake Huron and Georgian Bay" by Harry Gough. Penetanguishene did not see active combat but the British naval base was pivotal as a defensive strategic position to protect Upper Canada near the end of the war. It also was a convenient base that the British war ships could stand by at a distance consistent with the end of the war settlement with the US. Both sides indecently claimed victory in the war.
The outcome of the War of 1812 paved the way for Canada to become a nation in 1867. We exist today as a result of the war. There are many organizations planning to participate in the 200 year 2012 Bicentennial anniversary celebrations. The programs will go on for two years between 2012 and 2014. For details on some on the history of the war and how it affected Georgian Bay region - and to see how some organizations are planning their related Bicentennial events check out this web site and watch the video www.1812bicentennial.com
MAN FINED $50,000 FOR BRINGING ASIAN CARP INTO ONTARIO
As per our earlier story on Asian Carp most people are aware that the carp pose a serious threat to the natural fishery in the Great Lakes including Georgian Bay. The US government is spending millions and going to great lengths to halt the carp south of Chicago. Measures include electric barriers in the water, netting and at times canal closures. If Asian Carp take hold in the Great Lakes the Trout, Salmon, Perch, Walleye, Pickerel, Bass and other species would be wiped out as the carp starve off the young native species by removing food at the bottom of the food chain. Asian Carp can eat 3 times their body weight in one day.
It has been illegal to possess live Bighead, Black and Silver Carp (broadly referred to as Asian Carp) since 2005. Asian Carp can survive long amounts of time out of the water. There is a ready Asian cultural market for the fish in Toronto and other city centres. A Markham fish importer Feng Yang was ordered to pay a $50,000. fine for importing 4,000 pounds of carp. It is the second time he was charged. In 2006 he paid a fine of $40,000. Two other loads have been stopped in 2011 already with charges pending. Carp are easy to catch, monstrous in size and profitable.
A number of years ago while on a photography shoot I had seen for myself a tanker truck in the wee morning hours in Toronto's China town delivering huge live carp. The restaurant owners come out and pick the two or three that they want right from the tank. While one could argue an Asian Carp on the menu is one that won't get into the Great Lakes, never the less they are illegal, and cannot be imported live into Ontario. Several Asian Carp have already been caught in Lake Michigan.
AMERICAS GREAT LOOP CRUISERS ASSOCIATION RADIO STATION GOES LIVE
AGLCA has launched an online radio station for cruisers and Loopers seeking information on the Great Loop cruising adventure. Each episode will air on Fridays at 10am EST. Interested listeners can hear the broadcast on the BlogTalkRadio.com website in the Travel section or they can hear
re-broadcasts on the AGLCA website.
Hosts Janice & Steve Kromer will interview guests on the show who have varied expertise on cruising the loop, boat maintenance etc. Listeners can also call in with questions and get immediate answers. Boating Georgian Bay is a Lieutenant sponsor of AGLCA and has offered to be an information source for Georgian Bay cruising.
MIAMI BOAT SHOW REVIEW
We have just returned from the Miami Boat Show and it has been our favorite show to date. We only took in the last day of the show on the holiday Monday and we were surprised at how light the attendance was. Now maybe earlier in the week the show may have been packed but that last day when we compared to midweek Lauderdale was very lite. And for us that was good because we could easily walk on to any boat, the docks weren't jammed with people and folks at the booths could actually talk to you and quite frankly were anxious to find someone to talk to.
we were able to stay at the beautiful waterfront W Hotel in South Beach and it is just a short walk to the Convention Centre
the food and art deco ambience at Miami South Beach is fabulous
shuttle buses between show venues were frequent and clean
the Convention Centre displays were fabulous and tucked all over the place with all kinds of interesting boat products and ten times the Convention Centre based displays than Lauderdale had
while there were a dozen or so mega yachts in Miami, what we liked was the tons of boats in water that were under 80 feet that could be boarded without appointment (some required quick registration) and without intimidation or a major screening of your net worth
without question Lauderdale has more "mega" yachts, but Miami I think has more easily accessible yachts for the average boater that doesn't have 10 million to spend (Miami has way bigger boats than the Toronto show but generally smaller than the Lauderdale show)
the many unique vendor products, gizmos and gadgets that are new to the market and being introduced at the show
we got to talk to Russell Newberry Crew Boss of Time Bandit from Deadliest Catch TV series
it felt more relaxed than Lauderdale but perhaps that was a product of fewer crowds on our particular day at the Miami Boat Show
We only had one day to do the show and it was a rush job. You really need two or three days to do the show properly. Lots of boats with SOLD signs on them so things must be looking up.
My embarrassing moment was as follows:
I always wanted to take a good look at the quality of a Bertram. We went on to the Bertram Island dock and were quickly registered. A salesman came out and asked us what we would like to see. We went aboard a beautiful 60 footer than didn’t look like it was solely outfitted for fishing. It was one of the smaller Bertram's at the show. The boat was sold and it was registered, so I assumed it was lightly used even though it looked pristine new. So we have a good look around and our host goes through all the boat features and answers a few questions. I did not know that Bertram has no coring below the waterline and their major competitor Viking does. I did not know the Bertram fuel tanks were all centre line of the hull for optimum handling. The Bertram boat drips understated quality and workmanship. So I popped the question - What's this yacht worth about 1.8 million? He pulls out his price schedule and says "actually about 3.6 million". To his credit he didn’t just blow me away and go searching for a more serious lead ... we talked for a while about kids and economy and he was a really nice guy who was not just focused on selling a boat to a qualified buyer. In my head, I vowed that if I ever won a lottery I would go back to that Bertram salesman.
So that's it on the Miami Boat Show but my advice is if you are only going to attend one boat show Miami would be the one - but then again I have never been to the Annapolis Boat Show so what would I know.
BGB MEETS RUSSELL NEWBERRY FROM "DEADLIEST CATCH" TV SERIES
Guess who we ran into in Miami! Russell Newberry has been crew on three crab boats that are featured on the "Deadliest Catch" hit TV series on Discovery Channel. Russell is best known as the Crew Boss of Time Bandit. Russell's a down to earth cool guy who will likely be back on a crab boat fishing again when the season starts. In Russell's own words "the easiest day is yesterday". Crab fishing off Alaska in the Bering Sea is as dangerous a profession as one could ever pick. Fisherman work on a commission share basis and you get paid for what gets caught. Russell also owns his own salmon boat and fishes salmon outside of crabbing season.
This is hard work, days from shore, work that goes on around the clock in freezing temperatures while getting constantly drenched with salt water in waves that can be mountainous with massive steal cages flying around the decks.You think you can't get seasick because you crossed the Gulf Stream 40 times in rough weather - then think again, as almost all of those on board a crabber have tossed their cookies at some point and newbies can be so sick they have to be returned to port as they'd rather die than stay out on the water. So why do these "dangerous deckhands" do this work and live life on the edge? Well for one thing the pay is not bad when the catch is good and for another when you grow up on a boat in Alaska that's what you do, because that’s what you know that pays. If you don't have thick skin, stamina, agility, eyes in the back of your head and an appreciation for risk taking then you can't do this job. You also need to have your Last Will in order before you board ship because you are 66 times more likely to die crab fishing off Alaska than in the average in US job.
Some of the crew in the off season (including Russell) are out and about at events and raise some of the proceeds for charitable causes, and they are trying to get more organized in this regard.
So I must say, I really like the show and if you watch one episode you will be addicted. More than once I found myself binging on Deadliest Catch marathon episodes. Everybody that watches this show wonders if they could do it and why those that do - do. Very few could actually do this job. I got the chance to ask Russell a few dumb questions like:
Q/ What happens if you can't get back out to pick up the pods do all those crabs die or do they eat themselves?
A/ They are ok for a week out there and they don’t eat themselves.
Q/ What if you can't recover the pot trap?
A/ The cages are designed to denigrate in one area so the crabs can get out if the pot is lost. This is required by Fisheries.
Q/ What if someone is sick or hurt, do you do your own doctor work like intravenous for sea sick dehydration?
A/ Well there have been cases where someone is really sea sick gets tied in a bunk and gets fluids forced in but we don't do intravenous, but sometimes nothing stays down and you have to make a trip 36 hours or more to port and back to get them off. Coast guard is a last resort for serious injuries only as they risk life to get someone off a fishing boat too. We have a doctors book we can flip through and you can get medical advice over sat connection.
Q/ Will you be fishing next season?
A/ Of course that's how I survive.
Q/ Do the fishermen get paid to be on the show?
A/ No they do not - they just get their commission from the crab haul.
Q/ Are the boats owned by Captains or Corporations?
A/ Most are owned by Corporations that hire a Captain who in turn hires a crew.
I asked Russell some detailed questions about sea sickness but I can't remember all of it ... but essentially it goes something like this. Almost all people can be seasick and almost all people can get over it eventually. The ones that get over it quickly tend to survive and get used to it and the ones that take a long time want to die rather than continue on. There is only a very small percentage of humans that can never be sea sick and only a very small percentage that die from sea sickness even though most are sure they will die when they are very sick. A very small percentage might jump overboard and end it, if they could, rather than continue on.
What's the wet gear he uses? - Grundens of Sweden. Russell was kind enough to autograph a hat and pose for a pic (that's me in the yellow shirt). Look forward to seeing him on TV next season and hope he stays safe and the catches are large.
These little appetizers are terrific for lounging around the sun deck with a chilled bottle of wine. You only use 2 six ounce lobster tails, but your guests will think that you have splurged.
2 cups water
1 cup butter diced
1/2 tsp salt
Heat these ingredients almost to boiling.
Add 2 cups of unbleached, all-purpose flour and stir fast to work it in.
Once the mixture starts to stick to the side of the pan, remove from heat.
Put in bowl and whip to cool it down.
When cooled, add 7 eggs, one at a time, until each is incorporated. The mixture will fall apart and come back together.
Fold in 2 6-ounce lobster tails, cooked and minced
1 cup gruyere cheese, shredded
1 tsp shallots, minced
Salt and pepper
Using two spoons or a large tip on a pastry bag, drop mounds on a non-greased baking sheet.
Bake at 400F for 25 to 35 minutes or until lightly browned.
The Bigwin Ferry was never on Georgian Bay. Never the less, most of our readers are boaters ... and the history of the boat provides great insight as to the importance of recovering and restoring classic boats and yachts to preserve our marine heritage. Bigwin ferry is the perfect example of how a community can come together and reclaim a valuable artifact of marine history that has become an important tourist attraction in the Muskoka region.
You cannot tell the story of the Bigwin ferry without understanding the bigger picture of Bigwin Island and it's place in society in the 1920's. Bigwin Island was host to the Bigwin Inn that opened in 1920. It was developed by a Huntsville businessman Charles Orlando Shaw. He founded Bigwin Inn Company in 1915 and went about hiring an architect by the name of John Wilson from Collingwood to design the resort. Construction took place mostly in winter when materials could be hauled across the ice by horse. The architectural design elements were a mix of Craftsman, Mediterranean, Tudor and Victorian. The buildings were connected with covered lit walkways and it blended very well with the natural shoreline environment. The hotel had 350 guest rooms, The main buildings were the 750 seat Indian Head Dining Room, the Dance Pavilion and the Rotunda. A nine hole golf course was added in 1922 and expanded to 18 holes in 1930. In the 1930's the smaller Marine Dining Room and the Tea House were built along with the ferry house which housed many boats that provided service to the island.
Bigwin Island was named after Chief John Bigwin and the indian burial grounds are preserved on the island to this day (although some graves were flooded when lake levels changed way back when dams were added to the lake chains for logging). During it's heyday in the 1930's the Bigwin Inn attracted the biggest name bands, stars, heads of state and royalty. Think Clark Gable, Ernest Hemingway, John D Rockefeller, Carole Lombard etc. It was "THE" place to go for a summer holiday and the rich and elite flocked from around the world.
Shaw died in 1942 and Bigwin Inn declined until 1949 when it had a bit of a renaissance until the 1960's when it was resold and finally closed in 1966. For many years the resort was abandoned and over time the west lodge, ferry house, kitchens, golf clubhouse, staff quarters, horse stables and rotunda all were demolished. In 2001 the island began redevelopment. The island is now home to a redesigned golf course and private waterfront residences and includes the Marine Dining Room which lives on serving lunch and dinner. Some of the other historic buildings also have survived and still lend ambiance to the island.
The Bigwin ferry was first commissioned as steam ship for James Kuhn of Pittsburg PA in July of 1910. It was completed by Polson Iron Works in Toronto and was named Ella Mary after the owners wife. It was 42 tons and 66 feet in length and was used by the owner for transportation to his island called Belle Isle on Lake Muskoka. In 1925 the Kuhn’s lost the island and the boat was sold to the Lake Simcoe Navigation Company for $3500. It was moved to Lake of Bays - by rail to Huntsville and then towed and winched to it’s final home on South Portage lake in the Dorset area. Her name was changed to Bigwin and for the next 45 years she ferried tourists from Norway Point to the Bigwin Resort. She was left to rot when the resort ceased operating in 1966. It was stored for many years in the ferry house supported by cross beams with the bow, bridge and stern above the water. Over the years the boat was stripped of parts and fittings and eventually it sunk in it’s berth. In the 1990’s it was first thought that the boat would be scuttled in the lake but fortunately it was transported to the mainland in 1991 by volunteer firefighters where it was dry docked at a place on Hwy #60. Cheers to the volunteer firefighters!
A savior who cottaged in the area by the name of Jeff Gabura came to the rescue in 2000 and even though the formerly graceful lady was a wreck, Gabura had the insight of a wise man and was determined to see her sail again. Through a variety of fund raising and donations and hard work the Bigwin is now fully restored and sitting right in her berth along the wharf in the beautiful town of Dorset. It does not yet go out for tours but it may start group tours soon. There is a marine centre right beside the boat and you will find lots of historic information on site. In the winter time, the boat is craned up onto solid ground and in spring it is set back into the water. It is a magnificent site to see and well worth the trip to Dorset ( www.dorsetcanada.com ). If you appreciate old boats and history you surely will appreciate the Bigwin. She has transported the wealthy dignitaries and stars of the world, nearly came to her end - and now she has reclaimed her place in history, on the water for everyone to appreciate.
FIRE SAFETY AT THE MARINA
There was a dramatic fire on January 6th 2011 at McCotters Marina in Beaufort County North Carolina. Three people were injured and twenty five boats were burned. Only a week before there was another marina fire in Florida where a boat was burnt to the waterline and sunk. Fires in marinas are an all to common occurrence. Usually the source is on unattended boats that have heaters left on, or sometimes electrical faults. More common lately in the recessionary economy, it has been insurance fraud. Most fires in marinas happen at night. Boats are docked so close together that fires spread very quickly and can rage out of control in minutes.
In most marinas there are some boats that have people living or sleeping aboard. Fires at night are especially dangerous as it's not unusual that gas tanks start exploding before people start waking up. In the interest of safety every boater in a marina has a responsibility to do everything possible to minimize the chance of a fire starting and getting out of control.
your boats wiring/electrical systems should get a good look over once per year to minimize the chance of short circuits
have your electrical work done professionally
if you must do your own electrical work, do not over fuse or use under gauge wire for the task at hand
no heaters should be left on unattended
propane should never be stored on the boat in any unvented space not designed for propane storage
when you sleep over in a marina make sure others know someone is on the boat
no fuel outside of the boats manufactured fuel tanks should be stored inside the boat
run your bilge blowers from time to time when your boat has been sitting at the dock for weeks on end
always run your bilge blowers before starting your boat
take the obvious safety precautions when fueling ... including everyone off the boat except the marina attendant
keep fire extinguishers on your boat as required by law and keep some extra oversized extinguishers at hand
have your extinguishers and engine room fire suppressant system checked and serviced yearly
if you don't have a carbon monoxide detection system on your boat get one
TORONTO INTERNATIONAL BOAT SHOW REPORT
It's always a pleasure to step out of the cold Canadian winter into the proverbial oasis of one of the largest boat shows in North America. As soon as you see that massive landscape of colourful boats all thoughts of winter melt away and pleasant memories of summer boating rush in to fill the gap. We attended the Monday opening until 6pm and it was surprisingly busy all through the day. Not rubbing shoulders everywhere like Lauderdale, but there were lineups for many of the bigger yachts and some waits of 10 or 15 minutes. There were also areas of the show where the traffic was very light. The main small vendor area on the north end was crowded at times. However the food vendors had light traffic through most of the day. Now we understand from our interviews that the past Saturday & Sunday were about the same as last year and of course the big vendor concern was the snow storm Saturday - but folks still showed up.
We talked to many vendors and some said traffic was up, some said traffic was down ... but most said it was about the same as last year. More important, we polled a number of our Boating Georgian Bay advertisers that had booths at the show and universally no one came across as pessimistic about the show or the general condition of the boating industry. In fact everyone was optimistic about the show and most either guardedly optimistic about the renascence of the marine industry at large or very positive about boat sales when comparing this year to last. While the dollar is hurting Canadian used boat sales (unless you are bringing up boats from the US), it is helping new boat boat sales ... and there is a real window of buying power that purchasers can use to their advantage.
We saw lots of vendors writing deals and we spent quite a bit of time in the Sea Ray area and they were busy negotiating sales in the booths that surrounded the display. One of the weak sides of the industry is yacht financing is still tight and hard to come by, unless you have a significant equity stake in the boat.
As you might expect, Sea Ray, Carver and Meridian had the big yachts of the show. But this show is one where every boat in every size can be found somewhere at the show. Henrys Restaurant was back again with their Pickerel sandwiches. We saw kinds of neat one off accessory products featured and most of the marine chandlery's were their with some good specials. It takes a day to see everything the show has to offer and if your shopping you might want to spend one day looking and the next day running around picking up things.
The Toronto International Boat Show comes just once a year and like Christmas you don't want to miss it.
MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY
When you need help on the water even seconds can count. The Coast Guard will be on their way, but if you are on South East Georgian Bay and a member of Ontario Boating League - Dave Holding will also be on his way within seconds, day or night, 24/7, May 1st to October 31st. Nice to know someone's got back whether the call is life threatening serious, a sheared off prop, you've run out of fuel, snagged your anchor or perhaps run aground ... Dave will get you going or tow you to safety.
Dave started the Ontario Boating League (OBL) in 1989. He actually lived aboard his 35' Roamer year round in Penetanguishene harbour with his son Stephen between 1986 and 1991. In April 1989 Dave had his first major rescue when the 110' yacht "Radel" struck ice and started rapidly sinking near Midland. All 12 people aboard were saved within a half hour (including a baby). Since then, the OBL has updated and expanded it's specialized rescue fleet and has assisted hundreds of boaters on the water in emergency situations.
Btw OBL will also assist non members but it makes more sense to join ahead and save, as it is very cheap insurance and peace of mind at only $69 per season.
The Coast Guard does excellent rescue work, but it is also comforting to know when your in trouble that Dave is monitoring VHF 16 and has an emergency line to call. Just as important Dave knows the Bay like the back of his own hand and he can find you fast with his specially equipped rescue boats. When I moved my boat to Georgian Bay I acquired an OBL membership even before the boat arrived in Midland. Keep in mind that OBL will assist for any boating mishap, not just emergency Mayday situations. They also do underwater recovery services, boat training courses, boat inspections and operator cards. To contact the OBL visit their website at www.ontarioboatingleague.ca or call (705) 549 6500.
If you need OBL EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE call (705) 528 9927
Boating Georgian Bay has a practical and important feature for the cruising boater. While various web sites have weather some information on Georgian Bay (if you want to hunt around for it) Boating Georgian Bay has many weather resources all from one page - making it a one stop source for those that want to be weather experts.
NOAA live weather radar
Environment Canada weather conditions for every Georgian Bay & North Channel port
Four weather warning locations
Two marine weather condition locations
NOAA National Weather Service maps with wind speed, water temperature, water levels with both existing and forecast conditions
Georgian Bay weather buoy readings
Beaufort Scale & Mafor Code chart
With a Rogers Rocket Stick you can usually get 3G wireless for your laptop from Tobermory around the Bay to Britt and some other ports north. In addition you can usually pic up a free wireless signal in most of the ports around Georgian Bay & The North Channel. I check the BGB Weather page every morning before getting under way and every evening after setting the anchor. I especially find the NOAA Weather Radar and wind speed maps to be great weather predictors. So bring your laptop along and use www.boatinggeorgianbay.com as your weather station.
SHIPWRECK TREASURE IS WAITING
This past few years a number of valuable finds of vintage wines have been discovered and retrieved from shipwrecks. The most publicized recovery of vintage wine was from a 1907 Swedish shipwreck Jonkoping, with 200 bottles of Heidsieck red wine from the Champagne district of France that was destined for the Russian Imperial family in 1916. This particular bottle was 300 years old and matured further for 91 years at the bottom of the sea. Bottles were auctioned at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Moscow and fetched up to $275,000. bottle.
Another 200 year old wreck from the Baltic Sea produced bubbly Champagne worth $70,000 a bottle. A wreck off the coast off Savannah Georgia produced a 1800 vintage bottle of Madeira that sold for $4210. One must remember that quality old world wines from France and Spain can last a long time at cool temperatures. The wealthy bought and shipped good quality wines and if the ship went down, so went the wine. Because the wine was packed and crated to survive the rigors of the sea voyage, it would often survive the demise of the wreck.
Now do you think Georgian Bay holds some of this treasure? It most certainly does. There are hundreds of wrecks in Georgian Bay and many of them remain undiscovered. Cold fresh water is ideal for preserving wine. Many wealthy industrialists cottaged on Georgian Bay and transported sizeable quantities of wine to their island mansions which were seasonal destinations where the family would spend June through October at the cottage. These wealthy summer residents also did some entertaining, so wine was a requirement for the well heeled. In fact if you search around in photo archives you can see pictures of some well known cottage owners sitting on long tables with family and friends with large quantities of wine bottles out on the table. In addition the merchant ships that transported people to their summer destinations also transported goods for resale to the various port towns around the Bay.
So how much do you think is down there? Know one knows but it would surely be hundreds of bottles. Almost every wreck transporting passengers would have some wine on board and in some situations there would be many case lots. What would it be worth. The mystique of a shipwreck and the bragging rights adds further value to any vintage wine. Vintage wines recovered like that are auctioned in Europe and the highest bidder establishes the price but a documented mid 1800’s Rothchild Chateau Lafite would likely buy you a new 40 foot boat. A case of it would procure a sizeable yacht. So if you come across an intact wine bottle diving a wreck don’t open it for your dinner!
THE NICE THING ABOUT GEORGIAN BAY!
I once ran into a large Bull shark snorkeling off an isolated off shore reef on the Atlantic (north) side near Man O War Cay in the Abaco Islands. Spearfishing back then was almost a daily activity and I had seen some small sharks and many Moray eels and Barracuda before. The tides were running in and I was hunting for my dinner – and so was he. He came in from no where even though the water was very clear. He was very big and just glided by and disappeared into the indigo water outside the reef. I think my heart stopped but I didn’t freak out. I was too scared to panic – like a bad dream. I did feel very insignificant and in awe. He went about his business and I got back in the Zodiac pronto. I love sharks but not while I’m in the water - unless it’s one of those touristy well feed semi trained shark excursions.
The nice thing about Georgian Bay is you have that almost turquoise Caribbean like water at many locations ... without the dangerous critters. So the waters ten degrees colder – suck it up!
So here is a demonstration of why Georgian Bay is "nicer than the Caribbean"
Girl Ready To Dive Off Yacht
Whoops ... What's That Coming Out Of The Water?
Hey Look At The Cool Whale Breaching
Geez I Didn’t Think He Would Land On Us!
So did I prove my point how nice and safe it is to swim in Georgian Bay? What's that you say? – Muskies can grow very big in Georgian Bay! Suck it up - it's only 60 lbs. and it couldn't swallow more than your leg!
Georgian Bay Muskie
Although earlier ships had often had some form of bow ornamentation (e.g. the Viking ships of ca. A.D. 800-1100), the general practice was introduced with the galleons of the 16th century.
As with the stern ornamentation, the purpose of the figurehead was often to indicate the name of the ship in a non-literate society and demonstrate the wealth and might of the owner. At the height of the Baroque period, some ships of the line boasted gigantic figureheads, weighing several tons and sometimes twinned on both sides of the bowsprit.
A large figurehead, being carved from massive wood and perched on the very foremost tip of the hull, adversely affected the sailing qualities of the ship. This led to figureheads being made dramatically smaller during the 18th century. After the Napoleonic war, figureheads made something of a comeback, but were then often in the form of a small waist-up bust rather than the oversized full figures previously used. The clipper ships of the 1850s and 1860s customarily had full figureheads, but these were relatively small and light.
Figureheads as such died out with the sailing ship. The vogue for ram bows meant that there was no obvious place to mount one on battleships. An exception was HMS Rodney which was the last British battleship to carry a figurehead. Smaller ships of the royal navy continued to carry them. The last example may well have been the sloop HMS Cadmus launched in 1903. Early steam ships did sometimes have gilt scroll-work and coats-of-arms at their bows. This practice lasted up until about World War I. The 1910 German liner SS Imperator originally sported a large bronze figurehead of an eagle (the Imperial German symbol) standing on a globe. The few extra feet of length added by the figurehead made the Imperator the longest ship in the world at the time of her launch.
Why are so many figureheads female? For one, ships were always referred to in the female context. Secondly, the figureheads were often of the owner's wives - to guide the ship safely home. Figureheads were always the ship's owner's decision. In addition to the female carvings, figureheads were also often mythological characters, patriotic themes or children of the owner.
BOATING GEORGIAN BAY'S "LOW COUNTRY BOIL" RECIPE
This dish has many variations but it all got started with an African American Gullah (African Creole culture) from South Carolina that put it together. It became well known with it's use in the militia during the American Revolution. Richard Gay of the Gay Seafood Company also claims the invention of their variation called Frogman Stew (Richard was from Frogmore) about 50 years ago while serving with his fellow National Guardsmen. The Steamer Restaurant at Beaufort's Lady Island in South Carolina was the first restaurant known to offer the dish on a commercial menu. In any event a Low Country Boil is a delicious group event that you eat with your hands that is very popular in the Carolina’s and Georgia. Best shared on hot summer days with friends and cold beer on ice. This is our version of the Low Country Boil.
4.5 quarts of water
4 lbs. of baby red new potatoes halved (Little Gems)
3 lbs. of Kielbasa sausage cut into 2" pieces
6 cobs of corn cut into thirds
5 lbs. of jumbo fresh shrimp (peeled)
5 lbs. of crab legs
2 cloves of garlic
3 lemons halved
4 rough chopped onions
1 bottle of beer
Old Bay Seasoning to taste (1 tbsp. bay leaves, 2 tsp. celery salt, 1.5 tsp. Keens dry mustard, 1 tsp. black pepper, 1 tsp. paprika, 1/2 tsp. ground celery seeds, 1/2 tsp. white pepper, 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg, 1/2 tsp. ginger, 1/4 tsp. allspice, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/4 teaspoon red peppers flakes, 1/8 tsp. ground mace, 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
Boil potatoes in Old Bay Seasoning for 5 minutes, add sausage and corn pieces, boil 10 minutes more, add all other ingredients except shrimp and boil another 5 minutes, add shrimp and continue boil for 3 minutes. Total cooking time is 23 minutes. Drain off liquid and pour onto a table covered with newspaper and dig in.
LYME DISEASE & BOATING
Are there ticks around Georgian Bay that could give you Lyme Disease? You bet-cha! While Lyme disease is most common along the rural north shore areas of Lake Ontario and Erie you can catch it anywhere in Ontario. It is spread by animals and migratory birds via infection from the Black Legged Tick. Basically the ticks wait on blades of grass and low shrubs waiting for a host to come along. If you doubt that tics have moved to central Ontario in greater numbers then check with any veterinarian as they are seeing a increase in pets that are coming in and being diagnosed with Lyme Disease.
What does this have to do with boating? Fact is many boaters at anchorages dingy ashore and explore islands and other brushy or grassy areas that can harbor tics. Lots of folks and pets like to explore the trails on many of the Park islands among the 30,000 Islands. If your walking around the trails or the bush you should not be wearing shorts or bathing suits - long pants and full foot/ankle protection will protect you from tick bites.
The Black Legged Tick that spreads Lyme Disease is most dangerous in the nymphal stage which is most common in July & August. This is the second smallest stage and the tick would be about the size of a letter on a dime – very hard to see. The tick bites are painless and not itchy. When the tick latches on they take 3 to 7 days to fill up on a full blood meal. Infection can be transmitted most often after 24 hours of tick attachment. As the tick consumes a blood meal the tick enlarges and becomes easier to see. Flu like symptoms and sometimes a bulls eye reddish rash are the most common symptoms that manifest in 1 to 2 weeks after the bite.
Lyme Disease untreated can be debilitating and even life threatening for some people. In the early stages it can be treated successfully with antibiotics. Many doctors overlook Lyme Disease when patients come in not feeling well. There are tests for Lyme Disease and there are also false negatives so multiple tests are sometimes needed for proper redetection.
If you have been bitten by a tick pull it straight out from the head with sharp tweezers. Do not crush the tick. Save it and take it to the doctor for testing. Not every tick carries Lyme Disease. Check your pet for ticks after a romp in the forest and visit your vet to get tick control products and medication. More info at www.ontario.ca/lyme
CRUISING TO THE BAHAMAS?
The Bahamian Government has changed the fees for yachts cruising to or stationed in the Bahamas. The old entrance fee of $150 (35 feet & under) and $300 (35 feet & over) with up to four persons onboard is now and additional $20 for each person (over 6 years old) when there is more than three people on the boat. Departure tax has also increased from $15 to $20. If you reenter inside 90 days there is a $30 transportation fee payable to Customs. There is some confusion over the length of allowable stay with some Customs offices offering up to three months only and others offering up to six months without renewal. Check ahead based on where you are making landfall. It is likely that this will get sorted out quickly and six month cruising stays will universally available.
The Duty for leaving your boat permanently in the Bahamas is now a flat 10% of value for all vessel sizes (it used to be 6% for boats over 30 feet & 27% for boats under 30 feet). In 2006 yachts were flocking to the Bahamas due to shortage of docking space in Florida. Now this is not the case and there is plenty of available docking in Florida so this fee adjustment should attract smaller boats that will just be stationed in the Bahama islands permanently ... and along with the boats comes tourist dollars as folks visit their boats for extended periods.
LAUDERDALE BOAT SHOW COULD BE THE HARBINGER OF GOOD TIMES FOR BOATING INDUSTRY
The Fort Lauderdale Boat Show featured over 3 billion dollars in yacht inventory. The largest vessel featured was "Cakewalk" a 281 foot 2950 ton yacht ... the largest built in the USA since the 1930's. Exhibitor contracts for the show were up. Exhibitors were selling some boats for a change, and there seems to be a consensus that folks are comfortable again about buying and the lead quality of traffic was higher than vendors have seen in years. Particular interest and sales were strong in the 30 – 60 foot range which is a sign that the middle class are getting back to business. Several reasons could be considered responsible for the positive shift towards yacht purchase interest.
Florida tax on boat purchases has now been capped at $18,000 maximum regardless of the total capital cost. For USA located buyers this is a huge incentive to buy bigger boats and there are a lot of builders and sales outlets in Florida.
Even though there is still high unemployment, the general feeling is now is the time to get back into the market because the worst is over and inflation will be coming down the pipe.
Politically it seems the Democrats loosing control over the House to the Republicans is seen (at least in yacht manufacturing circles) as being a positive thing for the boat industry and business at large. At the time of the show it was almost a certainty that the Democrats would loose their majority.
There is pent up demand. Just like cars, boats wear out ... and owners want newer model features. For the past few years owner made due and avoided trading up but now they are ready to move to newer model boats with the features that they want like IPS and fuel saving technologies.
What does this mean for Canada. Well ... our dollar has excellent purchasing power for US boats new or used. Canadians are feeling pretty good about how the country came through the recession with flying colours. In general there is pent up demand here as there is in the US and there are lots of folks with money that are doing just fine. If the US is feeling better about yacht purchases then as the saying goes "what goes around comes around".
I was surprised to see a number of new high end boats over 40 feet come into the marina even in the tail end of the summer boating season. Things are looking up, but to be sure brokers and new boat outlets are not yet bogged down with business - but better times are certainly right around the corner.
HORS D OEUVRES AT THE DOCK
So you have a bunch of friends dropping by the boat and you need something nice to serve as finger food to go with the wine. Word gets around and before you know it there’s twenty boat buds socializing on the dock. Here is a simple recipe that is sure to please that goes great with chilled Chardonnay.
36 slices of prosciutto
4 jars of sundried tomatoes in oil (approx. 140 pieces)
1/2 cup plain goats cheese
1 bunch of basil
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
Drain oil from sundried tomatoes. Slice prosciutto in half lengthwise. Place a tomato half on the prosciutto and add a dollop of goat cheese. Top the cheese with a piece of torn basil leaf. Then add the other half of the sundried tomato on top. Roll the tomato package up in the prosciutto. You can freeze these now to cook later. To serve let them thaw at room temperature and then cook about one minute per side in an open frying pan with 1 tsp. of olive oil. Makes 72 pieces.
EVERY YACHT NEEDS A WINE CELLAR
Your at anchor in a secluded protected little bay and the sunset is to die for. Time to break out a bottle of wine from the ships wine cellar (a plastic bin with bubble wrap between the bottles stored in a cool dry bilge compartment will suffice). Here’s a suggested starter list of international wines to have on board that won’t break the bank but will impress fellow wine lovers. Cheers!
Mirassou Pinot Noir – California
Wildass 07 Red – Ontario
Mille Lire Montepulciano – Italy
Mud House Pinot Noir – New Zealand
McWilliams Cabernet Sauvignon – Australia
Belle Vue Haut Medoc - France
Nero D’Avola – Italy
Flourish Merlot Pinot Noir – California
Enzo Vincenzo Valipolicella – Italy
Tour St. Bonnet Medoc – France
Villars Fronsac - France
Here is a vey simple BEER BREAD recipe that we used daily to bake fresh bread when we sailed to the Caribbean in the early 80’s. The bread to this day reminds me of a fall day on the Chesapeake Bay. The best thing about this recipe is it is really easy to make and has a unique yeasty beer taste that you’ll enjoy.
3 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. sugar
1 egg (optional)
1 12 ounce can of beer
Mix all ingredients together and put into greased bread pan. Bake for 45 minutes at 375 degrees.
Onion bread - add 1/2 cup of onions
Herb bread – add 1 tsp. caraway seeds, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, 1/2 tsp. sage
SERVICE CANADA CHANGES BOAT REGISTRATION PROCESS
As of November 1st 2010 Service Canada will no longer offer the over the counter pleasure craft licenses. You have new options; the first is to go online at www.boatingsafety.gc.ca and use the Pleasure Craft Application kit OR complete the application form, provide proof of ownership and a valid signed copy of your government issued ID (Drivers License, Health Card) and snail mail it to the Pleasure Craft Licensing Centre. Those buying used boats now have 90 days to transfer the ownership. There is no charge for the Pleasure Craft License.
GHOSTS OF THE BAY - BOOK REVIEW
Ghosts Of The Bay is a guidebook to the history of Georgian Bay written by Russell Floren & Andrea Gutsche. The book comes with a full length companion video which is essentially a visual summary of the book. As a guidebook I did not have a high expectation of what was to come, but the book in fact is very well researched and written. This book is a must read if you want a fairly detailed account of the history, culture, commerce and characters of the area.
The book is divided geographically into Georgian Bay regions of the southern shore, east shore, north shore, Bruce Peninsula & Cabot Head to North Channel - Graveyard of the Bay. This book is sprinkled with interesting pictures and map graphic locators. It is rich with shipwreck information including the lesser know wrecks on the east shore away from the main diving centre of Tobermory. In most cases the map graphics show the location of the wrecks and the author offers cautions regarding the exposure and difficulty of the dive or snorkel.
The book really gives the reader a glimpse into the earliest recorded settlers in the area, the hardship, perseverance and of course puts it into perspective with the aboriginals who roamed the land long before Europeans arrived on the scene. Most important the authors did the field research and exploring around the remote ghost towns on the Bay and this gives the book a huge credibility boost with this combination of research and practical experience. Pick up a copy - you'll enjoy the read.
FAVOURITE ANCHORAGE ADDITIONS
If you haven't been on the Favourite Anchorage page lately it's worth taking a look. We have added a number of new anchorages to the list of must visit places to drop the hook. We have also started taking Flip video of these anchorages and uploading them to You Tube so you can get an idea of what the harbour looks like. When we don't have our own video we try and find a link on You Tube to other posted video footage of the anchorage so that as you read about the location, you can get some perspective of the surroundings.
We have also heard the argument that anchorages should be kept secret from others to minimize use but the other side of the coin is many boaters frequent the same anchorage over and over because they haven't experimented with other locations. So our roll is to build up a portfolio of great anchorages so that folks will cruise around and try different locations and get into the habit of being adventurous. In fact if people learn many anchorages they get comfortable and challenged to find more and that spreads the load for everyone ... and there are hundreds to be sure all around Georgian Bay and up into The North Channel. If you have an anchorage you want to share with others send it along with a description and photo (if you have one) to email@example.com and we will try and include it.
AGLCA CARDBOARD BOAT RACE AT BAY MOORINGS
We couldn't resist showing you these pictures that come from the American Great Loop Cruisers Association Rendevous organized at Bay Moorings Marina and sponsored by Parkbridge Marinas. AGLCA Loopers from all over North America attended the Rendevous for Georgian Bay cruising information sessions, opening reception and the cardboard boat race which was just one of the many events that were hosted. So take a look at these pics. Everyone of these boats were constructed with CARDBOARD ... and yes they all float - at least for a while they did. Cardboard boat building is a real art and in terms of water proofing and longevity and any expert cardboard boat builder knows the secret is the use of the handyman's favourite - Duct Tape.
Obviously weight is an issue so the wise used young boat captains that weren't packing a lot of pounds. We attended the opening reception and a number of Loopers told us this was the warmest welcome they had experienced since leaving their home ports. They felt very welcome in Canada .... and Georgian Bay & The North Channel is their highlight for the the year or two it takes to do the entire loop. Anyways the participants in the cardboard boat race and the Loopers in general had a blast and Parkbridge Marinas looks forward to introducing a new group of cruisers to Georgian Bay next season.
PARKS CANADA GULF ISLANDS STUDY
Parks Canada has contacted Boating Georgian Bay to round up power & sail boat representatives familiar with various aspects of Parks Canada - Georgian Bay Islands National Park to join a Focus Group who will be studying and discussing how the attributes and operations of the Georgian Bay Islands National Park could be applied to the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve in British Columbia. To this end Boating Georgian Bay along with three other individuals will relate their experiences from a boaters/cruisers perspective along with the opinions of other stakeholders during upcoming Focus Group sessions.
While the BC Gulf Islands are a long ways from Georgian Bay they share many similarities and some of the same challenges in managing remote Canadian Parks accessed primarily by water. They also share a unique topography and graphic beauty that makes them both top cruising destinations for visiting yachts from around the world and popular with provincial boaters as well. As the Gulf Islands plan becomes further established it is thought that the process could benefit from the Georgian Bay experience. Obviously how Canada Park resources are managed to their best possible use with minimum impact to the natural environment on the islands is always the balancing act. Parks Canada by most standards has done a pretty good job of this on Georgian Bay, but as always they seek out user feedback from a diverse mix of stakeholders. Stay tuned for more info on this.
GEORGIAN BAY ECO MUSEUM
Did you know that Georgian Bay is Canada's only Fresh Water Eco Museum (the Georgian Bay Eco Museum)?
The Ecomuseum (Eco Museum) concept was introduced in 1971 by the French musicologist Hugues de Varine. There are only 300 designated in the world and 200 of them are in Europe.
An Ecomuseum is a museum focused on the identity of a place, largely based on local participation and aiming to enhance the welfare and development of local communities.
With the Georgian Bay Eco Museum, the common ground of a geographic boundary of water identifies the area. One additional component of the Georgian Bay Eco Museum incorporates the watersheds feeding into Georgian Bay.
The objective is to strengthen and improve the presentation of the region's culture and nature in order to provide the local people and the many guests to the area with the best possible experiences and possibilities. One could consider this eco area to be Ontario's equivalent to the Galapagos Islands with its own unique geography, history, flora and fauna.
COSMOS Yacht Charters familiar with the features and attractions of this living museum and they offer sailing excursions on a private luxury yacht to witness this watershed in a manner that will assure you of a unique eco experience! Enjoy the splendour of Fall colors that adorn the islands and shorelines in September & October and the spectacular sunsets! www.cosmosyachtcharters.com (905) 715 8795
FIRST DORAL & QUEENS COVE RENDEZVOUS A BIG SUCCESS
Participants in Doral/Queens Cove first annual rendezvous by all accounts had a great time. The event started off with a meet and greet wine and cheese on the Saturday night August 7th and the boats departed Monday morning for Big Sound Marina in Parry Sound. A shore BBQ was supplied by Doral that night and the next morning the group departed for the Hopewell Bay anchorage. Hopewell Bay is a beautiful serene anchorage with good sand/clay holding and spectacular scenery. Swimming off the boats in near 80 degree water was great as was the exploring by dingy. Maureen from Carpe Diem came by and served excellent appetizers from a kayak.
The next day on the way up to Britt via the Bying Inlet the rendezvous group encountered some serious fog which eventually lifted as the flotilla entered the inlet. Most boats fueled up and pumped out at this stop. The Pickerel dinners at St Amant's Waterfront Inn were delicious. On Thursday the group headed south again for docking and more Pickerel at Henry's on Frying Pan Island. Canoe Passage on the way was interesting for the bigger boats. We did some dingy exploring and swimming from rocky islands while based at Henry's.
The last stop was a short ride from Henry's up to the Port Rawson Bay anchorage where the group went by dingys over to the Moon River waterfalls. Other than the morning fog the weather was spectacular during the entire trip. To be honest, I don't thing anyone really wanted to come back but commitments and changing weather meant pulling anchor and heading for home port. The whole trip was breathtaking and around every turn there was postcard quality pictures to take. The group all plans on doing it again next year. Thanks to Tara Baumgardner, Sheila Baxter and Jim Ball for organizing the event.
FANCY A LIFE AT SEA?
If you've ever thought about a second career after early retirement or if you have a lot of general boat experience maybe working on a private yacht would be up your alley. To be sure the crew are not guests on the boat - they are there to work ... and hard work it is. But if sea water runs in your veins and you can't afford your own yacht why not crew on someone else's. Most of the crew jobs are not high paying by professional standards, but if you like the lifestyle and want to see some beautiful parts of the world by water it may be worth investigating.
Job postings can vary from specialized skilled trades like Mechanics and Carpenters to accredited requirements like Captains and Chefs. But there are also many deckhand positions that may require a minimum of experience. Boat owners and Captains are looking for crew members who show initiative and it is usually the hired Captains that do the recruiting. Boat owners in many cases are not actually on the yacht a great deal, so the the role of the crew under the Captains direction is to keep the yacht ship shape and move the boat to the owners preferred destinations at various times of the year.
Boats can range in size from mega yachts to yachts down into the 50 foot range. There are cases where as owners become older, they loose the motor ability and agility to be running their own boat ... but they still are not ready to give up yachting so they hire a Captain to manage the boat for them. If you want to pursue this further here's a few sites that will be of interest. This one www.jobs-at-sea.com posts available yacht crew positions. You can also walk into almost any Atlantic coast marina where large yachts congregate and see job postings on the bulletin boards. To get a better feel feel for the yacht crew lifestyle check out this site www.thetriton.com which is a online communications directory for yacht crew.
ASIAN CARP BATTLE
Chicago locks are moving towards closure to stop the spread of the invasive Asian Carp. This could could have a major impact on Great Loop Cruisers and on all shipping up the waterway between Mississippi and Chicago. The Carp are a threat to the other fish species in Michigan and in fact in all the Great Lakes. A Carp Act Bill was put forward May 6th requesting immediate closure while they look for long term solutions. They have already tried electrical barriers in the waterway. The Governor of Illinois and many other politicians do not support this Bill because of the economic impact of the reduction in shipping and flood concerns with closing locks on an ongoing basis. Washington is not anxious to close the river either, but a number of Senators and neighboring States that could have there fisheries harmed do support the Bill.
WHAT IS THE "WITCH OF NOVEMBER"
The 'Witch of November" is an old saying that goes back to the 1800's when sailors believed in a literal sense that during the month of November witches would have there way with unsuspecting ships & crew and take them to their doom by creating gale force weather that gets conjured up very suddenly. So much so, that even experienced crew and well built ships got caught off guard and were not able to manage ... they would be overcome or run aground. The phrase applied to all the Great Lakes but especially Lake Superior, Lake Huron and Georgian Bay where commercial traffic by sail was frequent and the lakes very exposed to early winter storms that could come up quite unexpectedly due to shifts in the jet stream and clashes with cold air from the north and fronts from the south that just seem to commonly meet in the Lake Superior & Georgian Bay regions.
Fact of the matter is, as the weather turned colder and fronts were colliding, this type of unpredictable weather used to carry on into December until the lakes froze over (they did use to freeze over way back then) and the lake affect winds and snow subsided to a degree as dryer, less humid air took hold ... and of course shipping would cease as the ice came.
It's a good lesson though. If you go to our Shipwrecks page and study the table you will note that the vast majority of ships went down in November and early December. Captains were under immense pressure and pushed the limits to haul the last shipments of grain, that would otherwise not get to markets in the south. As was typical of the sailing ships, there was always a mixed bag of other things on board including cattle, consumer goods and passengers. Historically many lives were lost and their were not many to survive - even when ships ran aground close to shore. Because of the extremely cold water, many of the sailors and passenger bodies that perished never floated to to surface for recovery ... and that added to mystic. Stolen by witches!!! In warmer waters bodies naturally float up to the surface at some point - usually in spring as the water warms up.
Same thing holds true right to today in terms of predicting weather - it is not a perfect science. Even with modern weather forecasting and robust ships - there is no man made match or room for error when the gales of November scream across Huron and Georgian Bay. If you go on YouTube, there is no shortage of videos of modern "laker ships" exiting the St Clair River and running into weather that they anticipated but really weren't prepared for in the severity and brutality of the onslaught. We're talking waves that can lift the screw of a freighter right out of the water staling forward momentum and risking breach of a ship. November gales often include sleet. snow and significant ice building on decks. It goes without saying that November is no time to be repositioning pleasure boats. Most of the "lakers" get buffeted but live to tell the tail - but every now and again the witch comes stealing and claims her prize.
GEORGIAN BAY WATER LEVELS
Water levels throughout the Great Lakes and Georgian Bay have been a hot topic for a number of years now. In the Georgian Bay region the problems of low water can be more than an inconvenience. Low water levels cause real economic hardship and affect property values due to the fact that many areas are rock bottom and have marginal deep water access at the best of times. For marinas dredging is expensive and not practical when required on a large scale (and not that environmentally friendly either). In some cases dredging has been the only option to stay in business. However you can't dredge granite and many of the navigable passages are just that - pure granite or limestone base. Many are a calling for something to be done by holding back more water flowing from Huron down the St Clair River. Some studies have claimed that the river is scoured deeper over the years by an amount allowing 11% more water flow from Lake Huron. Other water volume studies indicate that from the historic measurements the water flow down the St Clair have increased only 5% from historic levels. One thing is for sure, I don't think they will be controlling water flow from Lake Huron down the St Clair anytime soon with all the major shipping and commerce going on. We're also not alone on the problem. Lake Ontario and in fact all the Great Lakes are suffering from low water problems with year to year variations. Even the Trent watershed had unusually low water levels this spring - the lowest in 20 years. Lake Ontario is down about 14 inches this spring but is expected to gain back 7 inches before summer evaporation begins in earnest.
Last year water levels in Georgian Bay were up over previous years and this year in early spring there was mixed reporting from normal levels on some of the east shore inlets to down a foot around most of the Georgian Bay. One thing is for sure, we haven't had much rain this spring and other than a few lake affect snow pockets there wasn't much snow this past winter. Considering the lack of snow ... oddly enough there wasn't much frost either. Low snow and low frost years create a double whammy because what melt there is goes right into the water table through ground filtering rather than washed into the lakes and rivers from runoff.. That's not really a bad thing either because the underground aquifers need replenishing too from time to time, seeing as that’s where the majority of humans draw their water from.
So who is really to blame? Probably no one in particular. Every time Georgian Bay gets really low water levels ... so goes Lake Superior and the other Great Lakes - we just feel it more on Georgian Bay because of the rocky shallow shorelines in many areas of the Bay. What can we do? Probably not a lot. The major factor is ... Mother Nature's natural outcomes of precipitation, snow melt, frost, and summer evaporation that affect water levels. Of course there is latent cause and affect, so we see these things year by year but in reality there are long cycles in weather and ground water filtering that are less measureable and harder to reconcile that also affect water levels. It fits right in with the bigger debate over global warming and it's causes and effects. Some suggest the recent volcanic eruptions in Iceland have a greater net affect on global warming than anything man made over the last twenty years. In the vast interior forested regions of Ontario an unusual amount of water being held in large tracts of swamp by beaver dams and this is a major factor of flows to our waterways. There are no water shortages in the interior swamplands and the beaver ponds are everywhere and countless roads and trails that were open for decades are now under twenty feet of water. It really becomes obvious when you fly over and this has been building gradually for decades. But these swamps are our natural filters as well and support a rich diversified eco system. Some municipal politicians on the Trent water shed regions have suggested beaver culls as a way to bring water levels back to normal in Ontario. Yet only a few years ago they couldn't open the Trent system on schedule because of torrents of water flowing through. One thing is for sure, this is not something that there is a clear answer to that will get solved anytime soon by any single solution or group of bright minds. It is a complex issue and I for one don't believe that we should fool around with Mother Nature more than we already have. These things do correct themselves given time as has been proven time and time again - although it's hard to be patient when your dock is sitting on bare rock.
INDIA OPENS IT'S FIRST MARINA
It's a sign of the times. As wealth grows in emerging manufacturing economies like India and China so does the individual wealth of entrepreneurs that search out expensive recreational leisure products like yachts. Accordingly India has opened it's first marina with the introduction of the 37 berth Kochi International Marina located in the south western state of Kerala for the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation. The marina can birth yachts up to 75 feet and offers full marine services. It is situated as part of the Bolgatty Palace Heritage Hotel. A number of yacht owners have already signed up for dock space.
Many boaters experience a pinkish tinge that shows up on their marine vinyl after a few years. Unless you can put up with pink spots on your vinyl for most the solution is replacement of the upholstery. Most boat owners think that these are wine stains, dye from bathing suits or someone is sabotaging their boat. Vinyl cleaners, magic eraser, upholstery cleaner, bathroom cleaners etc will not touch these stains. Most marina operators will try, but don't have a clue how to remove these stains.
The pinkish stains are caused by an airborne fungus. The pink is actually the byproduct or poop of the fungus as it digests oils and dirt embedded in the porous vinyl. These are the conditions that allows the fungus to take hold on vinyl that is as new as just two years old:
storage above 60 degrees F (this includes outdoor wrapped boats in the fall or spring sun)
lack of air circulation
lack of fresh vinyl protector before storage
You do not need much moisture to have this fungus take hold - heat and lack of air circulation is the main catalyst but moisture can accelerate it. Enough moisture (rain) and it cannot take hold. Most of the problems with this fungus become apparent after winter storage. On pre 90's vinyl this did not often happen, unless the vinyl was really old and dried out. Why? The marine vinyl manufacturers claim that the fungus has become immune to the fungicides put into the vinyl formula. Boat pundits claim that the manufacturers are using less fungicide in the formula to save on costs or intentionally accelerate replacement on vinyl upholstery. Who knows for sure!
Now if the fungus gets too imbedded, replacement is the only option. If you catch it early enough there are two cures:
Direct hot sunlight over a number of days will gradually fade it out
Oxi 10 or any Acne Cream with 5% or more peroxide spread on the stain and left overnight to do it's magic
Be careful to avoid stitching as peroxide will weaken it. Also be aware that simply wiping the stain with peroxide (or bleach for that matter) will not remove the stain.
Here's how you avoid the problem to begin with.
keep upholstery away from heaters in storage that would allow the temperature to achieve 60 degrees
make sure there is some air circulation and do not drape anything or leave anything on the seats that would reduce circulation
use a vinyl protector after every cleaning and do not clean and store without vinyl protection
if your boat is wrapped get some air circulation going as soon as the sun is strong enough and the outdoor temperatures get high enough to allow for 60 degrees under the shrink wrap
And remember, give Mother Nature some credit - oxidization and breaking down natural and manmade products is something she does very well given some time and the right conditions ... and you know what they say "you can't fool mother nature"
BEST TIME TO BUY BOAT ACCESSORIES
In Canada we came off in pretty good shape given the depth of the worldwide recession. Thanks to our natural resources and fiscally sound banks we weathered the recession as well as any country in the world. Our major trading partner is the US. America got clobbered in this recession and they are still reeling from the zero subprime meltdown, government debt and depressed real estate prices. The marine industry was also hit hard. Much of our boat accessories come from the US. National boat product retailers have dropped their prices on many items and sale pricing is the norm. In Canada we have a very strong dollar against the US currency and it is making boat products a bargain. This won't last forever as the US comes out of recession things are likely to fall back into line. So next time you see that trick boat product that you always wanted on sale snap it up because 2012 and beyond may be a different situation and the US dollar will rise along with inflation costs, prices and demand.
HOW TO CHOOSE A MARINA
This may sound like a no brainer but many new boat owners struggle with where to dock their baby. This might help.
decide on the geographic region of Georgian Bay you want to boat in most frequently
rates are all over the place so decide on the services you want and have each marina quote you on those services so you are sure you are comparing apples to apples
get a few examples of repair costs and compare
talk to other boaters and ascertain if there are any down sides to particular marinas
look closely at the upkeep of the marina, friendliness of staff and their willingness to answer your questions directly
compare what is included in terms of recreation facilities at the marina
consider how much time you will spend out boating vs. cottaging at the dock as the physical location of available dock space may be also be an issue
consider how far the drive is from your home to the marina and take into account that boats burn more fuel than cars so if you plan to spend most of your time on the water in a certain area of the Bay take driving time vs. boat access time to the area into account
some boaters like more remote marinas and some want their marina to be right in town with access to restaurants, supplies and entertainment ... take this into consideration
last but not least this is one of those situations where you want to trust your gut feelings ... if the marina feels like a home for your boat and feels like a yachting community that you fit in well - then you are probably going to be happy there and cost of docking and services may not be the overriding factor in your decision making.
Here's one I came across that I couldn't help but share with you.
We are about to enter the BBQ season. Therefore it is important to refreshyour memory on the etiquette of this sublime outdoor cooking activity. When a man volunteers to do the BBQ the following chain of events are put into motion:
(1) The woman buys the food.
(2) The woman makes the salad, prepares the vegetables, and makes dessert.
(3) The woman prepares the meat for cooking, places it on a tray along with the necessary cooking utensils and sauces, and takes it to the man who is lounging beside the grill - beer in hand.
(4) The woman remains outside the compulsory three meter exclusion zone where the exuberance of testosterone and other manly bonding activities can take place without the interference of the woman...
Here comes the important part:
(5) THE MAN PLACES THE MEAT ON THE GRILL.
(6) The woman goes inside to organize the plates and cutlery.
(7) The woman comes out to tell the man that the meat is looking great. He thanks her and asks if she will bring another beer while he flips the meat
(8) THE MAN TAKES THE MEAT OFF THE GRILL AND HANDS IT TO THE WOMAN.
(9) The woman prepares the plates, salad, bread, utensils, napkins, sauces, and brings them to the table..
(10) After eating, the woman clears the table and does the dishes.
And most important of all:
(11) Everyone PRAISES the MAN and THANKS HIM for his cooking efforts.
(12) The man asks the woman how she enjoyed 'her night off' and, upon seeing her annoyed reaction, concludes that there's just no pleasing some women!
INTERNATIONAL TALK LIKE A PIRATE DAY
International Talk Like a Pirate Day (ITLAPD) is a parodic holiday created in 1996 by John Baur (Ol' Chumbucket) and Mark Summers (Cap'n Slappy), of Albany, Oregon, U.S., who proclaimed September 19 each year as the day when everyone in the world should talk like a pirate.
According to Summers, the day is the only holiday to come into being as a result of a sports injury. He has stated that during a racquetball game between Summers and Baur, one of them reacted to the pain with an outburst of "Aaarrr!", and the idea was born. That game took place on June 6, 1995, but out of respect for the observance of D-Day, they chose Summers' ex-wife's birthday, as it would be easy for him to remember.
At first an inside joke between two friends, the holiday gained exposure when John Baur and Mark Summers sent a letter about their invented holiday to the American syndicated humor columnist Dave Barry in 2002. Barry liked the idea and promoted the day. Growing media coverage of the holiday after Barry's column has ensured that this event is now celebrated internationally, and Baur and Summers now sell books and T-shirts on their website related to the theme. Part of the success for the international spread of the holiday has been attributed to non-restriction of the idea or trademarking, in effect opening the holiday for creativity and "viral" growth.
Seamen in the days of sail (as well as today) spoke a language so full of technical jargon as to be nearly incomprehensible to a landlubber. For example, few could follow these instructions:
Lift the skin up, and put into the bunt the slack of the clews (not too taut), the leech and foot-rope, and body of the sail; being careful not to let it get forward under or hang down abaft. Then haul your bunt well up on the yard, smoothing the skin and bringing it down well abaft, and make fast the bunt gasket round the mast, and the jigger, if there be one, to the tie. —Richard Henry Dana, Jr., The Seaman's Manual (1844)
These phrases date back to the 17th century:
If the ship go before the wind, or as they term it, betwixt two sheets, then he who conds uses these terms to him at the helm: Starboard, larboard, the helm amidships... If the ship go by a wind, or a quarter winds, they say aloof, or keep your loof, or fall not off, wear no more, keep her to, touch the wind, have a care of the lee-latch. All these do imply the same in a manner, are to bid him at the helm to keep her near the wind. —former pirate Sir Henry Mainwaring (see Harland (1984) p.177)
From Lt. Robert Maynard's report of Blackbeard at the Battle of Ocracoke:
He styl'd us 'young puppies' and shouted 'May the Devil take my soul if I ever gives quarter or asks it of ye!'
"Damn ye, yellow-bellied sapsuckers, I'm a better man than all of ye milksops put together" - Blackbeard
The only written records recovered from the Adventure after Blackbeard's death ran as follows.
Such a day, rum all out - Our company somewhat sober - A damned confusion amongst us! - Rogues a-plotting - Great talk of separation - so I looked sharp for a prize - Such a day found one with a great deal of liquor on board, so kept the company hot, damned hot, then things went well again.
FAMOUS NAUTICAL SAYINGS Over the Barrel -
The most common method of punishment aboard ship was flogging. The unfortunate sailor was tied to a grating, mast or over the barrel of a deck cannon.
The bottom portion of a sail is called the foot. If it is not secured, it is footloose and it dances randomly in the wind.
Booby Hatch -
Aboard ship, a booby hatch is a sliding cover or hatch that must be pushed away to allow access or passage.
Pipe Down -
Means stop talking and be quiet. The Pipe Down was the last signal from the Boson's pipe each day which meant lights out and silence.
Meaning something is filled to capacity or over loaded. If two blocks of rigging tackle were so hard together they couldn't be tightened further, it was said they were Chock-a-Block .
The weather side of a ship is the side from which the wind is blowing. The Lee side is the side of the ship sheltered from the wind. A lee shore is a shore that is downwind of a ship. If a ship does not have enough leeway it is in danger of being driven onto the shore.
A sudden unexpected rush of wind from a mountainous shore which allowed a ship more leeway.
In 1740, British Admiral Vernon (whose nickname was Old Grogram for the cloak of Grogram which he wore) ordered that the sailors' daily ration of rum be diluted with water. The men called the mixture grog. A sailor who drank too much grog was groggy.
Three Sheets to the Wind -
A sheet is a rope line which controls the tension on the downwind side of a square sail. If, on a three Amsted fully rigged ship, the sheets of the three lower course sails are loose, the sails will flap and flutter and are said to be in the wind. A ship in this condition would stagger and wander aimlessly downwind.
As the Crow Flies -
When lost or unsure of their position in coastal waters, ships would release a caged crow. The crow would fly straight towards the nearest land thus giving the vessel some sort of a navigational fix. The tallest lookout platform on a ship came to be known as the crow's nest.
Buoyed Up -
Using a buoy to raise the bight of an anchor cable to prevent it from chafing on a rough bottom.
Cut and Run -
If a captain of a smaller ship encountered a larger enemy vessel, he might decide that discretion is the better part of valor, and so he would order
the crew to cut the lashings on all the sails and run away before the wind. Other sources indicate Cut and Run meant to cut the anchor cable and sail off in a hurry.
A small triangular sail set above the skysail in order to maximize effect in a light wind.
The Bitter End -
The end of an anchor cable is fastened to the bits at the ship's bow. If all of the anchor cable has been paid out you have come to the bitter end.
Toe the Line -
When called to line up at attention, the ship's crew would form up with their toes touching a seam in the deck planking.
Slush Fund -
A slushy slurry of fat was obtained by boiling or scraping the empty salted meat storage barrels. This stuff called slush was often sold ashore by
the ship's cook for the benefit of himself or the crew. The money so derived became known as a slush fund.
Bear Down -
To sail downwind rapidly towards another ship or landmark.
Under the Weather -
If a crewman is standing watch on the weather side of the bow, he will be subject to the constant beating of the sea and the ocean spray. He will be under the weather.
If a ship holds a tack course too long, it has overreached its turning point and the distance it must travel to reach its next tack point is increased.
Gone By the Board -
Anything seen to have gone overboard or spotted floating past the ship (by the board) was considered lost at sea.
Above Board -
Anything on or above the open deck. If something is open and in plain view, it is above board.
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea -
The devil seam was the curved seam in the deck planking closest to the side of the ship and next to the scupper gutters. If a sailor slipped on
the deck, he could find himself between the devil and the deep blue sea.
Rummage Sale -
From the French arrimage meaning ship's cargo. Damaged cargo was sold at a rummage sale.
A Square Meal -
In good weather, crews' mess was a warm meal served on square wooden platters.
Son of a Gun -
When in port, and with the crew restricted to the ship for any extended period of time, wives and ladies of easy virtue often were allowed to live aboard along with the crew. Infrequently, but not uncommonly, children were born aboard, and a convenient place for this was between guns on the gun deck. If the child's father was unknown, they were entered in the ship's log as son of a gun.
Taking the wind out of his sails -
Sailing in a manner so as to steal or divert wind from another ship's sails.
Let the Cat Out of the Bag -
In the Royal Navy the punishment prescribed for most serious crimes was flogging. This was administered by the Boson's Mate using a whip called a cat
o' nine tails. The cat was kept in a leather or baize bag. It was considered bad news indeed when the cat was let out of the bag.
Start Over with a Clean Slate -
A slate tablet was kept near the helm on which the watch keeper would record the speeds, distances, headings and tacks during the watch. If there were no problems during the watch, the slate would be wiped clean so that the new watch could start over with a clean slate.
Taken Aback -
A dangerous situation where the wind is on the wrong side of the sails pressing them back against the mast and forcing the ship astern. Most often this was caused by an inattentive helmsman who had allowed the ship to head up into the wind.
At Loggerheads -
An iron ball attached to a long handle was a loggerhead. When heated it was used to seal the pitch in deck seams. It was sometimes a handy weapon
for quarreling crewmen.
A large sail used only for sailing downwind and requiring rather little attention.
Give (someone) a Wide Berth -
To anchor a ship far enough away from another ship so that they did not hit each other when they swung with the wind or tide.
Cut of His Jib -
Warships many times had their foresails or jib sails cut thinly so that they could maintain point and not be blown off course. Upon sighting thin foresails on a distant ship a captain might not like the cut of his jib and would then have an opportunity to escape.
Touch and Go -
This referred to a ship's keel touching the bottom and getting right off again.
BAY STREET BOOKS
Rainy day ... nothing to do? Take a trip into Bay Street Books in downtown Midland and browse their collection of over 3,000 used nautical books, magazines and charts (they clam the largest selection in Simcoe County). The store is just off the main King St. drag at 483 Bay St. There have a lot of naval history and detailed books on seamanship. I suppose because they are in a historic shipping port and surrounded by many other shipping ports they get a lot of retired captains and marine stuff passed down from families that gets turned in. I picked up three charts including one out of print chart of the whole Lake Huron, Georgian Bay & North Channel for $15. They also have other books of course that are not nautical themed. They can be reached at (705) 526 0362.
WHAT ARE LOOPERS?
No ... "loopers" are not sailors who have been into the rum. They are cruisers following the America's Great Loop waterway adventure from various starting points along the continuous route that includes Trent Severn Waterways on both sides of Lake Simcoe, Georgian Bay, Lake Michigan, south from Chicago down the Mississippi and around Florida and back up the inter-coastal east coast waterway through the Chesapeake, out the Delaware, up to New York and then back to Lake Ontario to Oswego via the Hudson River & Erie Barge Canal.
There is an association that loopers can be a part of called the Great Loop Cruisers' Association and they rendezvous a few times during the year along the route and share information, attend seminars and generally have a good time. There are several thousand members and the colour of the burgee on the boat signifies their level of involvement. A White burgee signifies membership and doing the route, Gold burgee means route has been completed, Platinum means the route has been completed more than once. I believe there is some looper who has done the loop five times ... and they must have won a lottery at some point. The boats come in all shape, sizes and colours but the majority tend to be trawlers due to their economical operation under power. There are watercraft as small as PWC's that do the route and sailboats too with mast down for a good part of the journey. One common element is that maximum draft to do the whole loop is about five feet.
Loopers are a growing group thanks to demographics ... with all the baby boomers retiring and packing up their boats to cruise. This Great Loop is also known as the Great Circle Loop and is considered one of the safest long distance boat cruising routes in the world. Having done one half of the route from Florida to Georgian Bay/Lake Huron I can say the cruising is spectacular and a life altering experience that should be on the top of any boaters bucket list. Loopers are a tight knit group and help each other out along the way and often travel in pods or meet up at designated locations along the way. Many loopers take breaks between sections and many take side trips along the way to places like the Caribbean (to kill some time over the cold winter months) before journeying back north, up the east coast. There are also variations on the route which can mean sacrificing the Trent and Georgian Bay for the Erie Barge canal and Lake Huron (who would want to miss the the Trent and Georgian Bay?). The loop runs counter clockwise because the currents run south from Chicago. The association offers all kinds of benefits, discounts on services and merchandise to it's members. At www.boatinggeorgianbay.com we support LOOPERS!
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