Section III Georgian Bay: Parry Sound to Byng Inlet
Thursday, July 18, 2002:
We wake up to a cool Canadian morning, the
beaches are deserted, no one's moving on any of the boats anchored around
us, not even a fisherman is out yet. It's overcast and dreary, but the
rain has ended. Other than one short shower in the Trent/Severn a few
weeks ago, last night's storm was the first real rain we've had since the
Hudson River. The wind has veered to the northeast which means a
comfortable cruise today up the lee side of Georgian Bay. The prospect of
little or no wave action ahead makes Kay very happy... so she makes some
oatmeal and toast for breakfast.
We needed long pants and a sweater for the first time
since the beginning days of our trip. It felt good for a change.
Pearce bailed out the dinghy, and we left our pretty anchorage. Snug
Harbor was just a few miles up the coast, and the guide books call it "an
angler's paradise" where you can "catch your own bass, pike, walleye
and musky in the area's prolific waters." Pearce took the dinghy and
nosed around the cove for an hour or so and then declared, "There are no
fish here!" Kay, who had been sunning and reading on the back deck, made ham
sandwiches for lunch.
The lighthouse on the left marks the entrance to
Snug Harbor. Prior to the lighthouses the aides to navigation
consisted on piles of stones! The lighthouse on the right is at
Pointe au Baril. It was built in 1889 and replaced the barrel with a
lantern on top that the local residents erected in the mid-1800s to guide
boats into the channel.
Since the wind was gentle and the seas were calm, we
made the 50 mile run up the coast to Byng Inlet. Pearce had re-loaded the
dinghy to the transom so that we could travel a lot faster when we were
not in narrow channels or cruising among the cottages.
Speaking of narrow channels...this is one of
them. They are all well marked, but they often twist with sharp
turns. There are two ways to travel along Georgian Bay. The
cruise ships and freighters choose the "outside" route that
skirts the 30,000 islands. Boats like ours use the "small craft
channel." Sometimes we travel along big open areas by the bay
or inland along the rivers. At other times we squeeze between the
rocky outgrowths and the pretty islands. Pearce says he's glad he
has GPS and Hal to guide us. Kay follows along on the charts
to check on our position and to see where the next turn leads us.
We have been going through what is called The
Cottage Country. Kay took a picture of one of these cottages.
The design may be unusual for this area, but the size is not. The
cottages range from what we would consider a summer cottage to huge
estates, some with several out buildings. We looked at some
offerings in a real estate agent's window in Parry Sound. Prices
range from just under $200,000 to several million -- Canadian. You
can even buy your own island. There are areas where the houses are
on the mainland, but there are many more out on the islands where access
is only by boat or seaplane.
After we settled in here in the village of Britt
in Byng Inlet, Kay walked over to the two restaurants to look at their
menus. She made reservations at The Little Britt Inn. Pearce tried
the braised elk and Kay had the smoked duck. Kay gave 5 stars to her
meal. Pearce said the elk was interesting, but he said it reminded him of
pot roast. The food was excellent.
Friday, July 19, 2002:
Pearce decided to go fishing again. The guidebook said that Byng Inlet
"offers superb fishing for walleye, northern pike, smallmouth bass, muskie,
trout, panfish, pickerel and salmon." One of the men at the marina
sold him a lure that was guaranteed to catch a fish. Off he went in the
dinghy to an island in the middle of the inlet. Kay decided that the
morning might be well spent defrosting the refrigerator. She loaded all
the food into the plastic ottoman, poured all the ice cubes in, and proceeded to
wait. Just about the time that she finished reloading the clean
refrigerator, Pearce came back declaring, "There aren't any fish
Since we were tired of ham sandwiches, off we went to the Little Britt
Inn, this time to the less formal "Downstairs." Lunch was
delicious soups (gazpacho and fish chowder) followed by a blueberry grunt.
The food is served on brown paper set in aluminum pie plates (the soup came in
bowls on top of the brown paper!) The menus are hand written and tucked
into the mast of a flatbed sailboat. (Last night's menus were on flat
paddles hanging by a cord from each chair.)
Jim Sorrenti, owner along with Teri McLean,
invited us to see their suites. There are four bedroom and sitting
room suites and one two bedroom suite. They are all beautifully and
individually decorated with comfortable furniture in warm, cozy
colors. These suites are available year around, but from September
to May a package is offered that includes meals that are created according
to the tastes of the group. Jim said that many of the weekends are
rebooked each year by the same guests. They have a special which is worth
looking into... during the "off season" (winter) if you bring
along four other couples, you become "Innkeeper For The Day"
and, like Jim and Teri, lodge for nothing!
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