First of All –
- First time cruising on the open waters of Georgian Bay
- First time motor sailing with main and jib since I can’t remember when
- First time anchoring since way back on the Ottawa River
- First birds: ruby throated hummingbird, Napoleon’s gull
- Good Cheer Island
- Waubuno Channel
- Palestine Island
- Shawanaga Inlet
- Pointe au Baril
- Hangdog Inlet
- Byng Inlet
- Bustard Islands
- Miles Cruised today: Power: 71; Sail: Motor sailed with main and jib for 3 hours
- Total Miles Cruised to date: 6,197
- Hours Underway: 11
- Fuel: NA
- Morning House Battery Reading: 12.65
- Wind Speed: 12; Wind Direction: W
- Daily High Temperature: 80
- Water Temperature: 74
This is a day just made for traveling, and we have some long miles to make. Dead calm at 6am when I cast off and motor out into the channel. The sun is just rising, lighting the world up with those magnificent low angle rays. We weave our way between islands large and small, taking great care to stay between the red and green markers. In some places, we have no more than 10 feet between the sides of our hull and the buoys. About half way into our run we’re forced to head out into open water, since the close in waters are just too choked with rocks and islets to afford clear passage in sheltered water. This is a good day to be outside, though, with just a light breeze ruffling the water surface. Once I make the turn to the northwest, we gain enough angle on the wind to warrant raising sails. I set both main and jib, and the light wind moves us along at 3.5 to 4 mph. If we were just out playing, that would be more than enough speed, however, we still have nearly 20 miles to go and it would turn dark before we reached an anchorage at that speed. In these rocky waters that’s a very bad idea. I run the engine at just over 2000 rpm, and our speed increases to around 6 mph.
I’m grateful for the wind’s boost, since I need to maximize my fuel efficiency. I last bought gas at Orillia, and fuel docks are very scarce in these parts. Where they do exist, they are well off the main routes, and often require a lengthy detour. I’m wanting to avoid any extra cruising time, if at all possible. I filled the port side tank with gas from my portable gas cans last evening, so I started the day with 2 full 12 gallon main tanks. Ten miles short of our anchorage I check the gas level and see the last half gallon sloshing around in the bottom of the tank. I switch tanks on the run, and do a quick calculation of just how far it is to Killarney. I’ll need to cover about 40 miles on that last tank. It will be a bit closer than I like, but if I go easy on the throttle tomorrow, that tank should be good for about 70 miles. I expect to get to Killarney with 4 or 5 gallons still in the tank.
As the miles pass by, I regularly switch to new charts. I’m using strip charts which are folded accordian style, for this part of the trip. They come in chart packs which I bought second hand from a couple who had just completed their loop cruise. Out on the open waters I’m using a large area chart which covers the entire Georgian Bay, however, as I near our destination, the anchorage at Bustard Islands, I look for the detailed accordian chart from chart pack 2204. To my surprise, 2 of the 4 charts in that packet are missing. I failed to notice this before we left home. So, I’m left to navigate using the large area chart along with the electronic chart in my Garmin GPS. It’s sufficient, but I sure miss having my detailed paper chart, which allows me to look ahead at a glance, without having to push buttons and scroll around.
Shortly before 5pm we finally reach our destination. It’s a beautiful anchorage, and half a dozen boats are already riding quietly at anchor. I cruise around, looking for the best available remaining spot. The anchor hooks well on the first try. We’re both hungry, so I fire up the barbque and grill hamburger patties. I’m pleased with our progress today. I’ll go for another early departure in the morning, which should put us into Killarney close to noon. We need to fuel up there, and if we get there in time, we’ll hit the fish and chips place for lunch. We’ll also find a grocery and buy a few apples and a few other items we’re low on. I don’t plan on spending the night there, so long as we have a few good hours of cruising time still available. There are some lovely anchorages nearby, and it would be nice to anchor out somewhere near the start of the North Channel.