During the first few days of our Georgian Bay experience we were joined by John’s sister Sue and brother-in-law Ted, as well as by John and Marsha Belford aboard their vessel Kadadi. John and Marsha have had many years of experience cruising this area, and introduced us to excellent anchorages that we likely wouldn’t have found ourselves. We had much fun together, including John on his ukelele (his voice isn’t bad either) and rediscovering the challenges of playing Bridge with Sue and Ted. We were also very fortunate to have everyone’s assistance and ingenuity when the head broke down, but that’s a story we won’t go into.
While our route through the Trent-Severn Waterway left a strong impression of man’s influence on his surroundings, our travels through Georgian Bay often did the opposite. Although cottages can be seen within the protected inner passages and occasionally on the remoter outer islands, much of the area still feels like wilderness, with man’s presence but a minor foothold. We can only imagine what it must be like during the the very cold and windy conditions of winter.
Whatever challenges there may have been, the area was occupied by First Nations peoples for thousands of years. Georgian Bay then became a key route for the northwest fur traders from eastern Canada, who traded and traversed the region in the 17th and 18th centuries. Early explorers, such as Samuel de Champlain, visited as early as 1615. Settlers and industry followed in the 1800’s, and many of the small towns we visited, such as Killarney, were once considered significant centres of commerce in their day.
In addition to the remote beauty of the region, a contributing factor to our feelings of isolation may have been the much-less-than-expected boat traffic we have experienced (locals in small marinas and towns tell us that business is down by as much as half). We’re not sure why this is, but it has meant that we have often had excellent anchorages all to ourselves, or at most shared them with only a few other boats.
Selecting pictures for this post has been a challenge as we have taken so many that may be of interest. Hopefully the ones we have chosen will provide the appropriate flavour for this most unique and interesting part of our trip.
To provide an overview of our current cruising area, the first image is a map of Georgian Bay. Our route was along the northern shore, from southeast to northwest.
Next up will be the North Channel section of Lake Huron, which we plan to post when we arrive in Sault Sainte Marie next week.