Long Bay to Maskinonge Island, Mill Lake, Killarney, Frazer Bay and Little Current, ON

We depart Parry Sound on a clear morning and continue to move north up Georgian Bay a short distance to Long Bay right above Narrows Island (18NM). The bay is rather narrow itself but the cottage we are anchored in front of and near to, is not occupied and after an hour with no one telling us to move we decide to stay. It is a sunny afternoon and we take the tender out for a drive. We explore some of the granite outcroppings and are surprised by a water snake bringing a large fish he caught up on to shore. We watch as the snake struggles to get the fish into position to devour it when Larry makes mention of a stealthy black mink running up right behind us (literally less than a foot away) and toward the snake. The snake is gone in a flash, the mink dashes into the brush and the fish swims away, happy not be eaten for dinner. Too bad I didn’t have my camera-phone to document this moment of nature that took place in less than 60 seconds. Back on board the boat that evening the water in the little bay is like glass and we are entertained by a water skier slaloming in and out of the skinny bay right in front of the boat. The next day is looking a little overcast and by the time we pull anchor it is getting a bit windy. As we head toward Shawanaga Inlet the rain starts up and then the wind is soon to follow. We duck into a cove and lay the anchor next to Maskinonge Island (10NM). A nice anchorage that is protected from the wind. We dry off and spend the night there. An uneventful evening with exception of another ‘friendly local’ buzzing our boat in his skiff at 2:15AM yelling “Have a good sleep!”. With the sun shining the next day we prepare ourselves for the narrow exit by Pointe au Baril and out to Lake Huron. Larry waxes the boat and I watch the helm while we make the four hour cruise. We enter Beaverstone Bay and place a securite call as we start north up the Collins Inlet. This inlet is another very narrow and very shallow cut with a major blind turn. After you make the turn you can breath again and enjoy the gorgeous views. Smooth granite rocks plunge into a channel that is lined with dark green pines and birch trees. It smells like the forest. We think how lucky we are to be able to do this passage, if it was not for this years high water (3 extra feet) we would not have had the clearance. We anchor in Mill Lake off Collins Inlet (50NM) and stay for two nights as there is foul weather predicted for the next day. Well, I am thankful we stayed. The wind was up most of the day and at 3:00PM a squall came through with winds up to 40 knots. You could feel our 90,000 pound boat heal over in the wind and strain against the chain. By the time I gathered our foul weather gear to prep for the worst the winds passed and the water was flat. I am so relieved that our anchor held...that was a little scary. The following day is gorgeous and we continue up Collins Inlet through a few narrow passages to Killarney (12NM). A very busy port/channel town with marinas on both sides and boats criss-crossing the channel at all angles. We figure out we are across the channel from the main marina on the St. George Island side and squeeze into our spot. Sportsman’s Inn Marina is huge and owns most of the land and resorts in this town. They have two full marinas and a huge lodge with bars, restaurants, a swimming pool and a new $18 million event center lodge. That evening we make friends with Willy who runs a little oyster/seafood shack in front of the marina and it turns out he is involved with a company that makes Tequila...what are the chances!!! Nice guy and he makes great jambalaya with fresh shrimp. We continue our tour of this little town and finish up our culinary ‘musts’ with a stop at Herbert Fisheries for some of their famous fish and chips. I could leave the chips but the fish was amazing. Barely battered and cooked quickly and lightly. Definitely the best I have ever had. We enter the North Channel toward Frazer Bay the next day (38NM). It is a very pretty and narrow bay with few anchorages. We duck into a couple that are either too deep or already filled and then finally choose one we think will work. We put the tender in the water and explore the end of the bay where you park and walk up a little path to Topaz Lake. Very pretty...just too many people. We tour around a bit more and when the wind kicks up we run back to the boat and quickly stow the tender. We end up pulling the anchor and backtracking out of Frazer Bay to a shallow spot across from the mouth. Good idea, as it was nice and calm all night. A quick transit the next day in gorgeous weather brings us through a swing bridge to Little Current (11NM). We do a bit of provisioning and check out the town which is small and quaint and enjoy the comforts of a ‘marina’ night as we have a few more anchor nights ahead.

Independence anchored at Long Bay

Independence anchored at Long Bay

A perfect night to water ski on Long Bay

A perfect night to water ski on Long Bay

Sweet summer sunset at 9:00PM

Sweet summer sunset at 9:00PM

Leaving the shallows at Pointe au Baril for a transit on Lake Huron

Leaving the shallows at Pointe au Baril for a transit on Lake Huron

Pointe au Baril, french for ‘Barrel on the point’ was given this name back in the 1870’s when a lost whiskey barrel was found and subsequently ‘drained’ by thirsty fisherman at this point. To give thanks they later placed a lantern in the barrel to act as a beacon providing safe entry into this narrow inlet.

Pointe au Baril, french for ‘Barrel on the point’ was given this name back in the 1870’s when a lost whiskey barrel was found and subsequently ‘drained’ by thirsty fisherman at this point. To give thanks they later placed a lantern in the barrel to act as a beacon providing safe entry into this narrow inlet.

Just a casual anchor-out dinner at Mill Lake of barbeque lamb chops, green salad and baked potato

Just a casual anchor-out dinner at Mill Lake of barbeque lamb chops, green salad and baked potato

The Mill Lake sunset

The Mill Lake sunset

This was quite an afternoon squall while anchored at MIll Lake. We looked up the wind speed and it was reported to be 40 knots. Picture by Larry McCullough (some of us were too busy running around prepping the foul weather gear to think about taking a photo!!!)

This was quite an afternoon squall while anchored at MIll Lake. We looked up the wind speed and it was reported to be 40 knots. Picture by Larry McCullough (some of us were too busy running around prepping the foul weather gear to think about taking a photo!!!)

The squall only lasted 20 minutes but it sure felt longer. Picture by Larry McCullough

The squall only lasted 20 minutes but it sure felt longer. Picture by Larry McCullough

Day two of Collins Inlet…a gorgeous day

Day two of Collins Inlet…a gorgeous day

Pink granite walls

Pink granite walls

Pine trees and birch trees cling to the granite

Pine trees and birch trees cling to the granite

A pretty passage on Collins Inlet

A pretty passage on Collins Inlet

Killarney harbor

Killarney harbor

One of the Sportsman’s Inn Marinas

One of the Sportsman’s Inn Marinas

Independence squeezed into her birth across the channel at St. George Island

Independence squeezed into her birth across the channel at St. George Island

One of the Sportsman’s Inn Lodges

One of the Sportsman’s Inn Lodges

The main Sportsman’s Lodge with the seaplane and full resort amenities

The main Sportsman’s Lodge with the seaplane and full resort amenities

The view from the Sportsman’s Inn Lodge Resort

The view from the Sportsman’s Inn Lodge Resort

This is the entry to Killarney

This is the entry to Killarney

The $18 million event center lodge at Sportsman’s - love the ‘prop’ fan

The $18 million event center lodge at Sportsman’s - love the ‘prop’ fan

The view from the deck at the event center

The view from the deck at the event center

The Oyster Shack owner’s tequila…quite good

The Oyster Shack owner’s tequila…quite good

The famous Herbert Fisheries fish and chip shop

The famous Herbert Fisheries fish and chip shop

Order up! We shared an Adult Fish and Chip Meal

Order up! We shared an Adult Fish and Chip Meal

Great fish and chips and a nice local pilsner

Great fish and chips and a nice local pilsner

Independence anchored in Frazer Bay…temporarily

Independence anchored in Frazer Bay…temporarily

The hike up to Topaz Lake

The hike up to Topaz Lake

The swing bridge opens on the hour and is right in front of Little Current

The swing bridge opens on the hour and is right in front of Little Current

I am stealing this name for my next boat…(it reads Pub Trawler). We saw her in Killarney and again at LIttle Current. Perhaps we will meet the owner some day…in a pub!

I am stealing this name for my next boat…(it reads Pub Trawler). We saw her in Killarney and again at LIttle Current. Perhaps we will meet the owner some day…in a pub!