Monday, 23 July 2012

Franklin Island to Richard's Island

July 22: One should really know enough to avoid any place named Shoal Narrows. True to its name, it was really narrow, and shallower than indicated on the chart.

We started the day with pancakes at Franklin Island, then motored upwind out the channel to the Bay. Turning up Shawanaga Inlet let us unroll the genoa for an extended reach down to Turning Island, where we took the inland turning up around Tonches Island, almost to Point au Baril Station. These tight turns and occasional shallows negotiated successfully, we rounded the lighthouse and decided to give Nares Inlet a try.

The entry is tricky and exposed, but well marked on the water and the plotter. There's one shallow spot that could be a problem if the Bay waves were bigger, but the day had been fairly light. Once in, there's a nice little bay, then a couple of turns, then the narrows (marked with a fish because a pushpin or a house seemed wrong).

We approached slowly and were doing well until the tightest part, where there's about 20 feet between the buoys. The thump was gentle, but brought us to a halt and the little bit of current turned us sideways. There was deeper water just ahead of us, so Laura took the anchor out forward. Rotating the boat got us about four feet further, but we weren't getting any more, so it was time to kedge out the way we came in. The people in the cottage overlooking the narrows came out in their outboard and offered help. We thanked them, and said we would try it slowly and gently on our own for now. With the anchor out in deep water behind us, I was able to pull us back out by hand and we hung there for a little while tidying up.

Remember the nice little bay? We went back there and anchored, snacked a little and made dinner plans. We would have been good for the night, but the 1830 forecast had a wind warning for Georgian Bay. We would have been fine in the bay, but getting out could have been dodgy. Once again, we went out the way we came in, back past the lighthouse and into a very well protected bay off the channel facing Richard's Island. We were settled in early enough for steak before sundown and scrabble before the light faded completely.

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