Monday, July 20, 2009

Spectacular Sunset on Blue Sea Lake

Click on picture to see full-size!

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Georgian Bay - West Fox Island

We headed out to West Fox Island for what turned out to be our last night on this expedition.

From the Hawk Island group, West Fox seemed to be a relatively flat island. As you get closer to it, your realize the top might be flat but the sides are at quite an angle, making it more difficult to unload our kayaks.

Luckily, we found two large pressure ridges in the bay on the east side of the island. The bay offered shelter from the prevailing winds also. Had we not seen these two ridges, I'm not sure if/where there would have been another option for us. If you click on the picture below to enlarge it, you'll see our two kayaks on the far left side.

Once on the island we were pleased to find a very flat camping spot with a great view along with hundreds of pressure ridges that give the island quite a spectacular look. It was a bit of a hike (and a maze along the numerous pressure ridges) to carry our stuff between the campsite and the kayaks but all-in-all it was very much worth the effort.

Towards the eastern point of the island, there are a few other flat camping spots, but with less or no shelter from the prevailing winds. From there the view is outstanding.

We hiked around the southern side of the island as far as we could and got to see the rougher edges along the coastline exposed to the prevailing winds.

This island probably has more pressure ridges than most other islands in the area. Here are a few pictures taken late in the afternoon.

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Georgian Bay - Martins Island

On the way back from the Northeast Hawk to the West Fox island, we stopped at Martins Island for a well deserved and needed break.

It has a beautiful bay on the south-east side with turquoise water and contrasting rock colours.

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Georgian Bay - Northeast Hawk Island

After stopping on Blockbuster Island for a break and to climb up to get a great view of the islands, we headed out in medium wind/waves to Northeast Hawk Island.

We saw three bays on the North East Hawk island:
  • On the NW side: We couldn't land there because of the waves and large boulders everywhere. Later, we spotted two campsites up the hill from there.
  • On the SE side: very exposed to the winds-waves, didn't bother trying to stop there
  • On the NE side: large bay including small sandy beach.

We landed at the northern most tip of the islands. From here we had access to only one fairly slanted campsite on the point, or the option of walking around the island to reach the 2 sites accessible from the NW bay.

One look at following picture will tell you which campsite we chose. Needless to say, we didn't sleep very well that night!

Impressive pressure ridges could be found in many areas on this island, as can be seen in these pictures.

Georgian Bay sunsets provide incredible picture taking opportunities. Judge for yourself...

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Georgian Bay - Etches Island

Our first stop on our expedition, after driving 7+ hours and loading up both kayaks. We didn't want to camp on Rattle island again, but we didn't have much sunlight to afford paddling too far. Etches is circled in red on the following map (click on map to see full-size).

We were able to unload relatively easy on the east side, there's a small bay protected by a relatively small rock island. From there we had reasonably good access to a good campsite. If room for a 2nd tent would have been required, we're not sure where we would have put it.

The island includes enough vegetation and elevation to make it worthwhile to climb and to look around at the view.

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Georgian Bay - Philip Edward Island (The Sequel)

We finally made it back to Georgian Bay again!!! Last year we circumnavigated PEI, this year we set out for the more remote islands in this area.

We stopped at the Park Office to pay for parking ($52 for 4 nights) before loading up both kayaks at the put-in on Chikanishing river.

The element of surprise from discovering a region for the first time wasn't there this year. Neither was the dynamics of participating in an organized tour. Instead, it was more of a relaxing paddle in a strikingly beautiful area (at least that part hasn't changed).

We camped on Etches, Northeast Hawk and South Fox islands this time around. Click on map below for details.

I'll create a separate post for each one along with pictures, see postings above (sorry but it's going to seem to be out of order, from bottom up instead of top down).

We cut our expedition short by one day due to the certainty of rain. If it had been on any other day than our last one, we would have put up with it as we have in the past.

Low on gas, we stopped at Killarney Outfitters to fill up then headed into Killarney village for some world famous Fish & Chips before heading back home.

Now that we've statisfied our urge to go back to the bay, we're now thinking of Les Bergeronnes, north of Tadoussac on the Saguenay fjord for our next expedition.

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Paddling from Blue Sea Lake to Grant Lake

In the bay right next to the chapel on Blue Sea Lake is a small creek that leads to Grant Lake. Once you're in the creek there isn't much room to turn around and come back, you're better off paddling until you get to Grant Lake before turning around.

Along the way, you'll have to negotiate a large concrete culvert under the bicycle path (what used to be a railway line), under a small wooden building then under a wooden culvert under the road that leads from Blue Sea to Messine.

Grant Lake is fairly quiet with nice cottages on both sides and untouched wilderness at both ends.

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St. George's Chapel on Blue Sea Lake

While paddling along the West side of the lake, from Blue Sea to Messine, you'll come across a small lake-side chapel, complete with a dock for boater access.

According to the sign, it was established in 1911, almost a century ago!

The shingles on the roof were recently replaced, evidence that it's still being maintained.

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Canada Day on the Ottawa River

Paddling got off to a slow start this year for us. The weather hasn't exactly been too inviting lately and we've had to focus on other priorities for a while.

This time, we put-in at the Leamy Lake beach (access to parking via Fournier Blvd), paddled out the creek at the North end into the Gatineau river. Turning right, we paddled downstream until reaching the Ottawa river. From there, we turned right (West) and paddled upstream past the Museum of Civilization until we got to Victoria Island.

Then we started paddling back towards Alexandra Bridge, just below Parliament Hill, and then waited for the airshow to begin.

As part of the 100th anniversary of aviation in Canada, the Snowbirds were joined by three special planes put together to commemorate this event: a CF-18 Century Hornet, a Snowbird Tutor repainted to the original Golden Centenial colours and the F-86 Hawk One Sabre. See for details.

We set out with rain coats and came back with sunburns. Cooling-off by the Rideau Falls felt really good before heading back to our put-in spot.

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