Saturday, March 16, 2013

Why No Bay?

I recently received a comment/question on the Log Book from a couple who have not boated on Georgian Bay in 15 years and now find themselves up in Penetanguishene (Penatang), on the southeast shore. They asked me why we won't be heading back to Georgian Bay this summer (2013 season) and I thought it was note worthy enough to share here, as the ramifications apply to all of us. . .

 But first, another stunning photo from our time at Wani Bay;

 The reason that will not be visiting Georgian Bay this season is because our home port is on Lake Simcoe and we have to travel through the Trent Severn Waterway to reach The Bay. No trouble in that respect, but once one exits The Waterway at Port Severn, there are only two, relatively shallow channels that lead onto Georgian Bay proper. When we passed through 'Potato Island Channel' last summer, my depth finder was showing us precariously close to bottom and the water levels have dropped considerably since then.

 I'm not going to chance taking out a prop or shaft (or both) right at the beginning of our holidays, so we are looking forward to heading east along The Waterway this summer. Haven't been that way in a few years, so it will be like revisiting an old friend :-)

 If you look at the (long & boring) video I posted earlier on the Blog discussing the water levels, you will notice I make mention of the Potato Island Channel. It's a sad situation affecting not only Georgian Bay, but all of the Great Lakes, to one degree or another. And, by extension, all of us will be affected.

 Here's a video of us heading up-bound (towards Port Severn) through Potato Island Channel, back in 2009. As you see, there was lots of water depth, but not too much width. Imagine that now, with roughly THREE FEET (yes, three feet/one metre) less water  than when this was shot.


 If you are only back to the Penatang area this year and didn't get a chance to boat on The Bay last summer, you will looking at a MUCH DIFFERENT body of water from what you might remember. If you have a chance to drive over to Honey Harbour, take a look at the Picnic Island Store. From the recent photos I have seen posted online, I don't think I would want to take our boat through the Small Craft Route in that area - even if we could safely get onto the Bay :-(

Here are two recent (January/13) photos of the Picnic Island Store + a link to a news story on the cost of dealing with the lower levels to area municipalities. If you are unfamiliar with this spot, there is normally floating docks right here. Note the floating docks on the other side (kinda behind in this shot), you will see they are pretty much sitting on bottom. That makes it difficult for folks like us who need at least 4' of draft to move the boat through the water. (Note, these two following images were found on the http://honeyharbour.net/news/ site, but are widely floating around many news and environmental sites. I do not know who took the photo originally, so I am unable to attribute any copyright or ownership to the author. From what I see on the Honeyharbour.net site, they may have been taken by a 'Bernard Nicholson')

Another one, looking southward, with the Small Craft Route in the distance;


 Now compare the above photo with one I took here in 2008. In this shot, I'm standing on the dock, looking down to where the above photos are looking);

 I think this will, sadly, give you an understanding as to why we won't be up on The Bay this season. Despite the fact we can't make it this year, we are still blessed and fortunate enough to be able to safely travel through the rest of the Trent Severn Waterway. Keep an eye out for upcoming updates from those adventures :-)

 I hope you will have a chance to check out both our Facebook Page, as well as my YouTube Channel, for LOTS of boating fun. Also, you can take a look at a web site I publish that is dedicated to the Trent Severn Waterway - TheWaterway.ca - as well as the accompanying Facebook Page.

 Yes, I do have fun with this whole boating thing ;-)