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Georgian Bay Islands National Park




Georgian Bay Sailing Camping - Day 3

The next morning the wind subsided somewhat, but the sky was dark and it was cold – perfect weather for hiking. From Cedar Spring there’s a nice trail across the island leading to the western shore, a short 30 minutes walk for us to visit the windy, barren western shore of Beausoleil. An interesting aspect of the island is its diversity of scenery, vegetation and wild life: Beausoleil happens to be where the rocky, glacier-scraped landmass of the Canadian Shield meets the St. Lawrence Lowland. Rocky outcrops, old-growth hardwood forest (one of the few remaining in Ontario), wetlands, are all within a couple of hours of easy hike.

We emerged from the canopy of trees onto the rocky beach of the western shore, and saw the full effect of last night’s gale on the open waters of Georgian Bay. Wind had died down to about 20 knots at the shore but the waters were dark with foaming, breaking waves dotted with white caps. I could imagine what it must had been like earlier under the full force of the gale, as defined under the Beaufort Scale Force 8: “Gale; 34-40 knots wind; waves are high and dense, foam blows from the tops of breaking waves, average wave height 6 meters”.


As we were watching the waves crashing onto the rocky shore, two sailboats majestically appeared on the horizon, on a run in the western breeze, with storm jibs and reefed mains. One of the boats rounded the channel off the island and headed towards Penetanguishene:

We walked along the western shore to the southern tip of the island, following the rocky shoreline rather than the park trail. The variety of rocks, pebbles, and the occasional breaking waves made the hike more interesting compared to walking on the park trail, which is further inland and vegetation often blocks the view of the water. There was this solitary seagull, practicing the art of low flight in gusting winds, circling a rock tower left by travelers of yesterday:

On the return trip we stopped by the Park maintenance office to ask for a piece of duct tape. The staff probably had never been requested to provide assistance to repair a sailboat, and they were extremely helpful in searching through their vast supply of maintenance material and eventually found what I needed. Duct tape, the quintessential solution that fixes everything, one should never leave home without it! The damaged jib was patched up with the tape, and it felt stronger than ever. However, a different kind of disaster struck, although we were not to find out until the next morning.

Day 4