Goodbye fall, hello winter! Looks like our warm weather luck has run out – over the past 2 days temperatures have plummeted almost 20 degrees celsius on the Bay! But we can’t complain – our fall has been filled with sunny days, warm southerly winds, little precipitation – a perfect time for being outside and enjoying some late season recreational boating!
Although Thanksgiving weekend arrived with some fluffy white stuff brought in by streamers off the Bay, it only lasted 5 minutes and gave those of us on the water an amazing view followed by sunshine again!
My final trip out with the mother ship was October 22 – 24 which turned into one of the most beautiful weekends of the month, allowing ample time to visit a few of my favorite places by dinghy. With barely a boat on the water and many cottagers long gone, there was little noise during the day and no light pollution at night. But note, if help is needed it will be a long time to arrive so if there is ever a time to be extra careful when boating, it is during the off season.
And October 30th I jumped at an opportunity to visit Beausoleil Island for a trail hike and WOW, the island did not disappoint! Once the park facilities close the island takes on a life of it’s own, the only sounds being the wildlife, forests and ghosts of those before us. The lower water levels expose more rocky shoreline and beach depths not seen in the summer months, making for some easier shoreline walks.
The trails through the southern end of the island were thick with dropped leaves, my footsteps creating such loud “crunching” sounds, surely announcing my presence to all nearby wildlife. No bears to see on this visit but I can’t help wonder if they saw me!
I thought my record setter this year was Nov 4th when I took my kayak to Port McNicoll to enjoy one last paddle on the Bay and with some regal company – the beautiful Keewatin! But my good luck continued and on Nov 10th, I was able to get out on Penetang Harbour.
But the days are getting cold, my kayak now deflated and to be honest, me a little as well – after 6 months of living on and exploring the Bay it’s always a difficult transition back to town life and what to do over the dark cold winter months.
Luckily this year is different from the last two (thank goodness!) and hopefully things stay that way! The small towns and communities around the Bay have countless events planned to entice us all outdoors and keep us busy and active this winter! I have been researching some of these events and here are a few of my choice selections by month that are either on the Bay or involve boating:
- Dine in a bubble on the patio at the Trestle Brewery in Parry Sound then walk it off touring the town,
- First Light returns to Sainte-Marie among the Hurons in Midland for 2 weekends only with fireworks shows Nov 24 and Dec 1st
- Visit one of the many Holiday Markets happening around the Bay – from Collingwood to Parry Sound, Midland and Penetang – there are numerous markets to find that perfect gift or stocking stuffer and support our local vendors.
- Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre Open House Dec 3rd, Midland: free admission but they do appreciate donations. They have a full day of activities planned, bring your camera if you wish a holiday photo with a bird of prey and enjoy some roasted bannock around the fire.
- The 65th Toronto International Boat Show returns to in-person after 2 years of being virtual, and the show management team expect a big turn out. The show runs Jan 20 – 29th at the Enercare Building (CNE grounds, Toronto) and I will be presenting on “Cruising Georgian Bays 30,000 Islands”. Note that show tickets go on sale Nov 25th and will be half price until Nov 28th, then back to regular price after that.
- Penetanguishene’s 75th “Winterama” returns February 17 – 19th. This is the longest running winter carnival in Ontario and always a fun time, both for adults and kids.
- Family Day – it’s ok to make this weekend about visiting the boat, after all it is a member of the family! And let’s hope the marinas return to Family Day Activities making it also a perfect weekend to reconnect with our boating buds!
- Book a snowmobile tour with Diverse Rentals in Penetang which takes you through Awenda Park and down Penetang harbour
- The perfect time to upgrade your CPS courses and/or First Aid before boating season
- Check the Midland news for when Coast Guard will be entering Midland Bay to break up the ice – a great community event and always fun to watch.
- Start working out those arms – it’s hull polishing time! And that’s all I have to say about April – the season opener is just around the corner, us boaters are happy again! ☺
And most importantly the winter is a great time to reconnect with neighbors. While attending the Remembrance Day ceremony in Penetang on Friday and seeing such a wonderful turnout, I was reminded that the future is bright and community is key! So although the daily news is filled with “doom and gloom” there are plenty of fun things we have to look forward to this winter. Ofcourse it is important to acknowledge global events, but even more-so is it to ensure our neighbours and community continue to thrive and that we support one another locally. The best way to do that is turn off the electronics, get outdoors and enjoy all that Georgian Bay has to offer!