Sunday, July 27, 2008

Can't Go Wrong in Kagawong, Ontario

While filling up the gas tank at Gore Bay, we continued our attempts to contact the Kagawong Marina (previously known as Northern Marina of Kagawong). When we called the number listed everywhere -- the 2008 Ontarion Boating Guide, the GLCC Info, Ports Guide, Lakeland Boating, and the Gore Bay Marina -- the number just rang repeatedly, beeped, then disconnected. We finally called the Kagawong Tourism Board and got a new phone number: 705 - 282 - 8800. Now, the Gore Bay Marina has the correct number, too! The Kagawong Marina staff were very helpful, said they had plenty of space and we should come on down.

There is a bit of a tricky passage between Gore Bay and Mudge Bay at Maple Point. It requires some tight maneuvering for the inexperienced passage-goers, such as ourselves. You have to make sure you stay between the markers and keep the markers on the correct side. As we were going through this section, we encountered a 55 foot Chris Craft going in the opposite direction. As we passed, we saw that they had a GLCC burgee that indicated they were a commodore in the club. This likely explains why he was comfortable zooming along the channel while we were creeping along at slower-than-trawler speed.

Once past the tricky section, we were into Mudge Bay and headed toward Kagawong. We contacted the marina on VHF 68 and they let us know the dock we'd be in and the side we would tie up on.

The marina is right by the public beach and kids jump from the pier into the water. But, they also compliment and comment on your boat ("Hey! Nice Boat." SPLASH "Ooh they're from Chicago!" SPLASH). The Kagawong Municipal Marina, as it is now known, has a new harbor master, Bill Prescott, who came out to meet us and personally welcome us to Kagawong. The enthusiasm is contagious. A boat that got in just before us, Patriot from Sister Bay, was already in their space and swimming but they helped the marina staff get us in and their kids helped us tie fenders on Meridian.

Kagawong is small but there is a full day's worth of things to do.

* Bridal Veil Falls is a less-than-one mile hike from the marina. No need to take hiking boots - flip flops are fine and prepare you for walking in the falls. Along the way is an Ontario Hydroelectric facility designed to fit into the rustic scenery.

* St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church. Also known as The Sailor's Church, it is quite nice with anchors and lighthouses making up the stained glass window scenes, a life preserver hanging from the loft ceiling, and an anchor above the pulpit. The pulpit is the salvaged and restored bow of a boat that sank in Mudge Bay 43 years ago.

* An Outdoor game board and two mazes (one stone, one hedge). We did the stone maze but not the hedge maze. We both remembered that stone hedge from the Harry Potter book and didn't want to take any chances.

The marina sells Farquhar's ice cream (How Convenient!) and meat from a local farmer. They also have a good selection of spices and soaps, lotions, and clothing from Manitoulin.

There are just a few shops in town: Manitoulin Chocolate (Chocolate and Coffee), River Mist Gallery (local artisan products), Hunts of Kagawong (general store), and Chase's Restaurant (formerly Needles). Although Chase's was not open when we were there (we overheard some townspeople say that they had run out of food), an article in the Manitoulin West Recorder indicated that it serves lunch and dinner 7 days a week and has applied for a liquor license.

Phil insisted on sticking his nose into the town's business.

We found a boarding ladder that is more rickety than our own!

There is a small farmer's market on Wednesdays that we stayed for. The market has Butter Tarts (that was how Bernie convinced Phil to wait around for the market -- he wanted to leave so we could get "there"). We were also waiting for the wind to die down a bit as getting out of the marina requires some quick turns -- kind of like that tricky passage you have to go through at the entrance to Mudge Bay.

After stocking up on Butter Tarts, we headed off to find an anchorage in the fabled Benjamin Islands.

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