By: Rick Layzell
Here's how we prepared for a 10 day trip through Ontario's best boating country
In June 2020 we closed the deal on Meant 2 Be while sitting at the lighthouse in Killarney. After working through the details with our broker, it all just seemed right when the Service Manager called to iron out the last few details while we sat on Killarney's stunning pink granite shoreline. Karen had no idea that moments after sealing the deal I would be asking her to spend the rest of her life with me on those very same pink rocks. It really was Meant 2 Be. One of our favourite staff members at Killarney Mountain Lodge even joked that we needed to come back by water someday. My apprehension was immediate. My thinking was, "that’s too big of a trip for us, maybe someday but not anytime soon."
Fast forward to the spring of 2021 and we were blessed with the opportunity to join boaters from Maple Leaf Marinas on one of their two sold out 'Rendezvous' trips. And yes, there’s a stop in Killarney. Look at us go!
Our journey would require we meet the Rendezvous group on Saturday, July 17th at 10:30 a.m. at red marker M14 on the southwest corner of Beausoleil Island. For Meant 2 Be that involved a trip through the locks to get there on the 16th, except this time it would be just the two of us handling her in the locks. While we had completed one trip through the Trent-Severn Waterway and its lock system with friends in 2020, some time was invested on Park’s Canada’s website and various other online tools to ensure we maneuvered her correctly.
Our itinerary for the entire trip looked like this:
July 16 Marina del Rey to Wye Heritage in Midland
July 17 Wye Heritage to Big Sound Marina in Parry Sound
July 18 Big Sound to the Bustard Islands
July 19 Bustards to Killarney
July 20 / 21 Killarney to Little Current on Manitoulin Island
July 22 Little Current to the Bad River
July 23 / 24 Bad River to Port Rawson
July 25 Port Rawson to Wye Heritage
July 26 Wye Heritage to Marina del Rey
Let the preparations begin!
First – the boat. Meant 2 Be is a 1997 Regal 322 Commodore and we have built a very trusting relationship with the team at Marina del Rey where she is moored. Our recent adventures on Lake Simcoe identified a couple of minor issues that were quickly resolved. We did notice some battery challenges though, and after an inspection of all 7 onboard batteries, 3 needed replacement. Engine fluid levels including the generator were checked and all confirmed to be in good working order.
After doing lots of reading and listening to my peers, I accepted that the Danforth anchor on our bow was unsuitable for use in the big waters of Georgian Bay. Then we learned that the stern anchor that came with the boat was also severely underrated, so the decision was made to acquire a 10 KG claw anchor for the bow and move the Danforth to the stern. While ordering the claw anchor I also ordered a fresh 100’ stern line. The cost difference between 50' and100’ was pennies and the right call. While swapping out the anchors I also rebuilt the emergency line that secures the bow anchor at the windlass. Confident that the boat was ready, we moved on to the other necessities.
Next up -- food!
As I have talked about before, packing for a boating trip is an art. We have two small fridges on board, one is dedicated to beverages and the other to food supplies. Our hosts were sponsoring a couple of evening get-togethers and we knew we would sample local dinner fares when we could, so the focus was really breakfast, lunches and snacks. We also knew we could reprovision in Little Current.
One of my favourites is egg muffins – I started making these a year ago and they’re perfect for a trip like this. Beat a dozen eggs in a large bowl, add onion, spinach, a good cheddar cheese, and whatever else you like. Pour into a muffin tray, bake for 40 minutes in an oven at 375 and you’ve got breakfast for days. These actually lasted us until day 4 – you can eat them warm or cold so they really make the first meal super simple. Bagels became the alternative morning staple (butter or peanut butter) and we also took cereal and milk, which I can tell you never got opened. Lesson for the next trip – don’t bother with the cereal or milk.
Coffee is a morning must, and our 24-year-old (original & tired) Spacemaker coffee maker was removed, which opened up more shelving space, and replaced with a modern 10 cup morning happiness maker. Perfect!
As we knew we would be moving nearly every day, lunches had to be simple. A quick trip to the local deli for some fresh bread, meats, and cheeses made for easy and delicious on-the-go lunches.
Snacks were a combination of healthy fruit, beef jerky for a protein push, and a few not so healthy but oh-so-yummy evening treats.
We took some Costco marinated pork chops for our night in the Bustard Islands and our little freezer kept them frozen solid until we needed them. Karen calls these "little pork roasts" and with a healthy side salad they make for an excellent dinner onboard.
As charcuterie lovers we also stocked up with a variety of supplies for the inevitable night, or two, when charcuterie and a bottle of wine would be dinner.
Next up – beverages.
Water, water, water – we normally keep a couple 5 litre jugs on board which we reuse by filling them at home. As neither of us are pop drinkers, water is our daytime liquid after it makes our morning coffee. I bought a total of 7 jugs in advance and we bought more along the way when we could. Daily consumption averaged 2-3 jugs.
Meant 2 Be is perfectly legal to have a cocktail once moored and we loaded up with a mix of beer and coolers, wine, and liquor. We found ourselves enjoying an ice cold afternoon beer (or two) followed by whatever our hearts desired in the evening.
Ice, Ice, Baby – we have a good reliable cooler that fits 3 bags of cubes, or 2 bags and one of our refillable wine bags which we freeze (and then drink the water).
Personal provisions -- We would be using marina washrooms wherever possible to minimize impact to our on-board water and waste systems. Shower sandals were a must and were well utilized. Grab a travel sized shampoo in advance and be sure to pack a toiletry bag.
I packed too many pairs of socks (ok, I never wore a single pair cuz sandals were all day every day) and a couple too many shirts but overall, this part was pretty efficient.
Since it was just the two of us we knew we had lots of space to make everything work. A garbage bag became a large laundry bag which we stowed in the life jacket compartment under the V birth (yes, we still had plenty of life jackets). All the water and supplies were safely tucked away so movement in the salon was unhampered and relatively unobstructed.
The crew at Maple Leaf Marinas were kind enough to send out Navionics charts in advance which we were able to download into our app so we could follow along on the trip. This is an area that I should have invested a little more time in beforehand just to get comfortable with Navionics. Instead, I did so in the early mornings and quickly found myself making my own route maps – it really is easy to use. Most boaters will tell you that you must also carry paper charts and that is sage advice.
Stay tuned for the next article as we take you through 10 days on board and all the moments, and the memories, that mattered so much!