Taking part in the Grady-White Rendezvous with Desmasdons Boat Works
The sun was shining brightly on the clear blue waters of Georgian Bay, as 13 Grady-White vessels set off from Pointe au Baril for a three-day boating adventure.
Our group was connected by our relationship with Desmasdons Boat Works and their longstanding connection Grady-White Boats. This trip had been planned for months and organized by Desmasdons Boat Works, who had arranged everything from the route itinerary, the fuel stops, the food, and the accommodation.
The first day was a thrilling run out into the exposed waters of Georgian Bay. Southeast winds charging across made for four foot waves that rolled at us consecutively one after another. We all appreciated the performance of our Grady-Whites. They're designed and built with attention to detail and it definitely came in handy that day. For those who don't know, Grady-White boats feature the award-winning SeaV2 hull, which provides a smooth, stable, and dry ride. In relenting choppy conditions, you appreciate the high freeboards and a flared bow entry that handles the rough great-lake conditions with ease. We certainly did.
After the thrilling and wrathful lake ride, we tucked into calm waters at the Bustard Islands, a group of small islands that are part of the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve. This stop offered an opportunity to raft all 13 vessels together -- a unified organized team-building exercise of skippers and captains that went to work setting shorelines and anchors properly. The task was accomplished with ease given the quality of our crew. With the boats nestled together, everyone enjoyed a stern lunch and a swim in the crystal-clear waters.
Continuing the journey to Killarney, through the stunning 10-mile-long Collins Inlet we experienced the most brilliant ambiance of scenery and watercolours. The inlet is fjord-like and forms a narrow channel between the mainland and massive Prince Phillip Edward Island with 100-foot-high cliffs rising on either side.
Upon your exit to the northwest you can see initial views of the La Cloche Mountain Range to the north. It's quite a sight.
Our destination for the night was Killarney Mountain Lodge, a historic and charming place that offered a warm welcome and a cozy atmosphere. Arriving by water at the lodge, we were greeted by dock staff whom we communicated with by radio, making docking our vessels a pleasant experience. That evening we enjoyed a water-side dinner at Big Willy’s Bait Shop which is a short walk from the lodge.
The second day was the highlight of the trip. Our group ventured into the Baie Fine, a 15-mile-long fjord that is part of Killarney Provincial Park. Everyone marveled at the majestic La Cloche Mountains, which rose from the water with their white quartzite cliffs. We learned that Baie Fine is one of the largest freshwater fjords in the world and has both geological and historical significance. Venturing to the end we found the place known as “The Pool,” a protected area that is a splendid anchorage as it's protected by the mountains that surround it. This was our next opportunity to raft the 13 Grady-White’s together in a row.
Cody Slumskie of Desmasdons, the trip organizer, captained a Fisherman 236 and organized something special for everyone. He ferried us group by group to a hiking trail nearby that led up to Topaz Lake. The lake is a fabulous swimming spot as well as the famous painting site of Arthur Lismer, one of the Group of Seven.
The third day was the last day of the trip. Everyone returned to Pointe au Baril and beyond. We had seen some of the most beautiful and unique places in the world, all by boats powered with Yamaha Outboards ranging from 150hp to 1700hp -- yes that’s right, a quad XTO425 hp on a Grady White Canyon 456 even made an appearance.
Reflecting on this remarkable journey, it's one of my most memorable maritime expeditions. Not only because of the spectacular scenery but also because of the shared experience. Having never ventured together as a chain of touring boats, participating in a Rendezvous or similar event is something I would highly recommend. It's a great way to travel together with fellow boaters, family, and friends. Get out on the water this summer, link up with fellow boats and explore a new part of the vast Ontario waterways that surround us!
You can watch our adventure here:
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