After our whirlwind weekend in Chicago we made it back to Midland around 2 AM. We were exhausted but ready to get back on the water. After a few hours of sleep, we went grocery shopping, returned the rental car, unpacked and did laundry, got fuel in the boat and finally headed out around 3 PM. We were so exhausted that we boated a whole five miles to Discovery Harbor on the way into Penetanguishene. We anchored right next to the tall ships, watched a beautiful sunset and had a quiet and early evening!
The next morning we were finally heading to Hope, Beckwith and Christian Islands! I had been hoping to get here since Labor Day weekend. We couldn’t make it over during our week in Beausoleil Bay because of the winds. But now we had a forecast with sun, 75 degrees and very little wind. Perfect! We had heard all about the crystal clear waters and sandy bottoms. We anchored and jumped in the dinghy to explore Hope Island first. The manager at the marina in Midland had told us about some sunken wrecks on the other side of the island in the very rocky portions. We zipped past the beach and went to find the wrecks. It was amazing that I could take clear pictures of the rocky bottom on this side of the island.
We finally found one of the wrecks. Very cool. We could see different parts of the boat, the rudder, big other sections, etc. We continued our journey around Hope Island. This brought us to a point between all three islands. We went past Christian Island and went right for Beckwith. On our way to the islands in the big boat, we briefly pulled into the anchorage on the other side of Beckwith. There were a handful of boats there and it looked fine. We were now on the inside bay between the islands and had it all to ourselves. There was one other sailboat anchored out in the bay and no one on the beach. We beached the dinghy and went ashore. The girls were thrilled to be running in the sand. It’s been since New Jersey since they’ve had nice beach to run on!
Shortly after we arrived, one other boat pulled up and brought their chairs and campfire supplies ashore. They lived close by and had been there the day before and had such a nice day they came back. They started a fire in the fire pit they had gathered the previous and we all sat around and chatted a bit. More people appeared coming over the top of a dune. Apparently we could walk to the other side of the island! So we did. Off we went for the quick 5-10 minute walk to the other side of the island. We quickly discovered that there were a bunch of people over there and the beach wasn’t as nice so back we went. The girls then had fun playing on the sand dune. The people by the fire asked if we had seen any snakes. They spotted some the day before on that walk. Yikes.
We decided the bay we were in was so lovely that we’d move the big boat over here to anchor for the night instead. The girls were playing in the sand so I stayed with them at Beckwith while Ben took the dinghy back to get the big boat and move it to where we were. While he was gone the girls and I walked the beach to the end of the sand and then climbed on the rocks. And saw a snake! A big snake! We scrambled out of the way and just kept an eye on it. The girls kept climbing and skipping on rocks all the way to the end. It was a wonderful day with beautiful water and lots of sunshine. Good for the soul!
And then…I got a text from Ben that one of the batteries had blown up. HUH?!?!? He started the engines and heard and felt something pretty awful. He quickly figured out that it was one of the port engine starting batteries. It completely blew up all over the engine room creating an enormous mess. But thankfully it wasn’t the engine! Or anything more serious! Ben was able to come pick us up in the dinghy after airing out the engine room a bit. He then wired up some solution to be able to start the other port battery off the starboard side. We had to turn around and go back to Midland (again!) so that we could get the mess cleaned up and new batteries. I say “we” very loosely as I admittedly had no part in the process. With no port engine Ben not only had no port engine running to control the boat, but also no bow thruster. So, his rigged up wiring worked (we are all thankful he’s so handy with that kind of thing!) and off we went to Midland for a third time! It had been a lovely day and would have been a lovely night at Beckwith, but we were grateful to only be about 2 hours away from Midland and be able to tuck into a dock safely.
The marina was great the next day. Ben was able to get the batteries ordered first thing and they were delivered dockside to our boat before noon. The marina also sent over one of their maintenance guys to help Ben. In about 20 minutes this guy had sucked out all the rest of the battery acid from the engine room. Ben had already spent the previous night and the entire morning cleaning everything he could. But having the marina equipment to get rid of the rest of the mess was a huge help. This guy also helped remove and bag all of the parts of the exploded battery and left them on the dock to come back and haul away later. Then they got the new batteries lowered into the engine room and installed. Bay Port Marina could not have been more helpful!
By this time it was mid afternoon, the girls wanted to swim and Ben was exhausted. So, we decided to just chill and leave bright and early in the morning and cover a lot of distance. Not that we don’t love Midland at this point, but we needed to see the Georgian Bay!