George and Pat Hospodar
One morning, while cruising on Georgian Bay, Ontario, we heard a distress call from one unhappy boater who went on the wrong side of a buoy and tore the propeller shafts out of his boat. The Coast Guard was unable to render immediate assistance and advised the people onboard to put on life jackets and get into their dinghy. Other boaters came by to give whatever help they could; however, the boat sank in minutes. Luckily, there were no injuries. We later heard that the captain was doing about 30 knots and was unfamiliar with the area when he went on the wrong side of the buoy â€” not a good thing!
Environment Canada (similar to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association in the U.S.A.) kept announcing high-wind warnings and rain on the marine radio for that night and the next night, so we decided to journey to the famous tourist restaurant, “Henry’s Fish and Chips”, on Frying Pan Island, where we could also dock overnight and evaluate conditions for the following day.
Once our boat, Reflection, was tied up, I decided to go for a walk to explore the small rocky island. I began heading up a marked trail over rocks and boulders toward a wooded area. As I went along, the walk became more of a climb than a stroll through the park. When I approached a wooded area, I heard something that sounded like an angry animal and decided that this might be a good time to return to the boat.
As I was on my way back, I met the dock master and asked if there were any bears on the island. “Sure,” he said. “I see bears around here all the time.” Then with a smile on his face, he said, “You should always walk with someone else around here, so if a bear comes along, all you have to do is outrun the other person.” I thanked him for his words of wisdom and quickly continued back to the boat with this comforting thought in mind.
It was fun hearing about the places that our new friends had visited since we last saw them. They had lived all over the world because of his career as a U.S. Foreign Aid official, and they now cruised on their boat about five months a year. The four of us went to dinner at”Henry’s”, where the food was served family-style with entrees of fresh pickerel, white fish, or perch, pan-fried or battered, along with tartar sauce and lemon slices, and side orders of French fries, brown beans, and coleslaw. We knew that the food here had to be good because on long weekends they serve more than 1,500 meals, with some customers arriving on sea planes. Our fried pickerel dinner that evening at the restaurant was no exception, and afterward, we came back to our boat to discuss our mutual future planned stops. It was just another great day on the Great Loop.
George and Pat Hospodar, authors of “Reflection on America’s Great Loop” published by Atlantic Publishing.
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